Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Instructive analogies

My gym gives classes on how to eat and how to exercise as a component of a dues reduction program. I approached these classes with some annoyance, initially, because I felt fairly secure in my knowledge of food, calories and proper diet and exercises regimens. Nonetheless, I learned something at each one. The (rather goofy) presenter used a model of a giant slab of fat and several cubes of butter to demonstrate the ill effects of improper nutrition. In fact, she took great care to relate most foods to cubes of butter. Since a childhood incident of OD'ing on butter led me to enjoy it only in small quantities, I find this association particularly effective.

Casting food and calories in terms of other items doesn't have to be restricted to my gym; now there is Foodsel, which represents various foods in terms of batteries, sugarcubes and sticks of butter. It also provides doughnut graphs of nutrient information, casts nutritional needs in terms of these analogs, and provides information on the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories in the item of choice.

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