Sunday, December 09, 2007

I eat . . . for Christmas

What's on your Christmas plate?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Dietary Intake, Eating & Physical Activity Patterns

My pattern of eating resembles a classic diet-plan from a nutrition textbook, splashed with the occasional familial Last Supper. I have bolded and CAPPED the points to look for in your own diet when doing an analysis. Check it out:

The WHAT is a Mediterranean-style diet. The WHEN is every morning, noon and evening with some snacks in between, especially on a physically active day. HOW OFTEN is every three-four hours, for the most part. I take a cocktail of SUPPLEMENTS by Usana Nutritionals: a “Health Pak” of six pills in the morning and six at night, which claim to be a mixture of vitamins (both water and fat soluble) and minerals, plus antioxidants, herbs and an omega-3 fish oil tablet. I have refrained from taking this “package of health” as often as I used to and cut down to two-three packs per week. What’s more, I didn’t even have to wear the patch!

I’m pretty strict with my diet. I’m on a tight schedule of eating during the WEEK. Over the WEEKENDS, I’m still vigilant; however, here and there I enter myself into a slimy contest from Nickelodeon’s Double Dare. Typically, it begins with an innocent invite from a friend for brunch and turns into a Popover masquerade with Little Miss Muffin sans curds and whey. Although the quantity of food is rarely excessive, it’s accurate to say that the contents of my meals vary from week to weekend.

I believe I am receiving ADEQUATE NUTRITION on most days of the week. Sometimes, my kcal energy is too low and other days it is too high, depending upon the occasion. I eat more during special events, holidays and whenever I am in the presence of “My Big Fat Jewish Family.” If I were to guess which nutrients I were receiving too much of, it would be vitamin A and E (I eat lots of tocopherols and carotenoids). I don’t think I am getting enough calcium, magnesium and D.

I EXERCISE five days per week, two days off (one of which I walk a good deal or run around doing errands). The physical activity consists of five cardiovascular workouts that range from 30-60 minutes in duration. Two of the five days per week incorporate weight training. I am no longer on a split routine, instead, focusing more on total body exercises. One of the five days also incorporates a Pilates class.

My ESTIMATES are as follows: (1) My caloric range is vast… I can get as low as 1300 and as high as 2000 or more. My average would have to be a 1600 caloric intake on most days of the week; (2) total fat: 30%, sat fat 8%, protein 40%, CHO 30%; (3) 275 mg cholesterol (egg plus any animal product I consume thereafter); (4) 600mg dietary Ca, if even; (5) 30-40g of fiber; (6) 7,500 IU Vit A; and (7) I spend 30-60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity most if not all days of the week. When I am pushing, I estimate that I am burning 100 calories per 10-minute block.

I surmise that, as compared to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, I am not getting as much of my calories from CHO (carbohydrate) sources. The USDA would scold me for my low level of Calcium, but they’d make me their poster-child for physical activity. Additionally, they would laud my 5-9 fruits and veggies per day, my high fiber intake and the low level of junk present in my diet, of course, barring my Nickelodeon events ☺

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Physical

"Yesterday I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I'd gained some weight, and I didn't feel so hot.

My doctor said eating right doesn't have to be complicated and it would solve my physical problems. He said just think in colors; fill your plate with bright colors; greens, yellows, reds, etc.

I went right home and ate an entire bowl of M&M's and sure enough, I felt better immediately. I never knew eating right could be so easy!!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monaco, no not Club

Went here last night, check out what I (RissaRachel) had to say about it:


421 Amsterdam Ave. (at 80th St.)

New York , NY 10024

What's in YOUR Microwave?????

We've all heard it: Don't use plastic in the microwave. An old wives tale, you say?

Yes and No.

If you're reheating some Chinese takeout or a tub of margarine, think again. Those containers are not meant for microwave-man-handling. The FDA only approves certain plastics for use in the microwave. Prior to approval of any plastic materials, the FDA conducts tests to ensure that hazardous substances won't leak into food.

Only containers that pass the FDA's test and display a microwave-safe icon -- or that have the sentence on the product that confirms they're approved for use in microwave ovens-- are truly safe.

What's interesting is that refutes any harmful side effects associated with plastic-leakage into food. Even if they are correct, it is still important to be aware of the following recommendations by Harvard Medical School:

  • Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
  • Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
  • Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
  • A recycle symbol does not mean a container is safe to use or reuse in the microwave oven. Only a microwave-safe icon or wording to that effect does.
  • Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: Leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.
  • Don’t allow plastic wrap to touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, or white paper towels are alternatives.
  • If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for microwave oven use.

Monday, July 09, 2007


And it just doesn't matter how educated one becomes in this ever-expanding field of health... One glimpse of this fine, loving, soft, delicious, milk-accompanying cookie is enough to make me forget about cis and trans bonds for a short while... Hello my little cookie :)

10 best and worst foods

According to CSPI's food porn and praise section in their Nutrition Action Health Letter, one can easily get "artery crust" with just a little bit of Pepperidge Farm Pot Pie... See more for the dirty details...

Thursday, June 28, 2007


We need to stop irresponsible marketing toward children! This research study was very illuminating in that it showed how easy it is for brand-named foods to market to children via "Advergaming," which is a method where kids can play games off of the company's website, in which the advertised product is part of the game. This is a sly marketing strategy on a company's part since there is ample opportunity for the child to remember the food or beverage being advertised to them and link it with the fun game they had played, which ultimately promotes the sale of the product.

This study focused upon food and beverage brand-websites and what kind of marketing techniques/advertising they displayed upon their sites. The categories selected for the analysis were: beverages, soft drinks; beverages, other; fast food; ready-to-eat cereal; cookies; crackers; salted snacks; and candy. The researchers chose to select these categories because they are liked by and most regularly marketed toward children. 40 brands were chosen and 37 had their own websites. 85% of those websites had interactive components (sounds, animation, and movement) and 63% had Advergaming. Other marketing techniques included cartoon "spokescharacters" for the product, pictures of children consuming the product and downloadable branded coloring pages. ALL of the websites had tie-ins to TV shows, movies or cartoons.

