What the study really said

If you’ve not already read the post on Junkfood Science, please, go do so now.


Looking at corrected BMIs, according to the breakdowns adopted by the world’s governments, the authors found that compared to ‘normal’ BMIs (18.5 up to 25):

● being overweight (BMI 25 up to 30) was associated with a 25% lower risk of dying

● being obese (BMI 30 up to 35, which includes about 80% of all obese people) was associated with a 12% lower risk of dying.

● And the risks associated with the most ‘morbidly obese’ (BMIs 35+) — the uppermost 3% of this Canadian cohort— were statistically the same as those with ‘normal’ BMIs. [RR=1.09 (0.86-1.39, 95% CI) versus RR=1.0.]

Because physical activity could be a confounding factor, and also associated with age and health problems, they analyzed the data using models that excluded and included physical activity. Physical activity had no statistical effect on their findings.

Wow.  Just wow.  It’s looking like fat, even the “morbidly obese” isn’t, well, what kills us.  And it’s not any more likely to kill us than anything else.  It also looks like what has the most impact of dying, is age!  So, instead of trying to get fatties to stop being fat, why don’t they try and get old people to stop being old.

Oh, right, they do.  It’s called plastic surgery.


Ciambellette recipe

As promised, here’s the Ciambellette recipe, and also tips I’ve developed over the years of making them to shorten preparation time:



1 c. butter
6 egg yolks, divided
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 t almond extract
1 c. arrowroot powder/starch
Jelly or preserves

Oven 375

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 4 egg yolks and beat until incorporated.  Add the almond extract.   Sift the flour and arrowroot together, then add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.  Beat until it’s all incorporated.  The mixture should be stiff enough to handle rolling into a ball.  Roll the ball into 1″ balls, then put into simmering water for 10 seconds.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet, and poke a hole in the middle.  Take the other two egg yolks and beat them, then use a pastry brush and dab the egg yolks on the cookie.  Fill the hole with jelly or jam.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, checking at 12 minutes.    Cookies don’t get really brown, if they resist when you gently touch them, they are done.


Things I’ve found over the years to shorten preparation time:

  1. DEFINITELY use the parchment.  If you do not use the parchment, the cookies will stick onto the cookie sheet.  Even a non-stick cookie sheet.  Even a non-stick cookie sheet sprayed with a non-stick spray. 
  2. Make the dough, then roll all the dough into balls at once, then boil all the balls at once.  Place the boiled cookies on the cookie sheets in rows, then when one row is complete, make all the holes in the row at once.  Then go onto the next row.  Really, this makes it take less time somehow.
  3.  Use the round handle side of a wooden spoon to poke the holes in the par-boiled cookie balls.  Give a twist as you are poking the balls.  This makes uniform holes in the cookies, as well as help keep the cookie walls from breaking.  They’ll still break some, but not as much as when you use your fingers.  When they break, just smooth them back together.
  4.   Dab all the cookies with the egg yolks at the same time.
  5.  When putting the flour/arrowroot mixture in the bowl, turn off the mixer.  The arrowroot is a very fine powder, and billows up, so you’ll want to put only about a third of the flour/arrowroot in at a time, and beat on low til it’s incorporated.
  6. I’ve found preserves work better than jellies or jams for staying in the holes and not bubbling out making a mess on your cookie and parchment.
  7. Put the filling of your choice into a sandwich bag, cut off one corner, and pipe the filling into the holes.  This makes it so much easier and faster than using a spoon, and keeps the outside of the cookie relatively clean, too.

I’ve managed to shorten the time of preparation down to 1 hour.  When I first started making these cookies back in 2000, it would take 3 hours just for preparation.  I usually get 2 cookie sheets worth of cookies (approximately 50 cookies), so total time is about one and a half hours.

This cookie is very fiddly to make, however, it’s very worth the effort. 

Arrowroot flour/starch can be gotten at most health food stores, or ordered online.  If you can’t find arrowroot starch anywhere, you can substitute corn starch, but it just won’t taste the same.

Hope you enjoy!

I Wore Shorts, and the World Didn’t End

In fact, nobody but me even seemed to notice.  Even my husband, who knows I never wear shorts outside of the house, didn’t notice the momentous occasion.

