Rants & Raves – 06/30/12

Oh, the webbernet! It gets me all riled up with dire news and mainstream idiocy, then blammo! it hits me with something so awesome, it must be shared. Welcome to this week’s collection of Rants & Raves.


Stabby. Frustrated. Grumpy. Pouty. These are the words inspired by these stories.

Am I the only one who remembers fen-phen?!
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new prescription drug for weight loss. Called Belviq, it’s demonstrated only “modest weight loss in clinical studies,” but “Belviq is one of three experimental weight-loss drugs whose developers have been trying for a second time to win approval, after the FDA shot them all down in 2010 or early 2011 because of serious potential side effects.” Known side effects include depression, migraines, and memory lapses — and tumors in animals, but “the FDA said there was little risk of tumors in humans.”

Two stories about the Olympics…
This piece in The Week examines the potential for unfairness toward women with high testosterone — could they be banned from the Olympics because they’re not “feminine” enough? “We should reject the idea that you can measure a woman’s ‘femaleness’ at all…” Amen to that! And in this story on Boing Boing, we learn that the strongest woman in America — Olympic weight lifter Sarah Robles — lives on just $400 a month. The article points out that the financial path for traditionally attractive athletes, like swimmers and volleyball players, is radically different than the one available to a 275-pound woman who “doesn’t fit the ideal of thin, toned athletic beauty.”

Girls like meat, too.
“If you’re a guy you’ve no doubt felt your machismo levels bolstered after chomping through a 16-oz ribeye steak, on the bone. As for you women, how many times have you steered away from the hamburger you quietly craved and opted for the chicken salad, just to seem that little more lady-like?” Um… not since 2009, ’cause I’m a cool paleo chick! Kidding aside, this is an enlightening piece about the potential reasons behind our bias in thinking that meat is masculine.

I just can’t even with this.

The New York Times blog Well asked, “Can Athletes Perform Well on a Vegan Diet?” and my head exploded.


Entertained. Informed. Amused. Optimistic. Excited. These are the words inspired by these stories.

Umami is yummy.
In this week’s Tuesday 10, I shared a list of 10 paleo flavor boosters and explained a little bit about umami.(That’s Kikunae Ikeda over there; he coined the term umami.) This post from The Art of Eating, bites into the history and significance of umami with a light touch and delicious details. “Complete protein molecules don’t trip any of our five tastes — lay a piece of plain chicken breast on your tongue and the taste comes not from the protein but from trace salts and sugars in the meat — yet if you break those same protein molecules into their amino acids, they lock right onto your umami taste buds and drive you wild.” The paragraph on how different cultures’ foods satisfy the umami craving is fascinating. Interesting factoid: Breast milk is “off the charts” in umami content. (This is my favorite link of the week.)

I’m not going to eat one, but I dig the sentiment.

To recognize Pride 2012, Kraft Foods shared an ad on their Facebook page that features an Oreo with rainbow-colored layers of its iconic cream filling. The headline says, “Proudly support love.” Love that.

An “oops” with the scissors is the worst.

From PRX: A five-year-old girl gave her three-year-old sister a haircut. After the brouhaha died down in the household, their dad interviewed them to get their thoughts on the experience. It’s adorable, endearing, disarmingly honest, and all-together hilarious. Give it a listen. (When I was about eight or so, I went sledding on the hill behind our house. My hat flew off as I careened into a thicket of briars — they stuck in my hair which reached halfway down my back. The only way to get them out was with scissors. Worst. haircut. ever.)


Must-Read: The Last Diet You Will Ever Need
Dr. Mark Hyman writes earnestly about the need for everyone to get with the “real food” program: “The very fact that we are having a national conversation about what we should eat… is symptomatic of how far we have strayed from the natural conditions that gave rise to our species…. When it becomes a revolutionary act to eat real food, we are in trouble.” (Thanks to my pal Stacey D. for passing this story along to me!)

If The New York Times says it’s good…

Earlier this month, I admitted that I’m tempted to try a Doritos Loco Taco (and if you read the comments on that post, you’ll see I’m not alone). William Grimes of the Times, took one for the team and did a serious review of the crispy, orange concoction: “Like almost every normal American, I like Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored chips. For precisely that reason, I regarded the taco version with dread. Would it violate the spirit of the chip? Or, conversely, would it make the mistake of being slavishly faithful to the Dorito model?”

Owen Egerton’s Book of Harold

A few years ago, I had the honor of sharing the title of “Best Local Author” with Owen Egerton, a brilliant Austin-based screenwriter, novelist, and performer. His work is intelligent and sharply funny, with just enough silliness thrown in that you can’t help but adore him. His latest work The Book of Harold is now available (and on my next-to-read list). To promote it, he created a video that showcases his special brand of genius. Enjoy.

