Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, except for Santa who trying to choke down his billionth cookie of the evening.
In our experience, the over-21 set tends to be Santa skeptical. Some people get hung up on the impracticality of delivering presents to the roughly 2.2 billion Christians worldwide. Others concern themselves with the physics of flying reindeer or the difficulty of stuffing a morbidly obese man down the narrow flue of a modern chimney. At Drink Your Carbs, our skepticism springs from the sheer volume of cookies left on hearths that, for politeness reasons, Santa is required to consume.
There is no shortage of “diet” experts who delight in pointing out that half a bottle of wine with dinner adds roughly 300 to 325 calories to your day; a couple of pints of microbrew can add even more. The calories in alcohol, they argue, are too high and therefore incompatible with any form of dieting.
The two most frightening words in the English language are “extra crispy.”
We were reminded of this on a recent visit to the Hopkinton State Fair in New Hampshire. Some of the foods available from the vendors could rightly be described as homicidal. They had taken the least healthy foods that science has ever produced and found a way to more than double the calories without adding even a single useful nutrient.
All of those bright colors and food additives sheathed in oily breading got us wondering: exactly how many calories does deep-frying add? We knew that frying was bad, but we wanted to know how bad. That question turned out to be far more difficult to answer than we imagined.
“Lose weight while eating ten slices of bread a day.” As unbelievable as it sounds, this is current dietary advice being pedaled by the US Department of Agriculture.
To be fair, this specific recommendation was made for Steven who weighs 185 pounds. Andrea weighs considerably less, so she only gets 9 slices of bread per day.
We hate getting notifications of website policy changes. Invariably, these updates inform us of new rules allowing the sale our names, addresses and credit card numbers to the Russian mafia. We assure you these are not the types of changes we are planning.
Drink Your Carbs launched in December of 2011. Since that time we’ve received a ton of feedback. We’ve been called everything from geniuses to morons. We’ve also fielded countless question on topics ranging from diet sodas and ranch dressing to whether knitting counts towards exercise. Through all of the inquiries we’ve received, however, one question has never been asked: How much alcohol is too much?
We’ve never been so disappointed. December 21st, 2012 came and went like any other day. The world did not end. No earthquakes. No floods. No fire and brimstone from the heavens. The dead did not rise to feast on the living. Nor did ancient Gods lay waste, Godzilla-style, to our cities. We didn’t even catch a cold. It’s enough to shake the very foundation of our faith in numerology.
1957 was a momentous year in American culture. Wham-O introduced the Frisbee. Dr. Seuss published The Cat in the Hat. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved from New York to Los Angeles, a betrayal that Steven’s Brooklyn-born father is still bitter about. On the political front, Congress authorized the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to inconvenience Americans by conducting a yearly survey of their health and lifestyle.
The pattern the CDC has since established is to publish new statistics monthly. The media then takes those figures and converts them into alarming headlines. Numbers showing that obesity continues to trend upward become, “Average American Now Shaped Like Michelin Man.”
We have come a long way from Reefer Madness to two states voting to legalize marijuana. We were amazed. The trend in America appeared to be moving in the direction of more regulation not less. New York recently banned the Big Gulp, San Francisco banned Happy Meal toys and the State of Florida tried to ban voting for people who live in Democratic counties. Clearly, our ability to predict the future is no better than a blindfolded monkey throwing darts.
It could be worse. In terms of pure predictive abilities, we’re still slightly ahead of TV Psychics and Fox News commentators.
In the aftermath of the legalization votes in Colorado and Washington State, a friend asked if Drink Your Carbs would be an effective diet for the average weed smoker. Our answer is sure. Assuming said smoker is willing to stick to the DYC Food List, it would be more effective than it is for drinkers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over one-third of American adults are obese. This begs the simple question: why? There are hundreds of competing theories. Every diet guru points to a different cause. Atkins blames carbs. Dean Ornish blames Atkins. Even our elected officials have gotten involved in the finger pointing. New York City has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of sodas in cups larger than 16-ounces. The City of San Francisco has instead chosen to vilify Happy Meal toys.
We have our own theory. We blame the dramatic increase in American obesity on the USDA Food Pyramid. We realize that on the surface this sounds a little like blaming Doonesbury for the divisive state of American politics. Nonetheless, we argue that a cartoon pyramid deserves the lion’s share of the responsibility for derailing the American diet.
Drink Your Carbs started as a joke. In many ways, it’s still a joke. It just happens to be a joke diet that works.
We never set out to create a diet. If asked years ago, we would’ve said that it was impossible to lose weight without giving up alcohol. Conventional wisdom at the time maintained that alcohol was a diet buster. We would’ve enthusiastically repeated the “diet buster” myth like a politician reciting a debunked talking point.
We have since learned that alcohol and weight loss can easily coexist. And we never tire of telling the story of that accidental discovery.
We strongly believe that all diets works work on the same principle: calories in vs. calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you put on weight. If you burn more calories than you consume you lose weight. The question that still needs answering is: what exactly do we mean when we say “calories” and how do we answer it without sounding like Bill Clinton trying to parse the meaning of the word “is?”
Most of us regularly use the term “calorie” yet few of us actually know what a calorie is or how calories are measured.
