"You’re going to have to eat that salad if you want dessert." Growing up in Steven’s house, a plate of leafy greens was viewed as a punishment. Each of the kids was required to consume at least a few pieces of iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled ranch dressing. Steven, in particular, responded to it as though he was being asked to eat a live cockroach.
Contrast this with Andrea’s house. There was no iceberg lettuce or store-bought dressing sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and pumped full of chemicals to increase the shelf life. Her family assembled salads of fresh romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and other vegetables served lightly dressed in a homemade dressing.
Throughout the long Colorado summers, Andrea and her siblings would pick fresh greens and vegetables from their garden and then fight over who got to wash and cut them. The downside of all of this “kitchen help” was that someone was invariably served a slug.
Our original plan for this week was to hop on the Hipster Express and review well-known diets for their compatibility with the zombie lifestyle. This sounded more fun that it turned out to be. The problem is that zombies are mono-foodists. They consume the flesh of the living and, like the French, particularly enjoy the delicacy of brains. Neither sweets nor grains hold any interest for them. Zombies appear have the same aversion to fruits and vegetables that vegans have to the traditional zombie diet.
A dreary list of diets that allow organ meats is probably enough to headline the humor section of the Huffington Post, but we have higher standards.
Long before marrying Andrea, Steven dated a Cuban girl from Miami. It was a typical college relationship. They were madly in love within days and broken up less than six months later. The relationship had all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned melodrama. Every emotion was amplified by the inexperience and hormones of youth. After the breakup, the girl sacrificed a live chicken in order to curse Steven in a Santeria ritual. Steven probably deserved the curse; he had a tendency to crack inappropriate jokes at times when no words should be spoken. The chicken, however, was completely innocent.
It turns out that, for Steven, a cursed life is largely indistinguishable from a lucky one. Even that crazy relationship turned out to be a lucky break. Out of the wreckage, Steven managed to salvage the girl’s family recipe for traditional Cuban black beans. Over the past 20 years, Andrea has taken that recipe, and, as she’s prone to do, both simplified and perfected it.
Walking and running burn the same number of calories per mile. It is an oft repeated mantra that we have all heard thousands of times. This idea is rooted in eighth-grade physics, specifically the equation “work = force x distance.”
For those who were distracted or otherwise missed that lecture, the point is that it takes a defined amount of energy to move a body of mass over a measured distance. The speed of the object is not taken into account. Therefore, running and walking should require the same amount of energy to cover the same distance.
This is usually presented as great news for walkers. “Take a stroll around the block,” the thinking goes. “It’ll burn just as many calories mile for mile as if you sprinted it.” The only problem with this doctrine is that it is absolutely not true.
Andrea is the cook in our house. Steven is in charge of dishes. In most households this would be an unfair division of labor. In our household, it balances out perfectly because when Andrea cooks she uses every pan, dish and utensil in the kitchen. Andrea cooks like our four-year-old nephew eats. It’s a joyous, full-body experience. Nothing is left untouched. The aftermath looks like the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“Do you want to meet Harold?” We were visiting our friends Chris and Kati in Petaluma, California. The question came as we were finishing a tour of the farm on which they live.
“Who’s Harold?” Andrea asked.
“He’s a cow our landlord is raising. Any interest in going into the meadow to feed him apples? He’ll take them right out of your hand.”
“Sure.” Anyone who was raised on a farm has already recognized the stupidity of our answer.
When did science become public enemy number one? Every time a study is published, politicians and public figures emerge to question the new data. “I’m not a scientist,” they customarily begin. “But this new data must be wrong because it contradicts one of my childhood beliefs.”
We hold a very different attitude: When data contradict our beliefs, we lean towards the data. If the data are compelling enough, we will abandon our previously held beliefs. In other words, if your beliefs crash headlong into reality, it is unlikely that reality is the problem.
To celebrate the launch of our new website, The Drink Your Carbs eBook is free for the next two weeks.
There are, however, caveats. The eBook is only free from iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords and Kobo. It’s $0.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble because that is the lowest price we are allowed charge.
So grab your free copy. This is a great chance to try out a few of the less-popular eReader formats.
National Public Radio just ran a history of USDA dietary advice from 1943 to the present.
The only problem is that they forgot the most important one: the Drink Your Carbs Food Pyramid, the only pyramid that allows dieters to continue enjoying alcohol.