What's Good?

The week in fitness and food news, featuring fast food, "super shoes," and of course donuts

A couple of months ago, I switched from listening to music while I run to listening to audiobooks. It's helped me slow down — key, perhaps counterintuitively, to not just running farther but running faster. It's also turned me into an even more voracious reader — nothing like doing a couple of hour-plus long runs a week to blow through one's reading list. Typically, I am jugging multiple non-fiction books at once: an audiobook for my runs and commutes, something on my Kindle or — gasp — in print, and an audiobook that Kin and I listen to in the evenings (because TV, despite all the talk of this being its "golden age" is really mostly crap). I can hold all the different arguments of many different books in my head at once; but for some reason I cannot do the same for fiction. I can only read one novel at a time. Indeed, when I pick up a novel, I'm loathe to read anything else — non-fiction, the Internet, or otherwise — until I've finished it. I'm loathe to do anything else but read. It's a bad (good bad) habit from childhood, when I'd read in the dark long after "lights out," so committed to living inside the worlds of my books.

That's all a very long-winded introduction to my saying that "what's good" this week for me has been reading, as well as thinking about what I'm reading next. I finished Naa Oyo A. Kwate's White Burgers, Black Cash (and wrote a little Note here — I think that's how I'll be using the Substack feature, FWIW). Highly recommended. I started reading Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead, which means that as much as I'd love to read Virginia Sole-Smith's Fat Talk and Christy Harrison's The Wellness Trap, both published this week, I'm in novel-mode. They'll just have to wait. I thought I’d heard good things about Demon Copperhead but I didn't actually read any reviews (and JFC, did I fall for another Oprah recommendation again? ), so I was deep into it when I realized that, oh, this is a book about grief and addiction. Fuck. Not good. Not right now. Not for me, anyway, as we are fast approaching the anniversary of Isaiah’s death.

Meanwhile, this week in food (and food tech): Anne Helen Petersen talks with Virginia Sole-Smith about her new book. Anjali Praserton, the "Anti-Racist Dietician," argues that "Intuitive Eating Is Not for Everyone."  The NYT says that "Los Angeles is a Doughnut Town." City of dreams; city of donuts. I love it. I'm heading back to LA this winter, and while sure I'm always game for a breakfast of fried dough, I'm most looking forward to eating a breakfast burrito from one of my favorite restaurants, Baran's, which sells its breakfasts via DMs on Instagram.

Every Friday, I run around Lake Merritt with my fellow donut runners. I spend much of the rest of the week trying to decide what kind of donut I want to eat afterwards. One of my favorites from Happy Donuts is this gorgeous ube donut. ...

Elsewhere in health and wellness influencing — technological or otherwise: "22 Out of 25 Melatonin Products Were Mislabeled, Study Finds."  "Some health-obsessed Americans once thought they’d found a fountain of youth in a decades-old diabetes drug. Now, some are having second thoughts," says The Wall Street Journal.  (Ozempic, which has been making headlines lately as The Hot New weight-loss medication, is also a diabetes drug incidentally. Possible side effect, The NYT suggests: malnutrition.) Larissa Zimberoff has an article in The Atlantic on the mysterious health benefits of ice cream, and a follow-up in her newsletter Technically Food.  "The 'Food Disgust Sensitivity Test' Is a Fascinating Window Into the Soul," says Food & Wine.  I mean, maybe. I'm not sure my disgust for raw meat says as much about my soul as it does about my childhood in and around the family grocery store. But that’s a story for another day. From the breakfast press release files: "The ICEE Company® and Kellogg's® Launch Cooling ICEE Cereal, Evoking Nostalgia with Every Spoonful."  At first I thought that trying all these ridiculous breakfasts could be a gimmick for this newsletter, but I just don’t think I can do it. (I did search this week for the breakfast-flavored Cup Noodles and learned there’s a whole secondary market for this sort of thing. Potential essay? Yes. Potential breakfast? Probably not.)

This week in sports (and sports tech): Maintenance Phase takes on the "10,000 Steps Myth." Kelvin Kiptum was just 16 seconds shy of the men's world record in his win at the London Marathon on Sunday.  For the women, Sifan Hassan won her friggin' marathon debut. Sam Murphy won in the non-binary division, the first time the race allowed participants to register as something other than "male" or "female." In a follow-up to the marathon, The Guardian wrote about "the battle of the super shoe" as one does. (This will be the topic of an upcoming essay here on Second Breakfast once this newsletter, ya know, officially launches.)  I'll be wearing super shoes next weekend, when I run my second half marathon. I'll have more to say about taper anxieties and pre-race jitters next week, I'm sure.

Yours in struggle,