Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don't "Pak" on the Pounds

My grocery store seems to be placing more and more junk food displays in places normally empty, obviously to increase impulse buys. But what really struck me is the concept of "Go Paks." I guess they think these are perfect for when you are on the go. Just grab and go to....where? The couch? Desk? Car? The office? Sometimes we get so busy multitasking and hustling about that it seems like we're very active when in fact we've been mostly seated. Also, notice that they are "mini" and "bits." Are we too lazy and harried to even chew now?!

Looking at the 50s for the concept of "on the go," I came across this 1950s commercial for "Pep" cereal that promised it would give teens the energy they needed until lunch.

"On the go" once meant action! It meant delving into your day with energy not distracted by snacking on ready-made highly processed snacks. We went from "on the go" meaning motion to constant munching thanks to manufactured food and marketing. What's also striking is that these "teen" demographic cereals are nothing like the cereals today that are more like milk and cookies. Notice, too that they weren't marketing to harried adults too busy to make their own snacks.

So back to the display. Even though we're adults who can think for ourselves, these impulse buys can be challenging to resist. They seem to bring out the kid in all of us who wants to raid the cookie jar.
If you feel like you can't resist those between-meal munchies, have you tried making yourself a veggie pack in advance? Maybe small bags of home popped popcorn with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of salt? What can you make yourself that's superior to supermarket schlock?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dumbed Down, Weight Up?

"The Mental Strain of Making Due With Less." Sounds like something about hard times, right? Maybe something about how the inability to pay your bills adds stress to your life? Or maybe it's an article about how people from the Depression Era suffered from the "make due and mend" rule. It's an article in the New York Times that informs us that watching what you eat and counting calories makes you dumber due to the brain strain:

"Many diets also require constant calculations to determine calorie counts. All this clogs up the brain. Psychologists measure the impact of this clogging on various tasks: logical and spatial reasoning, self-control, problem solving, and absorption and retention of new information. Together these tasks measure “bandwidth,” the resource that underlies all higher-order mental activity. Inevitably, dieters do worse than nondieters on all these tasks; they have less bandwidth."

Oh, please! "Constant calculations" of calorie counting isn't constant at all unless you are constantly eating. Using fitday or any number of free apps, keeping track of what you eat is a matter of entering some data and then it actually thinks for you by keeping track and making pretty charts of your nutrition and progress (or lack of)! Either way, we always make what we eat count.

Adding further to the mental strain, they claim:

"Nondieters ate and moved on, but dieters started wondering how to make up for the calories they had just ingested or, even more fundamentally, pondered, 'Why did I eat the bar?'" 

Yes, seeking personal insight or planning a balanced diet is now going to make you inept overall because you are overwhelmed with having to think. The article then warns about the impact of "bandwidth scarcity," stating it "has far-reaching consequences, whether we are talking about poor farmers or affluent dieters." 

The conclusion is that you choose a diet that requires little thought, and it's that kind of "thinking" fits right in with 2013. Let someone (or something, like industrial machinery) do the meal planning and cooking for you! Don't hurt yourself by trying to gain personal insight because you'll suffer.

If you're feeling naughty and rebellious against 2013, you can read my book and blog so you can think and eat like it's the 1950s! To those who already have and continue to, I salute you. : )