Ostensibly, these Advergames and other fun interactive components are all a means to sell very unhealthy products to children. According to the study, children may not even be aware that they are being exposed to sophisticated marketing strategies. This is not acceptable in an age where the obesity epidemic is only getting wider. Registered Dietitians and other health professionals have to advocate for responsible marketing and ensure that the health of the children isn't tainted by these big corporate companies, only looking to raise their stock ratings.

The researchers of the study suggest that we use this new interactive technology to help children learn to make better choices in "fun and interesting ways." Already, has a "kids area," which has some of the interactive games that websites like Nabisco and Kraft have. Unfortunately, I have been to this "kids area" on MyPyramid and they have yet to change it for the past year or so.

If we want to prevent kids from indulging in both the websites' games and their products, then we have to 1) make sure that we are keeping up with the marketing strategies and employ them in our own health websites and campaigns, and 2) keep our kids educated about nutrition and how processed foods affect their bodies so that they think twice before being mesmerized by the products and their stupid Advergames.

Check out the picture below to see how we can create games that kids can trust.

Internet Food Marketing Strategies Aimed at Children and Adolescents: A Content Analysis of Food and Beverage Brand Web Sites. Weber K, Story M, Harnack L. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. September 2006 (Vol. 106, Issue 9, Pages 1463-1466)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Frosty Chocolate

Today I drank a Frosty Chocolate Protein Drink post-workout and I was very impressed and pleased by the quality of taste, nutrients, and ratio of protein to fat/cals/sugar.
For 170 calories and 35g worth of PRO, this is a perfect way to refuel. They come in different flavors, but the Frosty Chocolate is on the mark. Check out the nutrition facts below.

One of the main things I noticed (which makes this a great drink) is that potassium trumps sodium. We want this to occur since the Na/K (sodium/potassium pump) is continuously working in our bodies to pump out the sodium from the cell and get potassium inside. Post-workout, we need potassium in our cells for recovery. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that the products you choose to eat have a greater ratio of potassium to sodium. Having sodium in post-workout snacks is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Sodium is good for helping replenish sweat-losses, since water accompanies the molecule. Plus sodium induces a physiological urge to drink water, which will prevent post-workout dehydration.

All around, I would say that if you're looking for a snack and don't want to worry about spoilage/leakage and the like, this drink has what it takes, especially if you're CHO (carbohydrate) counting. I would not, however, recommend this drink to those who are endurance athletes since a greater amt of CHO refueling is essential for glycogen losses (which accompany grueling aerobic exercise).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Spinach is good for your 'SOL'

SOLar energy, that is! We've all heard about solar panels, but this new design is based on the idea that the skin of spinach can generate energy. Well, it can: The protein, photosystem I, is found in the chloroplasts of all plants (basically the energy power-house. Much like our mitochondria, which are OUR energy power-house parts). Photosystem I is a cluster of 200 to 300 light-absorbing pigments located in the thylakoid of the plant. Although this project is still in the works, it appears that it can help in our quest for a more sustainable approach to our living situations.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Get Involved

You don't need to grow your own tomatoes or be the master gardener to support local agriculture. But if you care about sustainability and our food system, it's easy to be supportive without picking up a single rake! Many don't realize that the major work being done for local agriculture is right here on her own computer. See what I'm referring to...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Freeze Me

I just discovered frozen raspberries and blueberries. I came upon it like a sly villain, buying into the two for one deal. I came home with two boxes of raspberries and two boxes of blueberries, freezing two and saving two. Well... to my surprise, frozen berries aren't just a tasty little healthy treat. Frozen berries should be the staple in every household with a freezer— period! This is the poker tip no one told me about that could potentially save my game. The berries have a soft crunch in your mouth but without the sound. The fructose is so overpowering that your tongue doesn't even know how to react. It is the sweetest candy I've had in a long time. And I will continue to succumb to the two for one sale and freeze my berries for as long as I have freezer access in my privileged little existence...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

TaCo ToWn!!!!!!

You know what I love about TACO's????


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Comfort Food and Stress Study

Dallman MF, Pecoraro N, et al. (2003) Chronic stress and obesity: a new view of "comfort food". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 30; 100(20): 11696-701.

The body reacts to stress by releasing catecholamines and glucocorticoids (GCs), hormones that control a major part of the autonomic nervous system. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is also a major aspect of this system, since its primary role is to balance the stress hormones mentioned above. This study's main objective was to observe how chronic stress plays a role in obesity, particularly in how chronically high levels of GCs act in three ways to cause the individual to rely upon "comfort foods," which are higher in refined carbohydrate and saturated fat. Those three ways include: one, high amounts of CRF in the amygdala; two, high stimulus salience of activities; and three, high abdominal obesity, which lowers HPA activity.

Although this study used rats as its main subjects to analyze the above three ways, the authors state that the effects of chronic stress and GCs in rats do indeed apply to humans, as well. In the first way, GCs will increase the expression of CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor) in the amygdala (the node in the emotional part of the brain). The high expression of CRF induces us to draw from "the chronic stress network" pool, which increases ACTH and corticosterone B, both hormones that respond to acute stressors and increase anxiety-like behavior. In addition, recruiting this chronic stress network over time will increase the PVT (paraventricular thalamus) secretion of glutamate, which is said to increase synaptic connections. My postulation is that drawing from the chronic stress network pool over time will deplete the components necessary to confront stressful situations, which in turn, can cause compulsive activity since the response network won't be as efficient.

