No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Seasonal eating

Posted by Ben on Friday, September 26, 2008

I really should be studying right now (or pretty much any time over the past week I’ve been putting this together), but as you can tell, I’m not. Oh well. I want to say a *gasp* fond farewell to Yankee Stadium. Yes, me, the quintessential Yankee hater, saying I will miss Yankee Stadium. Hey, I may pull for the Red Sox and others, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate sports—and American—history. “A bit of America’s soul is being destroyed with the destruction of the old Yankee Stadium,” said an acquaintance from my hometown (ah, the joys of Facebook reconnections). I was plopped on my couch flipping back and forth betweeen the last game to be played at Yankee Stadium and the Packers/Cowboys game. Not a bad night (except that the Cowboys won), but I can say I am one of the lucky relatively few who made it to a game in the Bronx. For me, it was summer of 2003, to see a Yankees/Red Sox game. Frankly, I didn’t care about the game so much as the experience of sitting in the right-field bleachers, going through roll call, heckling Johnny Damon (who was still with Boston at the time), and being around fanatics, not just fans. There just aren’t many things like it.

I also made it to Shea Stadium during that same trip; to say it was decidedly less enthralling is an understatement, but I still got to see that ballpark before its demise while heckling Chipper Jones, even though I like the Braves. So far, I’ve made it to Yankee (old), Shea, Wrigley, US Cellular (missed Comiskey by a couple years), Kauffman, and Fulton County (for football rather than baseball). I’m still trying to get to Fenway in the next couple years as well as any older parks before they’re replaced. I really don’t feel a push to see newer parks right now.


The girl and I have been lamenting the forthcoming end of farmers market season here in Charlotte, set to close sometime next month for the most part. It may be purely psychological, but farmers market fare just seems to taste better, cook better, and just plain FEELS better (not like warm fuzzies, just literally physically). In a couple weeks, though, the cornucopia of fruits, veggies, eggs, breads, honeys, jams, and a few meats (no nuts that I’ve seen, though) will give way to pumpkins and, well, pumpkins (and eventually fir trees) until next spring. This all, in a word, blows. Sure, not ALL of the goodies are grown locally (some stuff does come from as far away as California, unfortunately), and sure, there are a few stores in the area for buying more nutritionally- and environmentally-friendly foods, but even those are questionable—note that “free range” merely means ACCESS to the “outdoors,” which can literally be an ten-square-foot patch of grass open to the sky (“organic” is also just a label, not a guarantee—watch Tommy Boy for an insightful take on guarantees). I’ve previously mentioned the proximity of a couple farms that offer a combination of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and milk, and it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll pull the trigger on buying from these farms (a definite once we’re in a house, hopefully by next summer), but produce remains elusive in this area. Mark, always a go-to guy for all things edible, recently posted a top-ten list of fall season veggies, and at the bottom is a list of his posts covering other seasons and their prime produce.

Also in previous posts, I linked to articles about urban gardening (“square-foot” gardening) as well as compact composting, both of which would be doable at our current location, but frankly, I don’t care to setup a project of that scope if we’re only going to be here six-to-eight months. To me, gardening, composting, and the like all symbolize a sense of permanence (a odd concept if you’ve personally known me for any length of time), albeit one of allostasis (a new favorite word from my last post) if done correctly. Aside from a new, massive HDTV and a home gym setup, I want to christen the new digs with a rotational garden of sorts (suitable for all seasons) as well as a compost area (again, it doesn’t stink if done correctly). Depending on how far out in the sticks we decide to go, a couple chickens isn’t out of the question, either, as long as the dogs don’t get to them. For now, though, the hunt is on for local fall/winter veggie sources and a scouting trip to a purported egg farm out to the east of town to support our roughly eight-dozen-per-month habit (show me a quicker, cheaper, more nutritionally valuable source of protein, I dare ya).

By the way, on a completely selfish note, there is now a sliver of hope that UNC Charlotte, my alma mater twice over, may get a football team. Now, I know it’s still a long shot, but IF it happens, it’ll be at least five years from now. I’ll be 34 then, plenty of time to put on 30-50 pounds of lean mass, lower my 40-yard time (can’t get much higher), and re-enroll at the minimum credit hours required so as to tryout in hopes of getting the last backup roster spot. Hey, it could happen… *snicker*…

Body bits: Mark meets the kettlebell, warming up to run (hey, look, nothing static!), exercise combats obesity and diabetes (gosh, no, really?), exercise programming on the fly, more foam rolling, more reason to avoid fitness center “trainers” and brotards, aged-appropriate exercises, electricity-generating exercise (I don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this to happen), trying a tri, knee-friendly hip flexor stretches, that neck pain may be more than just a pain in the neck, another former jogger, “cardio” still sucks, treadmill desks (coming to an office near you?), programming for body composition (no treadmills allowed!) OR your form may be keeping you fat, grip it to rip it, how to play bike polo (that’s gonna hurt in the morning), bodyweight training brings out the MacGuyver in you, too much flexibility/mobility, happy twentieth anniversary to Ben Johnson’s date with destiny.

