What's Good?

The week (or two weeks, TBH) in food and fitness technology news

As I hoped/feared, our trip to Oregon had me away from WiFi and made scouring the Internet and doom-scrolling the "health and wellness" news a bit challenging. So I've got two weeks' worth of links for you this morning. Happy Friday!

While it's not great for Substack-ing, limited Internet was amazing for book-reading, and I finished four (and started two more) while we were on the road. I wrote a quick review of Martinus Evans's Slow AF Run Club here. I highly highly highly recommend it for all bodies of all sizes in all sports.  (The book review and profile of Evans in The NYT is also great.)

Elsewhere in running news: For only the fourth time, a human beat the horse in the Man vs Horse Marathon in Wales. If that’s not dramatic enough, then let’s open the pages of Outside, which always has the inside scoop on some hullaballoo. Their latest: "Why Did an Unofficial Run Across the Country Turn into Running Internet Drama?" I think we all know because that’s what Influencers live for. Speaking of Influencers, Tom Cruise wants you to know he's still a runner, says Running World. "Researchers found that Strava’s heatmap feature could lead stalkers to users' homes." Hide your Strava profile, Tom! The death of Olympic gold medalist Tori Bowie — from complications giving birth — is just so fucking tragic and is absolutely a reflection of this country’s abysmal maternal mortality rate for Black women. “Will Your Next Running Coach be Artificial Intelligence?” asks Trail Runner Magazine. I'm working on an essay on algorithmic-coaching apps, and while it might be cute for folks to use ChatGPT to mimic the verbiage of many a training program, no, this isn't the future of coaching. Coaching (and teaching) cannot be reduced to this unless, that is, you hate that sort of labor and want to make a buck by deprofessionalizing the profession

In other sports and fitness news: "Do We Owe Our Children Fitness?" asks Virginia Sole-Smith. "After 50 years, is this the San Diego Chicken’s last stand?" asks The Athletic. The Washington Post continues its terrific (and terrifying) series on bodybuilding (and steroids). Confession: I will click on pretty much any story about Jason Momoa or Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one on the former is “meh, whatever.” This one, in which Danny DeVito interviews the latter, is just incredible.

SCHWARZENEGGER: [Laughs] It reminds me of Howard Stern’s question to me. “Tell me, governor, what happens to us when we die?” I said, “Nothing. You’re 6 feet under. Anyone that tells you something else is a fucking liar.”

DEVITO: You don’t know.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I said, “We don’t know what happens with the soul and all this spiritual stuff that I’m not an expert in, but I know that the body as we see each other now, we will never see each other again like that.”

DEVITO: We deteriorate.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Except in some fantasy. When people talk about, “I will see them again in heaven,” it sounds so good, but the reality is that we won’t see each other again after we’re gone. That’s the sad part. I know people feel comfortable with death, but I don’t.


SCHWARZENEGGER: Because I will fucking miss the shit out of everything. To sit with you here, that will one day be gone?


SCHWARZENEGGER: And to have fun and to go to the gym and to pump up, to ride my bike on the beach, to travel around, to see interesting things all over the world. What the fuck?

DEVITO: Life! It’s the best!

SCHWARZENEGGER: Exactly. What’s that all about?


SCHWARZENEGGER: I tell you, there’s someone that mixed up this whole thing. Think about it. Who can we blame?

DEVITO: You mean that we don’t live forever?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Yeah. That we have to die.

DEVITO: That’s tough, man.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I don’t know what the deal is, but in any case, it’s a reality, and it truly pisses me off.

DEVITO: You don’t want to die.

SCHWARZENEGGER: No. What the fuck? What kind of deal is that?

Meanwhile in the world of food: Casa Bonita is back, baby.  I have eaten in many Fine Dining establishments, but I have to say that Casa Bonita is surely one of the most memorable. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are responsible for the reboot, but that's not going to stop me from eating there the next time I'm in Denver. In other taco news, Taco Bell is testing a vegan crunchwrap. The Whataburger taquito is the "breakfast of champions," according to The NYT. "An 11-Course Taco Omakase Is Hiding in the Bowels of Grand Central," says The Eater. (Could I open a restaurant that did omakase breakfast? Or, better idea: could someone else open that restaurant and do all that work and then make sure I had a signed portrait on the wall and a lifetime supply of free mini-waffles or something?) Elsewhere in breakfast: "Hong Kong-Style Cafes Are the Most Fun Places to Eat Breakfast," says The Eater. The history of the Belgian Waffle and the 1964 World's Fair. And in other childhood food news: Anjali Prasertong on the ideology of school lunch. "California mom launches children’s books about Asian food to fight against 'lunch shaming'." Energy drinks are surging, says The NYT, "and so are their caffeine levels." "Common energy drink ingredient taurine 'may slow ageing process'." Riiiight. Lots of donut news: "The Donut Wars are here," says Wired. Donut data science from The Washington Post. Donut Day history involves the Salvation Army apparently. Bummer. And lots of cereal news: "Snoop Dogg and Master P's new breakfast line is 'bigger than just cereal'." Peach-flavored Cheerios have been discontinued. And I never even knew they existed! This week in "fake meat": "I ate fake chicken breast that the maker of Nuggs squeezed through a showerhead," writes Justine Calma from The Verge. Cultivated meatTechCrunch is on it. Instant Pot / Pyrex declares bankruptcy. "The CDC wants people to stop eating raw cookie dough. But it’s so tasty." My cousin Marcus is going to be on BBC’s Celebrity Master Chef. We come from a long line of culinary people, so he’s going to smoke the competition.

In wellness is un-well news: I swear to god, when Kin texted me a link to this story I thought the headline said "New Obesity Drugs Come With a Side Effect of Sharting." But it's shaming, folks. Shaming. Bad either way though. And my god, there is so much Ozempic shaming and moral panic. Shaming and moral panic about weight too, ofc, featuring some serious bullshit from the airline industry. "Dieting is poison," writes Virginia Heffernan, in a review, of sorts, of the work of anti-dietician Christy Harrison. "The Explosive Legacy of the Pandemic Hand Sanitizer Boom." "The ‘Dopamine Detox’ Is Having a Moment." Not having a moment: ketamine clinic startups. Tech reporters are fluffing ChatGPT in the medical sector, despite headlines like this: "An Eating Disorder Chatbot Is Suspended for Giving Harmful Advice."

"Speed and efficiency are not human values," John Warner reminds us.

Yours in struggle,