The two weeks on either side of the New Year is the busiest time of the year for people who sell gym memberships. Companies that peddle diets, books, videos and pre-packaged meals, see a similar pick-up in April and May as people come to terms with the fact that the weather is getting warmer and they’ll soon be wearing far less clothing. Since we’re in the business of selling nothing at all, we never expected to be swept up in the back-to-summer frenzy. It has happened nonetheless. Not only are more people visiting DYC and spending more time perusing the website, but we are now regularly receiving emailed questions from people we’ve never met. And surprisingly, not all of those requests are asking if we’re interested in black market pharmaceuticals from Canada.
On Sunday, while naked people streaked down the streets of San Francisco for the annual running of the Bay to Breakers, Andrea spent the day inside a refrigerated room learning to disassemble a cow. This was her third butchering class with Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats. She started with Poultry and then moved on to Hog Butchery. She has now graduated from Whole Beef. At this point, she can reduce pretty much any farm animal into small, edible portions.
We are not morning drinkers. We occasionally have wine or beer with lunch, but it’s rare. We typically open a bottle of wine in the evening and pour ourselves a glass as we start cooking dinner. Some of the wine goes into the food. Whatever’s left is carried to the table. Mornings are reserved for coffee and Steven’s famously gray, spinach-infused fruit shakes.
This is not to say that we can’t be rallied to the cause. We are more than capable of drinking all day. Anyone who doubts this or would like to get incriminating video needs only to attend Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles, California.
This morning a friend sent us an article from the Los Angeles Times with the alarming headline “All red meat is bad for you, new study says”. The article is based on a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine which tracked the eating habits and health status of 121,342 adults for over 20 years. The Times summarizes the study as, “Eating red meat—any amount and any type—appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death.” And, as if that’s not frightening enough, the LA Times paired their article with photographs of industrial meat processing and a fake-blood soaked PETA protestor outside of a Farmer John sausage plant.
We’re not scientists. Steven has two degrees in the Liberal Arts field in nothing particularly useful. Andrea has an undergraduate degree with a minor in biology, but that was a long time ago. We’ve described our current scientific expertise as falling somewhere between that of a TV Weatherman and fans of primetime medical dramas. But even with our limited scientific proficiency, it took less than two minutes reviewing the original study to see that the LA Times article is grossly overstepping. Or, to put our sentiments into the terms of an LA Times headline: “LA Times twists scientific literature into pro-vegetarian diatribe.”
We were recently accused by a website called TheFix.com of promoting drunkorexia. We’ll be honest. Until the charge was leveled, we’d never heard the term. It turns out that drunkorexia is a recently coined amalgamation of drunkenness and anorexia. It refers to an eating disorder wherein people abstain from eating in favor of drinking alcohol. We have no idea how many people suffer from drunkorexia. The term has yet to make Wikipedia, so obviously it falls short of epidemic. But even one sufferer is too many. Anorexia is straight up dangerous. Adding binge drinking to the mix is train wreck in process.
Our guess is that The Fix never actually visited Drink Your Carbs. Rather, they read our name somewhere and imagined us emaciated and sipping at mid-morning cocktails like Patsy from the British comedy series Absolutely Fabulous.
Patsy: (Rubbing her stomach in discomfort.)
Edina: Have you eaten something?
Patsy: No, not since 1973.
We want to make this absolutely clear: telling people not to eat Pop Tarts is not the same as telling people not to eat.
If you haven’t signed up for the email newsletter, you just missed your chance to scoop up the first edition. We’re sorry you missed it. The first edition of anything is always the most collectible. Action Comics #1, which features the first appearance of Superman, sold at auction for $317,000. The first Flash Gordon comic—and let’s face it, without the backing of a Queen soundtrack Flash Gordon sucks—will set you back around $289,000. We are convinced that our DYC Newsletter #1 will produce similar results for people smart enough to leave it in their inbox and read it only while wearing gloves.
But all hope is not lost. We will continue to release collector’s editions of the DYC Newsletter on the same schedule that Arby’s releases collector’s glassware. (We chose Arby’s for two reasons. First, there is nothing on the menu we are willing to eat so we can’t be accused of selling out for ad dollars. Second, they release limited edition glassware about every two weeks and that happens to be timeline we’ve been planning anyway.) Sign up for the DYC Newsletter and start your collection now. It can only go up in value.
Join here or on the right-hand-side of any page on the site.
This news should be frightening to anyone who does not live the Drink Your Carbs lifestyle. Those of us on Drink Your Carbs could not care less. We are not impacted because we don’t eat this crap for non-spooky-additive reasons.
The reason those of us on Drink Your Carbs won’t eat a McRib is that the only parts of the sandwich that meet the requirements of our diet are the pickles and onion slices. The rest of the McRib is inseparable from the bread and high fructose corn syrup.
One final reason never to touch a McRib: without adding a drink or fries, the McRib dials in at 500 calories. 500 calories is a quarter of a glass shy of an entire bottle of wine. That’s a trade no one on Drink Your Carbs should ever make.
The end of the world is not upon us. We are shocked by how many people we know expect an apocalyptic event in 2012. The predictions range from solar flares frying half the earth’s population to the non-existent planet Nibiru smashing into the earth and reducing it to a smoldering lump. It’s true that the Mayan calendar ends December of 2012, but so what? Every calendar we’ve ever owned ended at the close of the year. For example, the very first calendar Steven owned was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders calendar that he got from his Texan grandfather in 1978. It ended abruptly on December 31st, 1978 with the calendar’s only brunette. Yet 1979 came along just like every year before it.