Sorry for the lack of blog posts in July … life offline has been a challenge. Here’s a tip: it’s never a good thing to find out your cat is diabetic, but it’s a bad thing to find out after an attack of both acute pancreatitis and ketoacidosis requiring several days of hospitalization. And the subsequent (fortunately temporary) renal failure from either the drugs the first vet gave him.

Then there was the cat biting me (or more correctly, me getting my fingers in the way of his teeth while trying to force antibiotics down his throat). And having to decide whether to go with the subsequent antibiotics for me and the potential c-diff from that vs the very scary potential infection from cat bite. Oh, and the subsequent quarantine of the cat because his rabies vaccine was out of date.

Finally, there was the death of my not-two-year-old Kenmore fridge and the subsequent tossing of $$$ worth of food. Sigh.

I’m hoping to get back to more regular posts in August! In the meantime, the cat is better, my hand never got infected (whew!), and the new fridge should last at least 5 years since that’s how long my new extended warranty is.

The NY Times has posted a number of reader responses to an “advice columnist’s assertion that pretending that obesity is not a problem may prevent hurt feelings but compromise health.”

In the small world department, one of those responses is from 83-year-old writer Anne Bernays, a great-niece of Sigmund Freud.

Bernays writes (emphasis mine):

The trouble began, I think, when euphemisms took the place of hard reality, such as the many ways of saying “fat” without using the actual word: “husky,” “pleasingly plump,” “statuesque,” “big-boned,” “ample” and many more.

Add to this semantic trickiness the idea that if you bring people’s attention to the fact that they could look and feel much better if they dropped, say, 15 pounds, you’re being offensive. You know they’re overweight and so do they.

I’m one of those old-fashioned women who refuses to believe that, given the choice, a woman wouldn’t rather wear a size 10 than a size 16.

I say small world because back in the early 90s, I knew Bernays. We were both sopranos in the Cambridge Chorale (now Cantilena). Bernays is from the generation before mine, so yes, she’s definitely old-fashioned. And I’m sure that most women who have grown up in our Western culture (most alive today given that Twiggy was named the “Face of 1966”) might rather be a size 10.

But that doesn’t make it healthy or right.

See Dr. Barbara Berkeley’s response for a more reasoned (IMO) opinion.

Chef Michael Ruhlman talks with MD Roxanne Sukol about “stripped carbohydrates” and the important semantic difference between “healthy” and “nutritious.” Here’s a highlight:

We are a nation drowning in stripped carbs and it is a dangerous situation we can make right, in large measure with words and education. “I’m all about the words,” [Sukol] said, seated on our porch Monday with a glass of iced tea. “Words are the key to giving people the tools they need to figure out what to eat. Everyone’s just so confused.”

“‘Healthy’ is a bankrupt word,” she continued. “We talk about healthy bread and healthy this and healthy that. It’s wrong. We are healthy. Our food is nutritious.”

We need to begin talking about nutritious food or we will cease to be nutritious when the bonobos come to feast on our fat, diseased selves strewn across the scorched earth we leave behind. Dr. Sukol recommends that if you see anything actually labeled “healthy,” throw it into the next aisle of the grocery store, which I hope is near the cleaning fluids. Actually she just said to put it back, but I would urge you, as an act of protest, to throw it into the cleaning fluids lane. …

You don’t need to worry about eating healthy if you’re eating nutritious food.


Former Daily Show correspondent and now Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on Dr. Oz’s admission that his promotion of weight loss supplements is lacking in the facts department [4:30]:

But that’s the whole point! You’re presenting it as a doctor. If you want to keep spouting this bullshit that’s fine. But don’t call your show Dr. Oz, call it Check This Shit Out with Some Guy Named Mehmet.

Watch the whole segment below. Oliver transitions from Dr. Oz into the general problems with the supplement industry. Don’t miss Oliver’s suggestions at the end for how Dr. Oz could “fill a show with shameless pandering, without dangerously misleading medical information” [13:30]. My fave is Steve Buscemi tap dancing … because who wouldn’t want to watch that ;).

I have a new favorite quote from weight loss doc Yoni Freedhoff:

Lose weight in the kitchen, gain health in the gym.

Read the backstory in Yoni’s Weighty Matters post on exercise and food intake.

Summer Tomato blogger and author Darya Rose asks why “virtually all health and diet advice” seems directed at “perfect” eaters who “eat for one reason and one reason alone: optimal health and nutrition.”

Rose describes mythical “Nutricons” who “are completely rational about their food decisions” and also points out the seemingly Emperor’s New Clothes aspect of what/how we eat:

Nutrition knowledge is meaningless unless we can actually implement it in our daily lives. … Unless you acknowledge that your actions will never be driven by nutrition knowledge, you’ll continue to spin your wheels and blame yourself––instead of the bad advice––each time nature shows you that you’re a human and not a robot.

To get healthy you need to understand what really drives you to eat, because hoping that you will one day be motivated enough to make salad instead of ordering pizza isn’t very rational.

Per Monday’s QOTD I would add that when trying to understand what really drives “you” to eat, you should also consider how alike “you” are to the millions and millions of other people who are driven to eat pizza instead of salad.

Polish proverb: Not my circus, not my monkeys