Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Bad Habits #16 – Adult Baby Food

I spend a lot of time trashing those who partake of the Ketogenic and Carnivore diets.  Good naturedly, of course.  Many of the people I follow and interact with on social media partake of these and other low-carb diets.  But for some reason I feel the urge to occasionally mock their fetishistic worship of things like liver (which you should not eat) and other practices (like fasting, which annoys me) that they pursue with a strange sort of religiosity. 

Because of their peculiar zealotry in pursuing their diets, I frequently slam them as followers of the One True Diet.  Which I know probably means that I’m generally a terrible person and feel the urge to hurt the people who show me the most love. On the other hand, they frequently have unkind things to say about calorie counters like me, so maybe my mocking of them is justified retribution. It’s effectively dietary social justice.

But even as I shower the Keto and Carno bros with derision, I can’t help but notice that they do appear to be very capable of keeping the weight off, as well as apparently managing numerous chronic diseases.  I’m not an expert on the disease part, so I can’t be certain if their approach is the best approach.  And I’m not sure that their approach to weight loss is the best way.  But one thing I do know is that in order to maintain those diets, they pretty much have to stop eating garbage.

All of the things that are high in sugar (like desserts and candy, neither of which you should have too much of) and carbohydrates must be given up.  And this by its nature, includes all of the ultra-processed food that one gets in boxes and bags and so forth.  The stuff one gets in the aisles of the grocery store and not the produce and meat section.  

Junk food, in other words.  Any diet that requires that you give this up will probably result in substantial weight loss.  And the fact that the term “junk food” has been around since the Truman administration should tell you that we’ve actually known for a while that we shouldn’t be eating these things. But many of us can’t help but feed our faces with mountains of trash that was ground out from ingredients with unpronounceable, arcane, sciency sounding names and pieced together on some assembly line in a dark, fetid corner of a big Agra factory where unholy things are made.

I read a couple of items on highly processed food recently, one from the fellas who work near Hahvahd Yahd and one from the NIH.  Both referenced studies where people who ate whole foods and ultra-processed foods were compared.  Apparently, the results were that the people who ate ultra-processed foods ate about 500 calories more per day. And 500 calories a day can translate into a pound of weight gained each week if we don’t work it off.

One reason people who eat junk food eat more in calories is that the ultra-processed foods are not as filling. It’s harder to achieve “satiety” (an irritatingly pretentious word for “feeling full”) when one consumes things like potato chips and pretzels and ice cream and various other things that we often gnosh on after drinking too much. Which is another habit to keep to a minimum, by the way.

These foods also have added fat (something that probably seriously contributes to obesity) and added sugar, which explains why Ketovores faint at the sight of them.  Both of these contribute to the calorie count.  And added sugar (and certain types of added fats, like oils), don’t contribute to “satiety”.  Not to mention that these foods also have additives, trans-fats, and any number of other things that could have toxic effects.

But there’s another problem with ultra-processed foods and other foods that contain lots of fat and sugar.  They’re easier to digest.  Which can also make the calorie count go up.  Because the fancy schmancy science types have discovered that about 5% to 15% of your daily calorie burn is done by digesting food.  Eating things that are easy to digest makes this number lower, while eating things that are harder to digest makes it go up, meaning the net calories you absorb are lower.  Protein is harder to digest than fat and carbohydrates, which may explain how many of the meat eaters are able to lose weight.  And in general, whole foods are harder to digest than highly processed foods.

So in a sense, ultra-processed foods are effectively already partially digested for you.  Which is why you shouldn’t eat them. Because there’s another type of food that’s already partially digested:  Baby food.  And no adult should eat baby food.  But eating ultra-processed food is effectively eating adult baby food.  

So no matter what diet you have, it’s good to keep the highly processed foods to a minimum.  Eating more whole foods means you eat fewer calories and absorb fewer weirdo toxins that were injected into the foods in the dark depths of some soulless corporate processing center.  And it also means you’re burning more calories because you’re not eating adult baby food.

So just say no to the adult baby food.  Nobody over twenty should do anything that babies do.  Or over ten, really.  If you eat ultra-processed food, you’re being a baby.  You’re the equivalent of that weird fetishist who’s in his forties but gets turned on by wearing diapers and sucking his thumb.  You should not be that guy.  But if you eat this kind of food you’ll gain your baby fat back, and you kind of will be that guy.

Advertisement

Good Habits #16 – The More You Toot, The Better You Feel

Nearly eight years ago, I began an arduous, difficult, and life changing journey filled with struggle and suffering, but also great joy and rewards.  No, I’m not talking about my “Weight Loss Journey” (an annoying phrase that I hate with a passion, but seem to repeat constantly because of masochism), I’m talking about marriage.  And I don’t normally give marriage advice in this blog, but I figured I would share what is by far the greatest adjustment required post-matrimony.  It’s not dividing up the household chores.  It’s not learning how to not hog the sheets.  It’s not how to resolve the occasional marital spat.  Nor is it convincing your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement.  It is…getting comfortable farting in each other’s presence.

You may be thinking “Triple-D (nobody calls me that), how is dealing with marital flatulence worse than the other things.” Well, for starters, particularly nasty emanations can lead to arguments over subjects like “why do you keep feeding me chili” or “why do we keep ordering Indian food” and the like. But mostly, even though the rectal trumpetings caused by digestion may seem small compared to other things that married couples must learn to compromise over, what they lack in magnitude they make up for in volume. Because most of us break the wind, with our obnoxious putrescence ten or twenty times a day. Your dearest soulmate is going to be assaulted with the stench of the dead (literal dead things that you ate and digested, after all) on a regular basis.

And eating healthy doesn’t necessarily help, although there are certain ways to avoid it.  Alcohol, for example, can make one farty and it’s good to avoid that anyway.  But if you’re trying to obtain all of the necessary vitamins and minerals one needs to live a good life, this may require you to eat a few things that make your body’s exhaust fumes potentially violate the Geneva conventions with the horrid, trench-clearing, airborne toxins you produce.

This is chiefly because one thing I discovered is a good addition to my diet is the usual suspect in the production of gaseous bodily waste.  And that is…beans.  You know the old poem: 

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot,

The more you toot, the better you feel

So let’s have beans for every meal!

Or maybe you don’t know it.  Maybe you’re thinking that it’s just Boomer nonsense (it is) or maybe you’re struggling with the idea that beans are fruit.  They kind of are, by the way, although biology nerds still get into fights over whether or not that’s true. Or, maybe you’re a little unconvinced that tooting makes you feel better.  Which varies depending on circumstances.  Sometimes I do feel like my clothes fit better after a particularly satisfying rip, although I don’t always feel great if it happens in public.  But I have discovered that beans are healthy.  As is the vegetable so closely related they might as well be kissing cousins: peas.

Beans and peas were the vegetable mom made you eat that you didn’t hate her for.  Not completely anyway.  Leafy greens made you wish terrible things on your mother, like boils or leprosy or yeast infections.  And okra made you wish your mother would be immediately cast down into Gehenna.  But beans and peas were merely mild irritants.

Some of us never get into the habit of eating the green stuff.  You should, by the way.  But if you have that variant of the Peter Pan complex that won’t let you eat the grown up vegetables, there are many options from the bean family that won’t make you feel like you’re engaged in excessive “adulting”.  Which, for anyone that doesn’t know, is one of those words millennials and zoomers invented by turning a noun into a verb just to be annoying.  

So let’s start with the classic, normie bean, the green snap bean. The thing that is very edible and quite healthy, unless a Baptist puts it in a casserole, in which case it’s been doused in bacon and fat and grease. And for all of the Keto bros who just got aroused by that description of the lard soaked Baptist green bean casserole, take a cold shower. Fattening up the vegetables defeats the purpose.

A cup of green beans is very easy to add to any meal, at a mere 45 calories per cup.  Sadly, though, the normie bean is a little bit lighter on nutrition than many others.  A cupful will have a little bit of every micronutrient.  Well, except for the vitamin requiring animal sacrifice, Japanese Nori, or cheating.  And by cheating I mean supplements.  I’m talking about vitamin B12, of course.  Green beans do have a healthy dose of vitamin A and lots of vitamin K, which exists in all things green.  But it only has small portions of everything else.

The normie pea, green peas, are better for you. A single cup of this has 120 calories, which is more, but still not bad. It also has a chunk of vitamin K and various B vitamins, a healthy dose of vitamin A, two thirds of the vitamin C I’ll need in any day, and a big chunk of copper, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. So it’s much better. Just don’t have it in split pea soup form. It’s gross. I mean it doesn’t taste bad, but it looks like a bowlful of what is either swamp water or really bad diarrhea from someone with a terminal illness.

There was another pea that Mom fed me when I was younger that not only didn’t make me want her immediately condemned to everlasting darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that I actually liked.  Even with the small boy’s palate, which only likes hot dogs and macaroni.  I’m talking about that side dish that frequently blesses a plate full of barbecue or fried things (which really aren’t healthy), the black-eyed pea.  A cupful of these has 200 calories.  So, more fattening than ordinary peas, but they’re more nutritious. They provide 90% of my daily folate needs, half of my copper and iron requirements, a big helping of my manganese and phosphorus needs, and a fair amount of magnesium and zinc.

And that’s not the only bean one sees regularly at a barbecue. Butter beans (also known as “lima beans” by heathens and apostates) are also a common side dish. Which I always found surprisingly good, even as a little boy. A cupful of these will give me a big portion of vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements, and roughly half of the iron RDA. And it’s yet another bean I could eat without wanting my mother thrown into the outer reaches of Tartarus.

Then there’s that white colored bean that is so good for you (and easy to store on long voyages) that it served as rations (since the early 1800s) for scurvy scalawags of the Murrican variety.  I’m talking about Navy beans.  That’s literally where the name comes from, the Navy used to eat them.  And it probably kept them healthy in the early 1800s while fighting Barbary pirates and such.  A cup has a mere 140 calories, and lots of folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.  

On the other hand, maybe they’re not so great.  Sailors tend to be awfully bellicose when they come ashore, so maybe eating too many of these gave them anger issues.  Or maybe it produced so many farts in the tight spaces of those old wooden frigates that the smell never went away.  A six-month voyage would be so unbearable that the sea dogs would obviously feel the urge to punish the landlubbers in bar fights the next time they entered a port.

