Showing posts from February, 2012

Confessions of a Carboholic

I am happy that my brother can think of alcohol with nothing but the utmost indifference .  It has been over a year and a half since I stopped smoking (again) and I still have the occasional craving for a draught of that oh-so-soothing nicotine.  Not that I don't feel better for having stopped (or not continued to start back up again); nor do I miss at all the enslavement to the drug.  But.  The pleasure, the desire, the self-deluding "Maybe just one" are still there.  I know that I am not quite--and probably never will be--entirely free. It's a week since Ash Wednesday and ten days since my last carb fest.  And, indeed, I'm feeling great.  I was able to get into my "fat" jeans last night (i.e. the jeans that I bought a few years ago for wearing with long underwear, thus a size bigger than the ones I actually wore at that time; they were my regular jeans last winter and I haven't been able to get into them at all since last autumn); I am feeling en

Word for the Day: Coloquintida

“The food that to him now is luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida .” —Shakespeare: Othello , Act i, scene 3.

Canis rhetoricus

  (click to enlarge)

The Edge

I didn’t sleep again last night. Perhaps it was the coffee that I had at dinner in lieu of the bread pudding that everyone else shared. But I didn’t want bread pudding or margaritas or rice or any of the other carb-rich options on the menu. It’s Lent, after all. I never give up anything for Lent, but this year I have promised myself to give this carb fast a try. And now I’m terrified. Terrified of the energy that I feel coursing through every cell in my body. Terrified of the seeming clarity that has come to my thoughts. Terrified of the anger that I feel at having spent so much of my life being meek and nice rather than calling people out for the way that they behave. Terrified of the willingness that I suddenly have for speaking my mind. Not, of course, that I have ever been exactly mute. But, I recognize now, I have been afraid, holding myself back for fear of hurting other people’s feelings. Not. Any. More. Apparently. Because all I feel right now is rage. Is thi

Atkins Angst

Why am I not thin yet?!  I've been watching my carbs, eating more meat in the past week or so than I had all told in a good five or so years, waiting for the promised Atkins Edge to kick in and the pounds to start slipping away.  I've felt the fatigue at practice when my energy dropped; I've had the low sodium headache and cured it with beef broth; I've looked yet another helping of chicken salad in the face and managed to finish it even though I didn't really want to.  Why aren't I thin?  Oh, right, well, there were all those Cravory cookies over the weekend that my husband got me for Valentine's Day, but I didn't eat all of them.  I didn't even really enjoy them, not as much as I would have in the past when nothing was so intoxicating as a sugar-starch high.  And, okay, I'm still drinking orange juice first thing in the morning, just to get myself going for the day.  And we had spaghetti for dinner one night last week.  And I had cereal for

The Secrets of the Field Museum Mummies Revealed

Last July, my husband organized a team of colleagues and interns to CT scan a number of the mummies in the Field Museum's permanent collection.  Seven months and hundreds of hours of segmenting the images later, the museum has put the mummies and a selection from the scans on display.  It opened yesterday to great media fanfare .  We went to see it today. The south entrance to the museum.  That's my genius hubby on the right.  Note the banners: mummies and dinosaurs! Ooh!  I can't wait to see them! Hubby smiling!  Look at the crowds! Not for sensitive bears Alas, at this point, I had to stop taking pictures.  So if you want to see the scans (and the mummies), you'll have to go to the museum in person.  Oh, okay, here's a sneak peak .  Check out the curly hairdo on this lovely lady (she's the one on the posters, too).  Did I mention the hundreds ( and hundreds ) of hours that it took to segment these images?  You have no idea.  I'm

The Metabolism of Joy

I feel that I need to say a bit more about why I am so exhilarated by what I have been reading in Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories ( not , as you know , by any means the first book that I have read on diet or the experience of being fat).  It is not strictly speaking because he is telling me something that I have never heard before.  Rather, it is more like the snowflake that starts the avalanche: I have been building up to this insight for several years now, and Taubes has put it all into perspective. Maybe, indeed, French women don't get fat because they concentrate on eating only the freshest, most appealing foods only when they are hungry--but how do you deal with needing to eat those pastries and cookies and cakes not because you're hungry, but because you have learned that eating all those yummy sugars and starches makes you feel better, at least for a little bit?  Maybe, indeed, slim people are better at paying attention to the cues that their bodies gi

Justification by Fat Alone

Let me say it again : "Being fat is a metabolic--not a moral--state.  It has nothing to do with how much you exercise or how many calories you eat." "Yes, yes," you say.  "But so what?  It sounds to me like you've simply discovered the Atkins diet .  Do we really need to hear yet again about the evils of carbs?"  Subtext (as I hear it): "Isn't this just another gimmick like all of the other diets for sale?" Possibly, but I don't think so.*  Indeed, I am convinced not.  Because Gary Taubes (whose Good Calories, Bad Calories has been my mealtime reading for the past week or so, much to the chagrin of my family, to whom I keep quoting it) is not about diets; he is about the actual metabolism of fat.  And about how the science behind our understanding of that metabolism has been skewed for pretty much the whole of my lifetime against fat as anything other than a moral state. How many times have you heard the dictum that to lose wei

Enlightenment, Diet, Dangers Of

Being fat is a metabolic--not a moral--state. It has nothing to do with how much you exercise or how many calories you eat.  In most cases, it is simply a consequence of eating too many starches and sugars, a.k.a. refined carbohydrates. Not fats, not proteins.  Carbs. Because eating excessive carbohydrates raises your insulin levels and forces your liver to have to work overtime. Which, lo and behold, makes you more susceptible to the very diseases (obesity, hardening of the arteries) that we have been told for the past thirty-five years are associated with eating too much fat.  Not to mention making you more susceptible to diabetes.  And quite possibly cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic "diseases of civilization" that only appear in populations when they start eating lots of sugar, flour, rice, and beer. This is because insulin is our bodies' primary regulator for storing fat.  When our insulin levels are high, they encourage our fat tissue to

Watch This Space

One day, I have no idea when, I am going to have time to write again.  I thought that it would be this weekend, now that my work on our departmental admissions committee is done, but, alas, no.  So much to say, so little time.  Apologies for the extended silence.