Dear «Custom Field 1»
Gene and Mary Long
203 M. 13 Ban Bunyuen
T. Ban Wiang A. Rong Kwang
Baptist preachers have a reputation - probably deserved - of being fat. That doesn't make them slow bellies. A lot of it is an occupational hazard. Part of it is ignorance. This blog is dedicated to blasting ignorance with a little knowledge - and a few laughs!
Dear «Custom Field 1»
Dear «Custom Field 1»"Don't point at the moon!" a Yellow Leaf kid reprimanded Mary recently. "Your finger will rot off."Fear or worship of the sun, moon, stars and other things in the sky is common in cultures around the world. Things that can't be controlled, eaten, destroyed or even touched by us often have this effect on people. The Yellow Leaf are no exception, and they start teaching their children early.Offhand comments that the Yellow Leaf people make often give us some good insights into what they are teaching the kids, and what they themselves believe. It's also good feedback for us to know where we need to concentrate our teaching.What would you suggest we do after hearing the above remark?Mr. In (pronounced "in") is a Yellow Leaf man who is recovering from TB. His most recent tests have shown him free from the infection, but not the effects. He has lost most of the function of one of his lungs and is pretty much tethered to an oxygen concentrator for most of the day – or is supposed to be. He gets to feeling better, turns off the machine and wanders off to find a smoke. . . Bad habits are hard to shake!We are thankful that his recent checkups at the hospital have been good, and that he was able to endure the time away from supplemental oxygen so well – maintaining a safe level of oxygen in his blood for the entire day. It probably helped, of course, that he wasn't smoking, but there's no telling him that.Please continue to pray for us as we share the Good News with him and the other Yellow Leaf people who live here. And, thank you for sharing in the burdens of this work with your love, prayers and gifts. We are so thankful for the $«Custom Field 2» that you have sent us over the last two months.You can click the link here to see some pictures of Lapat Joy, the special needs Yellow Leaf girl who is being cared for at Hope Home in Chiang Mai City, Thailand. Please keep her in your prayers.We were last back in the States in 2007. Seems like only yesterday. . . But, we are now making tentative plans to come back again for a short time next year. We'd like to arrive the first part of August 2011 and stay through at least part of October the same year. Please pray with us as we look into purchasing tickets, lining up meetings and all the other details that have to be worked out. In case you haven't guessed, we're very excited!Thank you again for being a part of our lives.«Custom Field 3»«Custom Field 4»
Gene and Mary Long
203 M. 13 Ban Bunyuen
T. Ban Wiang A. Rong Kwang
Dear «Custom Field 1»
What do Double Stuff Oreo® Cookies, Blue M&M's® candies and Whey Protein Concentrate have in common?
I know it is tempting to guess that these all represent essential nutrients for our health and waistlines. The tip off that this is the wrong answer is that all colors of M&M's contain exactly the same nutritional value; each color of M&M's will nourish you as well, if not as flamboyantly, as blue.
It can't be taste, or Whey Protein Concentrate would not be on the list.
It can't be price; only Oreos and M&M's are priced to fit any budget.
It can't even be nothing, or I would not have had the temerity to ask in the first place. And, one thing I don't have much of is temerity. Unless temerity is some kind of fat, like cellulite. Which it isn't.
Stumped, aren't you! That's because you've been looking for the answer in all the wrong places.
Each of these products is manufactured, advertised and sold because some "corporate giant" discovered what consumers wanted and figured out how to get it to them – and how to make a buck doing it! Your waistline, their bottom line. This could be expressed in other, more amusing ways, I'm sure.
Of course, the "corporate giants" aren't going to do all the work for us consumers. It is up to us, the "giant consumers," to figure out how to consume as much of this stuff that we want as we can. And, how to pay for it. In a word, "corporate giants" can't really do their job without our help. And, from the looks of things, we've been pretty compliant helpers. Except for maybe the Whey Protein Concentrate consumers; but they are still a niche market. No economies of scale there.
This is why Microsoft, for instance, makes more money than, say, Brylcreem. It also explains why we no longer have Corvairs, 45 rpm records or hula hoops. But, that is only the economic side of the issue. There is more.
Part of it is research. You can't dream up something as innovative as double cream filling in a cookie just sitting in a giant corporate giant chair. You have to be out there watching kids (and a few adults; not me, and maybe not you, either) carefully pull their cookies apart and eat the frosting first. Bingo, the lights go on!
