Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Stories: ISIS, Alzheimer's, and Addiction

Image by Psychonaught
Abe Greenwald, in Commentary, presents a blistering indictment of Obama's foreign policy as it pertains to the Middle East and ISIS.

Jann Arden, on Facebook, with a candid, heartbreaking, glimpse into her experiences caring for her mother who has Alzheimer's

Eli Saslow in the Washington Post with a long read on what it's like to live with addiction.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sir David Attenborough Meets Pokemon Go

Today's Funny Friday will appeal to both players and non-players alike!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kudos to Pita Pit. Really! Healthy Help From A Fast Food Joint.

Thanks to Middlesex County's Anita Cramp for sending this photo my way!

It's one she took in a local Pita Pit and as she puts it, Pita Pit has,
"made water the easy and free choice"
So much better than the choice of more expensive bottled water vs. less expensive soda.

Thanks Pita Pit! Would love to see all fast food restaurants follow suit.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Food Industry Spends A Cancer Moonshot On Advertising Every 3 Weeks

Some perspective.

Did you hear about the "Cancer Moonshot 2020"?

In their words,
"The Cancer MoonShot 2020 Program is one of the most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiatives launched to date, seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients."
And so what's the cost of this ambitious program over the course of the next 5 years?

$1 billion.

Sound impressive?

Maybe less so when you consider that according to AdAge, in 2014 alone, the top 25 US food industry brands spent just shy of 15x that amount advertising their products.

That's a moonshot worth every 3 weeks!

Spread that out over the billion dollar moonshot's 5 year duration and suddenly you realize that through 2020 the food industry will spend 75 times more money trying to get you to buy Coca-Cola, KFC, Cheerios, Dunkin, etc., than the government will be spending on their "MoonShot" to cure cancer.

If we want to see population level improvements to diet, no doubt that part of the requirement will be food industry advertising reform. Banning advertising that targets kids altogether, reforming front-of-package claims, cracking down on deceit, and more, because with a cancer moonshot of food industry advertising every three weeks, consumers don't stand a chance if we don't.

[And of course the other issue worth noting is how incredibly irresponsible it is to promote a 5-year, billion dollar investment as a cancer moonshot.]

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Stories: Syrian Hell, Vegan Restaurant Review, False Tests and Cooking

That this photo from the Atlantic of Aleppo, Syria is over 4 years old is terrifying
Dr. Samer Attar in the New England Journal of Medicine on the hell of Syria (warning, this is a very tough read - and you should read it anyways)

Michael Deacon, on a much lighter note, with his review in the Telegraph of a new, trendy, London, vegan restaurant.

Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders in ProPublica with the awful story of the regularly false test that's sending people to jail.

My friend Darya Rose on her Summer Tomato blog on "The Real Reason You Don't Cook". Darya also kindly offered up a $15 discount code for Weighty Matters readers who want to sign up for her online course on how to cook without recipes in just 30 days (I don't get any cut or referral bonus) just enter COOKINGMATTERS15 at checkout.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Muscle Beach' Strongest Grandpa

Loved today's Funny Friday video.

That won't be me though one day.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

JCPenney Airs The Fat Acceptance Ad That Everyone Should See #HereIAm

This new ad campaign from JCPenney is wonderful.

Watching it, and hearing its messages, has me wanting to hear them more often.

Fat or skinny, weight doesn't define a person. Shocking how challenging it is to make that point. Kudos and thanks to JCPenney for making it so phenomenally well.

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's More Important To Teach Your Kids to Cook Than to Play Soccer

Photo courtesy of yoshiyasu nishikawa 
Yes, I know there will be people whose challenges and circumstances are real and severe enough that they genuinely can't ensure their kids learn how to cook before leaving home. This post isn't for them. This post is for everyone else.

For the first time in history the average American family is spending more money in restaurants than they are in grocery stores.

Kids are leaving home now knowing more about how to play soccer or hockey than they do about how to cook meals from fresh whole ingredients.

That's so incredibly unfortunate, not only for those kids, but for their future families.

Cooking is a life skill and it's a parents job to teach those before they leave home. If you aren't comfortable with cooking yourself, take the opportunity to learn with your kids. Your kids learning how to cook will serve not only to help them in providing themselves and their futures with healthful meals, but will also save them money during their lean years and will likely reduce their risk of developing a myriad of diet-related, chronic, non-communicable diseases.

Whether by way of the ridiculous amount of online recipes and resources, or enrolling in a cooking course or supper club, cooking, like any skill, is obtained by way of practice. It doesn't matter if you're not good at cooking now. Take the time, and there's no doubt you'll get there.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday Stories: Disclosure Paradox, Bad Yogurt, and Fat Bias

Sunita Sah in the New York Times on the inconvenient paradox of disclosure.

Gabriella Paiella in NYMag's The Cut with a history of bad yogurt commercials targeting women.

Louis Peitzman in Buzzfeed explains how if you're gay it gets better - unless you're fat.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and Conan Help a Student Driver

Because a longer Funny Friday video couldn't hurt.

Have a great weekend

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hospital RDs Defend Patient Meals Containing Doritos and Oreos

On Monday I posted a picture sent to me of the meal provided to a patient in the Plano's Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's ER. It consisted of a sandwich of some sort, a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, what appears to be a fruit cup, and then a bag of both Doritos and Oreos.

Over on my Facebook page, this post sparked a discussion, and included in that discussion were two RDs from the Texas hospital, Amber Murphy and Neva Cochran, who defended the meal.

