Experience Bullshit: Ten Tips For Magazine Filler

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It’s a beautiful Friday, #ScienceBabeShills, and as you’re busy reading this I am busy binging on House Of Cards.

(Why are you reading this? Frank Underwood is doing something evil, Claire is looking evil sexy, and who the fuck knows what Remy is doing? #savecashew).

I haven’t done a good old fashioned debunking of some random bullshit floating around the internet for a while, so when this popped up on my newsfeed from Experience Life Magazine, I had to take a crack at it.

You may remember Experience Life Magazine as the publication that featured the Food Babe on their cover last fall. They experienced negative feedback about their coverage of Vani Hari, and instead of taking that feedback into consideration? They opted to say

As a whole, these comments bear the earmarks of an industry-coordinated response — one designed to appear as though it is coming from individual consumers, but that is motivated and subsidized by a behind-the-scenes special interest.

As I sit here with the #SciProf grading papers while I’m lounging in pink lace boyshorts and a white zip up American Apparel hoodie working as an independent writer, I’m forced to admit you caught me. I’m a coordinated attack… of one, in my pajamas. See the giant army of Buddy the #ScienceDog and Lexi the #ShillCat? They’re gunning for you. I pay them in cuddles.

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#shillarmy

So now, since the message didn’t quite get through the first time when literally, thousands of negative responses were ignored because you decided we were all just some sort of industry coordinated attack? Maybe it’ll come through now when you have articles that border somewhere between misleading and untrue. So here we go, a point by point deconstruction of why one of your magazine articles is just complete fucking bullshit. Their quotes in italics and blockquotes. 

“TEN TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY — NO MATTER WHAT”

First, “no matter what?” Have you ever heard of lupus? What about having a rabid dog attack you? Good luck with that whole “no matter what” thing, because I might bring that up again once or twice. 

Because let’s face it, once our health starts to go, we’ve got a whole new set of crises on our hands. And all of those important things we have to do can suddenly get a whole lot harder. 

Yep. And I always go to internet forwards written bv journalists with degrees in comparative literature for health information. With that set of credentials, they’re practically doctors, right?

How can we safeguard the vitality that is so critical to our effectiveness while living in a cultural context that often stretches us well beyond our natural capacity?

Translation: I am so bored with my upper-middle class life that I have to make up stuff to write about in regards to health for other upper-middle class people because this sentence is 100% bullshit.

I wrote about this head-scratcher in my Revolutionary Acts column this month. I also talked a bit about it with the folks at ABC. Here are 10 survival tips I shared with them:

If this is a head scratcher, it must be because the people she shared it with were experiencing head lice. But here we go down the rabbit hole of things that are supposed to protect your health, NO MATTER WHAT!

1. Take three minutes in the morning for you. Before you check your handheld or turn on any other electronics, light a candle, take some deep breaths, set your intentions, check in with your body-mind. Having even a few moments of sanity first thing in the morning can change the way you relate to the rest of your day.

Of course that’s what I’ve been forgetting to do every day. I should have just been lighting a candle every morning and I could have skipped the topamax and indocin for my trigeminal nerve headache. My friends who have gone through double mastectomies for breast cancer treatment just forgot their damn three minute meditations. My friend could forgo the plaquenil for lupus if she just sat down and tried to connect her brain with her body. 

I’ve been so silly. It’s like I was relying on doctors.

As a person on the internet working for a magazine, it’s like I expect you to… know something. 

Like that three minutes with a damn candle won’t cure my fucking headaches. 

2. Make and eat a whole-foods breakfast. Try the smoothie on page 20 or my “Quick-Trick Snack Stack”. Either one will fuel your body for hours and give you the nutrition your brain and body need to sustain their sanity.

We’ve debunked this “whole-foods” thing so many times over, haven’t we? This is classist bullshit from the “I have so much time and money on my hands that I’ve made food a game” movement. This is also fairly lazy journalism as it’s a blatant plug for one of their previous articles. And she mentions sanity, exactly how is blended fruit going to help depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia? She did say “no matter what.” I’m not being hyperbolic, I’m holding her to her word.

3. Take your vitamins. Your body goes through B-vitamins at a faster clip when you are stressed, and being short on essential nutrients can radically diminish your mental and physical capacity. So even if you’re eating a healthy diet, it’s wise to supplement with some basics. (A multivitamin, multimineral, B-complex, vitamin D, and essential-fatty-acid supplement is a good combo for most.)

This one’s just silly. Vitamin supplements don’t do much of anything. According to multiple studies, they don’t extend life, ward off heart disease, or prevent memory loss which seems to be the opposite of what she said. It’s almost like she just said whatever shit came to mind in order to get paid for her article.

Funny, I thought I was the paid shill. 

Vitamins aren’t really indicated for most people without deficiencies or nutritional imbalances. What do vitamins do? They make really expensive pee.

This also won’t cure muscular dystrophy or loss of a limb.

4. Keep a protein drink mix and healthy snacks at work. Blood-sugar crashes and carb cravings will become a thing of the past, and your brain will thank you for the extra amino acids.

