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I thought of her with guilt last week, while I was tipping a package of peanut M&M's into my mouth (what? It was a rough week), and with enormous respect today when I read about a new study that explains the addictive power of high-fat foods. To measure how taste alone affects the body's response to food, scientists from California and Italy fed different groups of rats liquid diets high in one of these three substances: fat, sugar or protein. As soon as the fatty liquid hit the rats' taste buds, their digestive systems began producing endocannabinoids, chemicals similar to those produced by marijuana use, and these rats showed a craving for more fatty food.
Fat is necessary for proper cell functioning, one of the study authors told The New York Times, explaining that "we have this evolutionary drive to recognize fat, and when we have access to it, to consume as much as we possibly can." The problem is our prehistoric ancestors weren't out hunting deep-fried Twinkies, so we've got to outsmart these biological impulses.
I personally find the study reassuring. If we accept that most of us don't have the same snack-mastery--call it willpower, or fortitude, or discipline--as my old friend, and if we acknowledge that one high-fat potato chip will probably lead to a binge, we may be more likely to think twice about indulging at all. Or at least, to save the benders for when we really, really need them.
Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do--or plan--something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Get ready for "Embrace Your Geekness" day on Wednesday. How to purchase some inexpensive and super authentic vintage geek classes.
Share our affection for the shuttle program. How to tour Discovery online, and how to see how the earth looks to a female astronaut in space.
Treat Yourself to some fruity, deep summer fun. How to paint watermelon nails.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Hazan's one of the cookbooks I grew up with--my parents cooked from it--and it's a really good overview of Italian cooking, by region. The recipes are fairly simple, and Hazan uses ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. My favorite pasta sauce of all time is her tomato sauce with butter and onion. It's just canned tomatoes, butter and onion.
Today we were reminded of an important if tiny distinction, especially those of us born just in time to take advantage of Title IX. This meant hearing from our mothers about “all” that we could do—and then taking to the soccer fields and running tracks, and trying to figure out what the heck the “all” was. The potential was exciting—for us and for our mothers, aunts and neighbors who weren’t invited to join high-level sports and almost yanked out when they did (hello, Boston Marathon 1967).
Yesterday, the U.S. team played Brazil, who has Marta, the Pele of women’s soccer. The game itself had ups and downs of the kind that have you muttering, no way. As in: no way did they just do that!
(And the quotes
afterward—from the players to the coach—were lump-in-your-throat inducing.
Really, go read them.)[LN3]
Which means if you are 7- or 10- or 12-years-old, you no longer have to [LN4] imagine that something is available to you. You witness to it, from the actual women playing the sport to the front pages story in newspaper giving them their due.
That was today’s discovery. That there’s a difference between hearing what women could do and seeing what this very minute, they are doing. The difference between the girls we used to be and the girls right now, who can look at these women and think, “I can do what she did...and I can do it even
[LN1]I get confused on this phrase. It seems negative---like the girls won’t like the running and soccer. Maybe end the sentence at tracks?
[LN2]Maybe cut this—a litte insider baseball?
The Women’s World Cup story was by Jere Longman, who we have loved (as in L-O-V-E-D) for his passion for and commitment to women’s sports, but he was not alone. The AP’s story was picked up in the Detroit Free Press, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and elsewhere.
[LN3]Use parens to isolate thought so we don’t lose track of larger point. Hyperlink?
[LN4]Shortened this hear, because the graph was making the same point as the final graph. And the final graph is so strong, don’t want dilute it.
This morning, those of us who were born just in time to take advantage of Title IX noticed one more small result of the 1972 legislation (prohibiting gender discrimination at schools that receive federal money). Back then, we heard from our mothers about "all" that we could do—and then we took to the soccer fields and running tracks, trying to figure out what the heck the "all" was. The potential was exciting, for us and our mothers, aunts and neighbors who weren't invited to join high-level sports and almost yanked out when they did (hello, Boston Marathon 1967).
And yet, seeing the U.S. Women's World Cup victory yesterday on the front page of The New York Times sports section and the U.S. Women's Open for golf covered inside has given us a whole new kind of joy, especially the soccer story.
It was also covered, via AP reports, in The Detroit Free Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution and elsewhere. With good reason: For the first time in years, the Americans aren't favored to win this World Cup (competition in women's international sports is heating up—drama!). The team played Brazil, who has Marta, perhaps the current Pele of women's soccer. The game itself had ups and downs, and the quotes afterward—from the players to the coach—were lump-in-your-throat inducing. (Really, go read them.)
But it was this sentence in The San Francisco Chronicle that got us: "Running low on hope and time, the Americans were surely beaten. ... And then, with one of the most thrilling goals in U.S. history, they weren't."
Not U.S. women's sports history. In sports. Full stop. Which is nice. But what's nicer still is that it means if you are 7 or 10 or 12 years old, you don't have to imagine a woman doing one of the most thrilling things in U.S. sports history. You can watch it here.
Elsewhere you can watch female Olympic hockey teams, LPGA golfers and collegiate lacrosse players compete at top levels, and you will read about their victories and losses in the papers. Also thrilling, no?