The second way that chronic GC affects our bodies is via a high stimulus salience of activities, which includes exactly what I postulated—namely compulsive activity. This study defined compulsive activity as ingesting sucrose, fat, drugs and wheel-running. They found that corticosterone B specifically raised consumption of comfort foods when rats were chronically stressed, which is again, due to high GCs causing an excitatory response in the brain. With comfort food, HPA axis activity declines, meaning that the ability for the body to balance its stress hormones is greatly reduced. As a result, to lead into the third way that was mentioned, the body responds with a build-up of abdominal fat depots, which increases the inhibitory feedback signal of CRF. Since CRF receptors lie in the amygdala, this emotional cycle can continue and lead to obesity if stress levels are left unchecked.

What is essential to note is the decrease in HPA axis activity, since we decrease the ability to balance our GCs and catecholamines. In turn, the inability to balance these hormones properly can impel one to look to outside mechanisms, such as the comfort foods, the drugs, etc, to regulate the internal chaos. Ironically, eating these foods and/or doing drugs only worsens the havoc within the body, and the cycle continues. The study's authors suggest that attempting to reduce stress in one's life can help to mitigate the effects of our chronic stress-response network, and can help to improve overall mental and physical health.

Sunday, May 06, 2007



Annoying friend


The all too familiar car alarm...

decided to go off for, oh, THE ENTIRE DAY while I was trying to concentrate. This sound has implanted itself into the deepest, most darkest depths of all brains living in today's era.


Great website to develop your own program

"Giving things up"

My mother sent me the following:

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy some wine with it instead of dinner?"

"No, I had to stop drinking years ago", the homeless woman told me.

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked.

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.

"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!"

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight."

The homeless woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

I said, "That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Loose as a Goose!!!!

"Transit time" is the amount of time it takes for your meal to travel from the mouth to its final elimination from the colon.

Check out this AWESOME WEBSITE to see where you're at!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I guess we're all just a little 'nutty'

He sat next to me for a whole two hours, at which point he whips out the mother-load of zip-locks, chock-full of nutty trail mix. He left it in his bag for two hours without touching it once. If I had a zip-lock of mix in my bag, that would be like the alcoholic trying to remain sober with a wine bottle in the fridge. Yet, while I can keep my wine chilled for weeks, the alchie can keep trail mix in his book-bag without the slightest urge to ravage. And therein lies the whole nutty truth :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fear of Living with Nature

A recent NY Times article ponders over the sudden down-sizing of the bee population. Quite frankly, I don't see what the confusion is about. We look at bugs as pests and keep animals in cages, far from the sight of the human population— where we can't see or hear what happens, only eat or ignore it. We've grown so far from the earth, that we are no longer a part of it. We can't even see that our own little beehives are victim to human embezzlement. We are dependant on our "reliable" food system to provide us with the nutrients necessary to thwart disease and prolong our survival. We depend on this system—and are ENTITLED— to eat foods without having to worry about pesticides that may be carcinogenic, or cattle on antibiotic and growth hormones, or anything else that may damage our nervous and reproductive systems. Little do we know, we're not just damaging our own thoraxes... (check out inserted photo of an extremely diseased bee).

In the past 15-20 years, new bacterial strains have arrived. It's scary to think that these strains could possibly be LACED into our bodies. What came first: 'the chicken' or the virulent new bacterial strain? No wonder many physicians can no longer treat their microbial-resistant patients.

Do we really think that the modern-day body can birth the same wholesome child as did our great, great grannys from the alpine mountain forests, or the tropical wild jungles? They didn't eat StarKist albacore tuna while pregnant! And their kids didn't have ADHD or Autism.

People should know WHAT they are eating and WHERE it is coming from!

Why must we jump into the corporate industry's ruthless approach to speed and volume? We must slow down and think logically about what is happening to the food we are eating, and the nature from which it is born. We must bypass the baloney in the stores. The brutality of our food system upon our health is inescapable. Not only will RDs and other medical professionals need to be cognizant about our interconnected bodily system/food system— everyone will. Clearly, our animals need to be fed grass and no more grain, corn, antibiotics, growth hormone... Clearly, the bees are vanishing because we're inflicting the same disease-wrought life upon them for which we, too, are at risk.

Where can we eat but in our own backyards? There, we won't find any 'unearthed' secrets. There, we know where our food grew, how it was grown, and never would we have to wonder if the strawberry we just ate had any "inerts" on it. Perhaps we are the real bees that need to make some buzzzzzzz.

"Springing" from a Garden near You...

Incredible is my having lived in this city for (almost!) 24 years and still, find myself stumbling upon renowned gems across this 13-mile island… Well, what better beautiful day to pick than this past Sunday, a modest 75°F, to visit the Cloisters of NY. Accompanying me-- my most amiable and charming companion, who shared in the marveling of all things medieval: architecture, gardens, sculptures and paintings. It seemed semi-insane that something made out of, i.e. lindenwood from the 12th century, could still be preserved for our eyes today. Stained glass windows tell stories of medieval torture and tapestries remind us of the mysterious unicorns, which even now, are odd creatures of the mind's eye... In retrospect, the backgrounds of the tapestries (a floral arrangement) have fields of flowers that seem to mimic the actual garden beds outdoors. And I guess, when winter falls over the Cloisters, the inner garden can continue to emit "spring" from its walls.

A wonderful well-spent Sunday afternoon, if you asked me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The Artificial Testament

"Elohim said, 'Let the earth sprout greenery, seed-producing plants, fruit trees producing fruit according to their type.' And it happened." –Tanahk, Genesis (Day 3).

Now, Elohim says, "Let the earth purge artificial greenery, cultivate any remaining ancestral seed-producing plants, and harvest without using chemical fertilizer, or else you'll all regress into a pile of humus before you can utter the word organic." And with that, Elohim added, "Muhuhahaha." (Elohim is allowed to be "evil" there because he's had a "fist in [His] eye" way too many times now to be Mr. Niceguy).

