Friday, April 10, 2015

If I Put "Babe" in My Name....

Would that get me better hits on this site?

Maybe I should just blog more! 

Welcome back! It's been quite a few months. There's been some major PT for my leg which means less streamline lifestyle for now. But I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm learning Danish. And I can only imagine it will be very helpful when I tell Danish librarians, "I er ikke mine rigtige forældre! Hvorfor er min haj i ændernes svømmebassin?" (Yes, those are sentences from my lessons.)

This is a short entry, but I thought I'd chime in because we're finally seeing some true social media backlash on a lot of the crap I've written about in the past. And now it's centered squarely on the Food Babe.

Aside from the latest piece which was shared worldwide, it's not like people haven't already been criticizing her in the media and on campuses.

And it's been fun to see. In fact, go check out #foodbabefacts on twitter.

I'm not saying you can't be skeptical about what might be in food, but please...I say this as a librarian....DO SOME PROPER RESEARCH!!!!!!!!!!

I'm flabbergasted that we allow such inanity in our discourse about health and wellness. You know, Food Babe, there's been quite a lot of research out there on health literacy. It's been a concern for decades. It's not about scaring folks into believing we're all being poisoned. It's about learning to handle information to turn it into proper knowledge. 

I would suggest you might visit your local library soon. You might actually learn something. 

Share information, everyone. Just do it wisely. 

The Streamlined Ska Librarian Babe. (Now I just need my own army...)


“Food Babe Visits My University | Illumination.” Accessed April 10, 2015.

“Is The Food Babe A Fearmonger? Scientists Are Speaking Out : The Salt : NPR.” Accessed April 10, 2015.

“The ‘Food Babe’ Blogger Is Full of Shit.” Accessed April 10, 2015.

Nutbeam, Don. Health literacy as a public health goal: a challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century Health Promot. Int. (2000) 15 (3): 259-267 doi:10.1093/heapro/15.3.259 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The high cost of "Marge" clothing

Cold temperatures, polar vortexes, snowpocalypses that didn't happen (at least not in NYC)...all these factors lead it to being FRIGGIN' COLD!!  

Yeah, I probably could have used a scarf, too. via
That also means, I'm exercising outside less (I do have that thing about not running in single digit temps), and I'm craving more "sold, warm" food. But my usual regimen should keep me all tip-top, right? 

At least according to this study, folks who exercise first in the morning even when upping their calories tend not to gain weight (they don't lose it either, but they don't gain it). And that's me right there. Every weekday up at 5 AM to hit the gym with nothing but a cup of coffee and an allergy pill to fortify my progress. (Gyms have a lot of mold issues, just sayin').

Except I have gotten bulkier. Yes, I'm still happy to be bursting out all muscly all over the body. But I don't know if I'm Streamlined so much anymore as "Pumped Ska Librarian", which doesn't sound nearly so alliterative. As one of my old acquaintances who I occasionally see at the gym said recently, "I've seen Fat Dan and Skinny Dan, but I wasn't expecting to see Big Muscle Dan!" 

I'm not gonna lie: I did strut a bit more during my workout after that.

But this also means I have to start looking at larger clothes sizes again, after so happily squeezing into skinny clothes. But even with the gain, I don't fit into my Retro Ska Librarian clothes, and that's sort of a relief. They're still far too baggy in XL and above.

That's the one thing that's making me realize I really have just changed my body, even if I am heavier than when I started this blog. Retro I was XL+. Streamlined I was swimming in mediums (I'm far too tall for small sizes). Now I'm in that horrible limbo between medium and large, where nothing quite fits well.

I am....a "Marge."

And I'm not the only one who is in this realm. A quick search shows me it's all too common to be between medium and large.

So I'm less upset that I don't fit into "regular" sizes, as it seems no one does. I'm more upset I have to spend more money on a lot of basic work and casual clothes. An entire wardrobe just because I'm taking care of myself.

It's bad enough we get thrown into fashion fail just for being ourselves. After all, I still need all my tall/long size jackets and shirts taken in on the sleeves because my torso is longer than "average" and my arms are not. But now I need to go bigger in the chest and shoulders anyway. 

And now I need to make sure I don't do something bad and increase my waist size again. It will just lead to financial heartbreak.

Damn you, heaving obliques!
To prevent yet more wardrobe issues, I do have to be careful of food intake. Thankfully I can still be creative and try not to succumb to too many cravings this time of year. 

Turkey "pico de gallo" with roast veggies.

And I guess I should be lucky that most of the decent cheap takeout places in my neighborhood are disappearing. So not so much chance of defaulting to Chinese food and pizza. Because, as it turns out, we're killing our kids with pizza. 

(I think that speaks for the amount of crappy pizza there is out there, as opposed to feeding it to kids.)

It took quite some journey to be "marge." I ain't gonna spoil it with Domino's!*

*That was a joke. As a native Staten Islander who grew up with some of the top rated pizza joints of all time, I would sooner eat my too small gym shirts than order from Domino's.

Powell, Lisa M., Binh T. Nguyen, and William H. Dietz. “Energy and Nutrient Intake From Pizza in the United States.” Pediatrics, January 19, 2015, peds.2014–1844. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1844.