Edibles: Lyle’s dieting physiology wrap-up (an enthralling series if you like one or both of the books I reviewed in my last post), the musclehead’s guide to alcohol, consistency through planning, the decline and fall of sugar (and a look back at some dietary flat-Earthers), hosting guests who aren’t on the primal eating bandwagon, superfood mash-ups (don’t get me started), eating for enjoyment (what? moderation? the hell you say), diet as behavior modifier (in prison as well as in schools, which some might argue can be one and the same), some diet-food suggestions from Leigh (the first ten of fifty, and I already take issue with a couple of them), energy drinks = crap, Green Pans (these are going on the gift list), sour grapes over Splenda, grape juice may be as healthful as red wine (but still less fun to drink), the endgame of restrictive dieting, misleading Nutella advertising (gosh, no, really?), some awesome fish or—not and—egg recipes, more on intermittent fasting (roundtable, Eat Stop Eat review), GM meats (why is this suddenly an issue after years of hormones and fertilizers permeating our food chain???), tricks with Stevia, supplement missteps (I’m willing to bet most of the blame could be placed on the consumers here), the Mediterranean succumbs to the West, Havard pushes bliss through ignorance, a good deal at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, news flash: fats aren’t evil, carbs + fats = BFFs?

Mind matters: brain health roundup, making and storing memories (for now), exercise addiction (hint: it should be fun first, logical second), this just in—psychological stressors cause physical reactions, critical thinking may increase appetite, craving security breeds insecurity, viewers may remember TV health messages (this probably just means people pay more attention to TV than to reality), auctions play on fear, ordinary to extraordinary (for better or worse), our onboard navigation systems.

Kiddie corner: how much exercise do children need? (um, more than they’re getting, obviously), reinventing the school lunch, America’s healthiest schools, you’re gonna miss me (funny), cooking better for the kids (that pizza recipe isn’t too bad), a hopeful future of gym class, teaching on the time limit (note: can’t say this is original to them—I was advised to do this during my own teaching days), overweight kids more prone to headaches, vitamin D supplementation works but is completely unnecessary, banning sodas in schools having little effect on overall consumption (gosh, no, really? you mean parents are to blame? shocking), guidelines for dealing with ADHD (here’s priceless advice for free: get the little rug munchers away from the TV/computer/video games and kick them out into the yard—accidents are okay despite helicopter parenting—until it’s time for supper; donations accepted via PayPal)

General health: genetics (reverse-engineered stem cells, sight restoration), you’ll end up on your back either way, weight-loss surgery is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, plastics are safe (trust us, we’re the government), first pharmaceuticals and now rocket fuel, Doggyfitness officially launches, asthma sufferers may leak less, aweigh down south in Dixie, the dental divide, talking diet with your doctor, the sky is (still) falling, overpopulation and the human mind (consider the Bottom Billion), the US surgeon general was a little behind on this one, ecstasy just got safe(r), break out the votives.

—Transportation: inside the better-than-a-Prius Volt (video), Chrysler from left field, Pininfarina enters the EV fray, Porsche goes retro, some hybrids are pointless, locusts teach collision avoidance, know if you can beat the light, when Ferraris fly, a super Veyron? (*drool*), an electric Viper, upgrading the moped, big rigs getting fuel cells to reduce idling, North Carolina biodiesel co-op (Big Willie style?), happy anniversary to the last victory for the horse, faster than a speeding bullet train, surfers grounded, one step closer to biofuel from algae (airlines may still get screwed), at least flights may remain quieter, more bicycles mean fewer accidents, tanks, WTF cruises, space travel inspired by sci-fi, take four for Space-X, China building “impossible” space drive, space tourist rebate, yay for camels!
—Large Hadron Collider: hacked and broken (videos and timeframe).
—Nature: bypassing trees, spurs sustainable fishing, US dumping used tech in Asia, an awesome hurricane tracking website, the coming (already here?) water crisis, redesigning cities for sustainability
—Tech stuff: online gamers aren’t THAT unhealthy, revel in data isolation (I know I do), happy belated anniversaries to the emoticon, tanks, and Myst.
—Miscellaneous: the physical and idealogical differences between liberals and conservatives, Obama announces his science advisors, ten movie geeks, Israel unleashes Pepe LePew, the Human Terrain, optical illusions, who wants to buy a beach town?

Git ‘r dun:
—How about some POSITIVE reinforcement there, Oprah?
—If Mark Speckman can figure it out, so can you.
—Pumps versus drains.
—Leigh begins a series of “action assignments” (with Mike’s reaction).
—Eric invokes Shel Silverstein.
—A mantra for balanced personal development.
—The power of “thank you.”
Diversify (you hear me out there, big agriculture? Wall Street? brotard?).
—It could always be worse.
—Are you trying too hard? (probably not, but something to keep in mind—you have to TRY first)
—What if exercise made you ugly?


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