No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Nom nom nom nom…

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I hadn’t planned on yet another post so soon, but a couple blogs got me going this morning (that and some grow-hair-in-previously-unknown-areas coffee—I’m sure the girlfriend will love getting to use the clippers more, but I digress).

Mike Eades has a way of making light of issues many of us don’t know are issues in the first place. Under the gun today: scientific bias, namely manipulating and re-writing data to fit a preconceived hypothesis/bias, especially when that data contradict the bias. Now, before I go any further, I urge you to read that post. Seriously, it’ll take you ten or fifteen minutes, but it’s completely worth it, so head on over there. Go ahead. I’ll wait…

*looks around, whistling*

Oh, look, a blue car!

*checks non-existent fingernails*

So, what’d you think? After reading Dr. Eades’ blog, I immediately thought of a spate of recently published articles talking about screening and medicating children for high cholesterol (here, here, here, and here, and wrapped up neatly by Mark a couple hours after I initially posted this blog). Really? Kids with high cholesterol? How did they get that way in the first place (and no, it’s not genetic)? And why the sudden, severe, knee-jerk reaction? Please, it’s “for the children,” and we’d do anything to protect them, no matter what the extreme (I’ll refrain from getting on a soapbox about bubble-wrapped kids and helicopter parents… for now…). How about kicking them out of the house this summer (read: make it more dangerous for them to be inside than outside). I’ll let a quick exchange from Finding Nemo say the rest of what needs to be said right now:

MARLIN
No. I promised him I’d never let anything happen to him.

DORY
Huh. That’s a funny thing to promise.

MARLIN
What?

DORY
Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

Of course, it’s not just the kiddies at risk. Think about some recurring themes that have been largely fueled by mass media and/or advertising: single-serve packaging, enlarged hearts in athletes, out-of-control college students (aside from Girls Gone Wild, and yes, that’s only 157 people over a six-year period), governmental responsibility—rather than your own—in basic healthcare (at least Gerberding seems to be campaigning for educating the masses on taking individual responsibility), condoning “if it feels good” behaviors, stability “training“, and general offensensitivity (thanks to Berkeley Breathed for that term).

So, what should we really worry about? Franklin Roosevelt’s words still hold true today. People fear the unknown, and for the most part, marginalize and summarily seek to eradicate it. I’m not saying to simply become blissfully ignorant of the world around you; on the contrary, I’m a huge advocate of education and self-improvement in all aspects, but don’t be a sheep. Discriminate in your mental diet just as you would in your physical one. Trust your own intelligence without relying solely on mass media to spoon-feed you “information.” Believe in your abilities and your goals. Just don’t go overboard on the whole belief thing—be flexible enough to test and possibly incorporate new information that may not fit your belief system yet turns out to be more beneficial. For some more movie magic, Dogma presents an excellent discussion on the matter:

RUFUS
The brother was centered. I mean, He was God, right? But I think He felt left out because He was more than human, you know? We used to sit around the fire – me and the other guys – and we’d be talking about what ass-holes the Romans were or getting laid…

BETHANY
Some things never change.

RUFUS
…and He’d just sit there listening and smiling. We’d ask Him why He never joined in the convo, but He said He just liked to hear us talk; about anything. Said it was like music. I think He just wished He had unimportant shit to talk about himself.

BETHANY
How does He feel now?

RUFUS
He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, but especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.

BETHANY
Having beliefs isn’t good?

RUFUS
I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should be malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant. That was one thing the Man hated – still life. He wanted everyone to be as enthralled with living as He was. Maybe it had something to do with knowing when He was going to die, but Christ had this vitality that I’ve never encountered in another person since. You know what I’m saying?

BETHANY
He was big on life?

RUFUS
It was more than that. He was the only person I ever knew who never engaged in that most ancient of life-affirming activities.

BETHANY
Sex.

RUFUS
Debate. That’s the only way people know how to reaffirm that they’re alive – by debating. In all its forms. People spend their whole lives debating: we fight about who’s right and who’s wrong, we fight ourselves, we fight each other, we fight death, we fight over beliefs, we fight over fights. We believe that to stop debating – in any fashion – is to stop living and give up. People say that life’s a struggle, but it’s not. Life is living. I’m even guilty of it myself, the way I go on about Christ’s ethnicity, fighting for the truth to come out. And I’m dead. Even in death, the only way I know how to live is through debate. That’s sad, isn’t it?

BETHANY
Not if you believe it’s important for people to know.

RUFUS
A belief’s a dangerous thing, Bethany. People die for it. People kill for it. The whole of existence is in jeopardy right now … All over a belief.

Okay, my apologies, I didn’t intend for this to become a soapbox, even though I said I was refraining from that. No, really, I’d intended for this to be a diet-focused blog, which I’m getting to right now:

—The tanking economy is affecting our most basic needs (read: food), but Paul shares a Time magazine article on going gourmet on a budget.
—Mmmm… breakfast… Kinda sucks that Bojangles is currently running a special on its Cajun Filet biscuits (nom nom nom nom…).
—If you ascribe to the during- and/or post-workout feeding period, keep this in mind: it’s only an issue if you’re doing an hour-plus of endurance work (read: half-marathons, marathons, full triathlons, etc). If you’re just doing a spinning class for forty-five minutes, you’re shooting yourself in the foot with that Gatorade.
Age doesn’t matter (unless you’re cheese). Example: my friend John Mahler (thanks to Roland for noting that this is his stage name only; see times 0:06 and 1:13), who started lifting at 52 (about seven years ago) and deadlifts (for reps) more than I do (for singles).
—Awesome, a mainstream media tip on how to get drunk more quickly *rolls eyes* At least be healthier about it.
—Have some dietary and/or body composition goals? Start a food journal. Seriously. Here‘s a popular, FREE online journal that I use when I need to dial in my own nutrition.
—More love for Bill Hartman (here and here, and no, this isn’t nutrition-related)
—Totally unrelated geek-outs: English, Stradivarius, laughter, weaponry, video games, two years of OLPC

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