diet flow

Being Healthy Sucks Most of the Time, but Here’s a Free Guide to Being Healthy


It’s the middle of January, “Resolution Month” at the gym. In the past, I’ve railed against “resoluters,” with their shiny new workout gear and lack of follow-through. But as I get older, I realize, hey, we’re all human. Maintaining a healthy weight means making the right choices most of the time. Making these choices takes time and often sucks. At the same time, the fitness and nutrition markets are flooded with svengali promises made by the cross fits and diet plans of the world.

The truth is, to get healthier, you don’t need to pay $200 a month for someone to yell at you or for some crazy diet that is impossible to maintain in the long-term. So I created this totally free flow chart to help guide you toward a healthier lifestyle or toward complete and utter ambivalence toward a healthier lifestyle. Happy New Year.



diet flow




No Veggie Burgers At McDonald’s?

Venessa Wong with the original story, shared here by Ashley Lutz.    White Castle announced their own veggie burger on January 2nd, joining Burger King and countless fast casual concepts in catering to meat-free palates.

McDonald’s says it doesn’t carry veggie patties because no one buys them.  As Lutz notes, MCD CEO David Thompson told investors that when the world’s largest burger joint did offer meatless burgers, they “sold four a day” per location.

To me, that means veggie burgers are scalable.  If Burger King can do them, so can McDonald’s.  They just have to want to.  And they should.



McDonald’s Had the Solution. It Was Called Chipotle.

Millennials want authenticity.  Because Chipotle has good food and invests in the kinds of things Millennials care about, they forgive the fact that Chipotle Mexican Grill is not authentically Mexican.  But when McDonald’s has to put out a video defending the authenticity of their chicken as chicken, you have to wonder what else is coming home to roost.


Beating Walls Into Food Pantries

The Local Care team at First Presbyterian Church of Allentown is hard at work this week renovating part of the basement at Zion EC Church on the south side into a neighborhood food bank.  One of the coolest things about this project from my perspective is that Zion EC is only a few feet away from Roosevelt Community School and the pantry is being established with overall goal of serving Roosevelt families in need.   Missiologists talk a good deal, and for good reason, about focusing on “local and particular” concerns in the communities where mission-minded congregations are rooted.  I think this is a great example of churches working in partnership for the common good and the common blessing of neighbors.  Endless credit goes to all the folks who are working and have worked to make this happen.  I’ve been blessed to watch this process unfold, and yesterday, I was blessed to join the team for a few hours on-site.  Our volunteer foreman, Charley, let me and my friend Joe knock some walls down to open up an area that will serve as a lobby and intake center, and it was physically and spiritually nourishing experience.

This entire project is being born from relationships the Local Care team volunteers have made with leaders at ZEEC and Roosevelt, and from discerning, from diverse places, a common vision.  It didn’t start as a great idea hatched by a few mission leaders, and I’ve only been involved to the extent that I’m eager to support it however possible based on the hard, faithful work everyone has done.  As a “professional” ministry leader, there’s nothing more rewarding than supporting solid visions you had nothing to do with and didn’t start.  I’m so grateful for what’s happening.

Even though Charley’s right that “it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit,” the Local Care team, the Roosevelt folks, and the leaders at ZEEC deserve profound and sincere thanks.

Oh, Kashi, Only 8 People Believe You

Not sure when Kashi launched their new page/PR campaign to quell the backlash over their use of a bunch of crap they say they don’t use, but if you Google “kashi” the first thing that comes up in the sponsored results in a link to this page:

Really, guys, they mean it this time.

Wait, What? (Avocado Edition)

Avocados (Persea americana) Français : Avocats...

Avocados (Persea americana) Français : Avocats (Persea americana) (Photo credit: Wikipedia). They're freakin' berries!

I love avocados.  They’re a savory, wonderful fruit great in soup, dip, or as an edible base for delicious mango salsa.

But did you know that specifically, avocados are berries?

Wait, what?

Exactly.  And I think I just got a new angle for the next video blog series.

Everyone In the Government Works For or Has Worked For Monsanto

Yes, yes.  That sounds alarmist.  But given that we’ve been talking about the food supply today, and about the paper thin difference between a war between regime change in Iraq and regime change in Iran, I thought I should share this startling graphic.  If it’s true, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter who you vote for.  #buyorganic

Behold, the Venn diagram that explains these interlocking directorates.  Click to embiggen.


This Isn’t Recovery: Food Deserts, Food Pantries, and the 18.6% of Americans Who Can’t Afford Food

Last night I watched an episode of Life After People called “The Last Supper.”  It showed what some scientists think will happen to the food supply after the human race ceases to inhabit the planet.  A statistic I found surprising:  there are 100,000 grocery stores in the world.

