Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Comparative Curiousities

I love comparative studies: finding the fundamental similarities between things which appear substantially different. And my "trip" down the rabbit hole of superfoods has been no different. As referenced in Scaffolding, Food and Wine recently released an article which discussed the release of Gwyneth Paltrow's smoothie recipe. And while the hub-bub surrounded the price it would set one back to purchase the superfoods used (expensive for a mere mortal, pocket change for Paltrow) I found it odd that many of the ingredients repeat in either their usage or function.

 Down the rabbit hole we go...

As stated in Tea Timing, Continued..., I've somehow found myself in the world of superfoods. The journey down the "rabbit hole" came with my perpetual window shopping on the Net-A-Porter site where I stumbled upon a curious concoction entitled "Sex Dust" put out by a company known as Moon Juice. Formerly familiar with Moon Juice from Into the Gloss (my first step down the rabbit hole), I began visiting the brand's site and essentially window shopping as I did at Net-A-Porter (both sites carry goods which will set you back a pretty penny). And having visited Amanda Chantal Bacon's site (read: Moon Juice), I was curious when I re-visited the recipe for Ms. Paltrow's smoothie.

Aside from a base of almond milk, almond butter and coconut oil (two-thirds of which you can make at home), Paltrow's recipe dabbles in the realm of superfoods, calling for ingredients such as maca, ashwagandah, ho shu wu and cordyceps. But such ingredients seem to repeat within the recipe. In addition to the ingredients listed above, Paltrow also claims to use Moon Juice's Action Dust, Brain Dust, Sex Dust, Beauty Dust, Good Night Dust and/or Spirit Dust, "depending on what the day ahead holds." But, having read up a little on such dusts prior to reading Paltrow's recipe, I noticed many of these mixtures were made up of the superfoods themselves (i.e. Brain Dust and Sex Dust contain maca, etc.). But such ingredients don't only repeat in form, they repeat in function as well.

When getting into superfoods, I was intrigued by the there were some that claimed to help with stress. While I'm lucky enough to not need digestive aids or energy boosts (alternate areas helped by superfoods) I'm constantly on the lookout for products which can reduce stress without having me make difficult life choices. And through my research on superfoods (and some luck), I happened by a small ingredient called an adaptogen.

Technically speaking, "adaptogen" is a classification of ingredients that, among other things, can help to balance the effects of stress or, as Merriam-Webster would say, "a nontoxic substance... that is held to increase the body's ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote and restore normal physiological functioning." And the Moon Juice website offers a host of adaptogens, one being Vanilla Mushroom Protein, better known as the fourth ingredient in Ms. Paltrow's smoothie. But such powder is not the only one to protect or defend against stress... Ms. Paltrow puts a myriad of others in as well.

While $200 (the amount it would cost to buy the ingredients of Ms. Paltrow's smoothie) may be pocket change for its creator, the though of spending that on a drink (which is not a fine wine) may send most into a stressful frenzy. This is perhaps why so many of its ingredients are claimed to combat stress. While Vanilla Mushroom Powder serves as an adaptogen, ingredients such as maca, ashwagandah and cordyceps are also classified under the Moon Juice banners of both "Stress Relief" and "Thyroid and Adrenal Support". Furthermore, if you care to add Goodnight or Spirit Dust to your concoction, you would be adding other, stress-reducing ingredients as well. So the point is, while most of the above ingredients have unique properties in and of themselves, it doesn't mean one has to spend an exorbitant amount in order to receive a few benefits. One can tailor the ingredients to their tastes and budget... something we can all raise a glass to.

*Note: Above, I have linked ingredients to either the Sun Potion or Moon Juice websites in order to provide a variety of options and slight changes in price points. 

Monday, March 28, 2016


I don't always tutor outside of school but when I do, I like to scaffold my lessons. Technically, scaffolding means to teach a lesson beginning with the more basic levels of Bloom's Taxonomy (see below) and build up to the system's more advanced levels. But here, scaffolding means I cover one topic, then another, then revisit the former one once it has seeped into the subconscious (I hope). It's a little like Jennifer Aniston's workout routine (as told to Well+Good) where she claims she likes to do interval training because,"it's monotonous to do one pace. The whole time, you're body goes, 'I know what's happening." So I figured, I mix it up a little, changing gears from my last post on Spirit Animals in order to revisit some superfoods discussed beforehand.

