“Why should a financial engineer be paid four times to a hundred times as much as a real engineer? A real engineer builds bridges. A financial engineer builds dreams. And when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it.” — Andrew Sheng, chief adviser, China Banking Regulatory Commission, in Inside Job.
I am continuing with my documentary obsession. Highly highly recommend this one (it’s not on Netflix streaming… yet). It won an Oscar for best documentary last week and Bobby has been bugging me to watch it.
Some little known facts about me that relate to this movie:
I interned the summer before my senior year of college at a high profile investment bank on the mortgage backed securities trading desk. I worked 6:15am to 7pm, 5 days a week. Traders did not have to work weekends.
I got a job offer from said bank, and accepted it, but reneged on the offer because Bobby didn’t want to live in New York. Ha! Now we are here anyway. (After college we lived in CA for 1.5 years before coming back east.)
Up until I was about 21 I thought I was going to be an investment banker.
Now I realize that Wall Street only perpetuates the already drastic socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor. And even though working at the bank would have made me rich, I wouldn’t have been happy and I probably would have burned out anyway.
Inside Job investigates the circumstances behind the financial crisis of the past few years. It focuses on how deregulation essentially screwed the financial system in our country. Increasingly complex financial products, decreased rules and requirements, and greed all contributed to the meltdown. I especially enjoy the fact that this film displays Larry Summers as the pompous, sexist, pig-head that he is. If you don’t remember, Larry Summers was the Harvard president who was forced to resign for a number of reasons, one being that he thinks women are intellectually inferior to men.
Edited to add: You can rent Inside Job at your local video store, or put it in your DVD queue in Netflix. I haven’t been able to find it streaming online.
What? This is a yoga and food blog?
Okay. I did Yoga For Runners #1 this morning and it was fabulous: challenging, strengthening, stretching, and relaxing. Some highlights:
Last night before bed I did Lunar Flow #1 which was incredibly gentle and peaceful. Some highlights:
And now I am off to read, or sleep, or yoga, or something!
Ever since our last trip to DC (for the rally) Bobby and I have wanted to visit again and have a proper visit with Coco and Star. Last time was too hectic and we only got to see each other for a few hours. This weekend we definitely did it right.
Woke up before 7am to catch the bus at 8:30am from Penn Station. We got there just in time. I brought a yummy breakfast – leftovers from dinner at Gobo the night before. It was brown rice with veggies and a stir fry sauce.
We arrived just in time for lunch at Rice. I got papaya salad, of course. I had shrimp because I wanted them and I haven’t had ‘em in a while. Vegetarian disclaimer: I don’t always eat vegetarian, even though I call myself a vegetarian. It’s easier that way. I generally don’t eat meat during the week, but I will make exceptions for something sustainable and ethical on weekends or on vacation.
We all get along so well. We just chatted about random things – current events, econ, food (of course), exercise (running, yoga, walking, etc…), and life in general. For the rest of the afternoon we wandered down towards the White House area where we went to some museums – the Air and Space one, and Natural History. Did you know that museums are free in DC? I did not. Next time we want to take advantage of that more.
We spent an hour or so in Air & Space – Bobby and I took a ride in the Flight Simulator ($8 each – not free, but worth it). I got to be the shooter and Bobby was the pilot. I made him do lots of full 360 degree turns in this crazy little blue box thing:
Then we went over to Natural History to explore a little bit before the IMAX show that we bought tickets for. The show was Arabia 3D. I learned a lot about the Middle East -culture, history, economy. Very interesting! I want to find a documentary to learn more. Documentaries are my favorite way to learn anything. Apparently Saudi Arabia is currently in its second (I think?) economic boom period – riches from OIL. The previous boom (around 1000BC) was due to massive exports of frankincense, which comes from tree sap. There may have been a boom in between frankincense and oil, but I am forgetting it if there was.
Saturday night we went to the most amazing organic restaurant called Nora. I am out of time so I will do the recap of the rest of the weekend later.
For more pictures and recaps of the weekend, visit Coco’s post!
I watched 3 really interesting videos in the last 3 days. The first was a documentary on Hulu called Fat Head. Here’s the summary:
Have you seen the news stories about the obesity epidemic? Did you see Super Size Me? Then guess what? … You’ve been fed a load of bologna.
Comedian (and former health writer) Tom Naughton replies to the blame-McDonald’s crowd by losing weight on a fat-laden fast-food diet while demonstrating that nearly everything we’ve been told about obesity and healthy eating is wrong. Along with some delicious parody of Super Size Me, Naughton serves up plenty of no-bologna facts that will stun most viewers, such as: The obesity “epidemic” has been wildly exaggerated by the CDC. People the government classifies as “overweight” have longer lifespans than people classified as “normal weight.” Having low cholesterol is unhealthy. Lowfat diets can lead to depression and type II diabetes. Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease — but sugars, starches and processed vegetable oils do.
The last video I watched was called Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It became somewhat of an internet sensation back in 2009 but I guess I missed it. It’s a 1.5 hour lecture on why fructose is a toxin. (I’m sold.) The lecturer is a doctor by the name of Robert H. Lustig.