Anyway, back to beans. Specifically, the bean most commonly used in that food best known for its tendency to make us break the wind regularly, chili. That bean that’s named for a thing you should not eat (because offal is awful), the kidney bean. Somebody in the marketing department needs to come up with a new name. I know they look like kidneys, but doesn’t naming a food after the organ primarily responsible for producing urine affect sales? Anyway, a cup of these has 220 calories, lots of copper, a decent amount of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and reasonable portions of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc.

I should also mention the bean that frequently adorns the plates of Floridian Cubans, black beans.  I noted recently that Cuban food is generally good for you, and black beans are part of the reason.  A cup has about 230 calories, most of your folate requirements, and a healthy amount of thiamine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium zinc, copper, and iron.

Another bean I was introduced to after marriage, when my wife forced me to go to overly yuppie, bourgeois, fancy schmancy places, is edamame.  These look like green beans but can’t be eaten like green beans.  Because the pod in which the pea-like things are sheathed in is only slightly less resilient than Kevlar.  Attempting to chew these could dislocate jaws or teeth.  Instead, one must squeeze the little things out and eat them.  As with most overly pretentious meals (like oysters and lobsters) one must, for some reason, actually engage in the last steps of food processing before eating them.  

But they’re still pretty good for you, in spite of the extra effort involved.  And in spite of the fact that eating them makes you the type of high falutin’ snob who wears tuxedos to backyard barbecues.  But if you’re willing to tolerate being pretentious, a cup of these beans has lots of omega 3 fatty acids (35% of your daily requirements), every bit of folate you need in a day, a huge portion of copper and iron, and decent portions of phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.  And only 190 calories.

Another good bean is the garbanzo bean, as they’re known in the western hemisphere. Or chickpeas, as they’re known to people in the eastern hemisphere or to people in the western hemisphere who like hummus, wear plaid shirts, and don’t like shaving or bathing. These beans have 270 calories per cup and are rich in folate, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

But these are just beans that people eat in their natural state.  What about beans that people prepare in epic fashion to make them edible by even the most picky youngsters?  Such as baked beans, an American classic.  Which probably contributed to our obesity epidemic, since they’re really just beans with molasses.  They have a whopping 400 calories per cup.  This is a lot even for a side dish.  And going for sides that are too heavy can make you fat.  It is fairly nutritious, though, with decent portions of thiamine and folate and…well just about all of the minerals, really.

But let’s not forget that the primary subject of this post is farts.  So let’s visit the greatest fart perpetrator, the import from Mexico known as refried beans.  The fartiest burrito and empanada ingredient ever.  The low yield version of Montezuma’s Revenge.  A cup of these has 500 calories, which probably explains why you see so many fat people in Mexican restaurants.  It also has 40% of your omega-3 requirements and lots of iron, manganese, vitamin b6, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and magnesium.

So the moral of this story is that beans are generally a way to get a large dose of the vitamins and minerals (especially minerals) that most people come up short on, and frequently (excepting those last two) without adding too much to the waistline.  So eat these whenever you can.  And if your wife or husband complains about the farts, remind them that they are now less likely to get cancer, heart disease, or any number of other things.  


The More You Toot, The Better You Feel

Nearly eight years ago, I began an arduous, difficult, and life changing journey filled with struggle and suffering, but also great joy and rewards. No, I’m not talking about my “Weight Loss Journey” (an annoying phrase that I hate with a passion, but seem to repeat constantly because of masochism), I’m talking about marriage. And I don’t normally give marriage advice in this blog, but I figured I would share what is by far the greatest adjustment required post-matrimony. It’s not dividing up the household chores. It’s not learning how to not hog the sheets. It’s not how to resolve the occasional marital spat. Nor is it convincing your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement. It is…getting comfortable farting in each other’s presence.

You may be thinking “Triple-D (nobody calls me that), how is dealing with marital flatulence worse than the other things.” Well, for starters, particularly nasty emanations can lead to arguments over subjects like “why do you keep feeding me chili” or “why do we keep ordering Indian food” and the like. But mostly, even though the rectal trumpetings caused by digestion may seem small compared to other things that married couples must learn to compromise over, what they lack in magnitude they make up for in volume. Because most of us break the wind, with our obnoxious putrescence ten or twenty times a day. Your dearest soulmate is going to be assaulted with the stench of the dead (literal dead things that you ate and digested, after all) on a regular basis.

And eating healthy doesn’t necessarily help, although there are certain ways to avoid it. Alcohol, for example, can make one farty and it’s good to avoid that anyway. But if you’re trying to obtain all of the necessary vitamins and minerals one needs to live a good life, this may require you to eat a few things that make your body’s exhaust fumes potentially violate the Geneva conventions with the horrid, trench-clearing, airborne toxins you produce.

This is chiefly because one thing I discovered is a good addition to my diet is the usual suspect in the production of gaseous bodily waste. And that is…beans. You know the old poem:

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot,

The more you toot, the better you feel

So let’s have beans for every meal!

Or maybe you don’t know it. Maybe you’re thinking that it’s just Boomer nonsense (it is) or maybe you’re struggling with the idea that beans are fruit. They kind of are, by the way, although biology nerds still get into fights over whether or not that’s true. Or, maybe you’re a little unconvinced that tooting makes you feel better. Which varies depending on circumstances. Sometimes I do feel like my clothes fit better after a particularly satisfying rip, although I don’t always feel great if it happens in public. But I have discovered that beans are healthy. As is the vegetable so closely related they might as well be kissing cousins: peas.

Beans and peas were the vegetable mom made you eat that you didn’t hate her for. Not completely anyway. Leafy greens made you wish terrible things on your mother, like boils or leprosy or yeast infections. And okra made you wish your mother would be immediately cast down into Gehenna. But beans and peas were merely mild irritants.

Some of us never get into the habit of eating the green stuff. You should, by the way. But if you have that variant of the Peter Pan complex that won’t let you eat the grown up vegetables, there are many options from the bean family that won’t make you feel like you’re engaged in excessive “adulting”. Which, for anyone that doesn’t know, is one of those words millennials and zoomers invented by turning a noun into a verb just to be annoying.

So let’s start with the classic, normie bean, the green snap bean. The thing that is very edible and quite healthy, unless a Baptist puts it in a casserole, in which case it’s been doused in bacon and fat and grease. And for all of the Keto bros who just got aroused by that description of the lard soaked Baptist green bean casserole, take a cold shower. Fattening up the vegetables defeats the purpose.

A cup of green beans is very easy to add to any meal, at a mere 45 calories per cup. Sadly, though, the normie bean is a little bit lighter on nutrition than many others. A cupful will have a little bit of every micronutrient. Well, except for the vitamin requiring animal sacrifice, Japanese Nori, or cheating. And by cheating I mean supplements. I’m talking about vitamin B12, of course. Green beans do have a healthy dose of vitamin A and lots of vitamin K, which exists in all things green. But it only has small portions of everything else.

The normie pea, green peas, are better for you. A single cup of this has 120 calories, which is more, but still not bad. It also has a chunk of vitamin K and various B vitamins, a healthy dose of vitamin A, two thirds of the vitamin C I’ll need in any day, and a big chunk of copper, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. So it’s much better. Just don’t have it in split pea soup form. It’s gross. I mean it doesn’t taste bad, but it looks like a bowlful of what is either swamp water or really bad diarrhea from someone with a terminal illness.

There was another pea that Mom fed me when I was younger that not only didn’t make me want her immediately condemned to everlasting darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that I actually liked. Even with the small boy’s palate, which only likes hot dogs and macaroni. I’m talking about that side dish that frequently blesses a plate full of barbecue or fried things (which really aren’t healthy), the black-eyed pea. A cupful of these has 200 calories. So, more fattening than ordinary peas, but they’re more nutritious. They provide 90% of my daily folate needs, half of my copper and iron requirements, a big helping of my manganese and phosphorus needs, and a fair amount of magnesium and zinc.

And that’s not the only bean one sees regularly at a barbecue. Butter beans (also known as “lima beans” by heathens and apostates) are also a common side dish. Which I always found surprisingly good, even as a little boy. A cupful of these will give me a big portion of vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements, and roughly half of the iron RDA. And it’s yet another bean I could eat without wanting my mother thrown into the outer reaches of Tartarus.

Then there’s that white colored bean that is so good for you (and easy to store on long voyages) that it served as rations (since the early 1800s) for scurvy scalawags of the Murrican variety. I’m talking about Navy beans. That’s literally where the name comes from, the Navy used to eat them. And it probably kept them healthy in the early 1800s while fighting Barbary pirates and such. A cup has a mere 140 calories, and lots of folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.

On the other hand, maybe they’re not so great. Sailors tend to be awfully bellicose when they come ashore, so maybe eating too many of these gave them anger issues. Or maybe it produced so many farts in the tight spaces of those old wooden frigates that the smell never went away. A six-month voyage would be so unbearable that the sea dogs would obviously feel the urge to punish the landlubbers in bar fights the next time they entered a port.

Anyway, back to beans. Specifically, the bean most commonly used in that food best known for its tendency to make us break the wind regularly, chili. That bean that’s named for a thing you should not eat (because offal is awful), the kidney bean. Somebody in the marketing department needs to come up with a new name. I know they look like kidneys, but doesn’t naming a food after the organ primarily responsible for producing urine affect sales? Anyway, a cup of these has 220 calories, lots of copper, a decent amount of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and reasonable portions of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc.

I should also mention the bean that frequently adorns the plates of Floridian Cubans, black beans. I noted recently that Cuban food is generally good for you, and black beans are part of the reason. A cup has about 230 calories, most of your folate requirements, and a healthy amount of thiamine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium zinc, copper, and iron.

Another bean I was introduced to after marriage, when my wife forced me to go to overly yuppie, bourgeois, fancy schmancy places, is edamame. These look like green beans but can’t be eaten like green beans. Because the pod in which the pea-like things are sheathed in is only slightly less resilient than Kevlar. Attempting to chew these could dislocate jaws or teeth. Instead, one must squeeze the little things out and eat them. As with most overly pretentious meals (like oysters and lobsters) one must, for some reason, actually engage in the last steps of food processing before eating them.