In addition to educational theory, I wanted to revisit several topics covered before mostly because I saw references to them in the news. And rather than bore you with pontifications on such articles, I figured I'd put them in list form and give a brief summary of each. Enjoy!

Basic Bloom's (Taxonomy)

Gwyneth Paltrow's Morning Smoothie is Crazy (Expensive): Within my education training, we were schooled in the difference between primary and secondary sources (as most of us were going into Social Studies education). A primary source, we learned was that which directly related to an event being studied. Letters from a solider fighting at Gettysburg, pictures and even news articles citing eyewitness accounts were all labeled as primary sources. Those sources which derived their information from such sources (instead of the event itself), however, were called secondary sources. Here, Food and Wine's article on Gwyneth Paltrow's smoothie is a secondary source and thereby, one which I should have introduced second. But I decided to start here because it was the first article to bring my deeper into the rabbit hole of superfoods. Whereas I thought myself crazy for wanting to purchase Sex Dust (a conglomeration of various superfoods) to the tune of $60, learning Paltrow used the substance on the daily made me feel no less insane but at least... not alone.

GP's Morning "Smoothie": After reading Food and Wine's article on Gwyneth's expensive habits, I kind of promised myself that I wouldn't look at the original recipe whence they received their information. But, curiosity got the best of me and I found myself looking at the primary source on goop. And as I viewed the original recipe, I noticed that Paltrow put more than just an assemblage of Moon Juice dusts into a vat of soymilk and almond butter... she added other superfoods which I had my eye on as well. But, to some extent, I noticed such ingredients repeat in their function (re: most of them serve as stress relievers). However, this is a topic which will be tackled in the next blog post.

What Gisele Bundchen Eat On Vacation: While I was aware Gwyneth Paltrow is a "bigger pimper" of food trends, stumbling upon an article revealing Gisele and Tom Brady's eating habits en vacances made me think that perhaps powdered superfoods (or superherbs) were part of a larger movement. According to Joanne Gerrard Young (the couple's personal chef in Costa Rica) Gisele (and Tom) seem to eat, "a 80/20 raw diet with colorful salads and lost of fresh veggies." In addition to veggies, however, there seems to be some powdered goodies (like maca!) in the recipes Young describes. And so, as I thought these powdered delights might be the next big (cost) thing on the market, I wanted to do a little investigating to see how well they worked.

Is There Any Science Behind Gwyneth Paltrow's $200 Smoothie? Either Way, We Tried It: While falling down the rabbit hole of superfoods, it's easy to forget that there's a real world out there... one where people derive their nutrients from actual foods (although, what defines "actual" food these days? To find out, see the next article) But, suffice it to say, there wasn't anyone I could turn to and ask, "how does ashwagandah actually taste?". So, as stated before, I was lucky to happen upon some articles related to ones I had been reading. In the Washington Post article above, a team of journalists (and a doctor) assemble to create and taste Gwyneth Paltrow's smoothie with all their journalistic skepticism. The article was helpful in that, like a magician, the doctor was able to pull this rabbit out of her hole (or hat) and lend some medical expertise to the situation. It was also helpful in that, before spending a boatload on new ingredients, the journalists at the post assured me they taste like shit. I'll probably buy into the hippie-hype (and products) tho.

The Fight Against Food Fraud: Oddly, it is the Financial Times which makes me want to hug my local farmer.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spirit Animals

As you may have noted lately, a number of sites which may pop up on your Facebook feed offer quizzes on virtually every subject imaginable. What Kind Of Milkshake Are You? (vanilla, of course), Are You Type A Or Type B? (we'll get to that later) and Which "Saved By The Bell" Character Would Be Your BFF Based On Your Favorite Number? (see below) are just some of the quizzes you can find on the BuzzFeed site alone. But what strikes me as odd is I have yet to see any quiz offering guidance as to what one's spirit animal may be, especially because many sites which host such quizzes have seemingly been in love with the term "spirit animal", claiming Anna Kendrick or another trendy, sub-par actress to be theirs (I carry an odd vendetta against Anna Kendrick, probably because she's my spirit animal). But here, "spirit animal" refers to actual animals (or categories thereof) whose traits may be reflected in our own behaviors and, especially, eating habits.

