Monday, April 25, 2011


Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~ William Shakespeare

Tom and I met because I had a bike wreck in the 1999 Corporate Challenge duathlon, and one of his BFF's sent me a get well card. Thus our paths crossed.

Saturday night I happened to see his post on Facebook that he was really looking forward to his vacation in June. He bantered with friends and I thought how fun ~ not too much longer until that vacation...I hope he has a great time. Looking back now, I couldn't help but wonder if that particular post made an impression and stood out for some reason.

Today I learned that Tom passed away Easter morning in his sleep. He was only about 3 years older than me. It's a shock. There is a disconnect...'but I was just reading about his vacation and what he was up to. How can this be?'.

I didn't know him like a best friend, but I know that he was a very nice, friendly, decent, intelligent, and interesting human being. Wish that I knew him better. I feel really sad for his close friends and family. It's just flat out sad.

Life is so unpredictable. And sometimes fragile. It just reminds me to appreciate every day, every little thing, and the people that I love. Can't hold back on that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Don't Supersize Me

There are 610 calories, 29g fat, and 77 g carbs in a McDonalds Super Size french fry "serving". Add a Super Size soda (42 oz 410 calories) and say a Big Mac (540 calories) and that totals 1,560 calories. That is approaching or equal to a WHOLE day's worth of calories in just one meal.

Making healthy habits a way of life: we have smart phone apps (I use Calorie Counter on Android) and websites that make it easier than ever to get calorie/nutrition information and to keep a food diary. Until you develop a new "normal" and develop knowledge about portion sizes and healthy options, keeping a food diary can be very eye opening to see how quickly things can add up - calories, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

From my dad...Supersizing and the 'thrifty gene':

"That distinction [of inventing supersizing] belongs to a man named David Wallerstein. Until his death in 1993, Wallerstein served on the board of directors at McDonald's but in the fifties and sixties he worked for a chain of movie theaters in Texas where he labored to expand sales of soda and popcorn - the high-markup items that theaters depend on for their profitability. As the story is told in John Love's official history of McDonald's, Wallerstein tried everything he could think of to goose up sales - two-for-one deals, matinee specials - but found he simply could not induce customers to buy more than one soda and one bag of popcorn. He thought he knew why: Going for seconds makes people feel piggish.

"Wallerstein discovered that people would spring for more popcorn and soda - a lot more - as long as it came in a single gigantic serving. Thus was born the two-quart bucket of popcorn, the sixty-four-ounce Big Gulp, and in time the Big Mac and the jumbo fries, though Ray Kroc himself took some convincing. In 1968, Wallerstein went to work for McDonald's, but try as he might he couldn't convince Kroc, the company's founder, of supersizing's magic powers.

" 'If people want more fries' Kroc told him 'they can buy two bags.' Wallerstein patiently explained that McDonald's customers did want more but were reluctant to buy a second bag. 'They don't want to look like gluttons.'

"Kroc remained skeptical, so Wallerstein went looking for proof. He began staking out McDonald's outlets in and around Chicago observing how people ate. He saw customers noisily draining their sodas and digging infinitesimal bits of salt and burnt spud out of their little bags of French fries. After Wallerstein presented his findings, Kroc relented and approved supersized portions and the dramatic spike in sales confirmed the marketer's hunch. Deep cultural taboos against gluttony - one of the seven deadly sins, after all - had been holding us back. Wallerstein's dubious achievement was to devise the dietary equivalent of a papal dispensation: Supersize it! He had discovered the secret to expanding the (supposedly) fixed human stomach.

"One might think that people would stop eating and drinking these gargantuan portions as soon as they felt full, but it turns out hunger doesn't work that way. Researchers have found that people (and animals) presented with large portions will eat up to 30 percent more than they would otherwise. Human appetite it turns out is surprisingly elastic which makes excellent evolutionary sense: It behooved our hunter-gatherer ancestors to feast whenever the opportunity presented itself allowing them to build up reserves of fat against future famine. Obesity researchers call this trait the 'thrifty gene.' And while the gene represents a useful adaptation in an environment of food scarcity and unpredictability, it's a disaster in an environment of fast-food abundance when the opportunity to feast presents itself 24/7. Our bodies are storing reserves of fat against a famine that never comes."

Author: Michael Pollan
Title: The Omnivore's Dimemma
Publisher: Penguin
Date: Copyright 2006 by Michael Pollan
Pages: 105-106