That was today's discovery. That there's a difference between hearing what women could do and seeing them do it this very minute. The difference between the girls we used to be and the girls right now, who can look at these mightily talented women and think, "I can do what she did...and I can do it even better."
Men, I now believe, love a lot of things as much sex. They love doughnuts as much as sex. They love a solid night of sleep under a heavy down duvet. They love an hour in the bathroom with a newspaper with nobody banging on the door. They love when people buy them clothes one size bigger than they are emotionally ready to deal with, cut off the tags, and pretend the L's are M's.
Now the British Telegraph tells me that, "Acts of affection like hugs ... were more important to men than women." Research by sociologists at the Kinsey Institute, the paper reported, confirmed that "men who said kissing and cuddling were a regular part of their relationship were on average three times happier than those who did not."
Even better, the 1,000 couples interviewed were aged 40 to 70 and had been in a relationship for an average of 25 years.
I find it uplifting that cuddling wins big in long-term loves. I can't give my husband a solid night of sleep or an hour in the bathroom with nobody banging on the door. (We are a family of four! With one toilet!) I can give him the doughnuts, but then I will have to buy a closet's worth of XL clothing, cut off the tags and pretend they are also M's. The hugging, however, I can handle—one arm, other arm, squeeze.
We've all heard how buying counterfeit goods negatively impacts the fashion industry, but when the real deal--like high-end designer handbags or sunglasses--costs as much as a mortgage payment, it's easy to see why buying a fake is so tempting. What you may not have realized, however, is how toting around a knockoff can affect your moral compass. Psychologist, author, and James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, Dan Ariely, has done studies on this topic and discovered that one act of cheating (like wearing imposter designer sunglasses) easily leads to another act of cheating. Ultimately, says Ariely, "Wearing imitation designer clothing or accessories can fool others--but no matter how convincing the knockoff, you never, of course, fool yourself."
So instead of sliding down that slippery slope filled with fakes, Adam Glassman, O's Creative Director, recommends staying on the straight and narrow in style. To raise awareness about the counterfeit issue and celebrate original design, the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) recently partnered with eBay and asked 50 designers--from Coach to Tory Burch--to create one-of-a-kind tote bags emblazoned with the slogan, "You Can't Fake Fashion." While these bags (which went up on eBay today) sold out faster than you can say "sale," you can still get your hands on the plain tote with this ultra-fashionable motto for $35 and customize it yourself. Plus, all the proceeds benefit the CFDA Foundation. Check out the gallery of designer totes online and get inspired to keep it real.
Have you ever purchased a fake? How did it make you feel? Did you find that you acted differently while wearing it?
Where were you at 22? Crashing in Mom and Dad's basement, hiding from an ego-piercing job market? Slinging lattes at the local espresso shop--an activity complicated by various piercings and projectile hair "experiments?" Racing off to work as an administrative assistant, hoping that somebody would notice your stellar labeling skills in the file cabinet and promote you to "MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THIS MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION?" (Okay, that one was me...and by the way, neither the job title, nor the accompanying gold sticker I so feverishly imagined, panned out.)
This weekend on NPR, I heard this story about Katie Davis and felt compelled to go hug my own kids--over and over--until they made me stop. Davis, at age 22, gave up her own dreams of being a nurse in order to remain in Africa, where she had been volunteering, and raise 13 orphaned or otherwise needy girls. Her plan is to one day adopt them.
"I think that's definitely something that I was made for," said Davis. "God just designed me that way because he already knew that this is what the plan was for my life--even though I didn't."
Her first child was an HIV positive 9-year-old who was injured when a mud hut collapsed. She asked if she could live with Davis--and Davis, then age 19, said yes. Thus began her new life, as a mother and full-time resident of Uganda where she and the girls live, complete with an oversized minivan.
In her spare time, Davis also runs a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries, a job supports the family of 14. There she oversees educating 400 other children, setting up community health programs and feeding more than a thousand children five days a week.
My first task tomorrow is to promote her to "MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING" and send her a gold-star sticker--and a donation--that officially affirms the title.
Note: This article has been changed as of July 12, 2011.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a Yankees fan who shows true sportsmanship, an author who found a way to learn from one rejection (and the 59 that followed it), and more...
Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, telling Katie Couric about the 60 rejections she received from agents (via Glamour):
Every time I got a rejection letter, it made me go back to the story and try to figure out what was not working. I think there are a lot of bad books out there that got published on the first try. And you've got to take a story, write it, put it in the drawer, soak out the stains, go back, and rewrite it over and over again.
Yankees fan Christian Lopez, who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th-hit baseball, volunteering to return the home-run memento to Jeter for little more than a photo op (instead of trying to sell it for, like, a bajillion dollars):
It wasn't about the money, it's about a milestone, and I'm not going to take that away from him.
WSJ writer Katherine Rosman on how friends strengthen a marriage:
When a friend says to me, "I saw Joe and your daughter at the park and she has him wrapped around her finger," my focus is drawn past dirty socks left on the floor and onto the fact that I married a terrific guy who is loved by many.
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at the age of 93, on giving her name to the now-famous drug and alcohol treatment center in California:
It was very helpful for women, too, because women had in many ways been underserved. And if my name was one there it was a safe place for women to come and be treated.