Byyyyyyeeeee, Anna Kendrick (obviously what she's saying).

Several weeks ago, we were working in class to distinguish animals based upon their "actions" as omnivores, carnivores or herbivores. And, while I knew the definition of each category, I was unaware that each 'label' came with its own set of specialized behaviors within the animal kingdom. Viewing a movie on the subject, I (er, my students) learned that herbivores often, as prey, are built to be swift runners and voracious eaters while carnivores (or the alphas of the food chain) often eat less but more nutritionally dense meals. Quite a discovery in my mind, not only because I was unaware of such information before but because I noticed such tendencies inherent in humans, depending on their primary predilection for either vegetables or meat. 

There are all different types of eaters. There are those who prefer meat, those who prefer veggies and there are those who prefer carbs... they're called kids. And as a Buddhist's kid, I've been somewhat imbued with the concept of reincarnation or what, in my mind, amounts to the continuation of energy over time (perhaps I was a narcissistic herbivore in a past life). However, all kidding aside, there seems to be some correlation between animals that are prey (read: herBivores) and the betas among us and those that are predators (i.e. cArnivores) and the alphas we see. 

While BuzzFeed claimed me to have a Type A personality, I know in my heart I'm a beta. I deplore telling other people what to do, making solid decisions and/or possibly offending others in any way (you can probably guess my political affiliation). And to some extent, I've felt like "prey" for most of my life, at the mercy of others' emotional whims because I, historically, have been too afraid of confrontation (something I seem to be awkwardly overcompensating for in adulthood). But I appreciate the alphas among us... without them I'd be pretty directionless (without anyone giving me directions). And as someone who shares similar eating habits to the herbivores of the animal kingdom, there are several other similarities which exist besides simply being a "beta" or prey. 

According to the BBC, herbivores or animals that serve as prey are, "built for speed," giving them somewhat of an evolutionary advantage over their predatory counterparts. The gazelle, the zebra and the antelope are all swift on their feet, much like I was when I ran cross country in high school. They are also always hungry, I trait which also dates back to my school days. Rather than eat one large meal at a time (as carnivores often do) herbivores often graze, taking small meals throughout the day. When I was in high school and began having some control over my own eating habits (basically, I could drive myself to Subway) I noticed this pattern of grazing naturally occur, even when my mom claimed it was bad for my teeth. So, as I watched the aforementioned film, I felt squarely at home within the herbivore classification... however, for every yin, there is a yang.

Within the animal kingdom, the tomAto to the herbivore's literal tomato is the carnivore. While herbivores are content to eat plants as primary consumers, carnivores are content to eat the animals who eat the plants (as secondary consumers). But whereas herbivores are often grazers, carnivores remind me of people I've met with opposite tendencies... ones I'm often jealous of.

 Easter spirit animals.

They always say we want what we can't have and while I've found the act of grazing conducive to both my lifestyle and budget, there are those who are content to eat a single meal in a single setting, much like a carnivore would. According to the video, Predator and Prey in an Ecosystem, "large predators need to eat less frequently than other animals because their bodies use up energy at a much slower rate." With the act of hunting being somewhat unpredictable (remember, those herbivores can be fast), carnivores often feast when attaining a kill and store such calories until the next one is made. In my own life I have witnessed this phenomenon. My fiance is more of a meat-eater. Despite his own claims, he is also more of an alpha, telling people to pound sand in an instant when I simply struggle to admit I disagree with someone's opinion. And, as a meat eater, he is able to eat a meal, finish it and wait contently for the next one. I, however, want to get a drink, a cupcake... ANYTHING between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner (or after dinner). My fiance will always look at me quizzically though and claim, "I'm not hungry."