I haven’t worn shorts outside the house since the 1980’s sometime.  I don’t exactly remember why I stopped wearing shorts, but I just did.  When I lived in Oklahoma where the temperature got up to 105 in the summer, not wearing shorts was difficult, but I adjusted somehow.  When I lived in North Carolina, where the humidity made you think it was 105 or more, not wearing shorts was hard, but I never even thought of wearing shorts outside.

A year and a half ago, before my knee surgery, I bought a pair of clearance rack $4 a pair jean shorts.  My thought was that it would be good for physical therapy for my knee.  I’d not have to worry about having the correct pair of jeans (I have one pair of “boot cut” jeans, all the rest are tapered at the ankle and don’t slide past the knee.  I did wear them, under my skirts to give me extra modesty when having to get up from the floor when I did the exercises. 

But wear a pair of shorts outside, without anything else?  So everybody could see my naked knees, and possibly comment on how fat I am, how I shouldn’t be wearing shorts, shouldn’t be seen in public?  No, that wasn’t going to happen.

Yesterday, was supposed to be extremely hot.  Summer decided to attack with a vengeance, and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable going to the doctor.  Just going to the doctor was going to be uncomfortable enough.  So, I chose to wear my shorts.  With a no sleeved tank top.

The world didn’t end, and nobody even noticed.  It was anti-climatic, really.  I went into stores after the doctor appointment, even stopped at a restaurant for breakfast (as I hadn’t eaten in case the doctor wanted to draw blood).  Nobody noticed.  Nobody cared that I was in shorts.

It was so much more comfortable too.  It was hot out yesterday, and having my legs bare to what little breeze there was felt really nice, helped to keep me cool when I wasn’t in the air conditioned car, doctor’s office, or stores.

I feel a little silly writing about this, as if it’s some great insight or something.  This (wearing shorts) represents a major change in me though.  I’m no longer allowing the fear of other people’s condemnation to determine what I will and will not wear. 

On a more personal note (how can I get more personal than talking about what clothes I’m wearing):  It appears I’m developing allergies.  It seems we’ve had a major mold/pollen bloom this year, what with all the rain we’ve had.  The mold and pollen has shot up dramatically in the past month.  About as long as I’ve been unwell.  The doctor did some tests to make sure it wasn’t bacterial, listened to my chest to make sure there wasn’t any congestion, and then gave me a prescription for a nasal spray and told me to get some Claritin (TM). 

I’ve never had allergies before.  The closest I’ve ever come to allergies is that my body is completely non-responsive to penicillin and it’s derivatives.  So, this whole allergy thing?  Totally knew to me. 

I’m feeling philosophical about it, though.  As I told the doctor, my mother is allergic to everything under the sun, and most things under the moon.  I’ve managed to make it over 42 years without having allergic reactions to anything.  Considering I could have inherited that from my mother, I think I’m doing good.  Considering it seems to be a mild case of allergies so far, I know I’m doing good!

Self Care

I’ve been feeling not well for the past few weeks, maybe even a month and a half or so.  Not sick.  Just not well, not up to my normal standards.

I’ve been having some minor congestion problem, some minor sinus headaches, a little bit of coughing that sounds like it has something behind it, but never anything productive.  My energy has been low, but once I start doing things, I’m fine. 

As usual for me, I’ve ignored it.  Oh, when I had some weirdness in my left sinus cavity (TMI alert: when I’d blow my nose, there was one spot in my left sinus that would hurt, and sometimes even make me a little wobbly), I’d take an herb that I learned of back when I had no insurance.  It’s for sinus congestion and sinus infections, and cleared up a major sinus infection when nothing else (not even antibiotics) would a long time ago.  The weirdness would go away, and I’d stop taking the herbs.

But the tiredness hasn’t gone away.  The weirdness in my sinuses keep coming back.  Then there’s the piercing ear ache I had about 2 weeks ago.  For all of five minutes, I felt like my left eardrum was being pierced by something.  The pain hasn’t come back, but still.  And then yesterday, I had a nose bleed.

