Archive for the ‘mind/body’ Category

Running title: The Angry Chef’s Guide To Spotting Bullshit In The World Of Food – Bad Science And The Truth About Healthy Eating.

There is something that is darkly appealing about a book with scatological epithets (bad words) in the title. Even more this was one of those books that beckoned to me with a Marilyn Monroe-ish voice … er,maybe I should not have said that out loud (and I really need to get out more). So I gave in …to a book about food and healthy eating (and it wasn’t a slow month). But enough with the bollocks and let’s be on with it. Yeah?
Anthony Warner is a professional chef, blogger … and oh yes, has a degree in biochemistry and has been known to write for the likes of New Scientist. That’s some serious cred.
In Spotting Bullshit, Mr. Warner sets out to pretty much hack away at the noise in the health food industry that is generated by mostly bloggers, Instagramers and celebrities. It is a literary bloodbath. I’ve never been too keen on diets and other such bunk, I’ve always been the type to eat anything … but in moderation (or at least I try to). And for awhile I’ve always felt like an odd duck. Sure I’d come across ton of books on detox diets and diet du jours and I’ve never felt inclined to try any of them. As a matter of fact I’ve looked at some smoothie books and after a quick calculation as to how much raw materials would cost to make ONE smoothie, I decided against it and those books never made it into my house. What makes Spotting Bullshit works is that it is not just some chap spouting opinionated, vague trendy info (as most health bloggers seemingly do). There is a lot of scientific facts presented along with some good old fashioned common sense discourse … with a bit of acidic language tossed in, which only adds to its character. It does gets a wee bit technical (on occasion) but it is kept to digestible amounts for most people. For those that are addicted to health blogging sites, this book just might be your literary detox (though ironically detox shows up as a very dirty word in this book … and for good reason). There are things that are excerpted, in this book, from some of these health blogging websites that are downright hilarious … and then you realize that this stuff might actually be hurting people too. Certain celebrity bloggers did not fare well in this book and for good reason due to some of the things they’ve put out there: such as claiming that coconut oil is so bloody healthy that not only can it be eaten by the spoonfuls but also serves as a great mouthwash and sexual lubricant (preferably separately, we all hope). Yes, I kid you not. The book even shows how rigid diet du jours such as the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet along with really bad pseudoscience can weave itself into people’s psyche where the need to stay “healthy” overwrites all logic and circumstance. One of the most stunning examples: a patient in a hospice refusing to help themselves to some buttered croissants for fear that the carbs would feed the cancer cell growth.Translation: someone in a terminal situation as in point of no return as in facing death in the immediate future … is still worrying about carbs instead of enjoying a bit of fleeting indulgence. Sad. Troubling.
For most people Spotting Bullshit would most likely be a confirmation of what they’ve all suspected all along but got so caught up with being “trending” that somewhere along the way they got sidetracked. Spotting Bullshit makes a harsh revelation about the so called health food industry (hint: has little to do with your health and more about your money). Most of all it is an encouragement to simply … enjoy food. Without all the strange rules. And in moderation. Period.

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Running title: The Body Language of Liars – From Little White Lies To Pathological Deception.

I know we’re more than half way through the month of January, but since this is my first posting for the year. Happy (very belated) New Year. I missed you all. Well that’s out of the way. Let’s move on … shall we?
Something about me: I am a fan of behavioural sciences. The wonderful world of psychology. It is a powerful tool, something I learned as teen in high school (in my former country) when dealing with bullies. No, there was no time out and other such bollocks when dealing with bullies. And forget about even “talking” things out. For the most it only enraged bullies. So the best way, for me, to deal with these wanks was with fists and getting inside their heads. Most of the times fists did the talking, though I can honestly say that I have had my share of defeats and bruises, but there was always that occasion where I felt the need to psychoanalyze the poor bastard and mentally deconstruct them in front of his entourage. Sure I was probably no where close on profiling the poor sod, but when it was spoken with confidence and authority, you could see the mental shakeups happening amongst the entourage … and yes, gave me quite a bit of glee. Evil genius … hardly … but close enough.
Alas I have, once again, detoured and bared a bit of my soul to you poor unsuspecting reader. I do apologize, however, if this did give you a bit of glee then I say … carry on.
Now we have all, at some time in our lives, been lied to or deceived. Happens to the best of us. Whether it was that girl that told you, at high school graduation, that she needed to “focus on her studies and didn’t have time for a relationship” only to run off with your swim team buddy that was stupid enough to confess to you that he was now dating her. Or maybe it is that bloke, on the corner, that is begging for a few bucks to buy formula for his “child”. Or the library patron that is always bringing back items late and spins more yarns than an acre of looms in order to avoid paying their fines. Yes, we’ve all dealt lies and deception in one form or the other. Little white lies, big dark malevolent lies, and even saucy lies. Working in a public library, I deal with lies on a regular basis and with an alarming frequency that I would dare not quantify. And sadly, over the years I’ve become quite good at reading people. Truth is … living in NYC most people develop a very tuned crap and BS detector. Working with the public, in an environment such as library, over the years merely tunes that detector to scary levels. I’m talking near-Sherlockian levels. Lillian Glass is well-known among many in the news media and is often used as a consultant in analyzing the body language of celebrities that are outright lying about some misdeed or in denial about some aspect of their lives. The Body Language Of Liars, is a no-frills, straight-forward book that basically spells out in layman terms, with a clinical terms in measurable tolerances, how most people can protect themselves against various forms of deception out there (catfishing, identity theft, murder, etc.). To illustrate her theory, there are pictures of famous liars(OJ Simpson, Lindsay “gasp” Lohan, Lance Armstrong, etc.) caught in their various liar poses. The good news, is that as most read this book some of the detection methods described will be vary familiar, especially if you have kids. Others are not so subtle, but as you read about them, you’ll find your mind switching back to some instance in your life when you may have observed this but you were too caught up in whatever to even realize that you were being deceived. Had I read this book fifteen years ago, it would have made Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got” and Bruce Hornsby “Mandolin Rain” a little less sadder for me. Yeah, I missed the prom … short, sad story. Let’s move along, nothing to look at there. There are tons shady bollocks out there and even those at the most elementary level of life are not isolated from these things. Body Language is a quick read, but very informative and is probably something you’d want to include in those Stranger-Danger talks. Lillian Glass isn’t too clinical and when she does it is measured and in tolerant doses. Translation: you don’t have to be a lover of psychology to really, truly appreciate this book, and for the most it will be a sobering eye-opener. Possibly one of the few books that you should have on your shelf as personal reference that would probably save you from a world of hurt … or even worse. Six words, mates: Mandolin Rain on a rainy day.

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