This is where the jealousy comes in. Whereas I can stuff my face all day, those that can wait between meals seem to have a greater sense of self-control, in my mind. They can eat, then stop, then eat, then stop rather than eat, then eat, then eat, then eat. But perhaps, our spirit animals are the ones to blame: those years of consciousness and energy which make us what we are today. And as things come full circle, perhaps the herbivores are destined to be consumed by the carnivore which, as Mufasa says, "... become the grass and the [herbivores] eat the grass and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life." Except for Anna Kendrick. I want no connection to Anna Kendrick.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Tea Timing, Continued...

In Tea Timing for (Part) 2, I promised a continuation on the topic of teas which could be used to calm oneself as one tries to... calm oneself, simply through the act of taking a few extra minutes to drink tea instead of engaging in knee-jerk reactions. While chamomile tea was referenced at the beginning of the last post (and it does have calming properties) lavender tea was put on the official "languid list" as medical studies have shown the herb's aroma to have calming effects on the nervous system. However, there are other, lesser known substances which can carry these same qualities.

As of late, I've been getting into the "fairy dusts" of superfoods. These are not your grandmother's acai berries. I'm talking about seriously falling through the looking glass and becoming intrigued by substances, tonics and herbs such as Ashitaba, He Shu Wu, Maca and Rhodiola (to be alphabetical about it). In general, I'm not sure what these substances are but they seem to keep appearing in my newsfeed, Instagram feed and in articles of interest. As stated in Trying to Get a Handle on It, I created both Snapchat and Instagram accounts for my new site: Eating Natty (I have yet to get my title transferred). In doing so, I began to follow organizations and people previously encountered on my "other" favorite site: Into the Gloss. In this manner, posts from Sun Potion, Moon Juice and CAP Beauty, began appearing in my feeds offering recipes for Yunnan Black Needle Tea, dried persimmons with sprouted walnuts and Brain Fuel (which can really only be understood through the photo below). But, as I did some research for each component of my "tea series", I saw the world of esoteric superfoods and pop culture collide as BuzzFeed's article, 10 Types of Tea That'll Calm You Down, featured some of the elements seemingly beknown only to the most obsessive of food lovers. Ergo, without further ado, the list of calming teas gets weirder and continues...

All those little words are ingredients!

Ashwagandha Tea: According to the aforementioned BuzzFeed article, ashwagandha tea has calming effects similar to lavender. And according to Sun Potion, a site that markets the product, "[a]shwagandha is reputed to help support emotional balance and brain function." The site goes on to refer readers to the National Institute of Health and the site, Heal Naturally, both of which report similar findings.

Lemon Balm Tea: A as a co-member of the Lamiaceae Family, alongside mint, basil and the like, lemon balm has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety when combined with valerian according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (an institution referenced on many a superfood's website). Many lemon balm teas are sold in bagged form, including the Organic Lemon Balm Tea by Buddah Teas or the Anise, Peppermint and Lemon Balm Tea by Palais des Thes but, according to the above medical site, "is [also] available as a dried leaf... in capsules, extracts, tinctures and oils." For myself, a minion of the mantra, "don't eat it if it comes in a bag or a box" prefers it in dried form... even though it comes in a bag, whatever.

Matcha Tea: Matcha tea has many benefits. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, this powdered form of the green tea leaf can, "[protect] against many kinds of cancer," what with its myriad of vitamins (A, C, E and K to name a few) and catechin polyphenols. But I include matcha here not because of its physiological benefits but because it is part of a ceremony which can provide psychological ones.

The Way of Tea or Japanese Tea Ceremony was developed in the sixteenth century and is essentially a ritualized tea service which, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "[places an] emphasis... on the interaction between the host, guests and tea utensils." Traditionally conducted using matcha tea, the ceremony serves as a meditation on tea and, incredibly, imperfection. Through the Japanese lenses of beauty as a state of natural simplicity, imperfection holds a role in valued objects. I remember learning in college how Japanese objects (most often tea pots) were intentionally made imperfect in order to create a more natural vibe within them. And while matcha, might do our bodies good, a focus on imperfection through a tea ceremony might be the one thing to make us breathe easier. Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tea Timing for (Part) 2

In Tea Timing, I wrote about how taking a cup of tea in the shower prevents me from compulsively washing the cleanser off my face or the anti-dandruff shampoo from my hair (both of which should be left on for an extended period of time). But "tea timing" has benefits beyond the scope of the shower as I learned yesterday morning.

