Review: Gay’s Hunger A Memoir of (My) Body


Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Roxanne Gay

A gut punch, a wake up call, a deeply effecting book about race, sexual assault, food, immigration, class, writing, love and America. Really a must read.

I’m someone who cares deeply about health and fitness.  I struggle to make the right food choices, and hit the gym, but my personal issues are put into stark relief as the cloying bullshit problems of a privileged white dude when held against Gays heartrending and inspiring story.

This is a story of growing up the child of immigrants, of suffering horrible sexual assault, and struggling with that, and more. Its about coping with lives horrors with food, both for comfort and protection.

It’s also the story of a powerful writer finding her voice through years of work and struggle and missteps and luck.

It is near perfectly written in Gay’s direct to the jugular style.

I couldn’t put it down.

You might not think of yourself as the kind of person who would read a memoir that is, at least ostensibly, about weight problems, but really it is about so much more. And you are the kind of person who reads important, powerful, books and you should read this one.

Recommended.

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Longo’s Longevity Protocol — The Fasting Mimicking Diet

I was very impressed with Valter Longo’s book The Longevity Diet and have implemented most of his recommendations on diet, exercise and fasting in my own life. For my own reference, I’m documenting those recommendations here. This is the barebones of the recommendations with my own comments, but without the extensive evidence Longo provides in the book.

You really should buy the book.

As should be obvious, do not take medical advice from some random guy on the internet. I am not a doctor, nor a dietitian, nor even particularly smart. Consult a doctor before doing anything stupid, which includes radically changing your diet or going on fasts.

I’m breaking this down into three pages, diet, exercise, and fasting. Here’s the actual fasting mimicking diet (FMD).

Day 1. Consume 1,100 calories

  • 500 calories from complex carbs (vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms, etc.).
  • 500 calories from healthy fats (nuts, olive oil)
  • 1 multivitamin and mineral supplement
  • 1 omega-3/omega-6 supplement
  • Sugarless tea (up to 3-4 cups per day)
  • 25 grams of plant-based protein (ideally from nuts)
  • Unlimited water

Days 2-5 consume 800 calories

  • 400 calories from complex carbs (vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms, etc.).
  • 400 calories from healthy fats (nuts, olive oil)
  • 1 multivitamin and mineral supplement
  • 1 omega-3/omega-6 supplement
  • Sugarless tea (up to 3-4 cups per day)
  • Unlimited water

Day 6 Transition Diet

For 24 hours following the end of the five-day FMD eat a diet based on complex carbs (veggies, cereals, pasta, rice, bread, fruit, etc.) and minimize fish, meat, saturated fats, pastries, cheese, milk, etc.)

It’s worth noting that there are some standard side effects of the FMD, these include:

  • Feeling weak during parts of the fast
  • Light or average intensity headaches
  • Slight back ache

OBVIOUSLY, STOP AND SEE A GODDAMN DOCTOR IF THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL

Most people feel hungry during the first few days of the FMD, but the effect is usually greatly reduced by day 4 or 5.

 

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Longo’s Longevity Protocol — The Exercise

I was very impressed with Valter Longo’s book The Longevity Diet and have implemented most of his recommendations on diet, exercise and fasting in my own life. For my own reference, I’m documenting those recommendations here. This is the barebones of the recommendations with my own comments, but without the extensive evidence Longo provides in the book.

You really should buy the book.

As should be obvious, do not take medical advice from some random guy on the internet. I am not a doctor, nor a dietitian, nor even particularly smart. Consult a doctor before doing anything stupid, which includes radically changing your diet or going on fasts.

I’m breaking this down into three pages, diet, exercise, and fasting. Here’s exercise.

  1. Walk fast for an hour everyday. I’m lucky to live in New York City and have begun walking to and from subway stops a bit further from my office and taking at least half an hour out of most days to get outside during the work day. I realize this might be harder in other environments. If you have any tips, leave ‘em in the comments.
  1. Ride, Run or swim thirty to forty minutes every other day plus two hours on the weekend. Longo recommends cycling, which I do, but those who follow this site know running is my passion. I often do significantly more running and cycling than this, which Longo might look askance at. But hey, ya gotta live (and BQ).
  1. Use your muscles. I’ve got a heavy ball in my office with which I do various exercises throughout the day. I also make a habit of pushups and pull ups at least three times a week. When I can, I try to get to the gym in the basement and just fool around. You should do these things too.
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Longo’s Longevity Protocol — The Diet

I was very impressed with Valter Longo’s book The Longevity Diet and have implemented most of his recommendations on diet, exercise and fasting in my own life. For my own reference, I’m documenting those recommendations here. This is the barebones of the recommendations with my own comments, but without the extensive evidence Longo provides in the book.

You really should buy the book.

 

As should be obvious, do not take medical advice from some random guy on the internet. I am not a doctor, nor a dietitian, nor even particularly smart. Consult a doctor before doing anything stupid, which includes radically changing your diet or going on fasts.

I’m breaking this down into three pages, diet, exercise, and fasting. Here’s diet.

