Zombie Saturday and some food for thought

Hi, all–

A couple of quick things today. First, if you’re looking for a slightly different take on a zombie tale, try Gina Ranalli’s Praise the Dead (2010).


Gina’s a bizarro/horror writer who injects her work with sly little winks and quirks. In “Praise,” you’ll meet Andrew, a kid who discovers he has the power to bring things back from the dead. The problem is, they’re not quite right when that happens. But Andrew’s ability leads him on a scary power trip and a showdown with a group of people who have to stop him. For more info about Gina, you can find her here, at her website.

And the other thing I was thinking about has to do with overall health of not only you, but the nation, especially if you want to be fighting zombies effectively. Overall health of the nation is something that concerns me personally.

New stats were just released, and as usual, the American South is the unhealthiest and most obese region in the country, but it’s not the only unhealthy part. America, as a whole, is unhealthy. Mississippi is considered the worst off; almost 34 percent of residents there are obese. Almost 32 percent of the residents of the state of Alabama are considered obese. That’s A THIRD. 9 of the 10 fattest states in the country are in the South.

There are also racial, ethnic, and class disparities at play here, and access to foods that are beneficial rather than damaging. Here are some of the other issues that a fat and unhealthy nation contributes to.

Click on to see.

1. unhealthy youth–kids as young as 11-12 are getting diagnosed with diabetes. The health costs of maintaining people over the course of their lifetimes with a chronic condition like this costs the healthcare industry millions each year, and the crappy way our healthcare system is currently set up, that drives costs up for everyone. So not only will keeping yourself healthy benefit YOU, but it also benefits your fellow Americans. Our youth is our future. And a third of them are obese. See number 3 for other ramifications of that.

2. Obesity leads to other health issues besides diabetes. Heart problems; skeletal issues because your bones can’t support all that weight; cancer; more pain due to the increase in pressure on your bones and organs from the weight; emotional and psychological issues that result from pain and from being immobile and unable to participate fully in daily life; eating foods that are pretty much toxic to you make you a toxic personality, which leads to a Catch-22. And more costs on you, and more costs on the healthcare system.

3. A third of American youth are too fat and too unhealthy to serve in the armed forces. Think about that. If we have a national crisis that requires military service or a response to natural or zombie disasters, 1/3 of American youth can’t help you. So that obviously means that 1/3 of American youth can’t serve, thus, in law enforcement or in jobs that require a certain physique or endurance level. So be a proud American and be willing to serve your country. Lose some weight and keep yourself healthy.

4. Health issues brought on by toxic foods, overeating, and no access to good foods creates health problems that diminish the productivity of American individuals and, by extension, American industries. We lose billions each year to the healthcare industry in the management of chronic pain. And we’re not even that good at managing chronic pain, because all we tend to do is throw pills at it. The rise of corporate drugmakers and collusions with insurance companies and doctors have helped create an expensive, top-heavy healthcare industry that doesn’t address underlying CAUSES. Instead, it throws pills at SYMPTOMS, resulting in a nation of unhealthy, overweight, depressed, and drugged-up individuals who lose weeks from work. Corporations don’t want you to get better. They make tons of money off you, after all. And right now, they’re making a whole lot of money.

5. A lack of knowledge about basic food and where it comes from. Americans have a horrible relationship with food, and it really started, I think, when the fast food industry burst onto the scene. (For a scary look at the history of that, see Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation). It’s taken us 50-60 years to get to this point, and over those years, we’ve seen portions of food increase substantially, and quality of food decrease. Our food industry is a patchwork of state and federal regulations which end up hardly protecting us at all from food-borne diseases like salmonella and E.coli.

Now, if you are NOT an overweight/obese individual and you live in, say, a state like Mississippi or Alabama, about the only good thing in that report is that if there’s a zombie apocalypse, you will be able to outrun a third of the zombies, and probably pretty easily. Given that exercise is low on the list of a majority of individuals in those states, you’ll probably have a good chance of getting out alive, if you’re a healthy individual. That’s a macabre view, but there it is.

So think about these things in terms of national security and potential disasters, whether natural or zombie-related. Think about the people you see barely able to move, who have to waddle rather than walk, who can barely breathe when they go up stairs. Can you rely on those people to help you in an emergency? No. Are you one of those people? Can your family or friends rely on you to help them in a bad situation? Or will your bad health handicap you, as well?

This is why keeping yourself healthy isn’t just beneficial to you as an individual. It’s a national imperative. Healthy Americans are secure, productive Americans. And healthy Americans can also break the hold that corporate interests have on us, help re-shape the healthcare industry, help people develop better relationships with themselves and the food they eat, and help us create new industries geared toward better, stronger, and healthier Americans.

In addition, toxic food (which is the majority of the food industry at this point, as far as I’m concerned) messes with you. It makes you feel crappy. It gets you addicted to empty sugars and carbs that make you want more of the same crappy foods and the more you eat of those foods, the worse you feel over the long term. So toxic foods not only create physically unhealthy people, but emotionally unhealthy people, who feel crappy. They’re irritable, mean, and don’t know why they feel like crap all the time because they’re not recognizing the links between food, mind, and body.

After all these years, the old saying still holds true. You are what you eat. If you eat crap, you will look and feel like crap.

That’s why I have spent a lot of my life learning what foods are bad for me, which are good, and dealing with food sensitivities and allergies. I exercise a lot and I spend a lot of time outdoors. I do these things because my body feels good when I take care of it, and my thinking is clearer, too.

My thinking is, in a zombie apocalypse or natural disaster, I’d prefer to deal with people who are physically fit, and who are strong enough and healthy enough to weather the storm and help rebuild.

So. How about rather than griping about taxes (which help pay for that water and toilet in your house, by the way, and for the ambulances that cart you to the hospital, and for the military, and the sewer system and the roads and bridges in this country) and this n’ that, you do yourself and your country a favor and get off the couch and take a walk? And start weaning yourself off the crap that passes for food in this country. Start some kind of outreach to help low-income Americans learn about food and nutrition. Help create safe spaces for kids to play and help single parents with childcare. Help all parents. It’s time we as Americans took our health back from corporate interests, and focused on building healthy communities.

All that said, happy weekend! Hope you do something fun!

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