On this particular morning, I was running late because I had woken up late. I had woken up late because I had gone to bed late. And I had gone to bed late because I refuse to take on adult responsibilities and schedules. The point is, none of the above could be blamed on my beloved fiancé but since he was coincidentally in my line (or great ball) of fire as we spoke on the phone, I was inclined to bitch and complain as if he were culpable of my predicament. However, since I was running late, balancing a hot cup of tea and attempting to sneak a cool 80mph on the highway,  I had no means of calling him back once I had accidentally hit the phone's "end" button. So, I drove... and sipped my tea. And as I did so, I noticed myself beginning to calm. And so, I thought, when a situation does not warrant an immediate response (i.e. your coworker being bitchy and passive aggressive via text) drinking a cup of tea before "engaging in battle" can save a lot of hurt, frustration and miscommunication in the long run as we take a minute to sit and sip this healing concoction.

Indeed, many teas (or tisanes) have calming properties. In fact, it was last year, as I read a comic book from the Batman series (I work with middle schoolers) that I learned Bruce Wayne took a cup of chamomile tea in the evening before bed. This (and the fact I was eyeing an prohibitively expensive bag of tea from Dean & Deluca) set my morning and nightly tea routine into motion. But there are other teas besides chamomile which can bring calming properties to what can otherwise be a hectic day. Herein, lay a few:

Lavender: Lavender may be the obvious choice for a calming tea if not for its sometimes awkward (read: bitter) taste. According to, "relaxation is a traditional use of lavender tea, primarily because of its aroma." If fact, the article cites a study which found that, "the scent of lavender may slow the nervous system activity, promoting relaxation." And so, because its aroma is calming but its taste (in my opinion) not too flavorful, it's nice to find it often "cut" with other ingredients in its commercial form. Teavana, for example, markets a Lavender Dreams White Tea which carries rose buds and sweet peach. Traditional Medicinals infuses their "Chamomile Tea with Lavender" and Yogi Tea mixes lavender with honey to make a sweet tea blend. Additionally, I remember reading in the book Spain that the beautiful actress Claudia Bassols often ordered a cup of coffee simply to feel the warmth envelope her hands (which made sense since she didn't look like she consumed anything and had money to waste on such endeavors). However, as I get older, I see this practice is not so flippant as I once thought. While I use water in place of coffee (for cost benefits), the act of holding a warm vessel can calm us down immensely. And if said vessel carries the aroma of lavender (tea), all the better.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


When I was little, I attended a camp which, as most camps do, engaged in a sense of revelry. Games were played, hijinks were pulled and songs were sung. In fact, many songs were sung. There were songs on the holidays, songs at dinner and songs to make announcements. And while I loved the scandal of learning the lyrics to "Summer Lovin'" at the age of ten, the song sung before a big announcement often delighted me (likely due to its simplicity). The song went something like, "announcements, announcements, annnnnooooouuuuunnnnnnccccccceeeeeeeeements...," like I said, it was simple (suffice it to say, my bunk-mates and I made up a song about a fellow camper which contained only one word). Anyways, I have an announcement to make or, better yet, a reminder. As of tomorrow (St. Paddy's Day) my domain of Eat Your Ethos will run out and thus will be changing over to Technically, I own but am still in the process of building that site. So, a small announcement, unsung, but hopefully, still heard.

Camp Pembroke, ya'll.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Social, Media

I hate being social and I hate the media, not for any political or intellectual reasons, there's just some residual resentment from my childhood that the news is not broadcast in cartoon form (in the past, the news began when Sesame Street stopped). So you'd think I wouldn't be the largest fan of social media (and you'd be correct). But since I've put Eating Natty on Instagram and Snapchat, I've learned a few things about this unique, online community.

