You could take away any of my many subscriptions before I’d let you touch my contract with The New Yorker. I pay a lot of money so they can deliver the world to my mailbox most weeks of the year. This is unlike our local newspaper whose mission, evidently, is to spotlight one overweight old man and his equally old but better-looking car, in color, section front, every week! That local paper reflects smug satisfaction with the world as it is — The New Yorker, nothing of the kind.
Case in point: the May 20 issue with Adam Gopnik’s “Younger Longer,” an in-depth look at current research into halting/slowing the effects of human aging.
Patrick Hof, who runs a lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai and one of Gopnik’s sources, lists “‘co-morbidities’ for Alzheimer’s, the conditions that correlate, most strongly with its onset. They are the old-fashioned sins: obesity, a lack of exercise, bad diet — and the diabetes that these can produce.”
So, please, let’s not idolize these very heavy young female celebrities and hold them up to younger fans as women who are wonderfully “comfortable” in their bodies. Promise, if they’re this fat by the time they’re 65 or 70, they won’t be. I’m not talking about women in the media who are rounded and healthy looking like Chrissy Teigen; I’m talking about the whales. So free, so self-accepting, so un-healthy!
But it’s the advice of Harvard molecular biologist George Church that’s the best: “He is an evangelist for the advantages of what he calls ‘hormesis’ — the practice of inducing metabolic stress by short intense exercise or intermittent fasting.” His motto: “Every day, try to be hungry and out of breath.”
I find this wonderfully helpful. The short bursts of exercise are easy — just do splits in your daily cardio. The hungry part’s the hard part for me. I grew up thinking that missing a meal or not cleaning your plate led to death at home and famine in foreign countries.
Armed with this inspiration, though, I can drive 50 minutes to home without stopping for a snack. That’s my “hungry” time. I can experience what it feels like to go more than three hours between meals. I’ve always got water, and maybe some day I’ll be able to try an actual fast (3-¼ hours?)!
I’ve also seen recent, mounting evidence that cooking is good for you, i.e., making it yourself. This dip, for instance. I think it’s from the May issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and it is easy and delicious. No, really, it’s so good with raw vegetables or as a sandwich spread. You can use up last summer’s pesto before it’s time to make new or simply buy prepared pesto.
Spring Pesto Dip
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup pesto
Fine kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and pesto. Season and serve with blanched green beans or broccoli florets, sugar snap peas (the best!) and other crisp crudites such as thinly sliced raw fennel and some colorful radishes. Dip can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.