No kids on The Biggest Loser

Yeah, let’s bully them into submission! Oh, wait. They get that already.

Are you freaking kidding me? Kids on The Biggest Loser? What’s next, throwing little Sally and Sammy Junior onto Survivor? I don’t freaking think so! The Biggest Loser is possibly the worst show on television. It promotes self-hate, bullying and fat hate culture. Rather than making kids get healthy—which the show is trying to pretend it’s doing—it’s only going to make fat kids hated and bullied even moreso.

And why? Because people are “worried about fat people’s health.” That’s bull, by the way. Nobody cares. They like to bully, and bullying fat people is the last accepted form of bullying there is based on this flimsy excuse—which, by the way, is debunked by science on a continuous loop. Just recently, among the many studies that have proven that being fat alone doesn’t prove a damn thing about you except that you are, indeed, fat, a huge study proved that people who are either somewhat overweight or level one obese actually live longer than people who are considered a “normal” weight or underweight. Extreme cases are not included, but on a general basis, most of the fat people you make fun of may actually live longer than you, statistically speaking.

Subjecting fat kids to abusive Biggest Loser techniques—which, by the way, may be extremely dangerous and deceitful, according to secrets from the show that were recently revealed—just because they are fat, with no known other health problems apparent, is outrageous. And even if these kids have health issues, no one loses weight and keeps it off by being bullied. Do you really think that yelling at someone and calling them names helps their self esteem, or helps them love their body? Absolutely not. And that’s where real change happens. Anything the show manifests is made from Hollywood tricks and superficial, brief exterior changes.

If you want children to really be healthy, make physical education mandatory in schools. Have schools—all schools!—serve healthy foods instead of Pizza Hut. Educate them. Educate parents. Make healthy food choices affordable instead of subsidizing corn and sugar. Don’t shame people and don’t hate them; all it does is cause more shame and hate, not health.

Click here to tell producers to keep kids off the show—and that you won’t watch it at all until they do. (Check out that photo in the petition link. Think Michaels feels big and bad bullying someone just because she weighs more? Would you like to see a child subjected to that kind of hate?)

Got kidney stones?

This too shall pass.

When I read that title to my husband, he rolled his eyes at me. Poor guy. He went to the emergency room early Tuesday morning with severe pain only to have it confirmed: he had a kidney stone. The 5mm stone was the largest they allowed in order to return home, so he is now drinking quarts of water a day trying to flush the thing out.

And that’s basically all you can do. I’ve never had a kidney stone, but I’ve had gallstones so bad that I developed blood poisoning and can vouch for how painful they are. (My gallbladder was so high in my body that my doctors kept telling me it was acid reflux, which is why I ended up with blood poisoning.) I passed maybe a dozen of those things, ending up with one to three days of constant pain each time, and I know my husband’s pain has to be similar or worse.

The ER gave him a ‘script for twenty pills, which lasted three days. Guess how long the average person takes to pass a kidney stone? One to three weeks. Yeah, that wasn’t a great length of painkiller for sure. And when my otherwise normally quite healthy hubby called his former doctor to renew the prescription like he was instructed, we learned that his old doctor had actually moved away, and that since her partner had never officially seen him—he hasn’t been to a doctor since 2007—she couldn’t write him one. And she could not see him until next Thursday! I guess he’s just supposed to writhe in pain—the most pain I’ve ever seen him in during our 17 years together—for another six days. Ugh.

So I called the ER nurse again and she advised that we get some ibuprofen—any brand, which makes it very cheap—and take up to 800 mg, which is what they would give you for a prescription grade medicine. We did just that, and guess what? It works better than the narcotic they had given him. And it’s fourteen bucks cheaper, too.

Now he’s taking two to three of the pills at a time every four hours and managing the pain much better than he was, but he’s also using a heating pad, which helps. I’ve spent the week being his nurse and reading, which really isn’t a bad way to spend the week, save for missing out on a few activities we’d planned.

So now we wait. And drink lots of water. And use heat and ibuprofen. And that’s pretty much all we can do until the thing comes out. I wish there were a miracle cure—some people I know say they’ve had their stones broken down at the hospital when they are larger—but this is one of those things where patience is a virtue.

Bento box for good health

Control portion sizes with a bento box

If you ask me, the way to good health is through eating balanced meals as often as possible.  In a perfect world, we would all be able to quit eating foods that are loaded with greasy oil and sweet sugar.  However, since it is not a perfect world, we would do fine with just minimizing the amount of unhealthy foods that we do eat. 

Truth is that unhealthy foods do taste great.  That is why we continue to eat it even though we know that it is not at all good for us.  However, we must take caution against eating too much of the unhealthy foods.

Personally, when I am eating unhealthy foods that are delicious in taste, I find it hard to stop after just a few bites.  It is not easy to rely on self-control when there is more of the food sitting right there.  So in order to prevent putting myself in this type of predicament, I rely on the usage of a good old bento box.