As stated above, I'm not very social. But beyond a sense of shyness and preferring time to myself, I also carry some habits that are also, shall we say, unpleasant. Nothing severe, just noticeable. So, at the end of the day, I keep my circle small and I believe, the invisible hand that guides social interaction likely does the same (without my intervention). But it's one thing to think this the case and another to see it made fact in the realm of social media. 

I don't share a lot of personal posts on Facebook. Like my mother, I relish a sense of privacy and don't think it relevant to mention "traffic sucks" on the beltway. So (I think) I share little rants which I believe are hilarious but the online community seems to think otherwise. The same is (semi) true of the blog. While Martin Luther King wished for individuals to be judged, "by the content of their character," I sometimes wish (my blog) to be judged by the content of its posts. But as I may not be "up to character" all the time I feel it limits access to the content of my posts. Enter, Instagram.

When people don't know the content of your character, they only see the content of your posts. To some extent, I was curious to see new followers pop-up once I began my account (something that doesn't often happen in the realm of Facebook- where, "everyone knows your name"). But this gives me a sense of confidence regarding what I write: that it can be relevant and followed. So, while Facebook can bring me down (seeing the village idiot get more likes for a post drives me up the wall) it's ironic that its stepchild (Instagram) known for its filters and sense of unreality has boosted my sense of confidence. But perhaps, I'm buying into the fantasy 😉.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Grave Matters

As stated in Vacation Sensations, I have a lot of fun writing my blog. It's a way for me to process my thoughts and think new ones. But recently, the matter of eating healthy (or natty) came clearly into focus as I went for my yearly checkup.

When I went skiing in seventh grade, I remember having to spend a day in bed due to a cold. A few days later, upon feeling better, I was happy to hit the slopes but noticed several bumps along the back of my neck. They kind of freaked me out even though my father identified them as harmless lymph nodes. But lymph nodes are something you can't "unfeel" and I've been irrationally scared of them ever since. Thus, upon attending my doctor's visit last month, I mentioned I had found several lymph nodes across my body. And while the nurse (like my father) claimed they were likely harmless, she sent me down to get some lab tests assuring me that insurance covered most of the procedures. So I walked down to the clinic and then on my merry way.

Bills, bills, bills

Last, week, however, after walking to the mailbox, I noticed several letters from a lab company and another from my respective hospital. Hundreds of dollars and several minutes later, I found myself on the phone with muzak in my ear, awaiting the, "next available representative" I could vent my frustrations to. But while I myself am cheap enough to fight over a small dent in my bank account, health care costs can pose a significant burden to the state of our union.

As stated in Reading Lists, I'm currently reading (and loving) Always Hungry?, an interesting tome by David Ludwig, a doctor at Boston Children's Hospital. Early in the book, Ludwig describes his experience as a medical student and the state of medicine as a whole, a "condition" I have overheard to be highly intertwined with the insurance industry. According to Ludwig, "[t]he medical costs for treating obesity-related disease in the United States are estimated at $190 billion per year [in 2005 dollars], or 20.5 percent of total spending on healthcare." He goes on to state that, "[b]y 2020, total annual costs for diabetes is projected to approach $500 billion," and makes the argument that, "[w]ithout obesity, Democrats could conceivably have robust social spending, Republicans could have a balanced budget and the two might find a way to cooperate." But, to really figure out how obesity related issues (read: diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, et al.) affect government spending, I found myself surrounded by a unique pool which included an Econ. major, a doctor and publications leaning to either side of the aisle... all saying (mostly) the same thing.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

In doing some general research on obesity-related spending, I kept getting struck by the fact that one-third of the U.S. population qualifies as obese (maintaining a Body Mass Index of 30 or above) while another third qualifies as overweight (maintaining a body mass index between 25 and 29.9) which means, according to Dr. Ludwig that, "fewer than one in three adults [are] in the normal weight range." This fact is compounded by the issue of childhood obesity in the United States which the Brookings Institue found could push medical spending above $1.1 trillion if said obesity follows such children into adulthood (according to Ludwig). But obesity is a complex issue that pulls many factors into its wheelhouse and spending on the issue seems no different.