But they’re still pretty good for you, in spite of the extra effort involved. And in spite of the fact that eating them makes you the type of high falutin’ snob who wears tuxedos to backyard barbecues. But if you’re willing to tolerate being pretentious, a cup of these beans has lots of omega 3 fatty acids (35% of your daily requirements), every bit of folate you need in a day, a huge portion of copper and iron, and decent portions of phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. And only 190 calories.

Another good bean is the garbanzo bean, as they’re known in the western hemisphere. Or chickpeas, as they’re known to people in the eastern hemisphere or to people in the western hemisphere who like hummus, wear plaid shirts, and don’t like shaving or bathing. These beans have 270 calories per cup and are rich in folate, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

But these are just beans that people eat in their natural state. What about beans that people prepare in epic fashion to make them edible by even the most picky youngsters? Such as baked beans, an American classic. Which probably contributed to our obesity epidemic, since they’re really just beans with molasses. They have a whopping 400 calories per cup. This is a lot even for a side dish. And going for sides that are too heavy can make you fat. It is fairly nutritious, though, with decent portions of thiamine and folate and…well just about all of the minerals, really.

But let’s not forget that the primary subject of this post is farts. So let’s visit the greatest fart perpetrator, the import from Mexico known as refried beans. The fartiest burrito and empanada ingredient ever. The low yield version of Montezuma’s Revenge. A cup of these has 500 calories, which probably explains why you see so many fat people in Mexican restaurants. It also has 40% of your omega-3 requirements and lots of iron, manganese, vitamin b6, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and magnesium.

So the moral of this story is that beans are generally a way to get a large dose of the vitamins and minerals (especially minerals) that most people come up short on, and frequently (excepting those last two) without adding too much to the waistline. So eat these whenever you can. And if your wife or husband complains about the farts, remind them that they are now less likely to get cancer, heart disease, or any number of other things.

Tooting doesn’t make you feel better (ok, it kind of does) but eating the things that make you toot does make you healthier. And less likely to die, which I guess is just a macabre way of saying the same thing. Anyway, this is why Mom should not be damned to the lowest circles of Hell for making you eat them as a kid. She was actually making you live longer. And she should probably be beatified for putting up with your bratty ass. And she also tolerated your malodorous farts. Probably because she knew she created them with her cooking.


Exercise #16 – Work Hard, Not Smart

Recently, I commented on how I’ve lost a little ground in my “Weight Loss Journey.” And yes, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. That insufferable, trendy phrase probably emerged from the irritating part of the Internet where people look way happier than they are in real life (Instagram), or that part that is inhabited by a rabid pack of keyboard jackals constantly looking for someone to tear to shreds (Twitter), or the part where faceless tech geeks are diligently collecting your personal data for use by an increasingly encroaching authoritarian government (TikTok). But that’s beside the point. The point is that it makes me nauseous.

Actually, most of that paragraph was beside the point.  I recently gained ten pounds back and am trying to get back to losing weight again.  I’ve already figured out how to get the food under control, which is mostly to avoid the beer, dessert, and fried things I’ve been getting for free at post-pandemic celebrations.  And also, to stop fudging my Cronometer entries.  But there are also some simple ways to bring the exercise numbers up.

One thing I mentioned in the last post is that I have taken to commuting to work by bike again.  This is a good way to fit exercise into my schedule, and I tend to burn 600 to 800 calories a day this way.  But I was thinking of ways to increase the burn.  I mean I could go faster and really get my heart rate up, but then I’d be a sweaty mess at work.  Nobody would come near me.  Actually, that might not be a bad thing.  Misanthropy is a common reason people become accountants, so being left alone sounds pretty good actually.

But then another solution presented itself.  I’ve noticed that a lot of the people I see riding their bikes are pedaling a lot faster, but not going much faster.  So, obviously they’re in a lower gear.  Meaning they have to pedal more times to go the same distance.  More work to go the same distance equals more calories worked off.

I realized why this hadn’t occurred to me before.  I was brought up with the principle of “work smart, not hard”.  Meaning we should endeavor to do things in the most efficient manner possible.  It’s good for my career.  Efficiency means we get things done quickly and make money.  Accountants are known as efficiency experts.  It’s why we get chicks.  Except that it’s not.  We don’t get chicks.  At least not that many.  I mean I’m married, but I wasn’t exactly Casanova when I was single.

But it also occurred to me that “work smart, not hard” isn’t the best principle when exercising.  By selecting a higher gear, I get less exercise traveling to work.  Weight loss is actually about being inefficient.  You want to move around a lot and eat whole foods that are harder for your body to digest and result in fewer net calories absorbed.  You want to eat lots of relatively low calorie, nutrient dense stuff.  The efficient way would be the opposite.  So I’ve been thinking of ways to add inefficiency into my exercise routines.

Biking isn’t the only thing I could do more inefficiently.  I occasionally go jogging too.  And I’ve noticed that when I’ve gone jogging in the mountains on uneven terrain, it’s a lot more work than a track or a sidewalk.  Of course, we don’t have mountains in Florida, so it’s not really an option unless I’m on vacation.  But we do have beaches.  And jogging over sand is a lot of work.  Although I might want to avoid getting a margarita or twelve at the tiki bar once I’m done.

I also mentioned recently that I’ve taken up weight liftingTwice, actually.  But there is a temptation to rush through a weight routine.  But I get more exercise if I go slow, and make sure each lift or push up or sit up is complete.  When I rush, there’s a tendency to only do half of a push up, or lift, or sit up.  This means the actual work being done is less than I think it is.

If I do give in to the impulse to go to a bar or the corner store to get beer or other libations, I can get into the habit of walking.  This may add thirty minutes to an hour to my trip, but it works off a good 100 to 150 calories.  And reduces the chance of a DUI to zero.  Although it may increase the chance of a mugging.  Wild Florida men may occasionally lie in wait near the bar.  Although fighting is decent exercise too. And weight loss is not uncommon when recovering from severe injuries in a hospital.  That might be a bit too inefficient though.

I mentioned in one of my first blog posts that just working in the yard is a good way to get in shape while also doing something productive.  So to increase inefficiency, maybe I’ll pull only one or two weeds at a time.  Besides, rushing when pulling weeds and grabbing a handful means you miss a few, but taking it slow means you can get every last one.  Similarly rushing when raking means you miss leaves.  And when I mow the lawn, I really should not just mow, but also take time to edge, then trim.  This takes longer, but takes more off of the waist.  Taking the time to do it right produces better results for my health and my yard.

House repairs are another way to get a little physical, yet practical, activity. And as hurricane season looms, it is inevitable that I’ll have to repair the fence when sections blow down. My current approach to this is to not repair the fence until my wife yells at me to do it. And then do a sloppy job, because I’m in a hurry to get done and would rather not spend time on irritating chores. But this is not good for weight loss. Or marriage happiness. If I take more time and get it looking right, I’ll burn more fat, and she’ll yell less.

The same rules apply to inside work.  If I’m sweeping and mopping, I should take the time to get every nook and cranny.  And I avoid using the robot.  That’s cheating.  Besides it’s probably just monitoring me and communicating information about me through Siri which will be organized into a massive database on human behavior and then implanted into a human/robot brain interface made by the Tesla guy, producing cybernetic organisms (cyborgs) which may or may not look like Arnold Schwarzeneggar (hopefully the younger version) and ultimately terminate the human race.  Best not to use it and do the work myself.  This produces better physical health and better cleaning results (and therefore, less wife yelling), and also prevents human extinction.  Good results all around.

Another thing I can do is go on a neolithic vacation.  Camping is efficient financially (it’s super cheap, which always appeals to accountants) but very inefficient in terms of work.  You have to cook all of your food, build a fire, set up tents, and various other hunter gatherer activities that most humans spurn.  So when I take a couple weeks off, I’ll do that. The wife likes camping. She won’t yell.

There is a common thread here with all of the exercise I’ve been getting.  I still, like many people, tend to think of exercise as a chore, and try to hurry through it with the least effort possible.  So I need to get into the habit of not thinking of it as merely a chore.  Even when it is, like lawn mowing.  If I think of it as an opportunity to maximize calorie burn by taking the time to do it right, I’ll lose a lot more.  As well as prevent wife yelling and the end of humanity at the hands of artificial intelligence.

Bad Habits #14 – Return of The Jelly (Belly)

So I’ve noticed that I put a little weight back on recently.  I can feel the jealous people at the office giving me gloating glances when my back is turned.  I know they snicker that my miraculous weight loss, which made all of them feel inadequate, is apparently reversing.  Or at least I would if I was a paranoid lunatic.  Or cared what they thought.  But I have noticed that some of my old clothes that no longer fit (because they were too big) still don’t fit.  But they don’t fit slightly less than they used to not fit.  Which is an overly convoluted way of saying I’m seeing a little pudge poke out where it wasn’t a few months ago.

The fact is, it’s inevitable that a weight loss journey (a trendy Internet phrase that makes me throw up in my mouth) involves hitting certain plateaus, and possibly a few setbacks.  When the market reverses, the stuffed shirts on Wall Street call it a “market correction”.  Which is frequently a euphemism for your Mi-Maw and Pi-Paw losing their entire life savings and having to borrow money from you or eat dog food to survive.  And diets can have a “correction” like that too.  And if it goes off of the rails, you can blow up to absurd, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man levels of morbid obesity that exceed what you lost.

I’ve had a series of unfortunate events that contributed to this.  I put on a little at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now, I’ve noted before that it’s okay to misbehave for the holidays.  And there are ways to stay healthy over the holidays.  But if you over-celebrate a bit over the holidays, you have to get back to the regimen shortly after.  And I did, but perhaps not quite so much as I should have.

Another thing that contributed to my not jumping back into the regimen was the end of the restrictions bestowed on us by the Powers That Be due to the Creeping Apocalyptic Scourge of Wuhan That May Or May Not Have Come From A Bat Or A Lab.  Or A Pangolin.  So we’re having a lot more parties.  Which means a lot more beer and bourbon.  And alcohol is really not great for the diet.  So my celebration of the end of the End of Days has probably contributed to a little extra flab.