Whether Elohim or evolution (or a combination), both organisms and plants have the DNA that make them "prepared for anything," as Barbara Kingsolver says. But we have not allowed our crops to fulfill this potential, what with our splicing of Bacillus thuringiensis and contorted corncobs. Up to this day, we are a surviving summation of all that has worked over time. And instead of taking advantage of Darwin's good work, realizing that if what worked over time is that which has survived, we abuse the land we came from. We don't seem to pay close attention to those lands that have harvested for thousands of years before, or to the Monarch butterfly who has produced generations of her breed.

Until now. These paradoxes are a part of daily American life at this point. I didn't even realize that genetic engineering had the "evilness" it's worthy of. The theme surrounding the adaptation to genetic engineering is that people just don't know their science. We're used to hearing that USDA approves rice with human genes, or that developing countries can't sustain themselves, unless they rely upon biotechnology. Stink bugs devouring genetically engineered cotton should be telling us, supposedly logical human beings, something: stop making this stuff! Instead, we are used to living amidst these cutting-edge "technologies." Except, are they logical? Why SHOULD natural plants accept DNA that is not its own?

Then we have the paradoxical labels— the ORGANIC TV dinner doesn't strike the average American as illogical? What might Sir Albert Howard say about the Whole Foods' industry? Whole Foods misleads the public that their food is actually coming from a whole natural system. Perhaps the store should be called, "Partial Foods," since the consumers are only hearing a part of the story. "Access to pasture," was Corporate Organic's get-out-of-jail-free card. Can you have it both ways? No... But Whole Foods can. America believes in the pastoral side of the franchise, but there is nothing pastoral about a chicken that gets a patch of outdoor stale dirt the size of a shoebox. And yet, we still contribute to the enormous industrial profit of the "organic empire," because it just sounds so good and natural!

Organic is woven into the industrial food system—clearly shown in Phil Howard's Organic Industry Structure (June 2005). Why did the public let this happen? They didn't have a choice. It happened TO THEM. We abide by the artificial laws that have created the world as we know it today. We have become an artificial Adam and Eve, dependent on the artificial fruit of this nation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Good Intentions

Mothers ask their children if they want to drink more milk
From their little plastic sippy cups.
They just want their children healthy and strong,
And do not know the insides
Of that milk carton container.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The Scoop About a BANANA... a neat email I received:

After Reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!

Bananas contain three natural sugars --- sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained, and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS! :
Forget the pills -- eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness:
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito Bites:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work?
Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also ! neutrali zes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature Control:
Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
Bananas can help SAD sufferers be! cause t hey contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the he! artbeat , sends oxygen to the brain, and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine," eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

“If you didn't exercise as a kid, it could be dangerous to start when you’re older.”


Exercise is advantageous at any age, regardless of prior training experience. The only “danger” in starting a new exercise program—whether an expert or a novice—is if it does not adhere to current safe training techniques.

Otherwise, the effects of exercise are too substantial to pass up. Since there is a tendency for the body to lose muscle as we age (sarcopenia), the American Heart Association (AHA) stresses the importance of physical activity throughout one’s lifetime. In a study investigating the influence of current and/or past physical activity on balance in older adults, current physical activity was the major determinant for postural parameters—not age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and past physical activity. The study went on to show that regular physical activity, even when started later on in life, allowed “…appropriate reorganization of the different components of postural control during sensory conflicting situations.” Thus, the study concluded that physical activity counteracts the age-related decline of postural control. (Buatois et al).

Furthermore, the purpose of another relevant study was to test the hypothesis that an increase in “vascular bed filtration capacity” demonstrated an adaptation to endurance training in the elderly. Indeed, they concluded that exercise influences muscular adaptation. (Charles M. et al).

Losing muscle not only decreases mobility, but also makes the body more susceptible to chronic diseases, according to researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University. They noted that various “biomarkers of aging,” such as muscle mass and strength, BMR and body fat percentage, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, and temperature regulation—can all be improved with physical activity.

Moral of the story: you can be a gym-rat at any age ;)


American Heart Association (2007). Exercise (Physical Activity) for Older People and Those With Disabilities [online].

Buatois S. Gauchard GC. Aubry C. Benetos A. Perrin P. (2007) Current physical activity improves balance control during sensory conflicting conditions in older adults. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 28(1):53-8.

Charles M. Charifi N. Verney J. Pichot V. Feasson L. Costes F. Denis C. (2006). Effect of endurance training on muscle microvascular filtration capacity and vascular bed morphometry in the elderly. Acta Physiologica. 187(3):399-406.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who pays this idiot? Oh right... BK!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Tonight I ventured out on a horrible escapade, hunting through Manhattan like a dehydrated sojourner in the Sahara. I ripped through the city, stopping off time to time to buy a treat like it was some illegal drug—and yet, it was worse because none of my purchases were illegal and no one was going to arrest me for taking a hit of a brownie or slice of pizza.

No one cares. Everyone from store clerk to homeless guy is smiling at you—courteous as hell as you order your hot slice. I wanted to say, “STOP ME for GOD’s SAKE! LOOK at what I am doing! LOOK at what I am DOING right now. Aren’t you going to STOP ME??????” But instead, I smile back and hide my contorted grimaces for fear that they will see the real ugly witch in me, boiling and troubling over their pizza. I’m in my own illicit universe, where I’ve handpicked what’s legal and illegal to use. And I, ironically, am the only one responsible.

