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Bad Habits

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We all have crappy bad habits,* and I’m not here to tell you to give them up in favor of 5Ks and cleanses.  Look, I’ve never met someone who said, “A stranger on the Internet told me to give up all my bad habits and I did and now I’m a living god!” If I could make you all living gods I would, but sadly I can’t. However, if you’re going to keep your daily indulgences anyway, why not make them marginally better?

Drinking

Don’t lie to me and say you’re drinking Jägerbombs for your heart health. We all have our reasons for drinking. Perhaps it’s because booze is sterile, and you like the taste. I’m not one to judge.

If you are having a tipple, wee dram, or are engaging any other drinking euphemism, at least recycle your containers. Glass bottles and aluminum cans are highly recyclable, so even if you’re punishing your liver, you can spare the environment. With slightly more effort, you can get your beer in a reusable growler, which looks classy even though it’s a big jug of beer.

Beyond feeling good because you’re buzzed, you can check out the charities and missions of the companies that make your drink. Most of them care about the environment, local communities, horses, whatever, and you can bask in the vicarious glow of giving money to a company that gives to good causes for you.

Junk TV

Maybe it’s not really okay that the best part of your day is yelling at Family Feud contestants, but if it is don’t give it up. Life is a rich tapestry that includes people who say hamsters lay eggs, and you have the right, the duty even, to watch them fail on TV. Just stand up occasionally.
Sitting for long periods of time is correlated to poorer health outcomes, so you might as well stand once in a while when you watch your junk TV.

Standing around for no reason can feel awkward, so I recommend making a game of it. Maybe stand whenever Judge Judy enters the courtroom or whenever a character speaks with stirring patriotism. If you’re feeling ambitious, stand and applaud to really get your blood moving.
I suppose you could exercise while you watch crappy TV, but I find that it ruins the experience of letting my brain relax into mush.

Ordering Delivery

Sometimes, what you have with your favorite delivery joint goes beyond a simple monetary exchange. What you have is a relationship.
Yes, the food is unhealthy, and yes, it’s more expensive than cooking. But you’re committed to each other now, and I’m not going to tell you stop seeing the purveyor of grease and salt that makes you happy. I do have some relationship advice, though.

If your delivery place does well let them and the rest of the world know. Shout it from the rooftops, or preferably, give them a good Yelp! review. When conflict arises, as it does in any relationship, don’t bad mouth them on Twitter without talking to them first. How will they know that it hurt when they discontinued the Eric Cartman Combo without proper communication? Treat your delivery place with respect, tip their drivers, and they’ll do right by you, too.

Online Porn

Stop frantically closing your tabs. Unless you’re at work, then close that sh*t quick.

Porn is a fraught topic, and I’m not going to make a case for or against it here. The fact is that porn consumption is common. If you do watch porn, the least you can do it pay for it instead of bootlegging or file sharing. There are those who say it’s so easy to get for free that paying is for suckers. Well, I could easily win a fistfight with a baby, but somehow, I’ve managed to never punch a baby.

When you pay for porn, you’re also paying the people who create it. If there’s a company, director, or performer you want to keep seeing, it makes sense to pay them to keep doing what they’re doing. You can even support feminist pornography with your dollars if that’s your jam. You get what you pay for, and if you watch porn anyway, it might as well be good.

*Now, if what you have is an addiction, please seek help.

Food

How to get the ball rolling on eating healthier

You may want to start eating healthier, but getting the ball rolling can be an uphill endeavor.

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Make a List

Make a list

congerdesign / Pixabay

When you get hungry, the last thing you feel like doing is running down a mental list of available healthy foods to eat. That’s why you probably end up grabbing whatever is closest to you and chowing down, vowing to start eating healthy tomorrow.

Instead, sit down and make a list of foods that you determine to be healthiest for you and your goals. Don’t just write a shopping list. Make a list of actual meals that you can prepare and eat. Include what day you’re going to have them, and what time. The more prepared you are when hunger strikes, the more likely you will be to have something ready without having to think too hard about it.