Another part of it is that people in my line of work (public accounting) spend this part of the year performing masochistic self-flagellatory acts for money.  Such as filling out IRS forms or helping clients comply with SEC regulations or any number of other soul-sucking deeds.  This translates into ten to twelve hours a day parked behind a desk.  Finding time for a workout can be challenging during this time of year.  Although I’ve still tried to ride my bike to work, which is a good way to offset the wrong kind of gains.  Fat gains, I mean.

But there are forces arrayed against me.  It doesn’t help that we tend to get a lot of gifts this time of year.  Although, well intentioned, these care packages too often consist of mounds of cake, donuts, and chocolates.  And these sorts of desserts aren’t good for me.  And then there are the snacks on the snack shelf in the office, which also don’t help.  

These are not excuses, though.  Nobody forces me to eat these things.  I’ve blogged before about how I lost weight over the Time of Worldwide Pandemic and Toilet Paper Shortage.  Actually, it was Uncle Sam, but whatev.  So even though most Americans gained weight during that time, they don’t really have an excuse.  And I certainly don’t have an excuse now that it’s (mostly) over.  The point here is that it’s easy to start letting things slide.  I did, for a bit, and now I need to stop.

Too many opportunities for sin presented themselves at once, and I indulged in a few too many.  It’s easy to say “just this once” when someone offers beer, dessert, or something else excessive and sinful.  You can tell yourself that you’ll get back into the habit, and maybe you will.  But to really be successful, the cheating should be once every week or two, not several times a week.  That’s what happened recently.  Too many good things happened as life got back to normal, so I partied a bit, had a few extra ribs at the barbecue, and went out to eat a little more often.

I also caught myself trying to cheat on the app I track my calories on.  This doesn’t help.  I can pretend that I ate 6 ounces of lasagna when I had 10, but the gut doesn’t lie.  It’s just like cooking the books in my normal profession.  Not that I’d ever do that.  I’m an auditor.  It’s my job to make sure people don’t do that.  The point is that cooking the calorie counting books, like financial books, eventually catches up with you.

This resurgence of bad habits is what really causes the “correction”.  I’ve been getting a little too comfortable and taking too many liberties.  I’ve been telling myself that now that I’ve made huge progress (over sixty pounds worth), I can relax a little.  And I relaxed a bit too much and this started to add up after a while.

Now this isn’t a disaster.  I’ve maybe put ten pounds back on.  So I’m still down over fifty pounds.  But this is probably how most diets fail.  I’ve lost discipline, and need to get it back.  Fortunately, it’s not that hard.  Losing weight doesn’t require the discipline of a monk.  Most Americans probably only need a slight correction.  So that’s what I need to do.  Take a breath and get back on track.

This sort of backslide happens eventually. It will happen to everyone. But now that I’ve identified it, I need to stop fooling around and get back to it. I think we tell ourselves that we can live a little. And we can. The whole point of this blog was to try to find and share ways to lose weight that don’t require me to give up everything I love. But I’m living a little too much. And by living, I mean cheating. And occasional cheating is fun, but too much actually makes me feel like a bum. It’s more satisfying in the long run to just be healthy. So I’ve had enough fun for now. Time to go back to behaving. Well, maybe after St. Patrick’s Day season is over. Yes, it’s a whole season where I’m from. And it’s a season made for bourbon and beer.

Good Habits #15 – Cubans Are Healthy, Especially When Libred

Ever since I found my way down to the state once known as the craziest (and now the freest) state in the nation (Florida), I’ve been exposed to a type of food that is ubiquitous in Florida, but not so common in my native Georgia.  A type of food that Desi Arnaz might have stolen Lucille Ball’s heart with.  The type of food Scarface learned to cook from his grandmother.  I’m talking about Cuban food.

When hordes of Cuban refugees escaped the overly militant bearded guys back in the 50s, they brought their cuisine with them and blessed South Florida with it.  And I’ve discovered to my great pleasure and joy that this food, in addition to being a cornucopia of flavors, is also quite good for you.

And this is supported by the stats.  Cuba, like virtually every country in the modern world, has a fair number of obese people, but their obesity rate is 25% or so, which is not bad compared to most developed countries.  Cuban Americans have a slightly higher obesity rate, but that’s because they’re less likely to go hungry than native Cubans.  Lack of political oppression does that.  America’s problem is the literal opposite of hunger, as I’ve noted before.  

Still, Cuban Americans do better than most Americans.  Their obesity rate is about 30%, which is not great, but good for America, I guess.  And I imagine it might have something to do with the cuisine.  Although many of them might have also gained good exercise habits by swimming/rafting from Havana to the Keys.

But there is one myth that we must dispel first.  Some people (particularly from across the pond) have remarked that Cuban food is really just a knock off of Spanish food.  This is heresy.  Say this in Tampa and you’ll be transported to MacDill Air Force base where you’ll be declared a terrorist and CentCom will transfer you to a black site.  Or maybe just Guantanamo.  Say this in Miami and you’ll be found beaten unconscious in a back alley in Little Havana.  And if you say this in actual Havana they’ll probably take you to La Cabana to be shot.  

Cuban food isn’t just Spanish food.  It includes Spanish foods, certainly.  But it also has a fair number of Caribbean and African ingredients and spices, in addition to the Spanish stuff.  You’ll find things like plantains and yucca and habanero pepper (which comes from Cuba) in these dishes.  

In my early days in public accounting, before the endless sheets full of arcane numbers sucked the joy out of my soul and chained me to my desk for the entire day, I would often head to one of many local Cuban restaurants in the Tampa Bay area, and was exposed to many of their classic dishes.  So I’ve done the nutrition research on a few of my favorites.

So let’s start with the basics.  People familiar with Cuban food often first think of black beans and rice.  It’s as closely associated with Cubans as pasta is with Italians, or potatoes are with Irish, or god awful organ meat concoctions are with my Scottish ancestors.  Remember, offal is awful, particularly haggis.  

Many Cuban meals come with black beans and rice as a side.  And it’s relatively light, for a side dish.  A cup of black rice and beans has 220 calories, which is not bad.  It also has a decent chunk of vitamins B1 and K, as well as healthy doses of selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron manganese, copper, and phosphorus.  This dish traditionally comes in the form of yellow rice and black beans.  Although it can come in the form of…Moors and Christians.  Which is white rice and black beans.  Which seems…totally racist.  Unless it’s a metaphor for interracial marriage, in which case it’s totally woke.

But this isn’t a full meal, unless you’re someone who signals their moral superiority by suffering from anemia and a B12 deficiency.  That is to say, a vegan.  But for the ravening meat-eating masses that comprise most of the human race, the main course must involve dead lesser animals.  So, what do Cubans have to offer in that regard?

Well, let’s start with one of the few things that I can actually cook, which also happens to be a national dish of Cuba.  Ropa Vieja, which is a stew made from shredded beef and tomatoes.  And literally means “old clothes” in Spanish.  Because I guess they think that makes it sound appetizing in Cuba.  I mean, I know they went all in with the communism thing a while back, but they really could use some proper capitalist marketing skill when it comes to naming dishes.  Of course, I am descended from people who thought sheep’s stomach was worth eating and giving it a name like “haggis” would make it sound less gross.  On the other hand, “Big Mac” totally sounds better than “Old Clothes”.  So when it comes to good marketing, ‘Merica still owns.

But I guess I’m getting a bit far afield.  The Old Clothes are actually quite tasty and healthy.  They have 220 calories per cup, which really isn’t bad for a main course.  This much worn outerwear will also have more than half of your daily vitamin B12 and A requirements, about 40% of your iron and zinc RDA, and healthy doses of Niacin, B6, Phosphorus and vitamin C.  It’s all around good, even if the name sounds gross.

Another Cuban staple is yellow rice and chicken.  I know that seems bland.  It’s probably something that shows up on Cuban kid’s menus.  But remember, they spice things.  And Caribbean spices can have a serious bite, so it’s not as bland as it sounds.  And it’s certainly good for you.  A cup has 260 calories and healthy amounts of various B vitamins, manganese, iron, selenium, phosphorus and copper, and zinc.  

And there is a more awesome form of this, even though it has a “settler colonial” name that might cause an overly sensitive college kid to develop so much anxiety that social media would be relaxing by comparison.  I’m talking about Rice Imperial.  It’s rice and chicken, except with a wide variety of additional ingredients that could include banana, mayonnaise and hot peppers.  So in addition to the benefits of yellow rice and chicken, you also get the benefits (and costs) of fruits, sauces, and hot things.  Of course if it’s too extravagant, the meal might not be so healthy.  It may explain the 25-30% of Cubans and Cuban-Americans who are obese.

And then there’s that staple dish of the Spanish diet that Cubans put their own spin on.  And will still probably shoot you for it if you claim it’s “just Spanish”.  That famous rice dish that my father, in a deliberate attempt to annoy the waiter at the local Cuban restaurant, called “Payola”.  I’m talking about paella.  Leave it to Dad to substitute a slang term meaning “bribery” for a national dish.  He’s been a troll since before the Internet.

Paella can come in many varieties, but my favorite Cuban type is Paella de Mariscos, which is loaded with seafood.  The Cuban version of this is loaded down with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, lobsters, white fish chunks, and any number of other mercilessly slain denizens of the deep.  Often doused in lime juice and various herbs and spices (some of which can have a bit of a bite), it’s basically Cuban jambalaya.  

But noticeably healthier than it’s Cajun equivalent.  I’ve noted before that Cajun food, although great, is not that great for you.  One cup of this type of paella has 350 calories and a healthy dose of B vitamins, vitamin A, C (because of the lime juice), and E as well as a big portion of zinc, iron, selenium, copper, and manganese.  Two cups is a full meal, so double these if you eat like a normal person.  And you’ll find that one meal gives you almost all of the micronutrients you need in a day.

Another thing Cubans are known for is their tamales.  And I know you’re thinking “Hey, Triple D (nobody calls me that), aren’t those also Mexican?”.  To which I say, shut up.  They’re totally different.  Cuban tamales have more Caribbean ingredients and fewer fart producing ingredients.  They’re wrapped in corn husks, not dough made from corn meal as the Mexican types typically have.  Drawing an equivalency between Cuban Tamales and Mexican Tamales is another thing that might get you sent to Guantanamo or beaten up in Little Havana or shot in La Cabana.  

