Calories are calories people.

Some philosophy of food up in yo’ bizness.

And some accompaniment to get you started. My girlfriend told me the other day that beatboxing fluting is a thing.

Some of my friends claim that calories are calories. No matter what you take in, they say, it’s all going to the same place – the digestive system will make sure everything gets where it needs to go.

Let’s make an analogy, shall we?

I feel that the above statement treats the body like a vehicle. Vehicles are one thing we put fuel in to make them go. You put gas in a car, the car goes X miles, but try for X+1, and you’ll run out of gas.

But the body is different in one particular way.

If cars were just like bodies, when you put in premium gas, the car would get faster and sleeker and more sporty, whereas if you put in regular gas, the car would work okay, but stay the same. Put in the wrong kind of gas, and the car would die or operate putter sluggishly. Don’t drive the car for a while? It breaks. Really don’t drive the car for a while? It explodes, and not in a good way.

This is a not good way, probably, for most people:
gregvalentinomanwhosearmh1

This is also not a good way:
At least he's confident.

This is what eating healthy looks like – note the glowing skin, salad, lack of photoshop, ability to float in mid-air, and yoga pants:
Also, the smile. Eating healthy makes you smile. You feel good.

If you eat crap, you will be crap. If you eat healthy, you will be healthy. Healthy is individual to some extent, and dietary needs change with levels of fitness or disease, but candy bars in certain amounts are bad for everyone.

I wish more people knew this. I’ve been using this simple rule to change my body for the past ten years. You could, too. This isn’t “one weird trick.”

Just avoid processed food (all of it, all the time, if possible, especially sugar and flour), eat a metric fuckton of vegetables, and get enough healthy protein and fats. Just? Tall order, isn’t it?

Well, it’s worth it.

If you’re still wondering about the car analogy and why the body is more complicated than a car, let me educate you on the complexity of the body a bit.

We’re made of cells. We’re not just made of cells, though – we are made of many, many cells. Of at least 200 types, by a quick google search.

Here is a list of the building blocks of people.
SO you have these 200 types of cells. How many? 100,000,000,000,000. That’s how many dollars Mitt Romney would have if he were 400,000 Mitt Romneys of equal wealth. It would be an annoying, slow, considerate Clone Army. The Mitt Romney Clone Coalition (a notion I endorse; after all, maybe not all of them would be Mormon, some with non-Conservative views; I endorse the thought of a rogue Mitt Romney) would have as many dollars as YOU have building blocks.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

It gets way more complicated when you talk about how these 200 cells actually fit together to make a human, and especially when you’re talking about neurons, the wiring of the body. Then, toss in 1,000,000,000,000,000 – that’s a quadrillion, which is so big I can’t even – microorganisms that live in our intestines.

way, way bigger than this.

Yep, our gut bacteria outnumber us. We might be better described as bacteria with human suits.
this isn't creepy at all.

All these cells and all these bacteria sort of add up to us, right?

thatsstillnotallfolks

These bacteria live in fluids. Our cells are filled with and also live in different types of fluid.

These fluids do god-(and probably Karen Mruk-)-knows-what with the 200 types of cells in there. Not to mention all the electricity running around, because:

Then toss in nerve signals. These are analog sound waves that reverberate along nerve channels. They are what nerves use to talk to each other. They add up to the thing typing this blog post. There are a hundred billion of them in our head.

So there are 302 neurons in this worm. Which is small enough that the Open Worm Project modeled it and got it swimming based on a special kind of machine learning neuron.

I can repeat this as many times as I want, and I will never get bored: in addition to the microorganisms in our guts, the quadrillion microorganisms, evolution has also seen fit to plop 1,000,000,000 nerve cells in our gut.

That is a cat brain dedicated to digestion.

Transistors are way less capable than neurons of doing compute-y things. It is kind of awkward to get transistors doing neuronal things. Recent chips have about 5.4 billion of those.

By the way, we might have a census of the people in the US, but we don’t have a census of gut bacteria. Could make a career if a person could do it. There are probably medicines in there. Definitely all kinds of crap. (I love talking about stomachs. Comedy gold.)

Here’s a song Weird Al dedicated to the pancreas, while we’re talking about body organs, though this is definitely a tangent.

So we have all these complicated legos, all these complicated communications, all these complicated fluid reactions, charge gradients, cellular mechanisms, and we don’t know SO MUCH about this already that there are millions of scientists in the world working on this crap and they STILL haven’t figured everything out.

It is a single organism, people. How complicated could it be?

Complicated enough that millions of scientists who have devoted their lives to science have still not figured it out.

Now, back to the car analogy. When you put in gasoline, cylinders create sparks that explode it and turn a crank. It is made of many millions of molecules of steel and polymers, dumb molecules. The surface the gas goes across is made of several different materials, all of them chosen for their ability to safely contain the gasoline. Gasoline itself is a mixture of several types of hydrocarbons. Car computers can have billions of transistors.

See why car stomachs are dumb, and people stomachs are smart and complicated?

Yet it seems like our food industry has designed a number of things that our bodies cannot figure out how to handle, to the point that it’s making us sick and fat and unhappy.

There’s enough science out there to read through, if you’re up to the challenge. Just start reading about nutrition, and stick to non-defensive research articles funded by public laboratories. My recommendation? Elite university food science is fairly safe – they don’t shit where they eat, as it were.

I love food. I eat processed food sometimes. When I eat a lot, I feel like junk, sluggish, like a cold diesel engine. But the more I stay away from it and guzzle water, eat greens, healthy carbs (low glycemic index carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice), and good, clean protein (whey protein isolate is good), the better I feel.

Your mileage may vary, but knowing more about food cannot be bad. Even the ancient Greeks knew how to eat right – it was easier for them, though. There was no Monsanto in Greece in 400 BC.

And don’t even get me started on hangriness. Hangriness = the quality of being in a state of hunger + anger.
-D

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