Aug 112010

Make your own "choppin' broccoli" joke here.

Sinfest (c) Tatsuya Ishida

It’s practically a given – if you buy a pre-packaged “healthy” meal, it’s all but guaranteed to have broccoli in it. This penchant for bundling the ubiquitous green stuff is so pronounced that some metalhead friends of ShrinkGeek have likened an unwanted opening act that performs at numerous shows headlined by more desirable bands, “The broccoli of metal.”

What, however, is behind this? Why does broccoli wear the mantle of “default healthy food” in the same way that bacon and cheeseburgers are shorthand for “crap that is bad for you”?

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Jul 062010
It can't be all bad - he can see his feet.

Standing on the scale doesn't burn many calories, however. (Photo by Alan Cleaver)

It’s become something of a running joke around here that “eat less and exercise more” is overly simplistic, and not all that sexy. In that respect, this mantra is kind of like Bejeweled (actually, there is Bejeweled pron out there. Verily, the internet is full of things. Whether those things should exist is left as an exercise for the reader).

However, sometimes it’s useful to know more precisely how much we should be eating. This is especially true if you’re not on any kind of scripted dietary program, or one that gives you a daily allotment of something other than plain old calories.

Handy tool is handy.

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Jan 082010
Druid's Aquatic Form (World of Warcraft)

The Druid's Aquatic Form (World of Warcraft, (C) Blizzard Entertainment)

If you’ve spent much time perusing the gaming aisle or the sci-fi section of your local media emporium, you’ve no doubt noticed the high concentration of military bad-asses featured prominently therein. From the Halo series to Gears of War and Call of Duty to much of Robert Heinlein and John Ringo’s oeuvre (heck, even the Jedi were an elite fighting force), there is no shortage of hand-picked combat troops blowing the bejeezus out of things. Oftentimes, it’s not just the run of the mill Army or Navy enlisted folks, either – it’s the creme de la creme, the various flavors of  Special Forces.

There’s no way the likes of us could qualify to do that sort of stuff… or is there?

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Jan 052010

We can't stop here, this is Orc country.

Badwater Road, Death Valley (courtesy of Wikimedia)

One of the subjects that came up in our interview with Elizabeth Bear was the Eowyn Challenge – hiking in the footsteps of our friends from Middle Earth on their journey. Oddly enough, not everyone wants to go to Mordor. I hear the Orcs are lovely this time of year, though….

Instead, some folks have given it their own spin, and I’m not just saying that because they’re putting their exercise bikes where their motivation is. Mike talked about walking across the United States, from Tampa to Seattle – probably for the coffee, or maybe to get hit with a thrown fish (not to be confused with getting slapped with one).

So, where else are people pedaling off to in the name of healthy motivation?

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Jan 042010

Advertising Fail courtesy of the Fail Blog

If you’ve watched television at all in the last 10 years or so you are most likely familiar with the name Jared Fogel, and if not you’d likely recognize him if you saw a picture. Jared is “the Subway guy.” For those of you who are not familiar with his admittedly impressive story, the Reader’s Digest version is that back in 1997 Jared lost an incredible amount of weight by following what he termed “The Subway Diet.” The diet program in and of itself was pretty simple. Jared, who had been consuming what he estimates as nearly 10,000 calories a day, replaced two of his meals with six inch sandwiches from Subway’s “7 under 6” menu (sandwiches with a total of less than six grams of fat). He also walked pretty much everywhere and added other types of exercise on top of that. In the end he managed to lose over 240 pounds, and when the advertising executives at Subway caught wind of his success they hired him as a spokesman. That move turned out to be a smashing success for the restaurant chain, and Jared has been associated with them ever since.

While many restaurants have tried to duplicate the success that Subway had marketing themselves as a diet-friendly fast food alternative there is little doubt that Subway has remained the uncontested king of the healthy lifestyle hill.  So far they’ve managed to fight off all other pretenders to their throne, but it looks like they may be facing a new challenge from a fairly unlikely source.

Taco Bell.

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