Anyway, Cuban tamales are a full meal.  One six-inch has 600 calories, more than half of the vitamin B12 I’ll need in a day, and a good chunk of vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc.  It’s a pretty good thing to eat for lunch, if I don’t want a sandwich.  Although sandwiches can be quite healthy, as I’ve discussed before.  

So there are plenty of good choices for the main course.  And if you don’t want rice and beans on the side, there are other options for side dishes.  One is fried plantains.  For uncultured, non-Florida barbarians who don’t know what plantains are, they’re those weird green things at the store that look like under ripe bananas.  And their nutrition is similar to bananas, with 120 calories each, and a little bit of everything nutrition-wise, especially vitamin A, C, and B6.  

And if you want something a little more sweet and dessert-like, tostones are a decent side or snack.  These are really just fried plantain pancakes.  And they’re sweet enough on their own that there’s little need to add sugar or anything else that might cause a Keto-bro to faint.  This means you’ll be getting the nutrition of a plantain (and including a decent chunk of Omega-3, because it’s fried), without too many extra calories.  They’re noticeably healthier than actual pancakes.  

Another plant that Cubans like frying is yucca, a potato-like root plant.  And as ‘Mericans do with potatoes, Cubans like to slice and fry their Yucca.  Yucca fries are reasonably healthy, with a smattering of various nutrients, including a decent chunk of vitamin C.  They have fifty percent more calories than french fries, though, at 290 calories per cup.  Even in Cuba, big sides can give you big sides, I guess.

Then there’s the greatest import from Cuba to the United States, apart from Desi Arnaz.  Cuban sandwiches.  These are a common lunch meal in Florida, and also the most common cause of fistfights between residents of Tampa Bay and Miami, who always like to insist that theirs is the true Cuban sandwich.  These beauties are made from half of a sub roll (or bread to that effect), loaded with pork, ham, pickles, and a decent dose of mustard.  And then pressed so flat it looks like it was crushed beneath Fidel Castro’s boot.  But pressing them into submission combines and seals in flavors, making them ten times more awesome.

Cuban sandwiches have 665 calories in each 6 inch sandwich, a huge chunk (nearly a full day’s supply) of several B vitamins, as well as healthy doses of iron, calcium, copper, and manganese.  You should not come to South Florida without having one.  It’s more important than meeting Mickey Mouse or visiting the Everglades.

So Cuban food (for the most part) can be really healthy and very tasty.  But that’s not the only advantage.  It’s also fairly easy to make.  Particularly the rice and bean-based dishes.  Even someone of my mediocre skill can make it.  And given that it’s fairly low-cal (in sensible portions) and very nutritious, anyone making it can keep the weight off and the micros up.  The prevalence of Cuban food might even explain why my adopted state of Florida has the 9th lowest obesity rate.

So, if you’re a proper foodie and trying to keep the weight off, think about adding some Cuban food into the diet.  Most of the options are very healthy and can easily be worked into a weight loss plan.  Just make sure to do it Florida Cuban style, not actual Cuban style.  Because these days, actual Cuban style involves running out of food and going hungry.  And possibly getting shot at La Cabana.

Exercise #15 – We’re Fat Because They Took Our Jerbs

Ever since I’ve started losing weight, I’ve periodically been looking into what caused Americans to gain so much weight.  Over the past fifty years or so, we’ve, on average, put on something like 40 pounds per person.  Or was it 30?  Or 50?  I forgot.  It’s in that range, and any of those is too much.  And from what I’ve seen, it’s the result of three things: Globalization, Pac-Man, and added fat.

You might be thinking I’m losing it.  You might be saying to yourself “Triple D (nobody calls me that), what madness is this?”.  But I don’t think I’m wrong.  I recently wrote about how we eat maybe about 500 calories per day more than we used to 50 years ago or so, and added fat is a significant portion (maybe 60%) of that.  I’ve also written before about how the introduction of more sedentary habits, like video games (hence, Pac-Man), reduced our physical activity.

But globalization? Am I spewing some loony theory about how obesity is the result of some cadre of global elites holding meetings in the Alps that somehow caused us to become unhealthy? No, don’t be silly. But there was a time where most of the population worked for a living. And by that, I mean physically worked. There were more farm workers, factory workers, and miners, just to name a few jobs that have declined in the past half century. But during that time between the late sixties and early eighties (which is roughly the time when our collective waist started expanding), jobs like these were gradually sent overseas, where the labor was cheaper.

Most people talk about the economic consequences this produced for the working and middle class, but there are also health consequences too. When you work at a muscle labor job, you burn a lot of calories. And when that job gets replaced with a job that involves planting your posterior into a chair for eight hours a day, the amount of movement declines noticeably. So that’s how globalization helped make us fat.

Now, this is not an excuse.  Even someone who spends their entire workday chained to a desk can still find ways to squeeze a workout in.  And even being trapped inside during COVID was not an excuse.  But it surely is easier to stay fit when you have a job that requires a little exertion.

I learned this shortly before I went back to school for an MBA.  I had about three months to kill before the school year started, so I took a temporary job working in a warehouse.  This was eight hours a day of loading and unloading boxes of varying sizes, containing everything from toys to TVs to lawn furniture.  Even an hour of this can burn a lot of calories.  So if I do it for six to eight hours a day, I’m getting more gains than many athletes.

Now, this alone wasn’t enough to prevent obesity.  There were some fat people working in that warehouse.  But that’s mostly because they ate crap.  I remember them eating monstrous portions of stuff like Hamburger Helper on their breaks.  And I’m not saying that Hamburger Helper has to be bad (hamburgers alone can actually be healthy, when done right) but these guys wolfed down so much that they managed to completely eliminate whatever benefits they had from slinging boxes all day.

I didn’t eat like that and noticed that I lost a fair amount of weight, and also gained a certain amount of muscle.  With no need to spend leisure time going to a gym.  But I also saw why so many other Americans didn’t get exercise like this.  Because literally everything I was unloading was coming in from places like Pakistan, India, and China.  All of the old blue collar labor jobs were in Asia, which probably explains the rise in obesity in the western world.

And many manufacturing jobs may seem like light work, but it adds up over eight hours.  A worker who stands on a line and assembles little gizmos, welds parts together, or even picks bad fruit from a conveyor is burning calories.  These kinds of tasks, merely by virtue of being on your feet, burn 100 to 200 calories per hour.  And heavier tasks are even better.  It’s easy to see how this makes it easy to stay fit.

And what about those mining jobs that we’ve been losing? Well, it’s just like a guy who spends his days digging and shoveling. And that burns 200–400 calories per hour. Unless we’re talking about those lazy coal miners who just blow a mountain to bits and come pick up the pieces with bulldozers and backhoes and dump trucks. That doesn’t burn much at all. Even though it does make you less likely to get black lung.

Another manual labor job that’s in decline is forestry.  Which is a problem for a variety of reasons.  Chopping down trees can burn about 400 calories an hour.  And turn you into a strapping, lady killing lumberjack with arms the size of logs.  As long as a tree doesn’t fall on your head, that is.

And farming jobs, another job that can produce strapping lads (they even have their own dating site), is another job that can be on the decline.  Even the most basic gardening tasks burn 100-200 per hour, and some of the more difficult farming tasks burn way more than that.  But importing food from abroad, where labor is cheaper, results in fewer farmers and more fatties.

Of course, it’s not all bad. Not all of the jobs can be sent overseas. One job that’s difficult to send abroad is construction, which burns about 300 calories per hour. And repair work is hard to send overseas too, as is yard and landscaping work. I’ve noted before that doing your own house repairs and lawn work is a good way to keep the weight off. So if you do it for a living, it’s even better.

Another that’s always going to be here is that warehouse job I had. Because building a warehouse in another country would sort of defeat the purpose. It burned about 400 calories per hour. And did make me a bit more buff. So it’s about as good as the lumberjack job. Although telling the ladies you’re a warehouse worker isn’t quite so romantic as telling them you’re a lumberjack. I guess the plaid-shirt-and-epic-beard image of a lumberjack is just a tad sexier to the distaff side of the human race.

But sadly, there’s another way these jobs may disappear.  As the world draws nearer to having deranged billionaires take control and replace us with artificial intelligence and cyborgs, odds are these manual labor tasks will continue to decline as the machines take them.  So we’ll be stuck with non-physical jobs, until the machines launch the inevitable genocidal war to end human existence.

So the jobs that kept us thin are in decline, requiring that we somehow make up for that.  So if you, like me, have a desk job, think about finding ways to squeeze in a little exercise.  Walk up the steps instead of taking the elevator.  Or maybe work something into your commute.  Or just stand up while working.  There are a variety of ways to make a sedentary job…not so sedentary.

Globalization (and automation) may have taken the jobs that helped us keep the weight off.  The few remaining ones may disappear once we’re replaced by robots.  But if you can find a good job that pays the bills and keeps the weight off, do it.  Or at least work some activity into your white-collar job.  Because we need to be in shape.  We’re never going to survive the robot apocalypse if we’re a bunch of fatties.

Love Your Body Like You Love Children. Wait, Not Like That.

One of the more bizarre (and that’s saying something) debates I witness online is over the subject of “body positivity”.  Mostly because body positivity is one of those bizarre phrases that can mean different things to different people and therefore doesn’t really mean anything.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing.  When I was growing up, body positivity was a little different.  For starters we didn’t call it that back then, since that was a time of less Internet and more sanity, which seemed to produce far fewer trendy neologisms.  But whatever it was called, it was all about making sure people, particularly young women, didn’t starve themselves or make themselves throw up in an attempt to have a supermodel’s body.  The message was that not everyone can have a body like that, and they should be happy with the body they have.

I’m on board with the idea of not demanding that all women look like supermodels.  Women who are of average or better than average condition can also be shown in magazines.  Besides, 20-40% of models have an eating disorder, so when even women who can look like models have to hurt themselves, it makes sense to dial it back.   But these days, some people have gone completely the other way, and are celebrating “fat bodies” and even saying that it’s healthy.  