Buy a Cookbook

 

Cookbook

RitaE / Pixabay

Flipping through a cookbook with enticing photographs of healthy food will get you inspired to start eating healthy. Buy a cookbook or two that has nothing but healthy food recipes. Make sure it has a photo for every recipe, so you can visualize yourself dining on the healthy options. Put bookmarks on pages that really make you want to get up and start cooking. These are the dishes that will offer you the best motivation to start your new healthy eating plan. Alternatively, you can create your own cookbook by searching around the internet for healthy recipes and saving them to your phone or computer.

Buy Some New Clothes

Clothing store

Pexels / Pixabay

Wearing the same clothes every day when you already feel unattractive can keep you in a negative rut that’s hard to get out of. Put on your favorite pair of jeans, jacket, whatever, and go shopping for some new clothes. Buy a few that fit you now, and something special that you can work toward fitting into after you’ve achieved your weight goal. The change will help you to see yourself as someone new and fresh who is capable of switching eating habits for the better.

Stop Looking in the Mirror

Girl looking in mirror

StockSnap / Pixabay

If your appearance really gets you down, stop obsessing over your flaws in the mirror. Seriously, you don’t need a visual examination over every wrinkle or bulge. Just stop looking in the mirror, get dressed, and be on your merry way. Wait at least a month before you give yourself a once over again. This time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, instead of walking away thinking how bad you look.

Buy a Cool Scale

Smart scale with tape measure

mojzagrebinfo / Pixabay

If you’re trying to lose weight (or even gain weight), having a cool scale will make the process easier to measure progress. Get yourself a digital scale that measures ounces as well as pounds. They even have scales that speak your weight, if that’s what you need to keep motivated to eat healthier. Just don’t weigh yourself every day, because daily fluctuations in weight are normal, and have little to do with your eating habits. If you gain a couple ounces after eating healthy all day, you could lose motivation to continue to eat healthy. Every three days or so is sufficient to track your progress and measure your results.

Choose Restaurants With Healthy Food

Healthy food on restaurant table

StockSnap / Pixabay

If cooking isn’t your thing, choose some local restaurants that serve healthy foods with wholesome ingredients. Keep a list of these restaurants at hand so that when you come home late from work and don’t feel like cooking, you’ll have a backup plan that doesn’t involve Domino’s Pizza.

Invest in Partitioned Storage Containers

Plastic food storage container

MMT / Pixabay

If you’re short on time like most of us, you need some quick options for meals every now and then. Invest in some portioned storage containers so you can make your own version of TV dinners. Instead of pudding and mashed potatoes, fill them with things like brown rice, steamed broccoli, and turkey breast. Prepare them ahead of time and stack in your refrigerator or freezer. Just pop one in the microwave when all you can think about is flopping on the couch in front of the television.

The key to getting the ball rolling to start eating healthier is to be prepared. When you stock up on the tools that will help you reach your goals, get ready for instances when there’s no time to cook, and be kind to yourself by not obsessing over your image, you stand a pretty good chance of improving your eating habits for good.

 

WATCH: Tips for Getting Your Significant-Other to Eat Healthier

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Food

Woman begs city council to bring back McRib

The McRib Shortage of ’15. It was the single greatest tragedy this country has ever endured. But one woman, one brave voice, said, “No. This will not do.” #mcrib #sheslovinit

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mcrib-woman

Well over a year ago a tragic event occurred: In the fall of 2015, the executives of McDonald’s made a grave decision, the consequences of which are still felt to this day. They decided that when the McRib was released that year it would… it would allow the regional managers to decide whether or not they would offer the McRib. As a result, a staggering 45 percent of McDonald’s locations elected not to offer the McRib. It was the single greatest tragedy this country has ever endured. But one woman, one brave voice, said, “No. This will not do.”

First off, shout out to Reader James from Lake Elsinore, CA for alerting us to the tale of hardship and heroism. You see, when Xanthe Pajarillo, a “McRib activist,” realized that none of the ten McDonald’s locations in her hometown of Santa Clarita would be offering the McRib, she did what any reasonable red-blooded American citizen would do. She brought the issue before the city council.

