Interesting quotation from Anne Lamott in today’s Washington Post, “A Few Quick Thoughts on that Diet You Are About to Fail.” (I’ve read her non-fiction books but could never get into the one novel of hers that I tried. She can be pretty strong stuff, both in subject matter and language, but I have really enjoyed Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, and Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with her husband, Steven L. Hopp and her daughter Camille Kingsolver, originally published in 2008.
I’ve just started listening to a great audiobook by Stephen C. Meyer, but I won’t be ready to post about it this week. So I was reminded of a great book I read some time ago, well before I started this blog. It won’t inspire you to move out in the country and start raising vegetables and turkeys any more than it did me, but it’s well worth reading for a number of reasons:
1. It’s a charming family story, with a husband, wife, and two daughters working together to fulfill a goal, that of relocating and then limiting themselves for one year to food grown within a predetermined distance from their home. The younger daughter is a special joy: we learn all about the ins and outs of her egg business, for example.
Well, I had a nice post planned for today, something about the difference between self-awareness and self-absorption. Instead, I’m writing about food again, this time quoting from another book, Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite
I mentioned this book in another post, over a year ago, and I was reminded of it by a little phrase that popped into my head: “one tiny chop.” I knew the words were from this book, and I was determined to find it and put it into
The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever by Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson, Meredith Books, 2006.
Well, Thankgiving is next week. Kind of crept up on me, to be honest, as I’ve been somewhat consumed with all the other food events in my life going on right now. I don’t even know what my responsibilities are going to be for next Thursday, as my dear mother-in-law will be in charge of the meal and I’ll just do what she tells me to do. It’ll be our first TG here in the new space. Have to tell you, by the way, that this past weekend was the second retreat rehearsal of the year for the Cherry Creek Chorale and also the second one I put together in my beautiful little kitchen, and it again performed flawlessly. So nice and compact! And I still love my stove.
The Gluten Lie and Other Myths about What You Eat by Alan Levinovitz, Ph.D., originally published in 2015 by Regan Arts, now available in a variety of formats. (Book image and title are both affiliate links; if you click through to the Amazon page and buy the book there I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
I first became aware of this book because its author was featured on the Freakonomics Radio podcast, to which you should subscribe and faithfully listen. (And then you should read the Freakonomics book, Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.
Anyway, the author of this book, Alan Levinovitz, was interviewed not too long ago on the show, and since I’m a total fan of any author who wants to punch a hole in our society’s various food fads and manias, I made sure to get hold of his book.
It’s the old “drunk on the horse” scenario once again. We humans can’t seem to stay in the middle of the road, no matter how hard we try. The fad of the moment takes over and people start going to extremes. The bandwagon starts filling up. Nowhere is this tendency more evident than in the area of food. Because we’re so rich and so well-fed, indeed overly well-fed, we have the luxury of developing food fads. Believe me, people who are living on the verge of starvation don’t have any time for worrying about their cholesterol. They just need something to eat.
I am plowing through the Covey book, and maybe you should, too.
I’m at the beginning of chapter 13, so only 95 more to go. Mercy! I can’t even begin to imagine what he can possibly go on about for that long, but at this point we haven’t even gotten to the first highly effective habit; he’s still hammering away at his introductory stuff.
I’ve said several times already that the book is boring, but that’s not quite the right word. It’s just very, very dense, and he has all these proverb-like sentences that make me feel that I should be writing them down, or cross-stitching them, or something. I just cheated and went onto BrainyQuote to look at ome of his sayings. Follow the link to get a sampling.
That Sugar Film, 2015, written and directed by Damon Gameau, who also stars. Streaming is available for free through Amazon Prime, or you can rent to stream or buy the DVD if you’re not a Prime member. Also available through Netflix.
I don’t want to wear out my welcome here, so if you’re kind of weary of the whole “sugar is evil” hoopty-doo feel free to skip this. However, Jim and I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it’s a pretty painless way (except for the tooth-extraction scene) to find out a little more about the silent white killer. (Cue ominous music. And full disclosure: I just caved in and ate three smallish peanut-butter cookies that my husband made this weekend. They were calling out to me from the freezer. But I won’t say that I couldn’t resist. I could. I just didn’t. So sue me!)
Gameau is an actor who decided to make a documentary about what would happen to him if, after about three years of eating a very healthful, low-to-no-sugar diet, he deliberately ate 40 teaspoons of sugar every day for 60 days, yet another one of those “stunt journalism” stunts, akin to “Supersize Me,” the 2004 film in which Morgan Spurlock, an American filmmaker, ate nothing but McDonald’s food for a month.
I write periodically about the dangers of sugar consumption and my own efforts to control if not banish this substance from my life. Right now I’m working on re-doing my recipes over on the hospitality blog, and for every dessert I’m including information on how many grams of sugar each serving contains. The typical amount is around 25 grams, or about 6 teaspoons, which, coincidentally, is the limit given by most researchers for the daily maximum we should have for added sugar.
I’ve written quite a bit about my periodic attempts to cut out sugar from my diet and have also posted reviews of several books about the dangers of sugar. The most recent material I posted was of an interview that Gretchen Rubin did with Gary Taubes, who has now written yet a third book on this dangerous aspect of the Western diet, The Case Against Sugar. I’m including the link again here; be advised that you have to give up your e-mail address in order to gain access to the PDF. It’s about 23 pages and very worthwhile reading.
Other than the annual chocolate tasting that my sister-in-law leads each year (well, this was the second year), a few sips of pink eggnog and some cookies,, mostly barely-sweet biscotti, I stayed off sweets for the holidays. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll go in and get my A1C checked—a reading that gives a three-month average of your blood sugar load.