Screw the Flu: Part 1


Oye, from the sewers of ennui, atrophy, and Law and Order reruns-y.

After 2.5 weeks of the flu and now bronchitis, I have lost all ability to give a schpit about anything, I sleep more than my dog, and I’m so stuck on the bottom rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy that I can’t even throw myself a pity party. And if you threw me one, I wouldn’t show up.

In fact, I almost went to the drugstore naked because 1. My skin hurt too much to wear clothing, and 2. Cold prison walls might finally break my fever without shredding open my liver at the same time.

So. What better time to talk about dietary supplements we all take to avoid this awfulness.

Let’s first check what you can do to not spend your days plotting your own death.

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Keepin’ It Real #1: Making it Work at the Movies

Keep your arterial status safe

Keep your arterial status safe!

Your blogs are too long and cover way too much, and I don’t care about research. Once in a while, I just want you to tell me something without proving it.


I’m going to go see Skyfall. Let’s pretend I refuse to bring my own snacks like a social reject. I want to enjoy myself, dammit. But I don’t want my heart to stop before the movie finally starts. WHAT CAN I EAT?


Hatin’ in Hillsdale

Dear Hatin,

Thanks for your constructive feedback. To appease your attention span, I’ll get right to the point.

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Quickie of the Week: Glucosamine = Joint Savior or Expensive Urine?

Megan A. from Jazzercise Los Altos asks:

Do you think glucosamine and chondroitin really help joints (even for people without arthritis) and if so, how much and which one?


Great question, Megan! Glucosamine is being jammed into our faces as the magical cure for joint pain, so much so that some of my supp-worshiper friends are taking it prophylactically, as if popping Glucosamine-coated maltballs is going to prevent them from any skeletal issues they might incur from repetitively playing rugby with guys the size of sofas.

What’s the sitch?

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Hating on Sugar: Does it cause all of our problems?

You’ve got problems.

All of us do. Having problems isn’t nearly as exhausting as the prospect of solving them, though.  Who has time to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (or practice it!), who can afford the weekly therapy investigating our suboptimal behaviors satisfying our inner needs, and who’s got the patience to develop a mindfulness-based approach to our email, let alone the real stress points of our lives.  Doesn’t someone have an easy answer to everything?

They DO! Enter a limelight-seeking Dr. or celebrity or worse, both at the same time: they come out with a book or go on a talkshow and ask “Are you stressed out? Are you overweight? Are you fatigued? Do you feel you are not living up to your potential?” We predictably scream YES!”, or at least eek out a tear-filled nod, if you catch us at the right spinally-challenged-camel moment.

Then comes their solution. They know what’s causing all of our ills. It’s not the 10 hours of sitting per day. It’s not the fact we are constantly surrounded by all types of foods and we can pretty easily exist without taking so much as 3 steps during a day. It’s not the high pressure to be insanely productive, be the perfect nurturing and attentive parent, have the best relationship, live in a pristine and organized house, and also be ready at any moment to pose for the cover of Glamour. Nope. None of that matters. What is ruining your life is just this: sugar. 

Really?  Is sugar a toxin? Or is true that, aside from swallowing hypodermic needles, the dose makes the poison? 

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Stand up for yourself…all the time? What to do with the new sitting scare.

He drinks organic Swiss chard every 42 minutes. He refuses to be in the same room as plastic. He vomits on gluten-containing products. He wears Power Bar-sponsored spandex and bikes his 43-mile commute to work (and tells you about it).  He does 3 sets of 12, even during sex. And afterwards, he asks if you mind standing up while cuddling.

He’s Mr. Extreme (“That Guy” ‘s cousin). You may know some version of him, or even have a little bit of him in yourself. There’s something about reading a hot topic and stepping it up 24 orders of magnitude that seems to really drive our cars, instantly making us feel in control, superior, healthy…Moderation is for pussy cats who can’t hack the real deal.

But today’s blog is not about the mental issues Mr. Extreme and his devotees cultivate in their organically obsessive brains. Today is about the fact that last month his self-centered butt donated all the chairs in your house to his worst enemies…Is Mr. Extreme finally onto something? Or is he just secretly wishing for varicose veins because he heard they are the next badge of health?

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Quickie of the Week: Calcium–A Heart Breaker or Friend with Boney Benefits?

Is Calcium Tricking Us?

I heard that calcium causes heart disease! I’m emptying all my yogurt on my lawn for those cats that brawl outside my window at 4 AM to eat.”

“My bones are fine! I’m so young, and I wear a weighted vest to school. I don’t need calcium!”

“I get all my calcium from broccoli and spinach! Screw milk!”

“Uh…will dairy products make me lose weight?”

I grouped all these questions together to form this week’s quickie. If you think you could give two zits about calcium, and it certainly isn’t a concern of yours that ranks higher than wondering how Snookie’s new maternity line of clothing is panning out, then you among all people should read on to find out more about this super awesome and controversial mineral. Continue reading

Diet Soda: Trick or Treat?

Close your eyes and imagine the crisp sound of a soda can opening.  The fizz awakens and rushes to the surface, each CO2 bubble racing to be the first to exhale into the world, breaking free from the aluminum womb. You can almost feel your dopamine transmitters following suit, effervescing around your pleasure center, and picking up speed as you delicately kiss the lip of the can for that deeply satisfying quench of the first sip.

Quick. What was the can you were sipping? Coke? Or Diet Coke?  Pshaw, you say! Obviously Diet Coke, because we all know that Coke is just liquid calories that contribute to weight gain because your body doesn’t get full from it.  Diet Coke is the greatest! You get (almost) all the taste, without any of the calories! It’s a free lunch! (Heck, it’s a free stay at a knock-off resort in Canada, for that matter!)

Or is it? Hater headlines scream “Diet Coke: the devil’s spawn, and your waist’s worst nightmare!”  “ Not-So-Diet Soda: Tipping your scale!”

Are they right? Or don’t these people have something better to worry about? :(?

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ENERGY DRINKS!!!!! OMG!!!!!……!!!!!!!….!!!!!!

REDBULL GIVES US WINGS!! (Seth Casteel’s brilliant photography!)

Caffeine fashion has evolved. In the sweet yore-days, I worked at Starbucks, where this one strung-out guy would roll deep with his posse every night before closing and ask for his “late 8,” a packed 8 shots of espresso he’d promptly slam to demonstrate he actually could compensate for his shortcomings.  Bartending through grad school, I’d see a different dude stumble in; he, too, would ask just a little too loudly for a Redbull-vodka, bragging to the nearby barstool that the caffeine “metabolizes the alcohol so I can drink more.” (PS, dude #2: not true!)  And now, we have the calorie-conscious, I’m-so-productive-I-exhale-steam 4 AM worker-outers who heed Jim Rome’s morning plugs for a 5-Hour Energy shot, with all the caffeine you need in one little 1.5 oz mini iridescent bottle.

What gives? Is this cool? Should we all trade in our coffees for some Venom Hyperdrive so we, too, can dominate our own little worlds with a swagger and some to spare, despite the fact that our eyelid twitches and we absentmindedly consume our cuticles during “downtime”?

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