Wait, I thought she was just touting a whole foods meals, now it’s packaged stuff? Would asking for consistency between breakfast and snack time be too much? Also, the brain is fueled by glucose, not protein. I think we’ve found our first Google University dropout.

Also, this will not safeguard you against cystic acne.

5. Master a few body-weight exercises you can do anywhere. I like planks, pushups, wall squats, and lunges. See “Body-Weight Moves You Can Do Anywhere” for more.

Exercise is definitely a good thing as part of your regular routine. However, as this magazine is primarily aimed at women, I feel like anytime exercise is suggested they’re always light exercises and they rarely recommend lifting. Get serious about it and be kind enough to your audience not to condescend to them. If you want to get into shape, cardio and lifting heavy is the best way to go. 

Again, as has been the trend through this article, I’m missing to see how this is going to keep you healthy through locusts, cancer, and the zombie apocalypse

6. Set a timer to trigger 10- to 15-minute breaks every two hours. This will help keep your body’s ultradian rhythms on an even keel, priming your body and brain to operate at peak effectiveness throughout extended days.

Her ultra awesome advice to stay healthy is…. take a break? Really? Aren’t there OSHA regulations regarding this? And if you’re in position to be your own boss without regulations setting when you need to give yourself a break, I think you’re probably smart enough that you don’t need this person telling you that “you should probably chill occasionally.” 

Please remember, she got paid to write this revolutionary article. And also remember, taking a break every once in a while? Not going to help if your plane crashes.

7. Take a weekly yoga, meditation, or relaxation class. The more your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system is activated, the more you need to cultivate your parasympathetic (rest-relax-digest-and-connect) nervous system for balance.

In all reality, taking a yoga class is not a bad idea. However, dropping the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system business? This was a lot of “had no science in this article so I’m pretending there’s some here.”

Also, how many people who have caught a cold, broken a toe, or been diagnosed with hepatitis have also taken a yoga class?

Ergo, not keeping you healthy “no matter what.”

8. Keep a water bottle with a splash of juice or a slice of cucumber within reach at all times. That little touch of flavor sets up a “return to substance” relationship between your brain and the water. You’ll drink more, stay better hydrated, and function better as a result.

A “return to substance” relationship? Isn’t this what a smoker or a meth head has?

I’ve never described cucumber as something that gives water a touch of flavor. Want to give water a touch of flavor? Replace it with a Diet Coke. Ice cream. Bourbon. 

You should drink enough water, and that varies from person to person. About 2-3 liters of total fluids (or fairly close to eight glasses depending on your activity level, gender, etc). But as for the whole “relationship between your brain and water?” That’s lazy writing. I think someone was getting paid by the word this month.

Also, these glasses of water (even fortified with cucumber) will not stop bullets. 

9.Use your commute to decompress versus multitask. Meditate, breathe, or listen to something calming rather than being in continuous contact with your handheld or to-do list.

Use your commute to fucking drive. 

None of this will save you from an enraged aardvark licking skittles off your ball sack (look, you said no matter what).

10. See symptoms as signals for change. If you’re doing all of the above regularly and still suffering, trust that that’s your body’s way of letting you know its needs are not being met. Make it your business to find out what shifts are necessary for you to create and maintain optimal health. Then do those things.

Wait, so all of the above might not cure anything because they’re not really medicine and you’re not teaching us anything about health because you’re not really a medical professional?

Well fuck me. 

If nothing else, please take this as a sign that Experience Life magazine is to health tips what Cosmopolitan magazine is to sex tips. You’ll get lists of allegedly fun, fearless advice. However, given that they accuse actual scientists of being “industry coordinated attacks” and their health advice resembles ideas that only the Food Babe herself would consider sound reasoning? Eventually someone’s going to mix up the two publications and I’m a little worried about what happens when you mix the new allegedly mindblowing sex tips with whatever the hell you’re supposed to do with cucumbers and water.

On that note, back to my date with Mr. President. I should probably drink some water too and do some lunges just in case. After all, Frank Underwood has been known to be bad for one’s health. Worth it. 

-Science Babe

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14 Comments

  1. Wow. And the Vague Writing Award Goes To…..Experience Lie-f! 😉

    Cosmo magazine – HAR! I am convinced they just rerun the same seven or eight articles about sex since the 1970s.

    Thank you for another laugh-filled article – maybe using Experience Life magazine as catbox liners could work? There’s gotta be something useful in of this!

  2. >Her ultra awesome advice to stay healthy is…. take a break? Really? Aren’t there OSHA regulations regarding this?

    Nope. Employers are required to provide restroom facilities, but they aren’t required (in most states) required to give you a break to use them.

  3. Why would I have skittles on my ball sack? And what would cause an aardvark to become enraged (maybe reading the “Ten Tips for Staying Healthy” article I guess)?

  4. I mean, from a mental health standpoint according to all my past therapists (and the only bit I will trust as non bs as the rest was) taking some time for yourself isn’t a bad idea but it should probably be done after meds are taken and things needing doing (ie: bathroom). Personally, I have a total of about 3 or 4 hours (depending on the day) cumulatively that I sit down, relax, and read. But, I also have that luxury working from home and being able to set my own schedule unless emergency happens. But the rest of the article? Pft.

    Thank you for doing what you do.

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