Eat Spuds, Gain Pudge

July 7, 2011

What the hell, Denise Austin!

All this time you’ve been selling me the idea that Idaho potatoes are good for me:

And then I had to find out from Harvard University that all you’ve been selling me are lies.

Lies!

I haven’t done a health post in a while, but I thought this new study was worth mentioning.

Tell me– Do you love your spuds?

That’s a silly question. Of course you love potatoes. What’s not to love?

However, I (along with almost every other human being I know) know that potatoes that have been fried, mashed with butter, or turned into a chip aren’t good for me.

And I do a (pretty) good job of only eating these foods on occasion, as a treat.

Or at least only on the weekends.

At the very least, not every day.

Usually.

Oh who am I kidding. I freaking love potatoes in every form and eat them all the time.

But, french fries and buttery mashed potatoes aside, I have always been under the assumption that a potato, a plain, unaltered potato, was a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet.

I mean, it’s from the earth. Mother Nature created it. Not to mention, the good ‘ol spud is a certified “heart healthy” food by the American Heart Association.

Seems to me like this should be one hell of a super food, eh?

Alas, all tasty, seemingly good-for-you foods usually crash and burn. (That is, depending how much “weight” you want to put into this study.)

According to a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine has found that an individual who eats an extra serving of potatoes each day will gain more weight than if they consumed an extra 12-ounce sugary drink or extra helping of red or processed meats.

Say it isn’t so!

Here’s the breakdown: In general, the participants in the study gained an average of 0.8 pounds per year. However, those who regularly ate potatoes gained more.

Those who ate an extra serving of french fries every day added an average of 3.4 pounds to their total weight over 4 years.

Potato chips added 1.7 pounds.

And any potato in non-chip form contributed 1.3 pounds.

Now, I know this doesn’t seem like a lot, and to many, it isn’t worth giving up the starchy goodness of this diet staple.

But when you add up the weight gain over 20 years, even the seemingly innocent 0.8 pounds balloon to a whopping 16 extra pounds you have to carry around.

Add the extra weight you’ll gain from your potato-laden diet and you’ll be heaving around much more than you are today.

OK. I got that.

Extra potatoes = more fat on your bones year over year.

Not exactly mind-blowing, if you ask me.

Potatoes are starchy, fairly high in calories for a veggie, and are almost never eaten in their natural state. And you mean to tell me that they are going to make me gain weight?

No offense Harvard, but even I, with my unassuming 4-year degree from a liberal arts college, could have told you that.

So, do we need to give up potatoes in an effort to reach healthy diet nirvana?

No.

I mean, in all honesty, who eats an extra serving of french fries, potato chips, or any form of potato for that matter, every single day?

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say probably not too many people.

And if you are, chances are your diet isn’t all that healthy anyway, potato-gorging habits aside.

So, in all honesty, I’m not sold on this study. To me, it seems kind of like common sense.

But, hey, maybe after reading this, it will help deter you the next time you’re eyeing the all-you-can-eat baked potato bar at your favorite restaurant.

Maybe just knowing these facts will help you clean up your diet a little, and maybe next time you order a Friday night burger, you’ll order a side salad instead of steak fries.

Maybe.

Or maybe not. Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ll find room in your diet for a little spud-goodness.

But anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.

Check in next time for my firsthand account on the trials and tribulations of wearing pocket-less pants.

Until then 🙂

2011 Tornado

June 7, 2011

I’m pretty sure most of you who read this are from the same area as I am, so you’ve probably seen and heard all about the tornado that went through western MA.

My parents have a seasonal spot at a campground out there. Good ‘ol Quinabog Cove. Actually, my friends and I used to go camping there every summer.

Unfortunately, that campground just happened to be smack dab in the path of the twister.

Thankfully, they are ok. They weren’t there. Even if they were, their camper was somehow untouched. (Although, my mom said she still would have died. Of a heart attack. My father on the other hand, probably would have been outside in the midst of Mother Nature’s wrath because really, how often do you get to see something like that?)

But that’s more than I can say about the rest of the campground.