I wander the streets and temptations lure everywhere in sight. Like a crack-addict, I can’t avoid the lights, the scents, the sounds— everything and everyone is a danger zone. I am my own danger zone. While others have to meet in alleys and look over their shoulders, experiencing the thrill of ‘the escape’ as they’ve broken the law and slipped away from authorities, I can consume my drug in broad day-light and no one gives a $#@%. No one is going to pull me over and ask why I was mutilating myself right there, walking in the middle of the street.

WHY, pizza store clerk, were you so nice to me as I purchased that slice and looked dead into your trusting eyes? “Yes, Miss? How can I help you? Anything else, Miss? What else can we do for you? Is that all, MISS? THANK YOU, MISS!”

It's only pizza, right? RIGHT? WRONG. It's this whole easy-world we've created. And it's such a big fat convenient piece of... pizza.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Creation

"I intend to make attar out of everything!" And thus spoke Borden, and processed food was born. And Borden said, let there be licensed plants in other parts of the country, and "the chain" was born. And Delmonico saw that New World plants could be cultivated, and "salads" were born. And Clarence Birdseye ice-fished in the pond one day, and "the freezer" was born. In order to inspire awe in our ancestors, history writers (like the above dogmas by Boorstin) attributed America's food 'progress' to entrepreneurial "business heroes." In reality, the garden of Eden was already born by people who lived in this country way before us: Native Americans.

But we like heroes. And now, our food system has again undergone another creation, changing within the last 40 years more than in the previous forty thousand. Our secretive Willy Wonka Wonderland is no longer a product of soil and water, but instead, a technological wizardry with new heroes to laud. The true conundrum remains: fast food was founded by individualists and people who broke out of conventional wisdom— all to develop a conformity that we are now all imprisoned by and from which many of us wish to break free but don't know how to or just can't. Are we, as Rachel Lauden posits, in the mindset that for sanity and happiness to persist in this culture, that we need to live in the moment, amidst this scientific progress?

My little six-year-old cousin asked me at our Seder: Why is the piece of Matzoh so large? Well, little one, we are now in a world where capitalism dominates. We have stripped the workers of their rights, and placed much of the conniving exploitation we humans are capable of unto the consumer. Now we, as consumers, have to recognize that companies do not allow for moderation with their super-sizing, thanks to Wallerstein. That the mere presence of more for less DOES induce people to eat more. And that we have to raise our own culinary gavel and be responsible for sifting through images bombarding us day by day in order to make a logical, self-made decision.

We should be angry at society for creating these types of "foods," and instead, we are angry with ourselves for succumbing and buying it, filling up our intestines with this shit that we think actually makes us feel good. I hate the colors of the packaging, the false claims, and the ingredients that are probably better used for your little cousin's toy motorboat than a meal choice. It is IMPERATIVE to see what we've done to our species and to our culture— that processed packaging is a development of big business— not health. That we are degrading the lands day by day and de-mineralizing the soil, contributing to increased vitamin and mineral requirements. That we are adding crap-loads of salts and sugars to our foods— only to be competitive within the food market, and SELL for the sake of taste— NOT for health. Awareness is essential when scavenging the super-markets. It is a STORE, and they want to SELL their PRODUCTS, regardless of the false claims and consequences.

I agree with Lauden in that "natural was unreliable" but have we really "beaten plants into submission" by all of our soaking and crushing, or have we just beaten ourselves into submission that this way is the new, better way? Heating always destroys ring structures and decreases the raw bioavailability of vitamins in food. No one is taking away the convenience of a loaf of bread, churros, or andagi— but how does it react once INSIDE? This isn't about convenience. It's about your life— it's about the thing your mind sits on and preserving that thing for as long as you can.

I'm not going to lie— I love being able to taste the fruit of different cultures BECAUSE OF our processing and packaging and shipping and importing. Because of our open trade, and our open markets, and our need for bigger business— we can enjoy the myriad fruits of the Earth. But I'm sorry. Why should I succumb to this societal progression of dining? YES— bring back "slow food." I am NOT a proponent of advertisement bombings on my skull everyday, and the homogenizing, cookie-cut influence on our culture from the uniformity of these BIG CORPS. The golden arches are "more widely recognized than the Christian cross?" SICK! The McDonaldization of America is a sad excuse for an entire culture of people-turned-food-lazy. The irony: Tri-athlete Greg Brenneman, is the CEO of BK. And why shouldn't he be? Of course, a slop-eating lazy couch potato can't possibly run one of the largest corporations in the world.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

They really get to the ROOT of it =)


Let's just get down to business and eat these cute little things :)

Friday, April 06, 2007


Last night I saw TURANDOT at the Met Opera. The ICY COLD Princess Turandot had many suitors that wanted her hand, but she did not want to "be conquered". And so first, they had to solve her three riddles. If they answered correctly, they would have her. If not, she had them beheaded!!! No one was able to solve her riddles, and there was much bloodshead. Finally, an unknown prince came to town and was able to solve her riddles-- but he was smart-- and gave her one in return: if Turandot could figure out his identity before the sunrise, she didn't have to have him as her master-- and what's more, he would even let her kill him. Hey, I didn't make it up... So I won't give away the ending, but I will say that the set was breath-taking, and made you feel like you were right there in the Asian lands, amid some hazy summer's day in the palace. TuranDOT!!!! TuranDOT!!! (that's me singing).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

You could get a good facial for that price...

In Zentsuji, southwestern Japan, watermelons are grown inside square molds to better store in refridgerators. The melons sell for $83 bones!

