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What Do I Think?

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon
 

Recently, I've found myself wondering if I'm getting wishy-washy as I get older. You know, where you can't quite make up your mind what you believe about an issue? I'm having that problem with the current discontent running through the GLBT community with regard to the President's lack of movement on the promises he made us.

On the one hand, I can certainly identify with the impatience. We haven't merely waited a long time for what most Americans take for granted, we've waited forever. And we've been disappointed so many times that it's nearly impossible to trust.

I was right there with him when HRC President Joe Solmonese responded to that appalling Justice Department brief by sending a letter to President Obama:

"Last week, when your administration filed a brief defending the constitutionality of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act,' I realized that although I and other LGBT leaders have introduced ourselves to you as policy makers, we clearly have not been heard, and seen, as what we also are: human beings whose lives, loves, and families are equal to yours.
 
...as an American, a civil rights advocate, and a human being, I hold this administration to a higher standard than this brief.  In the course of your campaign, I became convinced-and I still want to believe-that you do, too.  I have seen your administration aspire and achieve.  Protecting women from employment discrimination.  Insuring millions of children.  Enabling stem cell research to go forward.  These are powerful achievements.  And they serve as evidence to me that this brief should not be good enough for you.  The question is, Mr. President-do you believe that it's good enough for us?

If we are your equals, if you recognize that our families live the same, love the same, and contribute as much as yours, then the answer must be no."

Yeah! Take that, Mr. President!

But then..... just yesterday, in the Oval Office, the President signed the "Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination" expanding federal benefits for the same-sex partners of Foreign Service and executive branch government employees.  In a statement made preceding the signing, he said:

"But this Presidential Memorandum is just a start. Unfortunately, my Administration is not authorized by existing Federal law to provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. That's why I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It's discriminatory, it interferes with States' rights, and it's time we overturned it."

Alright! Thank you, Mr. President!

See what I mean? Wishy-washy.

You can read his entire statement, including his support of the "Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009", by going to "Wrongs that We Intend to Right Today"  and "Remarks by the President" on the White House website.

Then, since I can't seem to make up my mind, how about telling us what you think?

 

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 We'd love to hear what you think about President Obama's performance so far --- or anything else that affects our community.  Just write to us at admin@onthegayhorizon.com .

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The Last Word on Label Reading

Fit in a Year - Week 20

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon
 

Finally, the last word on label-reading!

We have to look at a few more things.  WARNING:  here comes the math....

Start with carbs.  When we read the carbohydrate data, remember that 1 gm of carbohydrates equals 4 calories.  You need to figure out how many calories you're getting from the carbohydrates in this item.  If your daily goal is 1700-2100 calories, you'll want to spread those carbs out during the day.  And if it's all sugar--especially if it's corn syrup in one form or another--consider putting it back!

And while you're looking at the carbs, notice the dietary fiber info listed there.  You want to shoot for 20-30 gms of fiber per day.  Or 14 gm per 1000 calories.  Whichever is mathematically easier.  This is an important number.

The next thing to look at is protein which is given in grams.  You need about 0.8gm per kg of your body weight.  Because one kilogram equals 2.2 lbs, if you weigh 154lbs, you weigh about 70 kg, so you need about 56 gms of protein (or a bit less than 2 ounces).  More if you are working out.  Keep in mind that protein takes many forms, not just animal.  You get it from grains, legumes, seafood. 

And finally, let's look at fat.  It is also given to you in grams.  Remember that 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories, and you want 25-30% of your daily total caloric intake to be fat.  Let me say this clearly:  NO TRANS FATS.  Even if it says zero, be sure to read the ingredient list to be certain you do not see partially hydrogenated anything.  The majority of your fat should come from vegetable sources.  Fish is fine.  And very little animal fat.  If it's liquid at room temperature, it's ok.  But don't scrimp on fat.  Your body needs it.  So eat it, and make it top quality.

While this labeling system is supposed to be helpful, it seems anything but.  It's not even successful at keeping the food processors honest--watch out for the fake serving size.  You have to be on top of your nutrition game.  If you use that entire packet of salad dressing you got at the drive-through, are you actually eating 2.5 servings?  Is the serving size for the cereal realistic?  

My advice and my practice is to eat as many foods in their original form as possible.  Keep the ingredient list short and sweet.  Think about the recipes your grandmother or great-grandmother used before foods became industrially whitened and denatured.  The ingredients in the package are listed in descending order with the ingredient in the largest quantity listed first.  Look for "whole" grains on the ingredient list and you'll automatically get more fiber and protein.  And if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it.

Really, I do everything I can to avoid reading labels.  Every morning, I pack food to take to my studio:  a sandwich including lettuce, spinach, tomatoes (unless it's pb&j) on whole grain something, a banana, apple, grapes, carrots, celery--whatever raw fruits and veggies I have on hand--and I then munch this food all morning.  And I don't have to read anything.  Easy.  Simple.  Real food.  No calculator necessary! 

We haven't even talked about the percentage column....do we really want to go there?  How about instead, we focus on eating as many raw fruits and veggies--organic when possible--as we can every single day.  Seems like a good trade--eating all the phytonutrients and enzymes that we possibly can instead of doing that math...

I'm going to leave it at that.  If you want to know all about the percentage of daily intake, let me know.  Meanwhile, I've got some grapes to eat here...

 

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