Around this time of year, my night-shift job becomes rather tedious, as the holidays ramp up and health journalism turns to two tired topics: how to avoid overeating (before the new year) and how to lose those holiday pounds (after).
I have already seen a dozen iterations of this story — 15 tips, er, “useful suggestions” on how not to gain weight at Thanksgiving — and will see dozens more by New Year’s Eve. I’ve always despised this sort of filler copy; as my husband likes to say, “Where would we be without newspapers to remind us to wear sunscreen?” What’s more, so much of it simply pure, unadulterated bullshit:
Turkey skin has considerably more calories than the breast. Turkey skin is very high in fat. …Supposedly healthy low fat foods, such as some vegetables, carrots, soups, or mashed potatoes may have been prepared with lots of butter and are laden with fat. If you are cooking, try putting a little less than you did last year. If you were not involved in their preparation, try to find out (discreetly) how they were prepared. …If you are trying to watch your calories, don’t have a second helping. You should not be hungry if you have chewed carefully, consumed plenty of water, and selected a good quantity of low calorie foods.
That last passage? There really are earlier tips advising people to chew thoroughly and drink lots of “calorie-free water” during their meal.
How many Atkins dieters have to lose how many millions of pounds on a diet of fat and protein before we acknowledge that perhaps we’ve been led down the primrose path when it comes to dietary fat? Atkins isn’t for me, or for anyone who really cares about food, but there’s no question that it works as a weight-loss strategy with those with the will to endure it. And yet, concerns over minor amounts of fat in turkey skin and the traditional sides is the basis for much of the alleged journalism perpetrated around this time of year.
Fie on it all. And if anyone discreetly asks me how I make my mashed potatoes, they’re getting a face full of ’em.
Because this is the holiday for gratitude, however, let’s show a little. A short list of the year’s blessings:
** Family, friends, related human beings, without whom life would be grim indeed;
** Animals to remind me how strange all of the above really are;
** Having the basics covered — food, shelter, indoor climate control;
** All my NN.c peeps. I continue to be amazed and amused by how our community here grows, changes, supports and enhances what I do in this space every day. Someday, this all will pass. But for now, it makes my life so much richer and more interesting.
So with that, a jump to bloggage:
From Eric Zorn, the state of Illinois awaits its Fort Sumter moment.
One of the things I love about this holiday is how deliciously it demonstrates the diversity of the United States while still honoring its commonalities; I love to read stories about how different ethnic groups do Thanksgiving, with antipasti starters, pierogi and kimchi side dishes. Of course, some people will never, ever be happy about that. New York magazine catches up with crazy Pamela Geller and her Butterball j’accuse: Halal turkeys! Is nothing sacred?
Tom & Lorenzo give J-Lo a WERQ, and I have to say, she does look spectacular here. How does she still look so great at a time when her peers are starting to overdue it with facial fillers and Botox? I’m going with “because she hasn’t dieted herself down to a skeleton.” What do you think?
OK, I’m off to make my brine. Happy holiday, safe travels and remember: Only discreetly ask how the sides were prepared. It’ll save you a black eye, unless it doesn’t. Back here on Monday.