I’d say about 90% of it is completely destroyed. How nobody was killed is beyond me. Call it the grace of God.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Honestly, my parents were lucky. Actually, compared to how Springfield looks, the campground is lucky. My roommate is from Springfield and it went right through her neighborhood. She said that whole area is devastated.

And to tell you the truth, these pictures don’t do it justice. Seeing the whole scope of it with your own eyes is the only way to understand what happened.

In all, it’s nuts. I’m glad everyone I know is ok.

In other news, I started Weight Watchers today. Ha. I’ll, uh, keep you posted on how that goes.

Until then.

ABC has pulled Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution from May sweeps in favor of airing recaps of Dancing with the Stars.

Apparently, ABC would rather overload the American public with 4 hours a week of a dancing show than educate them on the importance of healthy eating and sensible food choices.

You know, because people sitting on their asses while watching others dance their butts off will surely help the obesity epidemic that is quickly engulfing this country.

According to the network, their reasoning was the DWTS recap show was “a better complement to the results show” than JO’s show, and that his ratings simply weren’t as good as the first season.

Excuse my language– but I call bullshit.

I think the real reason ABC pulled the show is because they bowed to the pressure of overweight, lazy Americans who can’t handle the truth– that this country is obese and needs help.

And the fact that Jamie Oliver is bringing light to this issue struck a chord.

Instead of manning up and accepting the truth, the LA school district took the cowardly route by attempting to get the American public to turn a blind eye to what it is they’re actually doing— continuing to breed obesity in America.

They’ve fought Jamie tooth and nail the entire time he has been filming.

First, they wouldn’t let him into their school’s kitchens.

Then, he wasn’t allowed in the cafeterias.

He asked if he could simply peek in the windows– they had a problem with that.

At the end of the last episode, he was no longer allowed to speak to students about what they ate for lunch.

Why? Because the LA school district knows that the food they are serving is crap.

And now, the show is pulled.

I’m sorry, but whether or not you are fan of this show, you should be as angry as I am.

Your tax dollars go towards the national school lunch program.

They go towards feeing your children.

And if you don’t have an issue with school districts hiding what it is they are putting into your children’s mouths, then shame on you.

You should be skeptical and outraged that the school system won’t let you see. Why? Because they know that if the American public saw what they were serving in school cafeterias, there would be an uproar.

If anything, this should make Jamie Oliver’s ratings soar, because, to me, this blatant disregard for America’s children’s health is borderline child abuse.

Most of these kids don’t have a choice about what it is they are eating.

And it disgusts me that the one person trying to change the obesity epidemic for the better is punished for ruffling the feathers of some bigwigs over at the LA Board of Education.

And ABC didn’t even have the decency (read: courage) to let Jamie’s followers know his show was pulled for May sweeps.

Instead, I found out last night, when I was subjected to yet another hour of DWTS at 8pm, the normal time Food Revolution airs.

Shame on you ABC. Shame. On. You.

I googled a word to describe how I looked today walking into work, and the only phrase that comes close to the right definition is this:

School Marm.

I’ve been taking public transportation for almost 3 years now, so it’s safe to say I’ve learned how to dress for the elements.

Snow, sleet, rain– you name it, I conquer.

I always kind of prided myself in being able to keep some sort of cuteness to my bad weather ensemble.

Especially when it came to footwear.

If I was wearing boots, I would wear skinny jeans or leggings so the boot leg would slide nicely up and over my pants in a hip, stylish sort of way.

And I would subtley turn my nose up at the lesser-chic people who would climb onto the T, pants shoved haphazardly into their boots, all scrunched up around their knees because they aren’t sleek enough to fit into the boot leg.

“I would never,” I’d think to myself, “let myself sink to that point. Warmth is nice, but not THAT nice.”

But today, my closet snobbiness turned to horror when I realized…I’ve become one of them.

It all started when I saw all my skinny jeans and leggings were dirty.

“No worries!” I thought to myself, “I have plenty of other pants to go around!”

I selected a pair of pants and went about my morning routine like nothing was amiss.