Poor Haggis


Much to his dad and mum's dismay
Horace ate himself one day
He didn't stop to say his grace
He just sat down and ate his face
"We can't have this!" his dad declared
"If that lad's ate he should be shared"
But even as he spoke they saw
Horace eating more and more:
First his legs and then his thighs,
His arms, his nose, his hair, his eyes
"Stop him someone!" Mother cried
"Those eyeballs would be better fried!"
But all too late for they were gone,
And he had started on his dong...
"Oh foolish child!" the father mourned
"You could have deep-fried those with prawns,
Some parsley and some tartar sauce..."
But H was on his second course;
His liver and his lights and lung,
His ears, his neck, his chin, his tongue
"To think I raised him from the cot
And now he's gone to scoff the lot!"
His mother cried what shall we do?
What's left won't even make a stew..."
And as she wept her son was seen
To eat his head his heart his spleen
And there he lay, a boy no more
Just a stomach on the floor...
None the less since it was his
They ate it - and that's what haggis is

From: Monty Python's Big Red Book
Published by NTC/Contemporary Publishing
Publication date: September 1980

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

HOECAKE and Crudites With Vomit Vinaigrette

In case you Pesach-keepers were searching for some new dishes, here are some tasty new treat ideas!!! Mmmmm...

HOECAKE - thin usually unleavened johnnycake made of cornmeal; originally baked on the blade of a hoe over an open fire (Southern)

Crudites With Vomit Vinaigrette

Sunday, April 01, 2007

“With the right exercise, you can get rid of trouble spots”

I can't even tell you how many times I have heard this. A client recently asked me, "What AB exercises will remove the tire around my waist?" I informed her that there aren't any AB exercises to target fat loss in a certain area. It is a huge misconception that we can get rid of our "trouble spots" by training specific sites of the body.

Although it is well-established that there is a site-specific response in bone density with upper and lower body resistance training (Winters-Stone et al.), this is not the case for adipose tissue. Instead, significant weight changes only occur with a total change in body composition, which results from gains/losses in fat-free mass and body fat. (Kyle UG., Melzer K et al.). Even with a decrease in body fat, one's genetic make-up is a major determinant of where fat loss occurs on the body.

For example, genes that metabolize estrogens and androgens are important in body fat regulation. In a study measuring the effects of exercise on fat loss in postmenopausal women, genetic polymorphisms showed a change in "BMI, total and percentage body fat, or subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat during a year-long exercise intervention trial." This means that there are genetic factors involved in total body fat regulation. (Tworoger SS et al).

That's not to say one can't get rid of her "trouble spots." By expending more energy and decreasing caloric energy, she will increase total lean body mass, which is known to help raise metabolism. A training program must comprise of both cardiovascular activity AND weight training for this reason. In order to keep those "trouble spots" away, muscle is necessary to keep up a high metabolic rate. (Kyle UG., Zhang FF et al).


Kyle UG. Melzer K. Kayser B. Picard-Kossovsky M. Gremion G. Pichard C. Eight-year longitudinal changes in body composition in healthy Swiss adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 25(6):493-501, 2006 Dec.

Kyle UG. Zhang FF. Morabia A. Pichard C. Longitudinal study of body composition changes associated with weight change and physical activity. Nutrition. 22(11-12):1103-11, 2006 Nov-Dec.

Tworoger SS. Chubak J. Aiello EJ. Yasui Y. Ulrich CM. Farin FM. Stapleton PL. Irwin ML. Potter JD. Schwartz RS. McTiernan A. The effect of CYP19 and COMT polymorphisms on exercise-induced fat loss in postmenopausal women. Obesity Research. 12(6):972-81, 2004 Jun.

Winters-Stone KM. Snow CM. Site-specific response of bone to exercise in premenopausal women. Bone. 39(6):1203-9, 2006 Dec.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

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Friday, March 23, 2007

A Night at the Opera

Last night I went to the opening night of Andrea Chénier with my Aunt. I am officially an opera convert. We sat in the Grand Tier, section A, overlooking the orchestra. It was just beautiful, very traditional and the costumes were outrageous!!!! The music was enough to give you chills, and I loved the story line-- had to do with betrayal during the french revolution, and of course there's love, unrequited love and death!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Remembered High

Today I ran. Today I ran and it felt amazing. I felt like I had been running for months now. It's as though everything clicked today, and I'm back from the dead. I think a week of alternative exercise (skiing) and proper recovery plus keeping fitness levels high w/ cross-training and wt-training has aided in this revival. I ran on the treadmill at 6.0, and increased in increments, up to 6.5. I ran 3 mi in 30min. Although this is a huge gap in what I used to do at 7.5-8.5, I am very proud of myself for being able to keep the speed low & not feel the impulsive or competitive urge to increase the number. I stretched for 15 minutes post exercise. I did not feel the accompanying burning sensations in my quad, knee or hip later on in the day. I felt refreshed, rejuvinated, renewed. I feel like a runner again.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Henry VIII was said to have died from gout, the syph, and his being grossly overweight. According to Wikipedia, "The well known theory [was] that he suffered from syphilis... More recent support for this idea has come from a greater understanding of the disease and has led to the suggestion that Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I all displayed symptoms characteristic of congenital syphilis. Henry's increased size dates from a jousting accident in 1536. He suffered a thigh wound which not only prevented him from taking exercise, but also gradually became ulcerated and may have indirectly led to his death..."

Well, Wiki, though your facts are correct, Henry VIII did not die (as assumed) from gout, or venereal disease. I will postulate that he died of SCURVY because he didn't eat any FRUIT! One of the classic symptoms of Scurvy, (besides violent swings of temperament due to vit C's coenzymatic function in synthesizing norepinephrine, which if low, can lead to mood disorders) is BLEEDING and improper healing of wounds. That ulceration from a thigh wound was INDEED related to his death-- a little more DIRECTLY than people want to admit.

According to Jasper Ridley, "...he beheaded two wives, defied the pope and waged the 100 year's war." Did he lack a conscience or just vitamin C??

This man needed a piece of fruit, ladies and gents!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


You asked for it. You got it. Here's A WEEK AT THE GYM: ONE MAN'S STORY from Belinda's perspective... By Marissa Beck (Even better if read alongside the original!)