If these cookies had been made in Germany, the corporate giants there would try to figure out a way to keep that from happening; after all, a great deal of money was invested in making sure the creme had just the right mix of transfats and sugar to make it stick first to the cookie and then to your arteries. The machinery to do this cost a fortune. They could be excused had they put a bolt through the center of the biscuit and sat back to enjoy watching people eat the right way for a change.
But, Oreo's are a quintessentially American treat. And, where others see only calories, American corporate giants see opportunities to slather on even more calories. And, "we the people" line up to buy these delicious morsels to feed to ourselves and, more importantly, to our children. You have to hand it to us – we are a big hearted people. The rest of our anatomies are catching up fast.
Blue M&M's were actually voted on. That was because it was too time consuming to watch people eat them; people spend hours arranging them into groups of like colors, or like groupings of various colors, or saving all the red ones till last or some other weird variation on this theme. The good people at Mars just asked consumers what color they wanted their calories wrapped in and the consumers responded with alacrity. (Alacrity is derived from a Latin word meaning "open mouths and open wallets.") There is something to be said for the democratization of fattening snacks. I wonder if the Whey Protein Concentrate people have tried this yet?
Not that it is going to be easy for them. The Whey Protein Concentrate folks have a lot to overcome here. What are they going to have people vote on? What, pray tell, would they find to double in it? "Twice the protein" just isn't going to entice people to stop licking the double creme off their cookies.
Which brings us to the real problem for the Whey Protein Concentrate manufacturers out there. Most people do not seem to be very concerned about being "fat bound." They are, however, very wary of becoming "muscle bound." In the real world, this means that people feel unease if their shoulders are too big for airplane seats, but not if their midsections are. Or, it means that it's OK to be too fat to bend over, but not OK to be too muscular to do so. If that makes any sense to you, go have another bag of M&M's. In fact, make them peanut M&M's.
Me? I'm going to go lift some dumbbells. Right after my Almond Joy mini.
You gotta love those corporate giants,
gene, the giant consumer king
PS Seriously, though, don't be fooled. It is NOT easy to build large muscles! If it were, I'd have done it already. And posted pictures on this blog. You'll notice that there are no pictures. I assure you that there are no plans for any pictures, either!
There is a slim chance that people can be persuaded to have a better diet before they have a heart attack. There is a slightly better chance after their first heart attack. But, their chances of ever getting so muscle laden that they lose mobility in any sense of the term are about the same as being hit by a meteor.
Don't take my word for it. Tom Venuto has built some pretty impressive muscles; he even has pictures on his blog. Ask him if it was easy! Ask him about being "muscle bound." And, ask him what kinds of protein supplements he takes to get the job done. His answers may surprise you. Hint: He does not sell any supplements.
King Solomon said, "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old." (Proverbs 20:29)
By this standard, my youth passed without much glory.
When I was in fourth grade, our family moved to Texas, where the blissfully unstructured "recess" time of Lawton, Oklahoma was replaced by "Phys Ed" with a real "coach." It was in this class that I learned that I was a "weenie arm." I already knew, since about first grade, that I was a chicken, so finding out that I was also a weenie arm didn't come as a complete surprise. In fact, it actually explained things a bit. It didn't bother me that much, either, since I could pretty well outrun all the other guys, especially the big ones.
Still, it was something of a relief to pass from youth into the early stages of "old." Gray hair seems to come more naturally to me than glorious, youthful strength ever did. Maybe my remaining years will have a tinge of splendor!
But not, it seems, without unwelcome reminders of my inglorious youth.
One such reminder has come in the person of a Thai friend of mine who is only half a dozen years older than I am. He has it all exactly backwards. For one thing, he has died his hair jet black. Moreover, he's been putting in overtime at the local fitness center, which he owns. He likes to wear sleeveless shirts and flex his muscles at people, especially weenie arm old men with gray hair. He caught me again at the supermarket in town the other day.
"Don't buy commercial juice," he advised me, peering into my cart. "Eat fresh food, like me. That's how you get real strength." He rubbed his forearms menacingly.
I looked in his cart. There was a big bunch of expensive grapes, some kind of greens that I didn't recognize and a loaf of bread in it. Bread?
I'm no fool. I know I'm not in good shape, but I've been doing some research into health and fitness. I might be a weenie arm, but I can google. And knowledge, as they say, is power.
"Wait a minute," I parried. "You aren't going to eat this, are you?" I lifted the bread out of his cart and held it up. "Do you have any idea how much sugar is in this stuff? It must be loaded with trans fats and trihydrocarbs," I said, using some new words I've learned from the internet. "I would never eat this! Don't you care about your health?"