Silly Fun

BuzzFeed’s 32 Pictures You Need To See Before The World Ends
I have to admit, my attitude was pretty much, Yeah, whatever. We’ll see if these are that great. You guys, they. are. awesome. Here’s a sneak peek (no, they’re not all cats!) to convince you to click through, but really, it’s the totality of the pics and captions that makes it work. The sum is greater than the parts. The magic is in the gestalt. Just go! GO!

Austrian police arrested five Romanians driving trucks overflowing trucks with 9.5 tons of fresh garlic. The men “could not explain where the pungent bulbs came from” and were charged with transporting stolen goods. That would make a lot of Vampire-Fighting Pork Stew, no?

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Rants & Raves 2/22/2014

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  • Erica says:

    Haircut = Best recording ever ! PS….If I haven’t told you before, I LOVE Well-Fed, cook from it so much that it’s covered in coconut oil and recommend it to everyone I know!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m really glad you’re enjoying Well Fed, and thank you for spreading the word!

  • Ouida Lampert says:

    I think your “Rants & Raves” may be my favorite posts. Each one gets better. I didn’t think you could top Well Fed when is comes to awesomeness, but you do it weekly!

  • Tami C. says:

    Love the hair cutting bit.

    “Did you think we would like it?”

    “No, but I didn’t know you would scream like THAT!”

    Heh, heh.

  • Coming from someone who cut her own hair at 4 and caused a huge ruckus… the hair cutting part was hysterical 🙂

  • Jake says:

    I *love* your rant and rave columns…each one makes me think, laugh and despise the corporate industry!

    I must say though…who would want to take a weight loss drug when there’s the “whole 30”? I say that, but I meet a lot of friends who want a quick fix, and have the standard mindset that everything is fixed with pills, shots, quick purges, and can’t put the time in. DRIVES ME CRAZY!

    • Mel says:

      Sigh. Me, too. It makes me sad, also. So many people working so hard to get their bodies right and getting such bad advice in most places.

    • Shannon says:

      The saddest part is the drug doesn’t even work that well. Stories I read said patients lost under 10 pounds. All that risk for 10 pounds! I wish there was a way for Paleo or Whole 30 to be approved in the same way so this way of eating could get the same high-profile news coverage. 10 pounds is chump change on a Whole 30 for an obese person on a standard diet. Trust me, I know!

  • Ms Jane says:

    Yes girls like meat too! My hubby is vegetarian and when they bring the food out in a restaurant they ALWAYS try to give me his vego meal. I just growl “mine’s the t-bone thanks”.

    • Mel says:

      HA! That used to happen to a friend of mine all the time, and she would look at the waiter and say, “Why are you giving me food’s food?!”

  • Erin says:

    The haircut audio was hysterical…I’d seen it a few days ago and shared it with my family who roared with laughter.

    As for the new “diet drug”, my husband and I were driving together when we heard the news on the radio…we were appalled (but, yes, we’re old enough to remember Phen Fen)…can’t believe people are willing to risk brain damage and tumors rather than eat Real Food.

  • Jenny says:

    I just recently found your blog and I love it and this post especially proud support of love.

  • Laurie D. says:

    Thankfully, my sisters and I only cut Barbie doll hair. That was a hilarious piece!

  • Amber says:

    I just read the NYT article… why did it make your head explode? I thought it was very well-balanced. With so much extremism out there in terms of this-diet-not-that-diet, I thought they did a good job of letting the experts say that healthy is what matters, regardless of whether you eat meat. I’m curious why you had such an adverse reaction to it?

    • Jen L. says:

      I agree. I thought this article was a balanced way to present the diet and it answers some critical questions asked by people interested in it. I’ve not seen similar articles in NYT for paleo…the only ones I have seen glorify young 20 something buff males with sides of beef in their freezer and present the diet as quirky, as a sort of glamorized “urban caveman” lifestyle.

      In my opinion, any diet that gets people to cut out industrial meat, deep fried food, and junk is beneficial, be it paleo, vegan, or whatever. It’s up to the consumer to not blindly follow some internet site or diet rules, but listen to their body, think critically, and go with what works.

      • Mel says:

        I agree that the coverage of paleo is usually annoyingly “look at the cavemen with their ‘barefoot’ shoes and piles of meat”… I guess the “head exploding” comes in because I truly believe that people are meant to eat animal protein. The NYTimes has such a loud, strong, far-reaching platform, I wish that veganism hadn’t gotten such a positive spin in the piece. I agree that it seems to be working for the people quoted in the article — but I also wonder how much BETTER they might feel if they followed more of a paleo template. My bias is showing in my writing above, but I feel pretty strongly about it.

        • Amber says:

          Ah, okay, I didn’t realize you felt so strongly against vegan diets. That would explain your reaction perfectly, as the article does point out that some athletes not only survive but seem to thrive on a vegan diet (Scott Jurek in particular). Thank you for explaining!