Dear Diary.
I've taken on yet another tall, lanky, muscle-deprived older man as a client, Milton Goldberg, whose wife thinks personal training sessions with me will magically get his body looking and feeling like it did when she first met him… Because I didn't want to admit that her beloved Milton would never be an Arnold anytime in the next, oh, lifetime, I put on a chirpy face and assured her that her husband would be a "ROCKSTAR!" by the time I was through with him. Here are some of my training notes:

Pumped up after my own hour-long cycle/row workout, I met with Milton at 6AM. Thank goodness he was prompt; there's nothing worse than tardiness. I am used to clients who don't dress properly for their workouts, but I must say, never in my life have I seen anyone so oddly and inappropriately clad. Yes it's winter, but a woolen vest? I asked Milton if he wanted to take the vest off, but he crossed his arms, squinted his eyes and shook his head rapidly. Okay. So I had him hop on the treadmill. I was quite surprised to find that Milton never actually saw a treadmill before, and even though I had the speed at a comfortable 3.6, felt him wheeze and cough all over me. It reminded me of the sporadic steam-room blasts of wet air… only, his breath smelled like skunk and stale toast. His rubber sandals squeaked with every step and it was hard for me to actually take a pulse. He kept looking at me between sweaty blinks and said that my polypropylene sports-top, which he called Lycra (anything but!), was very fitted. Thanks Milton, you perve. Five minutes later, his HR was 140 bpm and we hadn't even begun our workout! I quickly whisked him off of the treadmill and decided to show him the weights. He touched the rack of dumbbells as if he were searching for a ripe apple in a supermarket. When we crunched, he grabbed his stomach like he was giving birth. At least he was beaming with excitement. Where did this guy come from?

Milton was as jittery as a school-girl who wet her pants, so I had him lie down on a bench. A nice bench wkout can fix up just about anyone… or so I thought. Milton could hardly lift the 45-pound barbell WITH my spot. But he still had a smile on his face, so I assumed that meant he wanted more. I put on a couple of plates. Just 2.5 pounds, but my, did Milton gawk at me when I did that!! Next I put him on the treadmill and it looked like he had a pole running through his behind. To my surprise, the guy made a full mile! I think I'm really helping him because he thanked me profusely at the end of our workout. These are the days that make training these suckers worthwhile!

Milton strolled into the gym 15 minutes late, and he didn't even apologize! This agitated me, so I stuck him on the treadmill for a little warm up right away. The man began to screech and hold his little pecs like I was poking him with a vaccine. Other members started looking at us in fright, so I raised my voice and said, "Milton! Toughen up!" He didn't take to the Sergeant Bilko sort of tone… So I softened, and put him on the Stairmaster. That's a lot easier than running. But he seemed to have a problem with that too, grimacing and shaking his head again! I told him life isn't as awful as he thinks it is. At least he has a wonderful wife who cares about him enough to buy such expensive training sessions with me. (I mean, what a spoiled, arrogant little baby—I work hard for the money so he better treat me right!)

Milton is lucky that I didn't clock him with a cable this morning for arriving 30 minutes late. When he finally got here, it looked like a stray dog dragged him in from a nightlong storm. His collared jean shirt had holes in the armpits and he kept tripping over the bottoms of his enormous khaki pants, AT LEAST FOUR TIMES as we walked over to the dumbbells. I turned to grab an eight-pounder and the sneaky sonuva gun slipped away like a bandit. But I showed him. Grabbed Lars, who mind you, used to wrestle for the WWE. Whatever Lars did worked, because Milton acquiesced and sat down on the erg. He looked like he was at a rodeo riding a bull.

What an angry-looking face on this cretin. I was alarmed to see that Milton had his finger pointed at me underneath the towel, as if it were a gun! Oh silly Milton—he couldn't hurt a soul! I decided that today should be a triceps day. As I had him lying back in skull-crusher position, his nostrils flared wider with every elbow bend. It actually looked really scary. Something funny happened during our workout, though… (I can say it is funny NOW, but at the time, we thought Milton had died because he didn't get up for some time). He fell off of the end of the treadmill! Like a little feather, he floated peacefully onto the floor—right at the foot of another trainer. It looked like slow-mo! I think Milton is a drama-queen… I'm sure it didn't "hurt" as much as he said it did.

I know that chump was sleeping in his warm little bed. I bet he contrived the whole thing, planning to stand me up. Unacceptable! I left him a message. I am almost positive he screened my call. Of course, I was way too nice on his answering machine. I should have bribed him with pizza or whatever those people eat.

I'm resorting to a no-training-unappreciative-nitwits policy. Amen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Obesity-promoting behaviors are controlled by factors outside the individual and obese individuals cannot be expected to have total self-control over their weight in an environment that promotes weight gain by reinforcing overeating and inactivity any more than they can control their genes." ~Poston and Foreyt

Monday, February 12, 2007


Dear Diary.
For my sixty fifth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college tennis team 45 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress ..

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of
bed, but found it was
well worth it when I arrived at the health club
to find Belinda
waiting for me. She is something of a Greek
goddess - with blond hair,
dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo
Hoo!! Belinda
gave me a tour and showed me the machines. She
took my pulse after five
minutes on the
treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so
fast, but I attribute it
to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobic
outfit. I enjoyed
watching the skillful way in which she conducted
her aerobics class
after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, all
though my gut was
already aching from holding it in the whole time
she was around.
This is going to be a FANTASTIC week-!!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made
it out the door.
Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy
iron bar into the air
then she put weights on it! My legs were a little
wobbly on
the treadmill, but I made the full mile.
Belinda's rewarding smile made
it all worthwhile. I feelGREAT-!! It's a whole
new life for me.