He changed the subject and tried to get me to buy some beets, but fortunately they were out of them that day. He trotted off to the seafood aisle while I sneaked over to buy three bags of white sugar. Small bags, of course.
When it rains, it pours; I met him again in the check out line. I hid my sugar underneath some cookies and tried to be friendly. I also tried to keep him off balance, so I looked in his cart. Guess what? No bread! "I put it back," he conceded.
Then, he began bragging again. "I can do fifty pushups," he said. This seemed unlikely. I can do five on a good day, six if I'm really stoked. This guy is six years older than I am and he can do fifty? Sure.
On the off hand chance that I could provoke him to actually demonstrate for me, I gave voice to my suspicions. "It's true," he said and got down and did about ten pushups right there in the store. The other customers watched in stunned silence. I probably looked like a weenie arm. Shades of fourth grade. . .
I got through the check out line first and made sure I put some distance between us – I ducked into KFC for a quick lunch. I know, I know: This probably wasn't the most "heart healthy" choice I could have made. But, it was one place I knew I could go where my friend wouldn't find me!
None of which means I don't take this seriously. I do. In fact, the very next chance I get, I'm going to google "pushups."
You gotta start somewhere,
PS Seriously, though, you really do have to start somewhere.
You can spend hours and days searching the internet and finding all kinds of contradictory advice. You can spend money hand over fist on supplements that will "melt the fat" off. You can get a personal trainer, join a gym or follow some wierd regimine like the "Hallelujah Diet."
And, if you don't get the results you want, you can start all over again. You sure wouldn't be the first person to do that!
Listen, here is an alternative plan: Start by reading Tom Venuto's mini-course, Big Fat Lies. Tom has given me special permission to put this course into a PDF format. You can get the entire twelve part course in one handy document, which you can read at one sitting. This is an exclusive offer, not available anywhere else! Just email me at email@example.com for your copy. I'm fully set up to handle this manually, hence there may be a slight delay in getting it to you.
Or, better yet, just pick up your copy of his Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle eBook now.
A word of explanation here. . . Though based on facts, the following little sketch contains a number of embellishments. Also, names and incidents have been disguised to protect the innocent and still present our hero in a positive light. Therefore, it could legitimately be considered "fiction." If you object to legitimacy, call it "political autobiography." And, if you think you see yourself in here somewhere, that would be your imagination at work, not mine.
Considerations of genre aside, most people would agree that no one likes to look like an idiot. And, nothing makes a person look more like an idiot than being hopelessly behind the times. So, after having been in Thailand for over six years when we arrived in the States for a short furlough in 2007, I decided to fall back on a little tactic that is widely used in missionary circles, even if it isn't explicitly taught in missionary school: I'd keep my eye out for contemporary topics of conversation. Then I'd drop these little gems into conversations at opportune moments and make a good impression on friends and supporters.
I picked up on my first topic even as we were leaving the airport after arrival. There was a big sign with a handsome man and a beautiful woman smiling at each other. The message said something about a colonoscopy. I don't remember that being a topic of conversation last time we were in the States, but new fads come and go with some regularity. I wasn't sure what it meant, either, but it seemed to make the people on the billboard happy enough and it was obviously a topic of public interest. Just what the doctor ordered. I made a mental note for future reference.
It wasn't long before I had a chance to use my new-found knowledge. I confided to a friend that I thought I might get Mary a colonoscopy for our anniversary. His reply: "Boy, Gene, you think of everything." Bingo! I could tell this was going to work. He was probably picturing Mary and me up there on a billboard, smiling at each other. I know I was.
"You can't get them in Thailand?" another friend asked upon hearing my plan.
"Well, I'm sure they're available," I said, winging it. "But in Thailand they'd be, you know, kind of a high end proposition." This seemed to satisfy him and we went on to talk about, of all things, the details of some recent medical issues he had faced. Isn't that gross? Is everything fair game for conversation these days?
I mentioned getting a colonoscopy to a third friend, and she asked me, "For Mary, not for yourself?" I hadn't anticipated this, so I had to think fast. Trying to sound unselfish, I said, "Well, I thought I'd get her one first. If she she takes a shine to it . . . I don't know, do you think two colonoscopies are too much for one family?"
That really stumped her. "How long have you been married?" was all she could say. When I told her we'd been married for over thirty years, she just sighed, "Amazing." I could tell she thought Mary was one lucky lady. I knew I was setting the pace pretty fast for the other men out there, but let's face it – someone's got to be out front. If not me, who?