A bento box has different compartments for different types of foods.  I like the ones that have one big compartment for the healthiest part of the meal, and a couple of smaller compartments for foods that need not be consumed in large quantity.  This allows me to fill up the big compartment with either a fresh salad or some grilled veggies.  Meanwhile, in the smaller compartments, I can place some brown rice, grilled shrimp and maybe even a guilty pleasure like fried dumplings.  A bento box like that would allow me to have a little bit of fried food without overdoing it.

Cooking brown rice

In trying to shrink their waistline, a lot of people are banishing carbohydrates from their diet.  However, what these dieters might have not considered is that not all carbohydrates are the same.  Some are actually pretty healthy and good for you.  Therefore, they do have a place in a nutritious and balanced diet.

One of the healthiest types of carbohydrates to consume is brown rice.  It is a wonderful side to a great variety of dishes.  Plus it is great for the diet of a vegetarian.

If you wish to get the most out of your rice you should try your best to refrain yourself from eating the instant variety that can often be found in supermarkets.  Sure, the instant rice might be quick and convenient.  However, you sacrifice a lot of taste and nutrition in the process.  Therefore, do go with the slower cooking rice whenever possible.

The easiest way to cook a good pot of rice is with a rice cooker.  However, your kitchen might not have the room necessary to house yet another cooking appliance.  If so, then you can try to cook brown rice using other methods.

If you already own a slow cooker, then you will be glad to know that it can also be used to cook brown rice.  It does take longer than a rice cooker.  However, it will still enable you to cook the brown rice successfully without having to watch over it.

Another option for cooking brown rice is to use your stove.  Place the water and brown rice into the pot, and simmer until the brown rice absorbs the water.  Just make sure you are nearby to watch over the cooking of the brown rice when using this particular cooking method.

A Calorie Is Not A Calorie

...and other food fantasies debunked by Robert Lustig of the University of California at San Francisco.

A little knowledge of evolution has gone a long way in attempting to explain our bodies and minds. Although sometimes evolutionary biology evolutionary psychology can be stretched a bit too far to justify our behaviors or rationalize our dispositions, it’s a useful tool in unlocking the bigger picture. It’s with that in mind that Robert H. Lustig addresses one of the largest (no pun intended) health concerns of the 21st century; obesity and obesity related illness, or chronic metabolic disease.

According to Lustig there are two fundamental misconceptions about nutrition and fiet: that a calorie is a calorie, and that you are what you eat. “If a calorie is a calorie, then any food can be part of a balanced diet,” he writes in Project Syndicate, “and, if we are what we eat, then everyone chooses what they eat.” He points out that if obesity and chronic metabolic disease were truly a choice, there wouldn’t be obese toddlers, or an “obesity epidemic amongst six-month olds.” Instead, our modern diet has changed to reflect these misunderstandings about food, and it’s having dire consequences on public health.Lustig pointed out two correlaries in evolutionary biology that are relevant to this argument. First, our hunting ancestors had diets high in fat, but low in carbohydrates. Lustig points out that livers could function efficiently with a single energy source (like fat) and so processed it efficiently. Likewise, our gathering ancestors ate diets high in carbohydrates, but low in fat, and their livers processed the energy sources efficiently. Thus the liver stayed healthy, and the byproduct, whether it be low density peripheral fat (the kind that we all already have) stores or as liver starch. The problem, according to Lustig, is when we began consuming high quantities of both fats and carbohydrates at every meal. The liver can’t cope and uses what Lustig refers to as an escape valve; making new fat to store the excess energy. These new fats develop insulin resistance within the liver, which is the precursor to nearly every type of chronic metabolic disease.

On top of the fat/carbohydrate combination within our diets, sugar is composed of two different molecules, glucose and fructose. Both of these molecules are metabolized differently in the body, and when ingested in excess, lead to the same build up of liver fat that fat and carbohydrate combinations.

Human psychology has been trained over millennia to respond very strongly to these three types of energy sources. After all, our ancestors were often not sure when the next meal was coming, or how big or small that meal would be, and biologically required a strong response to these types of energy when they were available. Today, food companies understand that physiological response very well, and they design foods to contain just the right balance of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar to entice people to buy and consume them. According to Lustig, this balance also makes food difficult to metabolize, and likely to create liver fats that ultimately lead to chronic metabolic disease, 33 percent of Americans (or 1 in 3) at last count.

Peanut oil for frying

Lately, a lot of fast food places are touting their usage of peanut oil in frying foods.  Chick-fil-A is perhaps the most recognizable name when it comes to chicken sandwiches, and they have been using peanut oil since the beginning. 

Another place that only uses peanut oil to cook food served to their customers is Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  With such popular fast food places claiming peanut oil to be the superior cooking oil to use, you might be wondering if you should also use peanut oil at home.

Peanut oil has been used for many years in Asian countries.  The reason for its popularity in Asia is due to the fact that peanut oil’s flavor works great with Asian cuisine.  In America, peanut oil is prized for its ability to withstand higher cooking temperatures.All cooking oils have their own smoke point.  That is the cooking temperature in which the cooking oil is bound to burn or smoke.  Whenever cooking oils reach its smoke point, it turns into trans fat, and trans fat is very bad for the consumer’s health.  Frying foods require the cook to use higher heat settings.  