Now it is no secret that the McRib Shortage of ’15 nearly brought the nation to a standstill. In fact, if it weren’t for the release of a special McRib locator app, experts speculate that America would have ceased to exist as it does today. But amidst all of the rolling blackouts, the deaths, and the riots, we overlooked all of the smaller, personal tragedies that took place because of the cruel decision made by nearly half of McDonald’s regional managers.

In her impassioned plea to the Santa Clarita city council, Pajarillo explained just why the McRib meant so much to her and her family, and why the city council had to act in order to bring it back.

“The removal of the McRib from the menu has affected my family, because every Thanksgiving, my family would, like, order a 50-piece chicken McNugget and like, 10 McRibs. It was like, a tradition in our family, and now it’s like—well, like my family’s holiday spirit is kind of messed up and broken.”

Recently Pajarillo heroic speech before the city council has gone viral, gaining attention at the national stage across social media. Since that dramatic event, Pajarillo has continued to fight for the return of the McRib, even going so far as to release a song dubbed “The McRib Blues.” In it, she lays bare her soul and the souls of those like her to whom the McRib is more than just a barbecue pork sandwich, but is instead, a way of life.

There are those out there, deplorables who hardly deserve mention, that call her bravery nothing more than a stunt. Performance art holding up a mirror to America’s consumerism and obsession. However, others stand by the truth. Pajarillo is a hero, fighting for both a sandwich, but also for something more. Something ephemeral. That little piece of Americana that brings us all together. The McRib.

Fight on, brave warrior, fight on.

♪ Cause we have right to eat what we like, McRib is worth the fight ♪

Still can’t get enough of the McRib? Learn how a McRib is made, courtesy of BuzzFeed.

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Food

Do your genes dictate which junk foods you prefer?

Despite our best intentions to stay healthy, we all have one or two junk foods that we could never imagine giving up (mine are french fries and triple chocolate chip cookies).

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The Kuma Burger

Despite our best intentions to stay healthy, we all have one or two junk foods that we could never imagine giving up (mine are french fries and triple chocolate chip cookies). Figuring out how the body regulates preferences for these foods would make it easier for us to maintain our weight and health, but scientists have never really been certain how this works.
Now a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK have discovered a gene that might be responsible for whether you prefer high fat or high sugar foods, and it could lead to better treatment for metabolic disorders like obesity.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the Cambridge team showed that pathways in the brain involving the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) play a critical role in food choice. They also found that gene mutations which disrupt these pathways result in the subject overwhelmingly preferring fat over sweet foods.

Participants in the study included 14 people with MC4R mutations, who were given a series of identical meals with varying levels of fat and sugar. Although they couldn’t tell the differences in sugar or fat content, the MC4R subjects ate significantly more of the high-fat foods than control groups, while consuming less of the high-sugar meals.
“Our work shows that even if you tightly control the appearance and taste of food, our brains can detect the nutrient content,” says Professor Sadaf Farooqi from the Wellcome Trust–Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, who led the research team.

“Most of the time we eat foods that are both high in fat and high in sugar. By carefully testing these nutrients separately in this study, and by testing a relatively rare group of people with the defective MC4R gene, we were able to show that specific brain pathways can modulate food preference.”

The results are exciting because this is the first study to show a definitive link between genetics and preference for certain types of junk foods. While obesity is generally a mix of inherited and environmental causes, identifying and treating the genetic component could make it much easier for overweight people to lose weight and improve their health.

Farooqi and her team also believe the research supports a commonly held theory that humans and animals evolved a preference for high fat food to help us survive in times of food scarcity.

“When there is not much food around, we need energy that can be stored and accessed when needed,” she says. “Fat delivers twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates or protein and can be readily stored in our bodies. As such, having a pathway that tells you to eat more fat at the expense of sugar, which we can only store to a limited extent in the body, would be a very useful way of defending against starvation.”

Q: Which types of junk foods do you prefer — cookies and candy or pizza and hot dogs? Let us know in the comments below.

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