Month: June 2007

The Devil You Know Is You

One of the most stupid maxims in the history of humanity is “Better the devil you know.” I’m sure you’re familiar with this phrase. I get really tired of hearing it. No axiom is better if you want to fritter your life away.

Essentially, the idea is that if you’re stuck in a less-than-ideal situation, it’s somehow better to stay stuck, because changing the situation might make things worse. Ostrich and mud metaphors aside, apparently comfort and familiarity are more desirable than living.

To play my own devil’s advocate, “the devil you know” might serve as a sensible note of caution against change for the sake of change. But I don’t see why the little gems we all seem happy to live by need to be put into binary terms. The opposite of “the devil you know” isn’t necessarily change without purpose, an obviously foolish thing. Restless is one thing (there can be character-building value in sticking with a “devil” you detest). Fear is another thing entirely. When I hear “the devil you know,” I hear fear. I hear defeat. I hear a negative outlook on life.

“Calculated risk” isn’t much of a risk at all. Comfort is just death warmed up. Making a change when you’re stuck is scary – that’s the whole point. So what if you fail? Do you think you’re going to go through your whole life without making some big mistakes? Would you really even want to?

Embrace your fear, embrace the gray, go grab the new devil by the horns. The one you know? He’s you.

(P.S. Things that are more interesting than the devil you know: wet toast, cardboard, reheated oatmeal).

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Three-Pepper Stir-Fry

Here is a super simple and delicious vegetable stir-fry side dish that goes great with spicy chicken or fish. Enjoy!

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Those Darn Vegetarians

I am not a vegetarian and I do espouse responsible meat consumption: organic, free-range, and emphasizing fish and poultry. However, I have plenty of family members, friends and staff who are vegheads, and while I’d sooner die than return to Vegan Island, I get where they’re coming from and I respect their choices. I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree. I would say let’s get into a “spirited” debate, but I think Dubya owns that one.

I believe in nutrition and fitness from what can best be understood as an evolutionary biologist’s perspective, and I therefore support animal protein in the diet. My background in biology, years in pro sports and my own personal experience and research support my view, which I’ve tagged Primal Health.

Here’s a list of great folks with whom I disagree but really dig. If you have a suggestion for the list, let me know. If you like mock meat, well…you’ve got my pity!

The (Growing) List

Vegan Porn

Don’t shoot the messenger. Weird name, even weirder cartoon-cow-on-carrot action (yeah, I know) but still a great site and vegan-friendly health news resource. Totally unoffensive, entertaining content. UPDATE 6/09/07: This site has been relaunched in a blog/podcast-friendly platform as TasteBetter. Check it out.

SoulVeggie

I don’t tend to agree with Mark’s views (and I’m not referring to myself here…SoulVeggie is run by one Mark Sutton). But for guys who think vegetarianism is a “girl thing”, or for noodle-armed wimps, you’d be wrong. As I always say, real men eat lettuce. Vegetables don’t meow, guys. Try them out sometime.

A Veggie Venture

Every day, a new veggie basks in the spotlight of the Veggie Evangelist. A simple, useful, tasty site proving that vegetables are about a lot more than iceberg and baby carrots.

Veggie Chic

One of my staff’s favorite veg bloggers (I confess, it’s mainly because she eats a salad for lunch every day and insists, like us, that this habit is anything but boring). Veggie links, news, recipes and anecdotes with a personal touch.

Vegan Lunch Box

An excellent blog from a health-minded SAHM that includes book reviews, nutritional advice, and usually-healthy vegan recipes. It’s worth a look.

Super Vegan

Live in New York? Follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle (or just like healthy food)? You best be gettin’ to Super Vegan. A Zagat guide for the minus-meat group.

What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

A lot of Tuno instead of tuna. If you like mock meat, you’ll love this blog. Aw, hell, even I love it.

Vegan Doc

I’m biased – this doc is a runner. A very cool personal blog from a vegan M.D.