Therefore, it is best to use cooking oil that has a higher smoke point.  For this reason, peanut oil is one of the safest cooking oils for fast food places to use to cook their French fries and chicken sandwiches.  So if you do a good amount of deep-frying in your own home kitchen, then you should keep a bottle of peanut oil around.


The dangers of nonstick pans

Growing up, nonstick pots and pans were always used by my mother to prepare meals for our family.  So when I was old enough to start cooking for myself, I also made nonstick pots and pans my cooking instrument of choice.  I never even really considered using anything else as cookware due to the fear that I would have to use too much oil while cooking.

Recently, my set of nonstick pots and pans started to deteriorate.  Scratches were visible on various pieces.  Therefore, I started shopping around for a new one.

During my search for a new set of pots and pans, I spent a lot of time online reading various reviews for the ones that are out on the market.  It was while reading these reviews and comments that I finally learned of the dangers of nonstick pans.

Nonstick pans are coated with Teflon.  It is the coating that comes off of the pan with time and usage.  When heated at a high enough temperature, the Teflon emits fumes that can lead to cancer.  Furthermore, the fumes can be deadly for pet birds.

Knowing the dangers of using Teflon-coated nonstick pans, I no longer dare to buy another set.  If you are of the same mindset, then I recommend that you give some other type of cookware a chance.  Personally, I am going to make the switch to stainless steel cookware.  However, if you do not like stainless steel, you can try buying cast iron instead.  Ceramic and glass cookware are also worth a try.


BPA-Free Canned Foods

In recent years, the dangers of BPA have caused a lot of people to avoid buying canned foods.  Many people were more than willing to give up the convenience of eating from a can, in order to keep themselves safe from the possible dangers of BPA.  However, the banning of all canned foods is not necessary for you to prevent BPA from entering your home’s kitchen.  You can still enjoy canned goods without fear of BPA.  That is because there are companies out there with canned goods made without the toxic BPA.

The company that is leading the way when it comes to producing BPA-free canned goods is Eden Foods.  They have made the switch to BPA-free cans since before the general public even knew the meaning of BPA.  Initially, Eden Foods did not label their cans as being free of BPA.  However, they have now started to add the labels more recently.  So be on the lookout for it when doing your grocery shopping.

Some other companies do produce BPA-free canned goods.  However, they have yet to state it on their labels.  For instance, Edwards & Sons has confirmed that more than a dozen of their products are packaged in cans that do not contain BPA.

In general, it is best to eat freshly made foods.  However, time constraints sometimes make it impossible to do so.  In such a scenario, it is better to eat from a BPA-free can than to eat greasy foods from a fast food place.  So it might not be a bad idea to have some on hand just in case.

Eat local for better health

When it comes to healthy eating, transitioning to organic food is not the only thing that you can do.  The move toward eating local foods is catching on rather quickly.  In fact, there is even a name for it.  A locavore diet is one that only consists of foods grown within a radius of 100 miles from where you reside. 

Eating local is the eco-friendly thing to do.  It creates less pollution for the environment since your food does not have to travel as many miles.  However, being a locavore is not just great for the planet.  It is also quite good for your health as well.

Food that goes a long way to get to your kitchen table is often irradiated in order to prevent bacteria from harming you.  However, all of the gamma rays and electron beams are likely to be dangerous to your health.  So the best way to steer clear of the questionable practice of irradiation is to eat locally.

There is another benefit to being a locavore.  When you eat locally sourced foods, you are likely to consume more nutritious foods as opposed to eating processed junk food.  That means instead of snacking on a bag of potato chips, you are more likely to munch on some fresh produce when eating like a true locavore.

Another cool benefit to eating local is that your food is going to taste better.  The food is fresher, and you can taste that freshness when biting into the food.  Therefore, you won’t be missing out on much by becoming a locavore.

Lose weight with organic foods

Previously, organic foods were something that only few Americans were willing to purchase.  Nowadays, organic foods have gone mainstream.  You no longer have to go to specialty stores for organic foods.  Instead, you can find foods grown organically at just about every grocery store in your neighborhood.

Why are people willing to fork over more money to buy foods grown organically?  It is because in recent years, people have started to uncover the truth about the food industry.  Most people in America now know about how foods are routinely modified genetically.  Plus it is no secret that plenty of chemicals are used in the growing of non-organic foods.  Therefore, it can be said that people are willing to pay more for organic foods in order to keep the unhealthy stuff off of their dinner plates.

Besides being healthier for you, many experts now believe that eating organic foods can actually help to reduce your waistline.  For instance, Dr. John Salerno is an internationally known physician who routinely advises his patients to turn to organic foods to help them lose weight.  He believes that the chemicals found in non-organic foods can cause you to gain weight over the length of time.  So by switching over to organic foods, you can avoid this type of unnecessary weight gain.

It is not just health experts who are supportive of eating foods grown organically to help promote weight loss.  Celebrities are also endorsing the consumption of organic foods for dieters.  For instance, Kristie Alley attributes her significant weight loss to her organic lifestyle.