So now they’ve avoided two relatively rare conditions (anorexia and bulimia) that are really bad for you, and replaced it with a far more common condition that is also really bad for you.  I’m pretty sure replacing two bad habits that might kill you with an even worse habit that is very likely to kill you was not what we had in mind back in the day.

Now, I know that the measurement of obesity can be a bit problematic.  The BMI scale is an extremely reductive way of looking at things.  There are probably people in the “overweight” range who are still perfectly healthy.  But people who are in the obese range probably aren’t.  Okay, John Cena, Dwayne Johnson and Terry Crews are technically in the obese range.  They’ll be okay.  Unless they have a roid overdose.  But for non freaks of nature, 30 plus BMI is not healthy.  It’s just not.  

Now I’m sure we’ve all seen those irritating reality shows (redundant, I know) or news interviews of young fat people who insist that their vitals are in the healthy range.  They may be.  When I was younger, I had great test results, even though I still had most of my old bad eating and exercise habits.  But ten years later, even though my habits and weight were about the same (I was merely overweight back then and this was before my post-nuptial weight gain), my various vitals were much worse, earning stern lectures from my doctor.  You may appear healthy when young and overweight, but these bad habits catch up over time.  Hence the term “chronic disease”.

Now before I sound like I’m trashing every bit of the body positivity movement, there is one thing they talk about that I agree with. And that is that “fat shaming” is awful. This is not something decent people should do. Besides, you’re not going to convince someone to lose weight by calling them names from across the street. Or on Twitter or other online cesspools of bad behavior. It doesn’t work. At least for the most part.

Having said that, there is one circumstance where fat shaming does work.  And that’s when it’s someone close to you.  Right around the time I started losing weight I was visiting with my parents and dozed off and started snoring rather obnoxiously.  My dad bellowed (he’s ex-military so he does that a lot) “You’re snoring like a damned animal! You need to lose weight.”.  This actually did motivate me, but he’s my dad not some douche yelling from down the street.  You should never shame a stranger. It’s a waste of time, and probably counterproductive.  And for God’s sake don’t ever make fun of a fat guy in the gym.  The last thing you want to do is chase him off as he’s making his first steps in the right direction.

But there is one thing more insufferable and more nefarious than fat shaming.  And that is “fat acceptance”.  People engaged in “fat acceptance” (a condition we used to call “denial” when I was younger) insist that they are perfectly healthy in their “fat body”.  Or call themselves “larger bodied” or “big boned”.  And they’ll routinely pontificate (frequently in online brain power reduction services like Twitter or TikTok) about how they “Love their fat body.”   

You shouldn’t be happy with being fat any more than they should be happy with high blood pressure or heart disease or diabetes.  Which is definitely what will happen if you don’t get your act together.  I’m not saying don’t “love your body”.  But you should love your body like you love children.  Well, not in a creepy way.  I’m not trying to encourage pederasty.  

For example, I have great love for my niece and nephew.  But that doesn’t mean I accept it when they misbehave.  Which is disturbingly common.  Especially with the nephew.  He’s a bit of a rascal.  I’m highly critical of them when they misbehave, and I (or one of the other adults) will dispense a little discipline when this happens.

For those without children or nieces or nephews, think about the reactions you’d get when you were a kid if you got bad grades.  There was no “F” acceptance or “D” acceptance.  These resulted in groundings, loss of privileges, or hours and hours of manual labor (Colonel Dad liked to make me dig ditches) as punishment.  If your parents were the hardcore “Tiger Mom” types, this might even happen if you got a “B” or “A-“.  But regardless of how strict your parents were, they didn’t do these things because they hated you.  Quite the opposite.

I decided I needed the same sort of healthy criticism for my body two years ago.  And as far as my diet went, I was getting an “F”.  Unless “F” is dead, in which case I was getting a “D”.  I didn’t hate my body, but I knew I needed to be critical of it (and my habits) and have better discipline.  And this healthy self-criticism and self-discipline eventually produced much better results, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.

So it’s fine to love your body. But don’t delude yourself that you’re healthy when you’re not. Don’t just accept your body if you’re unhealthy. Be critical of it and your various bad habits. Subject it to proper discipline. Okay, now that just sounds like S&M. This post has way more kink than I planned. What I mean is have some discipline when eating and force yourself to exercise. Anyway, the point is, lack of discipline and criticism can spoil your body the same way it can spoil kids. So give it the same tough love that parents give children, so you don’t die of a heart attack in your thirties or forties.

Bad Habits #14 – Avoid The New Year’s Fitness Blitzkrieg

There are a few times of year that people put unbelievably insufferable things on their social media feeds.  Okay that’s…every time of year.  But there are a couple of times where the insufferability hits ungodly peaks.  Such as everyone showing how happy they are at Thanksgiving, but clearly omitting the videos of their crazy uncles repeating 4chan conspiracy theories.  Or increasingly unkempt masses of men celebrating their expanding whiskers during “Movember”.  Or the surprising, and frequently shocking, deluge of “Sexy Fill-In-The-Blank” costumes at Halloween.  And of course, endless photos and videos of Spring Break debauchery that will inevitably become someone’s “where it all started” story at an AA meeting.

But few things are more insufferable than people sharing their New Year’s resolutions.  Because it’s demoralizing to see so many people posting things that I know will end up being lies and broken promises.  I’d rather see the people on the Internet set their expectations low so that I won’t be so disappointed. But, given the nature of the average online content, the denizens of the Interwebs would have to set expectations really low in order to avoid disillusioning me further.

Okay, perhaps that’s a bit too “black-pilled” as the young folks say.  But when reviewing resolutions related to the subject of this blog, my pessimism increasingly feels more like realism.  Because many Americans have resolutions about getting in shape.  And given how they’ve been performing in recent years, there’s reason to be skeptical that they’ll actually succeed.  

I know it’s possible, because the first thing I wrote about two and a half years ago was about how it wasn’t that difficult for me to make the change.  And most Americans, although overweight or obese, probably aren’t a complete disaster.  It’s a very achievable goal to start behaving better.  But I also know why I failed for so long and why so many others do: Impatience.

Many people dive headlong into a new lifestyle on day one. Their approach to good health is a blitzkrieg of exercise and dieting. Sure, the original Blitzkrieg did conquer a huge chunk of France in just a couple of days. But it ultimately backfired. But in addition to being generally awful, those guys were totally hooked on meth the whole time. Which isn’t something you should include in your regimen. I mean, you might be able to work out for a solid forty-eight hours hooked on meth, but I don’t recommend it.

I’m guessing these New Year’s resolutions cause sales of gym memberships to go absolutely through the roof in January.  And all of our overly optimistic (and overly portly) fellow citizens gleefully march into the local Gold’s Gym or L.A. Fitness and hit the machines.  They run on treadmills or stride on ellipticals for far longer than their out-of-shape selves probably should.  They achieve the heights of fitness ecstasy with the so-called “runner’s high”.  Then they go home and celebrate the afterglow of their newfound salubrity.

The problem with this orgy of athleticism is that it produces severe morning-after regret.  Our corpulent pals inevitably wake up for work the next morning with a kind of soreness hangover.  And all of their cavorting at the gym also produces a form of “walk of shame”.  Except that it’s not the kind of shame they have from wearing the same clothes they wore the day before.  It’s the kind of shame one gets because they’re forced to walk like a zombie from the Walking Dead, since that’s all that their tortured muscles can manage.

This experience is often enough to end the ambitions of all but the most dedicated.  But maybe there are some that think (I’ve done this before) that the problem is that they shouldn’t have done it all by themselves.  So, these survivors of day one go back to the gym to seek out a class with a teacher.  After their puny muscles recover (a week or so later) they sign up for every aerobics or spin or Pilates class they can find, thinking that maybe that will help.

Things in the class usually start out fairly well for them.  But then they inevitably notice that their more experienced classmates are outperforming them while their excessively ebullient (bordering on manic) instructor hysterically encourages them to keep pushing the limits of human endurance.  So they hustle harder, not realizing that their classmates are expert level fitness fanatics, while they are noobs to the world of calisthenics who can’t possibly keep up.

This inevitably produces an even more severe soreness hangover, because it’s combined with the anguish of public humiliation.  Likely compounded by the endless selfies posted by their grinning classmates who upload post-workout “YOLO” pictures on Instagram.  The kind that all too often show the new kid in class bordering on collapse in the background.  This worst form of fifteen minutes of fame, combined with the physical suffering, is often more than enough to kill a nascent weight loss journey.  Especially for the men, since they usually were literally the only man in the room and just got shown up by a bunch of girls.

But maybe some few of those men manage to recover from the mortification another week later.  In order to overcome their defeat in the face of girl power they may decide to go full giga-chad.  Side note: I’ve been learning a surprising amount of Internet newspeak.  I’m probably too old to repeat these neologisms.  God help me if I ever say something is “totes adorbs.”

Anyway, these dudes (and more than a few women) return to the gym and hit the weights.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I’ve noted before.  But yet again, our too eager friends overdo things.  Especially the men.  Not understanding how this should really work, they pile ridiculous amounts of weights and try to turn themselves into the Hulk (or at least Lou Ferrigno) in one sitting.  They inevitably leave the gym feeling even better than they did after the run.  Which is not surprising, because this sort of training is actually great for your mental well-being.

But it’s impossible to become the Hulk in one day.  Not ever, really, because that’s not how gamma rays work.  But it’s not possible to become Lou Ferrigno or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hafþór Björnsson in one day either.  But it is possible to become a miserable, immobile pile of flesh that doesn’t have a walk of shame after the soreness hangover the next day.  Because people who make this mistake can’t even get out of bed the next day.

And exercise fails aren’t the only New Year’s resolutions that go awry.  There are diet fails too.  Many of us decide to go full keto or full carno or full vegan.  Some of us might start fasting like maniacs too, which I find…irritating.  But these sudden changes all too often result in failure.

You might be seeing a pattern here.  Getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint.  There’s no need to push yourself to the limit or adopt monk-like asceticism in your diet.  You’re training to become healthy, not a Navy SEAL.  Well, okay, you might be training to be a Navy SEAL, but if you are, don’t take my advice.  Just say “Sir, yes sir!” to Master Chief Whoever at BUD/S and do whatever he says.