You may know that I’ve been addressing the issue of food deserts on this blog and via Beerituality.  100,000 grocery stores doesn’t seem like a lot, especially when you consider that through affiliates, franchises, and company stories, McDonald’s operates over 33,000 locations worldwide.  Granted, it’s the biggest, but that’s just one chain.

This morning, two things came through my email affirming my fear that the food desert issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

Today, Jon Geeting shares “New Food Pantry Opens as Pols Debate Whether to Restrict the Food Supply More.”  An excerpt:

I think you should read this story about a new food pantry opening to meet higher demand in Bethlehem alongside these stories about how much the government should try to stop people from opening low-margin, low-overhead businesses that sell cheap food.

Food pantries serve people who have the highest need, who literally don’t have money to buy food in a store. But right above them on the poverty scale, there are people who make very little money, who, if the economy were to get somewhat worse, could easily end up needing to make use of a food pantry or similar charity.

People in that group make up a real market for very cheap meals that cost $2-5. Maybe the people in this group are buying all their meals, but I bet some are going to the food bank because they live too far from places where they can buy cheap nutritious food, and don’t own a car.

And, in the #ThisShouldBeObvious file, Alexander Eichler of the Huffington Post says “Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds.”  As Eichler points out:

The findings from FRAC highlight what many people already know: The economic recovery, in theory now more than two years old, has done little to keep millions of Americans out of poverty and deprivation. Incomes for many haven’t kept pace with the cost of living, and for a large swath of the country, things today are as bad as ever, or worse.

According to the study, the number of people who can’t always afford food for their families in America in 2011 was a staggering 18.6 percent.  In America. 18.6 percent.

One: There is no recovery.  If the recession is over, it’s because we’re in something worse.  You know it. I know it.  The folks running overflowing homeless shelters know it.  At the Sixth Street Shelter here in Allentown, over 1/3 of resident households are headed by people with jobs.  These are people trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, people who are doing what we’re being told are the right things and are still falling woefully short.  As Jon points out, there are millions of people one paycheck away from the same situation.

Even if unemployment is falling, it’s not a recovery if people can’t eat.

Two: As my Grammy would say, God forgive.

Fastnacht Day: Success!

Friends, I did not make it to Egypt Star yesterday, but I did succeed in my primary goal, which was to enjoy a genuine Lehigh Valley Fastnacht (plain) at Mary Ann Donut Kitchen. Like most people in Allentown, I love Mary Ann Donuts.  They are the best and most authentic of all Allentown pastries.  As Linus Van Pelt might say, they are sincere.

While Mary Ann usually has a huge variety of freshly-made donuts, bagels, and crullers on hand, the only offerings yesterday were three varieties of the traditional Pennsylvania German pre-Lenten pastry.  Reports from early in the morning had Fastnacht-seekers lining out the door for over two hours.  By the time of my visit around 1 PM, the place was still full and still filling.

My Fastnacht was excellent, by the way.  An added bonus: Mary Ann’s always delightful staff were wearing special shirts that read:






Happy Fastnacht Day!

Maybe you call it Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras.  In these parts, friend, it’s Fastnacht Day.  My pledge to you, dear reader, is that I will not repeat last year’s poor showing.  Not only will I enjoy fastnachts (yes, plural) today, but I will be enjoying them from Mary Ann Donut Kitchen.  Holler if you know what’s up.   I may also venture to Egypt Star Bakery so as to get the most fat for my Tuesday.

This is a big deal.  As I said last year, we used to even get faschnats in elementary school.   Enjoy yours early and often.  Then get your butt to church on Wednesday for the imposition of ashes.

I never used to take part in that particular Lenten tradition, but I did it last year from a place of feeling like I really needed to do something different, even if only provisional, to connect with the Holy.

Ashes imposed on the forehead of a Christian o...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been on a long, interesting journey since then.  I’m not ashamed to drop the qualifier “provisional” from my status as Christian, so long as epistemological humility isn’t breached.  But I’m still more apt to describe my faith in Conan O’Brien terms than, say, the limiting language you might hear in some Christian quarters.  Even so, even so, I find myself much more interested in the mystical traditions than ever before, much more at home around ritual and structure so long as I can approach them, too, from a place of humility and from a recognition that God is bigger than the things we do and that when God meets us in those things, it’s because God is God, not because we’ve done something cosmically essential.  But it’s also true that our drive to meet God in places carved out by tradition echos something cosmically essential: an understanding that we want and need the mystical, the holy; a hope the God will meet us wherever it is we seek to find.

For me, the power of Christian ritual has absolutely nothing to do with it being set down by patriarchs with apostolic authority or some other contrived historiography that super-values the existential (and perhaps compulsive) needs of long-dead saints.  For me, our rituals, like our stories, are opportunities to embrace the basic Christian claim: the in-breaking of God at every turn, the furious longing on God’s part for time and eternity with us.

Oh boy. This post was supposed to be about donuts.  More to come on Huffington, I think.

Happy Faschnat Day!