[tags] vegan, vegetarian, best vegetarian blogs, lifestyle, meat [/tags]

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The Cardiac Insider Is Back: Nurses, Put Down Your Cheesesteaks

“Now, you need to exercise at least 5 times a week, cardio wise. You should really try to do weight training as well, to make you stronger. Do you have a gym membership? Do you have any gym equipment at your house? And don’t forget to follow your low fat, low salt, low cholesterol diet. Here are your 13 drug prescriptions. Do you have any questions?” … And this all happens in the 15 minutes before we discharge you from the hospital. That is, after you have had a 4-day stay with us. And 50% of the time, it is being said by a very overweight, under exercised, cheese-steak-eating nurse! I am not a mean person, but come on! This is yet another little gripe form your friendly nurse at Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life. Did your mother ever teach you the phrase, “practice what you preach”? I know I learned manners from observing my mom and dad. So how can a cardiac patient that is being discharged from a hospital take you seriously if you look like you have never walked a flight of stairs yourself? I am by no means a lean, mean machine. But I do try to stay heart-healthy by exercise and a moderated diet. I am also a diabetic, so while I can commiserate with my patients, I can also call their bluffs. Adrian Clark Flickr Photo Why do clinicians who have all the resources in the world choose to do themselves wrong? I don’t know. And why do we decide to do teaching with our patients 30 minutes before they are discharged? By the way, those last few minutes are when our patients are most anxious. They are going out on their own, having to deal with their cardiac issues without the guidance and security of the hospital staff. Why not start the nutrition and heart health education the day of admission? Allow a few days for the patients to absorb the info and formulate some questions they might have. After all, isn’t that part of our job? Making sure that the patient has all the resources and information they need to ensure success! Not that success always happens. Believe me, I don’t always see rainbows and roses, just read my last post here at Mark’s blog. And I get just as frustrated as the next nurse with noncompliance and neglect, but I think we are all at fault. We can’t just point our fingers, you know? What do you think? Have you ever been a patient and had a similar situation happen to you? Do you think we need to rethink our ways of teaching as clinicians? I want to hear it. The good, the bad and the ugly…except if you have a story about me, haha. Editor’s note: Was Kendra’s post insightful for you? How ’bout those cheesesteaks! You can discuss this post in the forum. Would you like to read more from Kendra about health care in the trenches? Let … Continue reading “The Cardiac Insider Is Back: Nurses, Put Down Your Cheesesteaks”

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What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

The average American consumes almost 4,000 calories every day and counting! That’s anywhere from 1500 to 2500 more calories than the average man or woman really needs (children and athletes have different needs). Translation: 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound. If you’re an “average American”, you could be eating anywhere from 12 to 15 excess pounds every month, adding fat to your body, increasing the pressure on your heart, and stressing your organs (not to mention the environmental impact of all this gluttony). But why are we eating so much? I decided to see what it would be like to eat the way the average American supposedly eats. Breakfast: How about McDonald’s? That’s a typical choice for millions of Americans every day. To be an average American, you need to eat at least 700 calories and up to 1300 calories at each setting. McDonald’s can help you with that. Another tip: it helps to drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the trick. Lunch: I know Burger King is bad. I’ll go for Subway. Subway is fresh, so I’m sure whatever I eat there is going to be good, right? Well, maybe if you get a 6″ whole-grain sandwich with vegetables or a salad. But according to Subway, the most popular Subway item in the world is the toasted steak and cheese sandwich. This will give you a very generous 400 calories per 6″ section. Don’t forget the chips and soda (an extra 300 calories!), and you’re easily on your way to 4,000 calories today! It’s nice that convenience chains are offering slightly more healthy options these days, but it’s still disingenuous counter-marketing to offer it along side the regular high-calorie fare. Eat fresh, indeed. Dinner: Pizza and burgers are beloved American foods. Sign me up! Carl’s Jr. says there’s only one thing that can “slay the hunger of a young guy on the move”. Hey, that’s me! I can even get their burger for breakfast. But wait, am I really that starving that I need to be slaying my stomach? The six-dollar burger with a large Coke and a side of fries will round out my day with an additional 1,200 calories (give or take a few). (Honestly, I’ve always thought it’s sort of sad that the most famous American foods – pie, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, French fries – are all junk foods. The French get cheese, wine and sauces, and Asia’s got vegetables down cold, but when it comes to cuisines of the world, we can sure be proud of our corn, salt, sugar and trans fat, all right.) Conclusion: I thought it would be a little bit of a challenge to eat 4,000 calories, but thanks to the vast majority of what’s available at every restaurant these days, it’s actually pretty hard not to consume twice as many calories as you need – and that’s the whole … Continue reading “What Does 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like?”

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How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day

How can you turn this down? Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?). 10. Drunk Marinara My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta). 9. Chocolate, Meet Meat Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me. 8. Drink Wine at Lunch A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post). 7. Goodbye Coffee, Hello Chocolate Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to watch your blood sugar, stick to … Continue reading “How to Eat More Chocolate and Drink More Wine Every Day”

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