I soon discovered that I wasn't in the vanguard; I was bringing up the rear, so to speak. We were staying with some friends and our hosts asked us if we'd like to go to Wal-Mart. "That would be perfect," I said. "I need to pick up a colonoscopy anyway."
Well, I'm no fool. I could tell right away by their reaction that Wal-Mart would not be where one goes to find colonoscopies. So, I immediately went into recovery mode: "I mean, you know, if you're also planning to swing by Target. I'd like to get two; one for me, one for Mary."
"Gene, do you know what a colonoscopy is?" came the inevitable question.
By this time, I could tell that I was pretty much eliminated from the running so far as avoiding looking idiotic went. As long as you're going to be behind times, you'd just as well do it in style: "Well, is it bigger than a breadbox?" I parried, borrowing a line I had often heard on a TV game show that was popular about forty years ago. I tried to flash a smile, but I think I looked more like I was getting a colonoscopy.
I was mortified to find out what a colonoscopy really is! I guess I should have googled it first. I'm still trying to figure out why that couple on the billboard was so happy. Maybe because they only talked about things like this on the billboard, and not with friends. Former friends, I mean.
Just a little behind,
PS I realize that this is a little off the main topic of this blog: nutrition and exercise. Still, one of the main points of eating right and getting exercise is good health, and monitoring one's health is part of that.
I'm not sure of the correlation between a healthy diet and unremarkable (i.e., good) results from your colonoscopy, but I'd bet it matters. Ditto for exercise. If you've ever wondered about a sensible way to go about that, you can do yourself a favor by ordering Tom Venuto's eBook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by clicking here. This course is designed in such a way that you can begin implementing what you learn soon after you download it. And, it is detailed enough that you will continue learning and refining your own program for an unlimited time.
Don't get even a little behind!
Many of my close friends are aware that I have been trying to get in better shape. It's a journey that I've been on for over a year now, and the results have been remarkable, if I do say so myself.
I've completely revamped my eating habits. I eat better food, more food and more often than I ever did before. Much to my surprise, I've developed a taste for oatmeal; I like it almost as much as I like fried bamboo grubs. Who could have foreseen this?
I also get in some exercise now. I have discovered "cardio." Mostly, I discovered that I don't like it, but that it does help burn off the fat. I also do resistance exercises and body weight exercises. To be more specific, I resist doing exercises; too much body weight.
Just kidding you. I really have lost over thirty pounds and have been able to keep it off. Pants that I couldn't fasten two years ago are now too loose. I don't even have to shop for bell-bottom shirts anymore.
My wife doesn't really have any stronger background in body building than I do, but she has been very supportive and willing to learn. I mentioned "six-pack abs" to her recently, and she said, "What are six-pack abs?" Boy, am I ever glad I married a girl who doesn't know what six-pack abs are!
I could have told her to google it, but I don't get a chance to show off every day, and we were alone in the house . . . So, I stood up, took off my shirt and pointed to the general area where I think six-pack abs might fit. Then I said, "See this? This is where six-pack abs belong, and this is also what six-pack abs don't look like!"
Still, she does her best to encourage me. She took my arm as we crossed the street the other day and said, "Is this where six-pack biceps would go?" If I ever doubted it before, I now knew I had a marriage made in heaven!
My goal is to continue gaining more muscle (or "lean mass," as it's called in the trade) until I reach a massive 135 pounds. And, as I said earlier, my success to date has been remarkable. Of course, I'm probably NOT gaining more muscle in the places where I'm gaining the most mass. If I am, then I must have the strongest belly button in the world!
I told you the results were remarkable!
PS Seriously, though, gaining, and maintaining, muscle is important for many reasons, probably the least of which is six-pack biceps! Or even six-pack abs, for that matter.
I'm not going to start on all the reasons that you should be devoting some serious effort to exercise; it's a long and complex subject that doesn't lend itself to wise cracks. But, if you email me, I'll be glad to send you a PDF copy of Tom Venuto's mini-course, Big Fat Lies. He'll give you a good introduction to why it is important to have an individualized nutrition and exercise plan – one that is designed to make a difference for you, no one else. None of these "ready made menu plans" from Tom; he empowers you, giving you the knowledge you need to design your own menus. (Hint: Bamboo grubs are not part of the plan, so relax.)
Better yet, order Tom's massive and best-selling eBook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. It will give you the information that you need to break old habits, learn new tricks and avoid having your belly button the strongest part of your anatomy. So, don't start staring at your navel now; click here to order!