  1. Eat a plant based diet, plus some fish. Keep fish consumption to no more than two or three times per week. Choose fish, crustaceans, and mollusks with high Omega-3, Omega-6 and vitamin b-12 content such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, cod, sea bream, trout, clams, and shrimp. Minimize eating other animals, such as beef, chicken and pork and other animal products such as milk and cheese. (Note that this says minimize. I will on occasion indulge in meat or cheese if it would be rude to do otherwise, or if my wife insists on the duck ragu dish at the local Italian spot.)

 

  1. If you’re under 65, like me, keep your protein intake low. (0.31 to 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). Most of us aren’t going to do these protein calculations on a regular basis, but it’s worth doing once or twice to get a sense. Consume beans and other legumes as main source of protein. Those beyond age 65 should increase protein intake and consider re-introducing some animal protein.

 

  1. Endeavor to get most of your vitamins and minerals from food, but buffer with a multivitamin every 3 days.

 

  1. Based on your weight, age, and abdominal circumference, decide whether to have two or three meals per day. I tend to gain weight very easily so I am eating two meals a day plus two low sugar snacks of less than 100 calories. Longo recommends eating breakfast and either lunch or dinner. That doesn’t work for me, so I’m eating a breakfast snack and then lunch and dinner.

 

  1. Confine all eating to within a twelve-hour window. Don’t eat anything within three or four hours of bedtime. (I do this, mostly, but make exceptions for family events that fall outside the window.)

 

  1. Until age 65-70 depending on weight and frailty, undergo five days of fasting mimicking diet every one to six months, based on your goals and, if possible, medical advice.

NB:

Longo also recommends eating as your ancestors did, which, while it makes sense evolutionarily, (and is nice for Longo himself since he’s Italian) my ancestors lived on a rocky island in the North Atlantic and ate basically potatoes and blood sausage, so nope. Not gonna do that.

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Review: Ward’s Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones
Jesmyn Ward

Stunning prose. A look into a world (rural, black, deep south) that is not often depicted in literature. Really, really good.

Salvage the Bones tells the story of a young girl and her family and community as they prepare for, and endure, Hurricane Katrina. The sense of dread that permeates the first part of the book sets in even deeper when you realize (a) that they have no idea how bad things will get and (b) that other calamities and challenges unrelated to the storm are also coming down on this struggling family.

Ward writes with a clarity that is awe inspiring. She says Faulkerner was an inspiration, and you tell. The writing is crystal clear, yet beautiful. Slow burning, yet, I couldn’t put it down. This was the first book by Ward that I read, but within months, I’d go on to read two more.

If you want to see the future of the American novel depicting a part of the world rarely shown, read this.

Recommended

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Review: Okorafor’s Who Fears Death

Who Fears Death
Nnedi Okorafor

I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for most of my life. I devoured William Gibson in my teens, got deep into new wave in my twenties, and learned the classics in my thirties. I’m not an expert in the genre, by any means, but I’m also reasonably well read.

Lately, something interesting has been happening, not only have we seen an explosion in the popularity of writers of color (and women of color specifically) but I think we’re seeing more and more books like this one, set an place uncommon in science fiction (Africa) and dealing with an uncommon set of genre tropes (here, both high tech gadgets and magic).

This a book about a girl with magical powers and a high tech gadget who uses both and more to fight a dictator in post-apocalyptic Africa. Is this SF? Is it Fantasy? Is it something in-between? Who cares. Its well written, its challenging in its ideas about the future, and it puts front and center voices too rarely heard in SF and its worth a read. But and still, this isn’t a perfect work. The writing is strong, and the plot moves, but I found some of it a the story a bit over done. This is often a criticism I have – I like my poetic touches very light—so other opinions might vary.

If current trends in science fiction is your thing, then this is worth a read. Something is happening here, its worth paying attention to.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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Book Review: Lew’s This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared

This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation

Allan Lew

A meditation on the Jewish High Holidays by one of the most important reform rabbis of the last fifty years. A deeply honest and moving book. The most spiritually moving piece of literature I have read, maybe ever.

As close readers of this website know, I converted to Judaism a number of years ago. The reasons for that conversion are complex and personal and hard to explain. Since converting, my relationship to Judaism has ebbed and flowed. E and I have always attended high holiday services, but if I’m being honest, I haven’t always approached them with all that much awe. That’s changed in the last couple of years. It’s changed in part because my son now attends a Jewish school and we are now much more involved in a Jewish life. It changed because we became members of a powerful, progressive synagogue with an incredibly dynamic rabbi. And it’s changed in part because I am older, with a life more complicated and perhaps more in need of spiritual solace.

And it’s changed in part because of this book.

One of the things that initially attracted me to Judaism was the way in which it welcomes an engagement with the spiritual through the intellectual. This book is a wonderful reflection of that type of engagement. Lew takes you through the Torah’s proscriptions for the various holidays, he explains how our traditions and rules came to be, and why, but he never lets you forget that this is more than an intellectual exercise. It is more than an obligation. It is a complex apparatus designed to allow us to engage with ourselves (and for some of us, our God) is a real, visceral, and perhaps transformative way.

If you come to my synagogue for the high holidays, you’re going to see a variety of expressions of Judaism. You’ll see the egalitarian orthodox minyan. You’ll see the various kids services, in all degrees of wild, you’ll see bored teenagers waiting for it to end, and others with their heads deep in their siddurs. One thing you’ll also see is numerous people with this book beside them. Next year, once again, I’ll be one of them.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

 

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