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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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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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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“Does milk give you boobs?” and other udderly important questions about dairy. Part 1!

Sixteen. I did not get my period until I was 16.  I could legally drive a car before I was even beginning to become something that wouldn’t resemble a boy with braids or a sheet of cardboard stuck atop two beanpoles. My doctor thought it was because I was too active and skinny, so my mom started making me huge bi-daily milkshakes. A little less than a month later, I finally got it.

“Oh, it’s the hormones” all my mom’s friends knowingly nodded. (Why they were all sitting around discussing my menses is not the topic of this blog, albeit a legitimate question.) Were they right? Is there estrogen in milk, and can it cause little girls to grow up / guys to get C-cups / people to get cancer / and hey, while we’re at it, serve as a cheap form of birth control?  Continue reading

Detox-arrhea and Other Pure-ific Trends! Should you “Cleanse”?

What Detox sounds like:


What it can often be like:


“Cleansing” or “detoxing:” Ten years ago these either implied potentially pH-offsetting genital washing with perfumed products or checking oneself into a hardcore rehab with people unable to brush their teeth without heavy narcotics, respectively. Today, it is the new chic thing to brag about doing.  Whether it’s giving up sugar / caffeine / anything that you like or swearing off all food except for a daily 42 oz dram of what appears to be reconstituted lawn trimmings, many people strongly feel they should follow some strict guidelines in order to get rid of all the “toxins” that they’ve been convinced their body is unable to process.

Before you rush out to join in on the colonic explosion party, let’s visit this land of envisioned virginal purity and see what the experts and research (or lack thereof) seem to say about it…

(Blog previously posted on!)

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It’s all natural, my pretty…. Supplements Part 2: The gripping sequel!

Where last we left off, we were lugging our suitcases of $537 worth of all-natural supplements to our car after talking to Edna, the nutrition expert in our local crunchy-munchy-raw-n-natural-morally-superior health food store.  After hearing that self-titled nutrition experts aren’t necessarily educated or licensed like dietitians, you retort

“But fine. So what!? I happened to have $537 that I WANT to spend on these things that may or may not help me achieve all my dreams. If I end up happier / younger / turning into <insert Hollywood Heart-Throb here>’s look-alike or girlfriend, sweet. If not, oh well, no harm no foul, right?”

(Blog previously posted on!)

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