Van Proeyen, Karen, Karolina Szlufcik, Henri Nielens, Koen Pelgrim, Louise Deldicque, Matthijs Hesselink, Paul P. Van Veldhoven, and Peter Hespel. “Training in the Fasted State Improves Glucose Tolerance during Fat-Rich Diet.” The Journal of Physiology 588, no. Pt 21 (November 1, 2010): 4289–4302. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2010.196493.

Friday, January 2, 2015

It's ok to not be cool...and not in a cool ironic way, either.

Welcome to my first blog post of 2015! If we look back on 2014, it shows a marked decrease in my blogging activity. There were 30 posts in 2014. I posted 73 times in 2013.

Am I no longer so heartened to share my journey? Dare I join Food Blogger Pro to best utilize those same old dandy infographics and shaded set ups to make my savory paleo gluten-free hand farmed vodka infused cupcakes shine like so many popular bloggers?

No. Please no. If that happens, then I should just stop for real.

Truth be told, it's just been a very busy year. Perhaps busier than 2013, or perhaps the blog became a somewhat lesser priority. But in 2014, I spent time on a Food Chemistry MOOC from McGill, which was awesome but indeed time consuming. I've also been settling into cohabitation, including acclimating the "step-pets":

It's a mutual admiration society!

And I've also just had a lot of work related projects which bled into my usual downtime.

Oh yeah, there was also that pesky re-occurring gout, where even sitting and typing on a keyboard can lead to pain. Not to mention that cancer scare. That was a time suck, for sure.

So, yes, a busy 2014, with less time for blogging. I can only hope that we beat the statistical odds and make sure 2015 doesn't see only 15 entries.

Of course, in 2015, I'm starting yet another MOOC, this time an awesome nutritional biology course via Wageningen University in my beloved Holland. And my training regimen will continue to cause soreness for yet a firmer Streamlined body. And I'm so immersed in Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle, that I tend to want to just keep reading all those volumes with no interruption around me.

But that does bring up one thing that seems to have disappeared from my schedule. I'm going to confess something that shouldn't be so much of a surprise: I've been in book clubs. I was in one for 17 years (which must be some sort of record among transient NYers) and another for about 3, although that one does seem to have petered out, too. It's a shame that's happened, but then again...more free time!

In both book clubs I seem to have had the dubious honor of being the only member who actually read the entire book each month. Call it Librarian OCD, but I always felt it was important to be able to discuss each book as a work, not just something I skimmed through. Often that led to me having to actually give more a summary book report to other members (the time I acted out all the characters in Martin Chuzzlewit was quite a favorite), but more often than not it made me realize I didn't like a lot of the books we were reading.

One such miss for me was The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester. It surprised me that I didn't like it. Here was a novel about food! From a former food critic! With great reviews from people I admired! But I didn't like it. It happens.

But that's not I've dismissed Lanchester's work entirely. In fact he recently wrote a piece in the New Yorker where he takes on the foodie community from a more serious critical standpoint. And so much of resonated with me, I was all set to drop everything to blog about it...which of course, didn't happen.

I suggest reading the entire piece, but here's one paragraph:

"Most of the energy that we put into our thinking about food, I realized, isn’t about food; it’s about anxiety. Food makes us anxious. The infinite range of choices and possible self-expressions means that there are so many ways to go wrong. You can make people ill, and you can make yourself look absurd. People feel judged by their food choices, and they are right to feel that, because they are."

And I think that did hit me somewhat hard. Perhaps it's our ability to be able to share so much with each other nowadays, but I do see that everything about food has gotten a lot more judgy in the past few years. I'm as guilty of it, too...after all I just snarkily mentioned paleo cupcakes, but I also have been trying to be a little more empathetic about this.

I've always said from the beginning that my sharing my story, workouts, recipes and such were about MY journey and that it most likely will not be YOUR journey. But I also see people still trying to defend their choices or beliefs to me when they don't jibe with mine. To people I know: I love you, but we're not supposed to be one upping each other here. To folks who've met me through this blog...welcome! But the message is the same.

Lanchester's article brought up another piece in my mind which always answers my own feelings as to why cooking shows nowadays don't really appeal to me as much as they did. I always said, the best thing about Julia Child was that you saw how to do all aspects of cooking, including the messy, gross things. Julia told me how to debone an entire chicken, gut and filet fish and create caramel nests out of molten, skin graft inducing sugar. 

But a recent piece also brought home what really stuck with me: She messed up a lot in the kitchen...and it didn't matter.

And that's what I regret about this social media of food nowadays. Instead of just showing how cooking never matches instagram perfection as a way to show "fails", show that it doesn't matter if it's not perfect. If it tastes good and everyone eats, that's cool enough for me. It certainly was cool enough for Julia Child!

And that's what 2015 is probably gonna mean to me: I'm not changing too much, but let's hope we can all be less judgy of one another. Which sounds pretty dull and not too cool at all. But then again, I only found out I was cool in my youth after it happened. Isn't it always that way?

Happy 2015!


“Julia Child Wasn’t Perfect in the Kitchen, and That Was Perfect.” Vox. Accessed December 28, 2014.

Lanchester, John. “A Foodie Repents.” The New Yorker, October 27, 2014.