Murphy defended it with by stating that it was alright for hospitals to be providing patients with junk food because the junk food was being provided to patients in the ER when the hospitals' kitchens were closed and before a formal diet order had been recorded,
"This is the after-hours stock sandwich meal that is typically served when the Room Service line is closed. It's what is available when they can't order something off of their designated menu and is typically served when pts are in the ER and diet orders aren't solidified yet."
Later she suggests that the alternative to handing out Doritos and Oreos would be an organic kale salad with quinoa (which would lead to rioting) and that cookies are comforting,
"I hear what you're saying and I don't expect to change your opinion on a FB rant; however, if our hospital offered something like an organic kale salad with a side of quinoa to some of our patients in the ER, there would be massive rioting. This is a well-portioned boxed meal, that is shelf-stable, a good source of protein and fiber, hospital budget-friendly and easily prepared by our limited kitchen staff. And I don't know about you, but if I'm a patient in the ER that just went thru a traumatic experience, a cookie might just make me feel a little bit better."
Cochran defended it on the basis that because it also has a sandwich and a fruit it's ok,
"There was more to the meal than Doritos. It had a sandwich and fruit but no one seems to notice that."
She then followed that up with the suggestion that the meal was ok because there was no such thing as junk foods and that a diet consisting wholly of broccoli would be bad for you,
"There are no junk foods, only junk diets. Doritos and Oreos can be eaten as part of a healthful diet. A diet of only doritos and oreos is not a healthful diet. Neither is a diet of only broccoli, which I assume no one is calling "junk" but eaten as your only food it does not provide for all necessary nutrients."
As I mentioned on Twitter, the issue of course isn't a single meal that includes Doritos and Oreos, it's that we have so normalized the provision of junk food that not only is there a hospital giving it out to sick patients in their emergency department, there are RDs who are comfortable defending that practice.

A hospital's default meal choice shouldn't be junk food. And it's worth asking whether or not those ER patients had other choices? Frankly I doubt it. I'm guessing their non-options would have included choosing to use hospital vending machines (that likely only contain junk food), or simply to go hungry.

And of course it's not just the ER. We've created a world where to make healthful choices you have to go out of your way to do so, sometimes far out of your way. This is true for adults and kids alike. While I think life does (and even should) include junk food, our crafted environment should require us to go out of our way to find it, not have to say no to it and go hungry in a hospital emergency department, or in a school, a summer camp, an arena, etc.

Recently I gave a talk for the Middlesex Community Healthy Kids Challenge. They kindly provided me with a copy to share. In it I highlight this crazy world we've built. Starting with our ill-advised practice of inviting the food industry to sit on governmental healthy living and eating advisory panels, and then following through with a tour of just some of the more inane examples of a world where junk food is definitely not, "just one", and where you can't possibly be expected to, "just say no".

And if you missed it, here's a video that they've produced demonstrating what responsible and thoughtful organizations can do to help.

And for more from one of their champions Nadine Devin, here's her guest post and call to action on this blog.

(And thanks too to Nadine Devin and Middlesex County for sharing the videos with me)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Texas Hospital Feeds Cardiac Patients Doritos and Oreos?

Thanks to Daniel Nelson for sending me this photo of the meal served to his girlfriend following her admission to Plano's Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for a heart problem.

Clearly this isn't healing food.

Is this a shocking one-off, or is this the norm?

I'm betting that for many North American hospitals, it's the latter not the former.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Friday, July 08, 2016

My Babies Are in Camp. Refresh Refresh Refresh.

I think I may have posted this one before, but since we dropped off our two oldest daughters at sleep away camp two days ago, and I have yet to see a good picture, today's Funny Friday video speaks to my pain (and BTW, has a few random curses as well if young ears are present).

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

No, Our Office's RD Is Not a "Skinny Bitch"

Judging people on their appearances is not ok.

Over the years our office has hired a whole slew of RDs of various shapes, sizes, and sexes.

There's been one commonality though.

When the RD in question is young, female, and thin, some patients will brand her (we hear them in the waiting room) as the "skinny bitch".

That it doesn't happen with our young male dietitian (whose body fat at last check here was an almost impossibly low 7%) is sexist.

That it happens at all, and from people who themselves know what it's like to be judged on their appearances and more specifically on their size, is sad.

Wouldn't it be great if people's bodies were their own business?

Wouldn't it be great if otherwise awesome artwork designed to address weight bias didn't do so by disparaging thin women as "gross and boney"?

(IMPORTANT EDIT - didn't notice the next frame where the artist addresses this directly. Sorry! Artwork wholly awesome.)

Wouldn't it be great if friends and relatives didn't tell people with weight that they're worried about them and that they should lose - as if they didn't already know about their weight and in most cases, and as if there were an easy, sustainable, way for them to do it?

Wouldn't it be great if fat acceptance champions didn't tell people who wanted to lose weight that they were wrong for wanting and wasting their time if trying?

Wouldn't it be great if we just treated everyone the same regardless of what they looked like?

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Saturday Stories: Addiction, Subsidizing Murderers, and Private Prison

Maia Szalavitz in the New York Times asks can you really get over an addiction?

Evelyn Gordon in Commentary makes a case that shouldn't need making - The US should not be paying the salaries of terrorists who murder 13 year old girls in their beds.

Shane Bauer in Mother Jones on his experiences working for 4 months in private prisons.

Friday, July 01, 2016

A 15 Second Video That If You Own A Harmonica I'm Betting You'll Try

Today's Funny Friday video involves a vacuum cleaner and a harmonica.

Have a great weekend!