Now, I live in an area that is very arid, and is usually pretty dry.  Humidty of under 50% is normal in the summer, under 20% is normal in the winter.  That can lead to nosebleeds.  Except, since I’ve been using a C-PAP with a humidifier on it, I’ve not gotten nosebleeds.  In fact, I’ve not had a nosebleed like this (the type where you have to get some towel immediately or have blood all over your shirt) since I was very young.

My first reaction to being not well is never to go to the doctor.  There are many reasons for this, one of which is the fear that the doctor isn’t going to take me seriously.  Yes, I’ve found a primary care practice now where all the doctors there take me seriously.  They’ve not once tried to tell me that I need to lose weight or I’ll die.  They allow me to decide if I want to be weighed in when I visit.  They don’t diagnose me as fat, and tell me that will be the answer to all my physical problems. 

In fact, the closest any of them came to a “weight loss” discussion was when I asked to be put on anti-depressants recently due to something that had thrown me into a spiral.  I needed the distance the anti-depressants could give me to work on something that needed to be worked on, but where I was in serious danger of doing myself some type of harm if I didn’t have the slight distance.  The doctor who did prescribe a very low dose of Prozac and an anti-anxiety medicine, told me that going out for a walk every day would be a natural way to help me during that time.  You know, because excersize is beneficial for mental health as it is for physical health.

The doctors at my GP are great.  So why have I been putting off going?

I woke up this morning with my left sinus doing it’s wonky thing again.  I was exhausted, even after 8 hours of sleep.  I started developing a low grade sinus headache after I’d been awake for an hour.  Yeah, I think it’s finally time to grab myself by the shirt collar and go to the doctor. 

I have to remember, even though these symptoms have all been low grade, they are interfering with my quality of life.  I am not bothering the doctor by going with problems that aren’t life threatening.  We do have insurance, so it won’t cost us an arm or leg at the doctor’s office or pharmacy.  These doctors aren’t going to diagnose me fat and tell me the only way to have energy is to lose weight.  Most of all, I’m worth going to the doctor for, even for some illness that continues to be low grade.

I’ll be making an appointment later today.

Busy, busy, busy

This weekend has been extremely busy.  The whole week was, actually.

First, I made 5 batches of cookies, the recipe of which supposedly came from the 16th century, for a themed party at a local business on Thursday night.  That took up most of my week there.  Then, of course, there was going to the party Thursday night. 

Friday night was a birthday party for Conall’s Aunt. 

And then Saturday I started making hamburgers and french fries for dessert for a party I threw today.  Yes, I said dessert.

Bakerella made a post detailing how to do it a week ago (including giving a .pdf for the box, fry bag, and liner patterns).  Since the party today was going to be a cook out, I decided I had to do it.

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t do it with box mixes, so I made my family recipe pound cake as the cupcake buns, and then found a really good recipe for brownies here, and so made that for the meat filling.  I also decided to thinly slice some strawberries and use them as “tomatoes”.  The “fries” were made from a family recipe short bread cookie.  The only thing I used that was store bought was vanilla icing.  I’ve not really made icing yet, so didn’t want to push my luck too much.  After all, the brownies were the first time I ever made brownies from scratch.

Do you want fries with that?

Do you want fries with that?


This is how it ended up.  I think it turned out well, what do you think?






One more view, showing the catsup

One more view, showing the catsup

My Response

I’ve been thinking for a while about what to say to the person who called me courageous for having the discussion about fat.  Here is what I decided to say:

I’m sorry I’ve not written you back; I’ve been busy making cookies for an event I’m baking for this week.  I’ve also been trying to think of what I wanted to say in response to your comment.

First, thank you for seeing me as courageous.  I do agree with the assessment that I’m courageous.  I just disagree on why.

In my opinion, my courage comes from going into a place where I know my views will be ridiculed, where I’ll have to listen to how wrong I am, where I’ll have to hear people say things like how all fat people should just die.  My courage comes from not letting anybody else shut me up about my experience as a fat woman, the disrespect I have gotten from people in general, the misdiagnosis I’ve gotten from doctors.

My courage comes from telling people that MeMe Roth, and people like her, aren’t right.  It comes from confronting people who are supposed to know better twitting (tweeting?) about a conference going on at a university where they are holding a conference on the importance of play, yet state this in their online flyer:  “Children under the age of 10 represent the first generation in years not expected to live as long as their parents,” Mainella added.  (The truth is actually: Life expectancy at birth hit a new record high in 2006 of 78.1 years, a 0.3 increase from 2005. From a press release from the CDC in 2008, link here:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/08newsreleases/mortality2006.htm.)