But for the rest of us, these extremes are, well, too extreme.  I didn’t start losing weight by killing myself.  I started slowly.  The exercise I added initially was just yard work and home improvement projects.  And I was doing small chores, not cleaning the Augean stables.  I was also able to figure out how to work a little physical activity into my commute and my leisure time.  If we do a little bit each day, we wake up the next day without the muscle hangover and can do it again.

And the diet changes don’t have to be extreme either. Just do stuff like avoiding added fat or eating more greens. There are a lot of small hacks I’ve discovered that don’t require Herculean effort to achieve, such as this list of fifteen ways that I’ve written about in the past. But the important thing to remember is that this is a long-term change, not a sudden health kick that we stop in a month or so. Don’t go too hard too quickly.

And there’s no reason to wait until January 1st.  I started on May 6th, 2019.  Any random day will do.  And you actually don’t need a gym membership.   Just start somewhere, even if it’s in your own living room, set small, achievable goals, and build. In the best case, the blitzkrieg approach may produce some fast results.  But it will ultimately wear out and end badly.  Just like the actual Blitzkrieg.

The Twelve Pounds of Christmas, or Heavy For The Holidays

So I came home for Christmas a bit early this year.  Despite the heart-pounding excitement one normally experiences while practicing public accounting, I had a lot of vacation time built up, and somehow managed to drag myself away from the siren’s call of the stacks of paperwork adorning my desk.

And have now been at my parent’s house for nearly a week, ingesting the myriad unhealthy things one does during the holidays.  Which has always seemed a bit peculiar, since “holidays” is apparently derived from the phrase “holy days”.  And we are supposed to treat our bodies as temples, but for some reason spend these “holy days” desecrating them repeatedly.  And I will continue doing so for at least a week after Christmas as I feast on the leftovers.

Now, I’ve written before how obsessing over possible weight gain between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is actually a waste of time.  But it’s probably a good idea to consider the things we eat during these times, if only to remind ourselves what we should avoid for the rest of the year.

Because I spend my “holy days” in the holy lands of the American South, some of the dishes I’ll be examining may not be common in the dark, frozen places north of Virginia.  Or west of the big river splitting the country.  Or in assorted foreign places.  But what we eat isn’t that unusual.  I’m sure anyone reading this would be able to glean a few helpful bits of advice.

The center of attention in any American holiday spread is the turkey.  Especially if you try to fry one without thawing it.  Six ounces of this staple of the American holiday diet has only about 300 calories, which is on the light side for a meat serving.  It also provides a fair amount of the Recommended Daily Allowances in various micronutrients, providing 83% of the niacin requirement, 40% of the vitamin B6 and phosphorus, 20% of the vitamin B5 and iron, 15% of the vitamin B12 and zinc, 10% of the magnesium, and 67% of the selenium.

But for those who don’t like turkey (I.E. hate America), there’s always ham.  Six ounces of this will provide 103% of the thiamine RDA, 40% of the riboflavin and B6 and zinc, 65% of the niacin, 50% of the B12, 25% of the B5, copper and iron, 10% of the magnesium, 70% of the phosphorus, 20% of the potassium, and 60% of the selenium.  It’s a bit heavy on sodium, though, so it might be a good idea to sweat some of that out with a little exercise.  Also, adding the honey glaze adds about 100 calories and not much else.

Then there is my mother’s traditional Christmas eve meal, beef tenderloin.  Six ounces has 350 calories, 10% of the Thiamine, 20% of the Riboflavin, 60% of the Niacin, 20% of the B5, 50% of the B6 and of the iron, all of the B12 and selenium, 80% of the zinc.  Any Ketogenic dieter would probably be ecstatic at the sight of this, but there’s a problem.  

She served it with potatoes.  Potatoes which slowly soak up the delectable juices from the beef in the oven. Which is great for normal people, but a thing of nightmares for the low-carb diet aficionados. 

But potatoes are fine.  Seriously.  They have 160 cals in a medium sized (2-3 inch diameter) potato, 10-15% of most B vitamins (except B12) 40% of the B6, 15-25% of the copper, Iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium.  So, sorry if mom ruined the Keto diet with her succulent potatoes.  And the vegans are probably upset with the whole dead cow part.  She can’t please everyone.  Newsflash: She doesn’t care.

We’d frequently add a few tablespoons of gravy made from these meats to the various sides too, like mashed potatoes.  Meat gravy adds roughly the same nutrients from the meats themselves (but proportionately less) and about 50-100 calories.  So gravy isn’t necessarily bad.  But don’t get carried away with it.  As a rule, you should not drown your food.

One meat shows up constantly on southern tables, not just at the holidays.  I’m talking about fried chicken.  Nutritionally, it’s not all that different from the various other meats.  The problem is, one has to add about 100-150 calories for the “fried part”.   I’ve noted before that fried food is generally to be avoided.

Then there’s the turkey dressing.  Which some people call stuffing (normally the miscreants who live north of the Mason-Dixon line), even though there’s really no difference.  If you have time to kill, you can entertain yourself by reading lengthy screeds by food nerds insisting that there is all the difference in the world.  But, there isn’t.   Anyway, a half cup of this has 200-250 calories 10-15% of the RDA of thiamine, niacin, folate, vitamin K, Iron, selenium, and a smattering of other nutrients.

Then there’s the side dish loved by many and treated as an object of holiness and light by the Southern Baptists of the world.  And by that I mean green bean casserole.  Which is traditionally made from green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions, then baked in an oven.  A half cup of this has… a little bit of everything, nutrition wise.  And only 90 calories.  The Baptists made a pretty well balanced side dish.

Other sides we stuff into our holes include the yeast roll, which has 75-150 calories, and cornbread, which has 100-200 calories.  Both have most nutrients in 5-10% range, which is fairly well rounded.  It turns out, breads aren’t that bad for you, despite what angry online carnivores may say.

Then there are the things my dear cousin Lei Ann brought every year: Deviled eggs.  Boiled egg whites with the yolk pulled out, mixed with mustard and other greatness, and put back in.  One half egg has 10% of the daily B2 and B12 requirements, 10% of the selenium, a handful of other things.  And 50 calories, which isn’t bad at all.

We also have a thing that seems like dessert, but isn’t quite: Sweet potato casserole.  A half cup of this has 10-30% of the various B vitamins, all of the vitamin A requirement, and most minerals in the 10-20% range.  For only 300 calories.  As long as you don’t get carried away by adding sugar, this isn’t bad at all.  But if you add marshmallows (too many people do), you add 50-100 calories with no real extra nutrition.

Then there’s that other thing Americans have for every late year holiday: Cranberry sauce.  It’s another thing that causes nerds to fight online too.  Apparently, there is a lot of contention over whether homemade or canned cranberry sauce is best, with the people who seem most likely to live in their mother’s basement inclined to prefer the canned variety. 

These arguments can be more violent than people arguing over the correct pronunciation of “gif”, so I avoid participation.  Mostly because both forms appear to have 90 calories for every two ounces and no significant nutrition, providing most nutrients in the 5% or less RDA range.  So the joke is on both of these groups hapless foodie warriors.

Let’s not forget the thing that shows in every meal, but can take different forms.  The thing that can be mixed into a side dish, covering the main course, or a topping on a salad.  The “Where’s Waldo” of foods: Bacon.  Two slices (2 ounces, roughly) has a chunk of phosphorus, selenium, the various B vitamins, and adds 75 calories.

And once we survive all of this, we have dessert.  Which can include pumpkin pie which has 300 calories per slice, lots of vitamin A, most other vitamins in the 5-10% range, and most minerals in the 10-20% range.

We may also have pecan pie, which has a staggering 525 calories per slice, but actually has a decent chunk of various vitamins and minerals, often in the 40-50% range.  This is probably mostly due to the pecans and not the rest of the pie.  It might be best to just eat nuts, which everyone should do.  Dessert, on the other hand, is normally to be avoided.

After this, we get drunk.  Well not around my parents.  But I do a fair amount of drinking for the holidays.  Which consists mostly of egg nog, which has 150 calories or so in each half cup.  It’s got some nutrition too, with various B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus, although in small portions.  But I sometimes prefer to forgo the egg nog part, and just drink the bourbon straight.  Bourbon alone is awesome, but not healthy.  It has 100 calories in a shot and no real nutrition.  As I’ve noted before, it’s best to avoid alcohol if you’re losing weight.

So the diet lessons of the holidays are, don’t add stuff on top like marshmellows and glaze, avoid fried stuff, avoid dessert, and avoid alcohol.  Eat six ounce portions of meat and plenty of vegetables.  These and other tricks are how I lost over 60 pounds over these past two years.

But only a lunatic does this during the holidays.  Eat what you like for Christmas.  But afterwards, when you go back to behaving, keep these lessons in mind.  Unless you want to be so fat everyone asks you to be Santa Claus next year.

Good Habits #14 – Sugar Pellets and Pencil Shavings, A Part Of This Complete Breakfast

With some trepidation and some schadenfreude, I find myself about to write another piece about a subject which strikes terror and loathing in the hearts ketovores and carnivores everywhere.  Because when I was a boy, I rarely ate a balanced breakfast.  I know that seems like a non-sequitur.  But it’s not.  My childhood breakfast choices would have caused most low-carb acolytes to faint.  For example, sometimes I would occasionally have pancakes or waffles, which are basically just dessert for breakfast.  And dessert is something we should probably pass on, as I’ve noted in a previous piece.  But I only did this occasionally.  Most of the time, since I’ve always had difficulty dragging myself out of bed, all I had time for was…breakfast cereal.  

I know, I know.  If you’re reading this and you’re one of the Chosen Adherents Of The Church Of Ketosis, I hope you had a defibrillator handy to restart your heart.  The mere mention of breakfast cereal almost certainly just shortened your life by at least a year or two.  Just know that I’m not liable for the newfound heart disease that I just gave you.  And I know a few lawyers who owe me a favor or two.

Anyway, Willy Wonka famously said in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that breakfast cereal was just made from shavings one finds in a pencil sharpener.  Which upon reflection is mostly true.  At least, based on the taste of many cereals.  Although that’s not the case with all of them.  There are some that are really just hardened chunks of sugar.  So, your options are either grains with almost no flavor or highly refined sugar with flavor but also a high risk of developing insulin resistance.  