To understand how the government might (monetarily) address this issue as opposed to consumers simply paying into an insurance policy, I spoke to an economics major turned lawyer who simply knows a lot about anything you ask. In his response, he noted that, hospitals, due to "a government loan guarantee for construction" have to take patients coming into the ER. To some extent, it may be linked to the Hippocratic Oath but more concretely, is linked to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act which claims that if hospitals accept Medicare and Medicaid payments from the government (and most all do), its emergency department must provide treatment, "regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay." So it seems (and if you're reading this you may be rolling your eyes) that the government spending on healthcare generally materializes in the forms of Medicare and Medicaid, two programs which affect those over a certain age and under a certain income respectively. But for the "rest of us," health care spending can affect our wallets and the economy in a more classical, Keynesian? sense.

"How can one read this? There's no pictures," I thought my readers would say.

For most of us with private insurance, rising medical costs related to obesity can hit our own pockets, and thus, the economy. Due to increased output of medical expenditures towards surgery and general treatments that accompany diabetes, stroke, etc. insurance companies often raise their premiums, deductibles and/or co-pays (the amount paid directly to the healthcare provider) in order to recoup lost costs. According to Bloomberg Business, this essentially means that, "leaner people are subsidizing those with less healthy diets," a notion that may only be fair due to another finding that, "obesity can limit how much workers earn and what occupations they take on." According to the above article, a woman who qualifies as morbidly obese (with a BMI of 40 or higher), 'will earn about 5 percent less than [her] normal-weight counterparts.' But with decreased earnings or increased pay (into insurance pools) healthcare spending can leave one with less money in his or her pocket which they would otherwise be able to put towards a salad spinner, or whatever. But, as much as I feel spending is generally unwarranted (because, it's often spent on salad spinners) less money to spend represents a cyclical effect on eating and the economy. With less money and therefore, decreased demand for goods, production can slow and effect job growth. And with less money in our pockets, processed foods not only become appealing due to the sugar they possess but on account of their price tags as well (one trip to Dean & Deluca and you'll learn a pear can carry the opportunity cost of a mid-sized sedan). So, perhaps, this is why people are often deterred from "eating natty" (which can perpetuate the cycle of obesity).

As stated in Vacation Sensations, healthy eating can be something that either increases or decreases with socioeconomic status. There is education on healthy eating, there is the budget applied to healthy eating and, in general, there is the time associated with healthy eating. It's like the old joke that people with "gluten intolerancies" are the ones with time to think they're gluten intolerant: sometimes, with busy lives, a trip through the McDonalds drive-thru saves both time and money. But at the end of the day, these "savings" are compounded and can become detrimental in the long run. This is why, according to the White House, "access to health coverage is more than a safeguard from hardship... It means that instead of foregoing doctor's visits and other preventative measures because of cost, Americans will get the care they need to prevent chronic diseases, improving their health and reducing the burden on our health care system." When the high cost of obesity-related treatment is employed at a high rate, it can cause either the government to spend more through the vehicles of Medicare or Medicaid or those who pay into private insurance who need to subsidize what is often an unhealthy lifestyle. Either way, a lack of spending in what is often a preventable condition can leave money left over for social spending and/or goods and services, thus raising the level of employment and counteracting what has become a negative cycle. And this is not to "fat-shame" or "body-shame" or whatever. It's simply to point out that doing good for ourselves often does good for the world. As Ghandi once said, "be the change you wish to see... [in your body]."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Trying to Get a Handle on it

As I mentioned in Vacation Sensations, this site will soon be getting a new name. But in the meantime, while the details are being worked out, I've begun both a Snapchat and Instagram account under the aforementioned moniker of Eating Natty (with a Twitter handle to come).

I'm not the best photographer (despite my high school dream of becoming one) but as they say in the food industry "you eat first with your eyes" and I figured that despite my subpar photos I try and post, the accounts I follow as an Instagram and Snapchat user are often well curated and identify the lesser known yet creative personas in the health and food industry. So, disregarding the Kardashians I follow (all of them), I invite you to follow Eating Natty as a gateway to greener pastures 😉 and maybe I'll post some good things along the way.