Rants & Raves – 07/22/12

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!


Monthly hormone poisoning? Check. Thyroid hormone frustration? Check. Temperatures above 95F? Check. Annoying stuff on the internet about health and fitness? You betcha!

It’s like they’re inbreeding our food.
Slate explains why most of the food we eat in restaurants comes from one source: Sysco. “Like any retailer, chefs need wholesalers that distribute goods cheaply and efficiently, and Sysco’s 400,000-plus item catalog conveniently sells everything a cook needs to run an eating establishment.” While you might expect that from fast food joints, the bad news is that many “fine” restaurants rely on Sysco’s microwaveable, prepackaged “food,” too — and then pass it off as homemade. “Recently, New York magazine reported that Thomas Keller uses frozen Sysco fries at his Bouchon bistros.” Say it ain’t so, Thomas!

Some chicken contains the same antibiotic-resistant E. Coli that’s been found to cause recurrent bladder infections.

Ew. Seriously. So gross.

Dave and I cannot get enough of this Geico commercial, and this story made me say, in my meanest mean girl voice, “Ew. Seriously. So gross.” According to this NPR report, there’s a connection between persistent human bladder infections and the antibiotics fed to factory-farmed chicken. Journalist Maryn McKenna says we should “definitely” be concerned about antibiotic resistance found in food animals.

… antibiotic use in agriculture dwarfs antibiotic use in human medicine — so to whatever degree human medicine amplifies antibiotic resistance, agriculture is likely to be creating a larger effect…

Read the entire Q&A here. Ew. Seriously. So gross.

Another weight-loss drug is approved. Related news: there’s a dent in my desk from me bashing my head against it.

A few weeks ago, I told you about the FDA approval of the weight-loss drug Belviq. (Spoiler: the news was not good.) Now another drug has gotten the greenlight. Called phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia), it was originally rejected in 2010 “after an FDA advisory committee recommended against approval, largely over concerns about psychiatric and cardiovascular side effects.” Vivus, the company that is marketing the drug, “will be required to complete 10 postmarketing studies, including a long-term cardiovascular safety trial to assess effects on major events including MI and stroke.”

I know there are times when medication is required — and I want people who are obese and overweight to be healthy and happy, too. But neither of these newly-approved drugs seems like good options to get us there. [bash]

Since my head is already bashed…

For $1 you can get a cup of mashed potatoes from a Slurpee Machine at 7-11

… and a new device called the Virtual Fridge Lock attaches to your fridge and posts on your social networks when you go for an ‘unauthorized’ snack. “The user’s friends could then either shame them into compliance or offer helpful motivation to stay on-track with the diet.” Oh, yay! I love when I can combine shame with food, don’t you?! (Thanks to Melissa H. of Whole9 for passing this along to me.)


See? I was super ranty last week. But here’s some really, really good stuff to restore our positive outlook and balance. Take big bites of the following goodies.

The kids are all right.
I’ve mentioned before that even though I do like to have fun, I have a hard time making the time to play. I’m great at getting sh*t done, knocking down to-do lists, and being a grownup most of the time. But acting like a kid? I have to remind myself to do it. For parents, this stuff might be no-duh because you have your kids to be your expert examples. For the rest of us, these two pieces are packed with great reminders: From Matt Madeiro’s blog Make Every Day Count, How to Act Like a Kid Again, and from Breaking Muscle What Babies Can Teach Us About Movement.

Happy baby might be my favorite yoga pose.

Diet as a noun.
I’ve briefly talked about the difference between using the word “diet” as a noun and a verb before. (Basically, diet as a noun is good; it’s the way you eat to nourish yourself. Diet as verb is problematic because it implies deprivation in the name of weight loss). This post from the brilliant body image blog Weightless does an excellent job of really breaking down the issues with diet as a verb: “… dieting actually affects your entire life. It stops you from being fully present, and keeps you preoccupied, ashamed and oppressed – among other things.” Part 1 | Part 2

Must-read: Swimming Over Her Fears
Of the many amazing stories out of the CrossFit Games, this is one of my favorites. CrossFit Lisbeth always does a bang-up job of encapsulating the emotions of physical training and triumph over our fears. Enjoy this story of grit and determination.

Speaking of grit and determination…
Krista Scott-Dixon of Stumptuous is one of my favorite writers because she strips away the bullsh*t and inspires at the same time. Just when you think she’s serving up too much tough love, she turns a phrase so sweet your eyes might sting a little. She’s also got a finely-tuned sense of humor: “I used to associate “fitness” a lot more with a particular kind of body. And for some reason, abs. Always abs. As I get older that seems unbelievably idiotic and myopic. Like, really, the sum total of human achievement is abs?” Breaking Muscle has a badass two-part interview with Krista, and you should totally read it. Part 1 | Part 2

Stumptuous = stumpy + sumptuous

The strongest girl in the world?
Meet Naomi Kutin, a 10-year-old, Orthodox Jewish from Fair Lawn, N.J.. She just might be the strongest girl in the world. This 99-pound dynamo set a world record for females in her weight class with a 214.9 pound back squat and her deadlift is 209.4 pounds. For context, I weigh about 60 pounds more than she does, and on Friday, I did 7 backsquats at 135 pounds, and I thought I might croak under that bar. The last time I tried to deadlift 200#, I only got the bar about an inch off the floor.