If you have some time (each video is over an hour) I highly recommend them. The gist of all of them is that the obesity epidemic is caused, not by fat/saturated fat/meat, but by too much sugar and too many carbohydrates. My take on them:
The first link (Fat Head) “proves” that a high-fat diet is good for you. Um, duh. Tom Naughton’s high-fat diet consists of a lot of meat; I am still kind of undecided on the meat issue. Two more of his points are that 1) grains are doing a lot of damage (he does go into detail but I don’t want to right now) and 2) processed vegetable oils (corn oil, soybean oil, etc… – and not just he partially hydrogenated trans fat ones) are also killing us. Humans are not used to eating either of those things.
Now – I like meat, and I would eat it, but I am morally opposed to the way meat is produced in our country, and I can’t bring myself to eat it anymore. If meat were truly ethically raised? I’m still unsure nowadays. I’m getting off topic, but my takeaway from this one – fat is good. Eat more of it. Eat veggies too, though. It may be possible to have a semi-healthful fast food diet, but it’s probably better to just be more primal.
Mmm… bacon and eggs and butter.
Personal side notes:
My “Bring on the Fat” post from last year (one year ago – to the day). Sadly I didn’t keep up with this as much as I’d have liked. Now that I’m a veggie I need to get my animal fat from butter, ghee, eggs (with yolk), and dairy (goat’s and sheep’s milk yogurts are my faves; regular ol’ organic whole cow’s milk for my coffee). Since I went veggie I have been eating too many carbs and not enough fats.
The Great Fat Animal Experiment. This was from a year and 3 days ago; it was an intro to my passion for animal fat. I still do love animal fat; again, I’m just going to try to get it from non-meat sources.
Way back in July 2009 (4 days before I got engaged… can’t believe I am married now!) was one of the first times I started trying to eat more fat. I didn’t really follow through, at least not to the extent that I should have. I have come a long way since then.
Big Fat Lies
The second link (Big Fat Lies) discusses the matter of why people are getting fat; is it simply that we eat too much and sit on our asses? Gary Taubes seems to think that it’s because we have too much insulin (I’m leaning towards agreeing with him, but I think the reason we have too much insulin is because we… eat too much). He basically says that we aren’t getting fat because we’re eating more; we’re eating more because we’re getting fat. He debunks Ancel Keys’ Lipid Hypothesis/Seven Countries Study which states that:
Saturated fat increases cholesterol. (If A then B.)
High cholesterol associated with heart disease. (B associated with C.)
Saturated fat must cause heart disease! (If A then C.)
What a load of bologna! Ugh, too much to say about this horrible study, will post about this later (if I don’t remind me). I tend to agree with Taubes’ conclusions, but I think that there are a lot of people out there who do simply “eat too much” for probably mental reasons. It’s not just hormones that are making us fat. We have issues that also make us eat too much which starts the vicious cycle of greedy fat cells –> eat more –> greedier fat cells –> eat even more –> also be lazy because we’re too fat.
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
The last link, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, Robert H. Lustig discusses how fructose is metabolized in the body. It turns out that fructose is very similar to ethanol, which is a toxin. He also debunks the Seven Countries Study (though for different reasons than Taubes does). He’s not a low-carb advocate (unlike the other two); he thinks we just have to eat the right carbs, which does not include sugar at all. His diet prescriptions for his patients (mostly kids) are (this is around the 1:10 mark):
Only beverages should be water and milk
Eat carbs with fiber (ex: fruit is fructose but has fiber built in)
Wait 20 minutes for second portions
If you’re gonna stare at a screen (tv/video games) you have to do equal amounts of activity (playing outside)
His prescriptions are probably easier and more reasonable to follow than what Taubes thinks we should do (low-carb, lots of meat); they’re also probably more sustainable (we can’t all live on steak due to overpopulation). I’m still on the fence about carbs though. I love ‘em, but they make me feel like shit. Maybe I’m just more sensitive than some people; my husband could probably live on just carbs and get along fine. (Though he did lose 10 pounds in the last month from being vegetarian – 10 pounds he did not need to lose and he is worried about. He’s practically as skinny as I am.)
More personal notes!
I eat a lot of fruit. A ton, actually. It’s not uncommon for me to eat 6 apples in a single day. Any time that I accidentally don’t eat fruit though, my skin clears up (my skin sucks). My hormones tend to start regulating properly (my hormones suck too). My stomach doesn’t quite suck as much. But I am too stubborn and I love my apples. So I keep eating them. Why? (That is rhetorical.)
I eat a lot of grainy carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, bread), and then complain about my stomach. I think I only complain about my stomach when I’m not eating as much fat. Hm. Annoying.
I know that I do better on a high-fat, low-grain diet (NOT no-grain, though I haven’t really tried that), but I have issues and instead I usually eat low-fat, high-carb. This is just a matter of stubbornness and stupidity. Perhaps I will actually get around to breaking a habit at some point.
Oh gosh, I think this might be one of my longest posts ever. I will shut up now.
What are your thoughts? On grains? On carbs? On sugar? On fructose? On saturated fats? On animal fats? On “healthy” fats? On a low-fat diet? On a low-carb diet? On Tom Naughton/Gary Taubes/Robert Lustig?
Or, if you wanna stop with the heavy topics…
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Bobby got us reservations as a restaurant we haven’t been to yet but that I hear great things about.