My first clue to the error of my ways should have been when I was sitting in the living room, frantically trying to shove my pant leg down into my boot in an effort to make it look normal.

Nope. I apparently still thought I was on the right track to work-attire cuteness.

My second clue should have been when I made a vague comment to my roommate that it looked like I was off to go fly-fishing.

But I guess I was kind of kidding.

So, I continued along, blissfully oblivious.

Third clue? When I heard a homeless guy snickering as I walked by.

But I assumed it was due to something the voices in his head were saying…not the way I looked.

But then, I got into work.

As I was turning my computer on, I happened to glance down. And this, my friends, is what I saw:

Oh. My. God.

And here’s a head on view:

Look at my PANTS!

There they are. My pants, scrunched haphazardly into my boots, just like all the other fuddy-duddies I so snobbishly always made fun of in my head.

Maybe I really should have gone fly-fishing.

Oh, and PS- I’m also wearing my glasses today. I can assure you, this did NOT help my cause.

A friendly reminder

December 30, 2010

Are you sick of checking my blog everyday, only to be disappointed to find there isn’t a new post?

Do you check facebook everyday, hoping and praying I’ve posted a link?

Do you hate my inconsistency?

Subscribe to my blog!

It will email you every time I post a new entry, saving you time and frustration!

Simply enter your email to the little box on the right. When you get a confirmation email, click on the link and voila!

That’s all you need to do, and it’ll make your life all the more better.

Happy National Donut Day!

Remember to go to Dunkin Donuts to get your free one. I myself will be taking down a chocolate stick and vanilla frosted. Due to the Harpoon 5 Miler tomorrow, my donut-eating capabilities are somewhat hindered.

But that won’t stop me from celebrating this glorious day!

And Happy Birthday Mom! 🙂

PS- Wish me luck tomorrow in the race. I may or may not make it. Stay tuned for my (not so) triumphant results. In the meantime, for an accurate mental depiction of what I’ll look like, I’d like to refer you to this picture:

Courtesy of my good friend over at Two Sassy B’s.
Thanks Brita!

…and for many people, that’s a giant pile of greasy, heart attack-inducing fast food.

But, as angry as I get at the people who stuff their faces with this crap every day and then are SHOCKED when they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and have a heart attack at age 38, I’m starting to think the restaurants are just as much to blame.

Check out this yummy list of “30 Healthy Foods that Aren’t”.

Hey, Macaroni Grill! Congratulations. You’re the first people to successfully take a healthy piece of fish and bread, fry, and grease it up into a hearty 2,000+ calorie monstrosity.

Oh, and Ruby Tuesday’s, you sneaky little bastards. Don’t think using the word “mini” when describing your Bacon Cheddar Burgers is going to fool me. When you give someone FOUR, it’s almost worse than just handing over a full-sized one.

And Blimpie. Ohhhh, Blimpie. I didn’t even know you still exist. But leave it to you to pack a veggie sandwich with more than half a days worth of calories. You guys are good.

And by good, I mean disgusting.

I’ll be the first to say that people are too quick to blame others when it comes to their weight, and I’ll also be the first to call bullshit on that.

But, it’s easy to see how simple marketing techniques can lead uneducated people down the wrong, waistline-expanding, dangerously unhealthy path.

It’s pretty much general knowledge now that many salads served in restaurants are unhealthy, unless you specifically ask them to remove the fried chicken, croutons, 5 types of cheese, and buckets of salad dressing.

But…fish? Veggie sandwiches? Those things practically scream “I’m healthy!”.

So here I am, saying what I never thought I’d say. Maybe people aren’t 100% to blame for their weight. Maybe they’re only, like, 98% at fault.

The other 2% falls on the false advertising from restaurants.

I know many places are requiring restaurants to post the calorie content of their meals, and I think this is a step (albeit small) in the right direction. Because seeing these numbers is more than enough for me to steer clear.

How much longer until this type of food is just straight-up banned? Although I guess then we get into the issue of whether or not it’s our constitutional right to eat and get fat as we see fit.

Sigh. It’s a never-ending cycle. Stupid fast food.