“Naomi, who is 4 feet 9 inches tall with a sturdy figure and a sandy blond pageboy haircut, practices lifting in the basement of her family’s two-story home, where a handwritten “No Fear” sign hangs next to a white porcelain mezuza.” And then there’s this; sounds like her dad is rad. “Her father introduced her to [weight lifting] after watching her outshine the boys in her karate class.” Read the whole story and watch the video here.

That is a happy plate.

Bora Bora Fireballs are one of my favorite recipes from Well Fed, so I la-la-loved this post from Femme Scientifique with photos of the happy plates she made with Bora Bora Fireballs.

Cool Creative Stuff

These are definitely raves, but I thought they deserved their own category on account of being totally freaking awesome.

A totally rad chick.
I know a lot of badass women, and my artist friend Isabel Samaras is among the baddest of the badasses, i.e., very, very, very good. I’ve written about her before, but wanted to share this story of her new pieces because these new works exemplify her singular take on the world. Lady hip hop artists… as beautiful birds. With attitude. Those are her sketches below, hit her site to see the finished watercolors.


When Flea & Jane Eyre collide…
In 2007, when Flea returned from a tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he was feeling “somewhat discombobulated and out of sorts,” so he started recording some (mostly instrumental) music for fun. Fast forward… he’s just released an EP of the music he says was inspired by Helen Burns, a pivotal character in Jane Eyre (known in our house as the best book ever written ever.) You can get a copy of the “Helen Burns” EP here (with a donation-based pay structure that benefits the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.)

I was surprised and delighted to learn that Flea is as a big a Jane Eyre fan as I am. From the EP liner notes:

I have for a long time, been in love with the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. The beauty of the character Helen Burns is a quality I yearn for in all human beings, including, of course, myself. Helen Burns is someone who is always present with me, and whose highest ideals resonate in the deepest experiences of my life. I share this love with my friend, Patti Smith, and she agreed to sing a song for Helen.

And then there’s this from an LA Times interview:

“Music saved me – and books,” Flea says…. He owns a British first-edition printing of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which he bought in London in 2004 for, he sheepishly admits, “a large amount of money.” I didn’t read it until my late thirties,” he says of the novel, “but it touched me – the resilience Jane maintains when faced with situations where everyone loses their dignity and kindness. She is put through fucking hell. She’s abandoned, treated like shit. And she never strays from what she loves.” Give her a guitar, I suggest, and it could be the story of his band. “I relate to it,” Flea confesses. I didn’t always keep my dignity and stay true, be kind and stuff.” Still, he says, “It’s something to aspire to.”

Silly Good Fun

Two little stories to make you smile.

Happy cows, indeed.
In the French village of Lunel-Viel, some farmers are giving cows a little wine to wash down their barley and hay. “The cattle loved what was on the menu and drank it with relish,” said Claude Chaballier, owner of the farm where the experiment started last year. The happy hour for the cows means great dinners for meat lovers later. According to one chef, the beef is “…beautiful, marbled and tender, and which caramelises during cooking. All the best Parisien restaurants will take it.” The Telegraph | The Independent

Motivational Manatees.

Manatees only speak the truth. Enjoy more of their wisdom at SadandUseless.com.

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Rants & Raves 2/22/2014

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  • aseafish says:

    I’m so glad you start with rants and end with raves. I was about to start pulling my hair out when I got to the fun stuff. And the manatees! What a cool way to wrap it up. Thank you.

  • Amy says:

    Working (part time) in food service (I co-own a cafe with a bunch of people), Sysco drives me batty. If you are not a large account they are hard to work with, and it can be a PITA figuring out what they actually carry, which can make menu planning and pricing really challenging. My cafe gets ingredients from a cash and carry distributor, farmers markets, a local produce delivery company, and UNFI, which is the SYSCO of the natural foods world. UNFI is a pain too, as a small account the pricing structure means we can pay wholesale what Whole Foods charges retail. If anyone wants to know why prices are not rock bottom at local restaurants it is in part because the cheap pricing is for the big chains and it’s a lot harder to keep down costs (and attempt to pay a decent wage to your employees) when you don’t have bargaining power.

    Oh a happier note, the rabbi quoted in the second part of the article about Naomi is in my hometown!

  • shirley says:

    I love your raves. I bought that Frank Turner tune and this week manatees!!!

    Thank you!

  • Rossana Bogorad says:

    I always hated the word “diet”, I’m glad that I don’t have to use it anymore. Love the story on Noemi.
    Love your Rants & Raves. Thanks!

  • sarah k. says:


  • Kim says:

    The second manatee…..swoon. I love him and he loves me.

    Help with feeling like a kid again: Movnat

  • Erin says:

    OMG! We love that Geico commercial! Seriously thinks it is genius.

    That Naomi is amazing. Thanks for sharing her story. I have a now-13 year old doing Crossfit and she’s not even close to Miss Naomi and my Buttercup kicks ass.

  • Cookie H says:

    Don’t know how many decades it’s been since I first read Jane Eyre, but recently read it again – due to you, of course – and yes, Jane and Helen were truely awesome, but imagine what Charlotte – and her sisters – must have been like!! Would’ve been very cool to have been best friends.

  • Thanks for the shout out! Totally checking out so many things you’ve linked here – thanks for sharing!