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 believing the data. If the data are compelling enough, we will abandon our previously held beliefs altogether.
In other words, if your beliefs crash headlong into reality, it is unlikely that reality is the problem.
“Of course,” we lied. The truth was too embarrassing to admit. The only emotion we felt was dread. When you release a book, you lose control. We like the book. We think it’s funny. But it was possible that everyone else would find it Old Yeller depressing. You never know how people will react; if you don’t believe us, ask anyone who has a Twitter account.
Aside from one, “Stop trying to take away my Fruity Pebbles, Haters!” the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.
We typically write about alcohol, diet and lifestyle. Not today. Today we go jazz, lose our fear of playing the wrong notes and put our crazy on public display.
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.
We are not to be trusted. We will lie to you. We will tell you that your outfit matches if we think you are too fragile to hear otherwise. We will tell you how much we enjoyed dinner with your new boyfriend. If we are performing a card trick, we will look you square in the eye and tell you that your card is “lost in the deck,” even though we know exactly where to find it.
We will not, however, lie to you when it matters. You will never hear us say, “You’re guaranteed to double your money” or “To us, that lump looks harmless.” Nor will we try to convince you that cocktails are just as enjoyable under the No Mixer rule. The sad truth is that most cocktails are now off limits.
Our friend’s seven-year-old daughter refuses to draw heads on her figures. Give her a piece of paper and set of markers and she will create a colorful world of birds, clouds, trees, flowers and headless bodies dressed in elaborate costumes. The last step in her creative process is to sketch a teapot onto each set of empty shoulders.
“Have you ever heard of the artist Magritte?” Steven asked. She shook her head no. “I love your picture,” Steven added. “But I have to ask, why is everyone in your drawing half human and half tea service?
“I’m no good at faces,” she answered, “but I’m great at teapots.”
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.
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.
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.”