The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying on
the toothbrush on the
counter and moving my mouth back and forth over
it. I
believe I have a hernia in both pectorals.
Driving was OK as long as I
didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a
GEO in the
club parking lot.
Belinda was impatient with me,insisting that my
screams bothered other
club members.
Her voice is a little too perky for early in the
morning and when she
scolds, She gets this nasally whine that is VERY
annoying. My
chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so
Belinda put me onthe stair
monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a
machine to
simulate an activity rendered obsolete by
elevators? Belindatold me it
would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She
said some
other shit too.

Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like
teeth exposed as her
thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full
snarl. I couldn't help
being a half an hour late, it took me that long
to tie my shoes. Belinda
took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was
looking, I ran and hid in the men's room. She
sent Lars to find me.
Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing
machine --
which I sank.

I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human
being has everhated any
other human being in the history of the world.
Stupid, skinny,
anemic little cheerleader. If there was a part of
mybody I could move
without unbearable pain, I would beat her with
it. Belinda
wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have
anytriceps! And if you
don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the
M----- f-----
barbells or anything that weighs more than a
sandwich. The treadmill
flung me off and I landed on a health and
nutrition teacher.
Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like
the drama coach or the
choir director?

Belinda left a message on my answering machine in
her grating,shrilly
voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just
hearing her
made me want to smash the machine with my
planner.However, I lacked the
strength to even use the TV remote and ended up
catching eleven straight hours of the Weather

I'm having the Church van pick me up for services
today so I can go and
thank GOD that this week is over. I will also
pray that
next year my wife (the bitch) will choose a gift
for me that is fun --
like a root canal or a vasectomy.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Do you do #2?

I just returned from a week long trip in Puerto Rico. It was not a touristy vacation—I lived in my friend's cousin's house in San Juan and then for the second part of the week with my friend's family in a quaint apartment overlooking the ocean in Luquillo. I can talk about the welcoming people, the historic sites I saw, the beauty of the land and clear waters of Puerto Rico—but my version won't be any more scintillating than Frommers, so I'll spare you 'my-virgin-impression-story,' and instead write what I believe you'll really appreciate.

They don't eat fruits and vegetables. For breakfast, we eat sandwiches: Two pale pink pieces of salty ham lay flat atop a white, perfectly square, shiny piece of cheese. Lettuce slices line the refined bread like shredded paper confetti, able to stick to the dough via a thick paste of mayonnaise. The remainder of the sandwich includes a few sliced Goya black olives, speckled amongst a couple of skinny soft tomato pieces. My friend's cousin opens the refrigerator and I get a glimpse of a carton of eggs. I wonder if there are actually hens in Puerto Rico. Like a criminal eyeing her prey, I wait until the family isn't looking and I peek at the label on top of the carton. Gainesville, Georgia, 30503. Hens in Puerto Rico, Bah! What was I thinking… I scan the refrigerator door and my eyes discern a familiar logo. There he is in all his glory, with the friendly smile and black confederate cap. Hola, Señor Quaker-man. "Avena," reads the box, which means oatmeal. That is the only grain I see, processed nonetheless, and I want him so badly that I can feel the saliva ducts begin to water in my mouth. But alas, I know it to be impossible. Señor Quaker-man and I wouldn't be meeting each other's acquaintance during this trip.

It's almost comical thinking about this past week in Puerto Rico, as 'lackhealthster' Joe. Because I was on vacation with my friend's family, I was on their time, at all times. I did not exercise. I ate close to no vegetables. The extent of my veggie-eating entailed strands of overcooked peppers drenched in too much butter, which lay over a bed of white or yellow rice. Granted, I had a couple of home-cooked meals by TiTi Myrna, a chicken, rice and bean delicacy; but still, the cruciferous crew was not in attendance. I ate fried food—everyday. Fried plantains, fried empanadas, fried fish... I drank every night. I drank beer, hard alcohol and sugary frozen drinks. I drank often on an empty stomach. I drank because people tend to have a "mid afternoon drink" versus actual food, and though I could have declined, opted to "fit in."

I drank no water. When I was offered a cup of water, it was as though I'd seen a small pond in the desert. I must have had at most, two cups of water per day. That's probably not so good considering that my skin was baking in the sun, exposing its dryness to more cancer-causing UV rays! I went to bed every night at 3 AM on a bumpy mattress and pillow that raised my head at an obtuse angle from my shoulders. I slept for a total of five hours per night. I ate pork loin, chorizo (sausage), egg yolks in butter, refined white breads, trans-fatty crackers, non-homemade pastries, nothing whole grain. I let more than five or six hours pass in between meals and I ate the bulk of my calories at night. I ate, slept, drank and functioned according to those around me. My independence was stripped away for one week and already I was able to feel the extreme difference that my healthy machine of a body went though. People really live like this. People live their whole lives eating starches, meats, processed foods, zero vegetables and fruits, all while sitting on their asses and drinking beer.

It dawned on me that the commercialization of Puerto Rico is to blame, and NOT the people's lack of desire to eat well. The food is cheap at Wal-greens. Burger King tastes good and is very local: there is one on almost every block in San Juan. I wondered if anyone else's body craved fiber as much as mine. My protruded bloated belly scoffed at me: what da HELL are u doing right now to me, Marissa?? Somebody has taken over your mind and I don't like it, not one bit!! The subject of this post is the question I constantly wanted to ask all of the people I met on this vacation.

I now REALLY understand why people have all of these horrible health problems. When breakfast, lunch and dinner consists of packaged-up foods and when the only "natural" foods happen to be meat from an animal or beans from a can, Houston, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. dependent territory, I still couldn't believe how Americanized it really was. I know that my seven days in Puerto Rico is only just the beginning of my commericialized cognizance. In our era, choosing foods from our mega-food industry is the mainstream way to eat.

I am back in NYC, and have since had a day of vegetables and fruits billowing out of my ears. I'll stick to that for now...

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)