Ten years ago last month, after a decade of meatless-and-fishless youthhood, I took a bite of salmon sashimi and never looked back.
It was a very good day.
Actually, that’s not true. It was a very conflicted day. I was seventeen, stubborn, malnourished, college-brain-overloaded, and really flippin’ hungry. I’d spent a good two hours prepping for an English Lit class potluck—carving a watermelon into the shape of a peacock and adorning it with skewered melon balls, assuring myself that even if the rest of the party was a terrifying apocalypse of pizza and cheese cubes, at least I could eat my fruit bird.
It turned out the pizza was a no-show, but someone had the genius idea—and I say that without a shred of sarcasm—of bringing a huge takeout platter of sushi. I spent some time gnawing on a cantaloupe ball, glancing furtively at the fish display, admiring its arrangement in the way one might admire a Van Gogh: with aesthetic awe, but no desire to shove it into my mouth and chew. (more…)
Also, in the likely event that I continue to write in other places and forget to post links here, I just made a new page called Elsewhere where those links will eventually go to live. I’ll also have a list of upcoming conferences I’ll be speaking at, and whatnot, if you would like to come give me a hug.
I keep doing this thing where I stand in the shower writing blog posts in my head, emerging from the suds giddy and prune-fingered, feeling strangely accomplished about the words I have not yet typed. And then I squeegee the fog off the bathroom mirror and tell myself you can do it Denise! and think about how awesome it will be to actually update my blog after so much horrible silence. And then I load WordPress and think I’m blogging, I’m blogging, I’m finally blogging, it’s really happening.
And then suddenly it’s three hours later and I’ve opened 800 new browser tabs in Firefox and have become distracted by something shiny, Facebooky, or delicious, at which point all hope is lost.
When I was little, I wanted to be a cat when I grew up. I used to meow in response to questions and decapitate Barbies so that I could bat around their heads with my paw-hands. When Cat stopped seeming like a viable career goal, I decided I wanted to be an author instead.* I could think of nothing more magical than making words happen. And if I was stuck with my opposable human thumbs, I might as well put them to use.
*This is actually kind of a lie. In preschool, I learned the words “author” and “pilot” around the same time. Neither one made much sense (does an author “auth”? Does a pilot “pile”? What kind of convoluted language is this?), and I spent a while confusing the two. The worst was when a local news channel came in to interview my preschool and ask all the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. I was going to say “cat,” but my mom told me she would give me all my Hanukkah presents early if I didn’t say “cat,” so I decided to say “pilot,” which I thought was the word for a person who writes books. People kept giving me toy airplanes after that, which I tried to flush down the toilet. I never got my early Hanukkah presents, and it was the last time my mother succeeded at gift-bribery (hi Mom I love you!).
Anyway, I thought I’d open with that anecdote to distract you from the fact that I haven’t updated this blog in seventeen months and I disappeared without warning and it was weird and horrible. I’m sorry. But let’s not think about it that way. The real issue here is that I was a really messed up kid, and there’s nothing to be done about it now.
That said, I have some news! The reason I dropped off the face of the earth was this:
This is a book. Some of you know about it; some of you don’t. I started writing it in March of 2011. I thought I’d be done by September of that year. To which my now-older-and-wiser self responds, (more…)
I’m occasionally stricken by a wave of crippling, all-consuming terror. Sometimes it’s because I can’t find my wallet. Sometimes it’s because I hear the unmistakable sound of Smitty throwing up on my bed. Sometimes it’s because I take a few wrong turns on Youtube and accidentally learn what Piccinini animal-human hybrids are (what is seen cannot be unseen). But these days, it’s usually because I’ve looked at the calendar and realized that—along with being 25 and really old now—I haven’t posted anything on this blog in almost four months.
As most of you probably know, I’ve been chugging away on an upcoming book called “Death By Food Pyramid,” which is the main reason Raw Food SOS has been hosting more tumbleweeds than blog entries lately. Thanks to finding some unexpected political shenanigans to investigate (which I’m really excited to tell you guys about), the release date for “Death By Food Pyramid” is now September 2013. More details to come.
Earlier this month, I recorded an interview that touches upon the USDA’s seamy, pyramid-shaped underbelly (mostly in the second half):
All has been quiet on the Raw Food SOS front lately, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t shenanigans-a-plenty brewing backstage. The recent silence here is mostly because I’m spending 22.5 hours a day finishing my upcoming book “Death by Food Pyramid,” which should be available towards the end of this year. More on that soon!
In the meantime, if only to drown out the incessant chirping of blog crickets, here are some things. (more…)
(Note: This post was inspired by the “Ancel Keys” section in a recent series of paleo-challenging YouTube videos, which I may critique in the future. The anonymous videomaker “Plant Positive” highlighted some important misconceptions about Keys and his research that I’d like to broadcast to a larger audience, but didn’t address some equally important points tangled in the Keys saga, and likewise made some arguments I believe are incomplete or misleading. This blog post is an attempt to address those misconceptions in a more balanced and thorough way, and provide a broader context for how we view the infamous Mr. Keys.)
This is one of those “gotta bust me some myths no matter where they come from” blog posts. And by that, I mean I’m about to challenge a story that’s been so well-circulated among paleo, low carb, and real-food communities that most of us have filed it away in a little brain-folder called “Things We Never Have to Question Because They’re So Ridiculously True.”
I’m talking about the late, great Ancel Keys, and his equally late (but maybe not as great) role in the history of heart disease research. The oft-repeated tale goes something like this:
Once upon a time, a scientist named Ancel Keys did an awful thing. He published a study about different countries that made it look like heart disease was associated with fat intake. But the truth was that he started out with 22 countries and just tossed out the ones that didn’t fit his hypothesis! When other researchers analyzed his data using all the original countries, the link between fat and heart disease totally vanished. Keys was a fraud, and he’s the reason my mom made me eat skim milk and Corn Chex for breakfast instead of delicious bacon and eggs. LET HIS SOUL BURN. BURN! BUUUUUURN! (more…)