crazy health magazines

I’m embarrassed to say, I’m kind of a health nut. (Kind of.) Why am I embarrassed about this? Because the name of my blog involves chicken patties and pigtails. I feel like a phony. Ack. I’ve exposed myself. But see, I’m from the South and I love the South, so the name is more an expression of my devotion to many things Southern, even the things that I don’t necessarily enjoy myself, such as pigtails.

Anyway, the point of all this is that today (imagine me as Maria in the Sound of Music singing this excitedly from a hilltop in the Swiss Alps), I’m swearing off health magazines. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed healthy person, I think those things are crazy.

“I’m forever giving up health magazines! Yippee!”

I swear, every time I pick one up, it tells me I’m going to lose 10 pounds if I only:

  • Chew gum for three twenty-minute sessions before lunch so that I can eat 100 less  calories at lunch. (This sounds like a plot by the chewing gum industry to encourage addiction.)
  • Eat lychee extract for 10 weeks to increase my adiponectin. (Yeah, I don’t know what what that is either.) If I have more adiponectin, I’m promised my metabolism is increased.
  • Sprinkle flax seed over every meal to increase my fiber. (Gross.)
  • Don’t drink soda.
  • Don’t drink diet soda either because my body registers it as fake sugar and so then it makes me crave real sugar. (What?)
  • Take at least 30 minutes to eat my ice cream cone so my brain registers I’m full. (Seriously, it’s 90 degrees outside and my cone will definitely melt and then my brain will only register sadness at my melty ice cream cone.)
  • Eat soy beans with every meal. They’re loaded with potassium and antioxidants. And protein and fiber. (I think soy milk is gross, but I do like edamame so maybe I could swing this one.)
  • Eat egg whites everyday for breakfast cooked with spinach. (I’m a health nut, but I do NOT like spinach in my breakfast, and egg whites just don’t have that much flavor.)
  • Eat fish at least 4 times a week so I can have a lot of omega 3s to ward off all kinds of things. (Does it ward off even ghosts and witches and vampires? Because I’m super afraid of the dark and this would really help me out. )
  • If you don’t eat fish, then eat fish oil vitamins. (These are REALLY gross. They make you belch fish all day. My parents feed their dog, Paisley, these vitamins and she belches fishiness 3-4 times a day. Really. It is super, duper gross. Please don’t eat these or feed them to your pets. )
  • Eat more folate/iron/Vitamin E/Vitamin D/Vitamin C/multivitamins/gummi-vitamins/whatever vitamin is the talk of the media. If only I eat ______ (insert vitamin of choice), I will INSTANTLY drop 10 pounds.
  • Eat once every 2 hours. (How much time do they think I have?)

I know. This is all so confusing. So, like, what am I supposed to eat? Or not eat? All of these statements came from an actual magazine and the magazine has new tips for me each month. Half the time they’re conflicting statements. And there are at least five different health magazines to read this conflicting advice from. What in the world is a girl supposed to do?!

I just want to eat my favorite dinner at the beach (hamburgers on the grill made by my dad; boiled potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, and parsley; romaine salad; my mom’s chocolate pie with a graham cracker crust) and I don’t want to sprinkle flax seeds on it, or turn my salad into a spinach salad, or eat fish oil on top of my burger. I don’t want to take lychee extract because I don’t even know where to buy it, and if I did, it would probably be expensive and I don’t even know what the heck adipecntoninitis is. Okay, I just made that word up.

I like diet soda, thank you. I also like regular soda (Cheerwine!).

I’m sick of all this mess making me feel crazy. I want to be healthy, but sometimes it just feels like information overload. So, from now on, no more health magazines. I’m sticking to this. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, so it’s not pre-destined to fail. It’s a June 23rd, 2011 resolution.

I’ve started reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and it’s  hammering the nails into the health mag coffin (sorry Women’s Health). Pollan says it better than I can, “It is very much in the interest of the food industry to exacerbate our anxieties about what to eat, [because] the better to assuage [us, the consumer] with new products.” Yes. I 100% agree. I think that there’s a heck of a lot of money in the diet industry and the only way to fuel that fire is to increase our anxiety about all the vitamins we are (or aren’t) eating.

Put simply, I feel like all of the craziness over a different food or vitamin or diet or anecntopinitis (that lychee extract deal again)  is just trying to make me buy more stuff. Gahhlee, I’m not made of money! What do you think money grows on trees? That’s what my dad would say.

Anyway, I’m writing this because I think you should think about this too. I hate to be preachy, you know that’s not my style normally. But I just think we could all do with a little less anxiety over what we eat and just use our common sense when it comes to sitting down to dinner.

You should read Pollan’s book. If you don’t have time for Omnivore’s Dilemma (it’s lengthy, but well worth it), pick up a copy of In Defense of Food. Same messages, shorter length. Promise you won’t be disappointed. Whatever you do, don’t pick up some crazy old health magazine. I swear, those things will get the best of you. Before you know it, you’ll be grinding flax seeds, soybeans, and lychee extract together for your daily breakfast.

If you do pick up the health mag; and if you do eat all that lychee extract, well, power to you. Whatever floats your boat, old friend.

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