My courage comes from not backing down when the person I confronted got angry with me for telling her she needed to vet her sources better.  My courage comes from writing the university in question and telling them they need to vet their speakers better, and to stop adding to the fat hate and discrimination that is going on in the world right now.

I know you think I’m in denial about being addicted to food.  I thought about what to say to that, how to address that allegation, made by a person who only knows one thing about me, that I’m fat.  I thought about telling you about all the reasons I know I’m not in denial, and then I realized:  It’s not going to matter.  I can tell you about years spent in Overeaters Anonymous, Al-Anon, Emotions Anonymous, and going to counseling, and it’s not going to do anything to change your mind.  I can tell you that the moon is made from green cheese too, and it’s not going to change your mind. 

I would challenge you to look at some of your deeply held preconceptions about obesity.  Look at places like junkfoodscience.com and see what a normal sized nurse has to say about the so-called obesity epidemic.  Look at the reports that show percentage of population that is actually obese (http://www.iotf.org/database/documents/GlobalPrevalenceofAdultObesityJune08pdf.pdf) and then compare what it says about India (reporting in 1998, which is 11 years ago) having a total of 4.4% of the population overweight and 0.5% obese, and compare it to now since they’ve lowered the criteria for overweight and obesity by 2 BMI points.  Look at data that doesn’t come from so-called studies financed by the weight loss industry.  Read the meta-analysis the UCLA did on diets, showing how they DON’T work, that 99% of people who try a diet end up gaining ALL the weight back (if not more).  This study also calls into question the effectiveness of dieting increasing all around health indicators: There is some evidence for the effectiveness of diets in leading to other beneficial health outcomes, particularly in helping people stay off antihypertensive drugs and preventing diabetes, but this evidence is not consistent across the studies. In addition, it is not possible to detect whether
the diet components of these interventions were potent, as the interventions all contained other components that may have reduced hypertension or prevented diabetes (e.g., increases in physical activity, reductions in smoking, alcohol use, and sodium).

And then, look up the Minnesota Starvation Experiment (or Minnesota Experiment), and see what the results were.

I hope that if nothing else, this discussion has helped you see where I’m coming from, and optimally, given you something new to think about where weight and health is concerned.  If not, well, we can agree to disagree agreeably.  🙂

Rubber Meets the Road

It’s easy for me to write about accepting myself and my weight, but it’s hard to do sometimes.

As much as I really do believe that I am not unhealthy just because I’m fat, I still have times of thinking about dieting.  Or exercising more for the specific purpose of losing weight.  Last night was one of those nights.

I’d had an extremely busy day, on my feet, doing things for almost the whole day.  Until 8:30pm last night, I had only 2 hours to sit, and part of that sitting time was driving to Sam’s Club.  Needless to say, I was tired and sore and stiff by the time I finally got to relax.

When I went to bed last night, my calves were burning, and as I was waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in, I was thinking about how I really needed to start doing yoga again.  Well, that led me to thinking about how much weight I’d gained in the past year and a half, and thinking about how I really should probably try and lose weight.  Since I was thinking about exercise, my mind naturally went to using exercise to do it.

I’d already established that I was going to start exercising two hours a day, starting today, before I realized what I was doing.

It’s so easy for me to fall into my old disordered behaviors, sometimes I do it without realizing I’m doing it.  Like last night.

Yes, exercise is good for me.  Restarting my yoga routine is going to help with the stiffness of extremely busy days.  But going into a detailed plan of how I’m going to exercise two hours, and exactly what exercises I’m going to do is not good for me.  That path leads to dysfunctionality for me.

The good thing is that I realized what I was doing before I got to more than just the planning stage.  The bad thing is that I reverted to old behaviors at all.

The end result though, is at the end of a long day when I’m feeling bad because I’m achy and sore and tired, that I have the capability to realize what I’m doing to myself, and I can stop it.   While I’m realizing I have a long way to go yet, knowing that I’ve come so far is a good thing.