Both are something which either a Keto or Carno disciple would have to engage in some quasi-religious cleansing ritual if they ever came into direct contact with it.  Which, based on what I’ve seen in their social media feeds, apparently requires them to eat an outsized porterhouse along with ten eggs and then fast for ten days while bragging about the whole thing on Twitter.  Sorry, I digress.  I find the whole fasting thing to be a bit insufferable.  

Anyway, back to the pencil shavings and sugar pellets.  Every second commercial I saw watching Saturday morning cartoons was a cereal commercial.  Blatant propaganda from some cereal company (which was likely just a subsidiary of some soulless Big-Agra conglomerate) trying to hawk a product virtually guaranteed to give a child early diabetes.  And naturally, we fell for it and insisted that our parents buy us these boxes of dietary iniquities.  

One of my childhood favorites was Corn Pops.  These are crunchy yellowy things covered in sugary sweetness which may or may not involve actual corn.  But, are Corn Pops healthy?  Well, sort of.  A cup of this has 100 or so calories, and provides 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and folate, 20% of the vitamin B6, 10% of the vitamin D, and 40% of the iron.  I know, you’re thinking “Hey Triple D (nobody calls me that) that doesn’t seem so bad.”  Well, that’s what’s in a cup.  Most of us fill the bowl, which is probably more like two cups.  Also, it had enough sugar (10 grams per cup) in there to wind young me up into a tizzy.  

But Corn Pops were hardly the most advertised kid’s cereal. The most common (and the most annoying) cereal commercial on Saturday morning was probably for Frosted Flakes.  A cartoon version of one of the most vicious apex predators on the planet, which really should have nothing to do with any meal based on grain, would try to sell us these sugary flakes every fifteen minutes or so. 

A cup of this stuff that no tiger would ever eat has 140 calories, and also provides 15-25% of the RDA for the various B vitamins, about 15% of the vitamin D and about 90% of the iron one needs in a day.  But also, 11 grams of sugar.  Nearly a quarter of what the USDA says you should have daily.  There’s a reason Tony the Tiger was so annoyingly ebullient.  He was in the throes of a sugar rush.

We also have to mention our favorite cereal that reinforced harmful cultural stereotypes and endangered our immortal souls by having a tiny leprechaun sell us cereal full of various pagan Celtic symbols.  Despite the presence of the marshmallows shaped like unholy symbols, Lucky Charms actually has slightly less sugar than the tiger cereal, with 10 grams of sugar.  A cup has 150 calories.  It also has over 40% of the RDA of most of the B vitamins, including over 80% of B12 and over 100% of folate.  It’s also high in zinc and iron, providing about half and three quarters, respectively, of your RDA.  So it’s decent nutrition for your children, combined with probably too much sugar, and numerous microaggressions against all Irish people.

And then there’s Captain Crunch.  The only thing more irritating than the commercials for this one was the fact that one couldn’t eat them without serious mouth damage.  It’s apparently hardened chunks of sugared sandpaper which are incredibly effective at shredding the skin on the roof of your mouth.  And also probably put me at risk for early sugar-induced disease.  Even more so than the tiger. It has 17 grams of sugar. It’s not without nutrients, with maybe a quarter of the RDA for various B vitamins, and 40% of the iron RDA.  And 150 calories per cup. But the sugar. Even non-Keto cultists like me would find it a bit much.

Of course, the corporate goons selling this stuff would always cover themselves by saying that this cereal was “a part of this complete breakfast”.  And then show a bowl of their sugary hyperactivity fuel in the middle of a table setting including toast, eggs, orange juice, and various other healthy-looking things. Knowing what I know now, it’s actually best to have the “complete breakfast” part and just pass on the processed sugar part.

Of course, not every cereal that was sold to kids was an automatic sugar rush.  Take Rice Krispies, a cereal that three little elves tried to sell us kids. I’m actually a little bit surprised, now that I think of it, at just how many of the cereals I was sold as a kid used images from pagan mythology as part of their pitch.  Anyway, Rice Krispies are ostensibly made from rice, which isn’t necessarily bad as I’ve pointed out before.  A cup of this has about one third of the sugar in Frosted Flakes.  And at only 100 calories per cup, it’ll provide about a quarter of the various B vitamins and just about all of the iron one needs in a day.

And then there’s the cereal that was sold as a happy thing that kids liked, but still felt like a chore to eat: Cheerios.  A cup has 140 calories, only two grams of sugar, most key vitamins in the 10-20% range, as well as a lot of iron and a decent chunk of magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.  But no normal kid eats this on purpose. Face it, kids that liked to eat this were the ones that volunteered to be hall monitors.

How about the one that was so bland you only ate it when you had nothing else to eat and hated your mom every time she gave it to you? And by that I mean Corn Flakes. It only has about 100 calories per cup and 3 grams of sugar and has about 40% of the vitamin B6 and manganese RDA, 60% of the B12, 85% of the folate, a third or so of the niacin and thiamine and zinc, and over 100% of the iron requirements. It also has no noticeable taste. If your mother gave you this, you’d have a reasonably healthy meal, but it would result in feelings of resentment and anger towards your mother that would fester in your adulthood and lead to a dysfunctional and miserable existence. Also, no taste. So, really not worth it.

But enough of the kid’s stuff.  There are some cereals that are for adults.  These tend to be more the “pencil shaving” variety than the “sugar pellet” variety.  The problem is, they are basically just quasi-laxatives intended mostly for people who qualify for Social Security.

Such as Shredded Wheat.  Which comes in ungodly huge hunks, requiring me to chop them up with the side of my spoon and inevitably splash and knock stuff on the floor.  Earning glares from my mother when I was a kid, and from my wife today.  It has almost no sugar (if you avoid the frosted kind) and 170 calories in a cup, but not many vitamins.  It does provide 100% of the manganese RDA, 25% of the copper, 20% of the iron, and 60% of the iron selenium.  It also provides massive poos.  Frequently the painful kind that take over twenty minutes and result in my wife reconsidering her nuptials.

And for those who want to appear fancy by eating something of European origin, there are various forms of muesli.  Each of these is a mix of grains and nuts that looks like the farmer just dropped random things from his harvest on the floor.  These come in various brands, so we’ll use Kellogg’s Mueslix as an example.  A cup of this has 250 calories, 17g of sugar, 10-20% of the RDA for various B vitamins, 25% of the copper, iron, phosphorus, and selenium requirements, and half of the manganese.  So, the ostensibly healthy one has more sugar than kid’s stuff.  It’s the worst of both worlds, producing both poos and hyperactivity.

And if you’re really in the mood for an old school “grandma” cereal, try Grape Nuts.  It has only 100 calories in a cup and 2.4 grams of sugar.  It’ll also give you 20% of your thiamine and niacin requirements, 50% of the vitamin B6 and folate, all of the iron, and 40% of the manganese.  But eating it makes you feel like you’ve entered your sad, old, and alone phase of life.

And lastly, let’s discuss All Bran, the god king of quasi-laxative cereals.  A cup has 100 calories, 20% of the thiamine, 25% of the riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, and B6, 50% of the folate and 40% of the iron.  And about 6 grams of sugar.  All around not bad, but eating this is the cereal equivalent of funneling a fifth of pure grain alcohol.  Only instead of daring your liver, you’re daring your bowels.  All Bran is probably the main reason adult diapers exist.

Then there’s stuff that’s super healthy because it’s been scienced half to death.  And I don’t mean Smart Start.  It actually tastes pretty good, but it’s not noticeably healthier than the other cereals I’ve mentioned.  Nor do I mean Special K, which is about as healthy as Smart Start, with less flavor.  I mean the O.G. fortified cereal, Total.  Which actually does taste like pencil shavings.  But it’s super healthy.  A cup has 100% of all B vitamins, all of the vitamin E (which is hard to come by without eating nuts), almost all of the vitamin C, 60% of the manganese, and all of the zinc.  And 7 grams of sugar and 130 calories.  So it is a good way to get an early start in the day.  But it’s cheating.

Because a lot of these vitamins aren’t there naturally. For example, I’m sure you noticed that many of these cereals have vitamin B12.  Something which normally only comes from dead animals. That’s because they’re fortified.  It’s basically just eating supplements in grainy, keto-unfriendly form.  And I’ve always felt that supplement use is cheating.  Therefore, fortified cereal is also cheating.  I mean, do what you have to do to stay healthy.  But if you use these, I want to make a point of making you feel guilty about it.  It’s cheating.

Of course, there’s one other thing I left out.  These calorie counts exclude half of the calories.  Because only a maniac has cereal without milk.  Not that I’m denigrating milk.  It’s fine.  It’s got plenty of vitamin A and D and whatever.  It’s going to add about 200 calories, though.  Which means a cereal breakfast will actually have 300-500 calories.  

Now, that isn’t bad.  But there’s a big drawback to cereal.  I’ve noticed that breakfast cereal doesn’t keep me full that long.  It doesn’t generate “satiety” (A pretentious word that I find irritating), and I’m hungry again not long after.  It doesn’t count as a full meal if you’re heading back to the fridge an hour later.  So breakfast cereal’s low seeming calorie count is deceptive.

So I guess you could eat old people cereal or science cereal if you’re running late for work.  Or even the kid’s stuff.  They’re all actually fairly nutritious, despite the protestations over grain-based foods one often receives from the Children of The Way Of Ketones.  And the science cereal is particularly good for you, even though it’s cheating.  But you’re probably better off going to bed a little earlier, waking up a little earlier, and having a full breakfast so that you’re not hungry again in an hour.  Also, you’ll not be constantly running behind in your life.

So, cereal is healthy(ish), but if you have to resort to eating it, it probably means you’re a slacker who isn’t able to drag him or herself out of bed at a decent time.  You’re basically a failure any time you don’t have time for bacon and eggs.  Also, if you’re over the age of twenty-five and eat Captain Crunch, Frosted Flakes, or one of the other sugary cereals, it means that in addition to being a slacker and a failure, you’re an overgrown child who doesn’t even have an ounce of self-respect.