Fragrance of fitness vs. KFC’s 11 herbs and spices

Over the weekend, I hiked to the top of a mountain at Fragrant Hills Park, an imperial garden in northwest Beijing. The park is well-known for its Smoke Tree leaves, which turn red in late autumn, attracting thousands of tourists.

I reached the peak – 557 meters above ground – in an hour and a half, and after I climbed the final set of stairs I turned around to take in a view of the city. Just as I pulled out my cellphone to take a picture, an old man using a walking stick passed me. He was hiking barefoot and shirtless, and moving at a brisk pace. He must have been at least 60 and was fit too, especially for his age.

The man who passed me at the top of the mountain.

I wouldn’t want to challenge this guy to a race.

While I stood in the shade to collect my breath and give my burning legs a rest, the man kept going, passing a large rock formation and an ancient temple, until I could no longer see him. Continue reading

Land of the free and home of the buffet

I was watching an episode of The Office on Hulu recently when in between segments of the show a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken came on.

It was an ad for KFC’s new Cheesy Bacon Bowl. “There’s a reason our KFC famous bowl is famous,” it began. A man leaned into the camera, as if to share a secret. “We put bacon on it.”

Bacon bits rained down into a bowl of fried chicken, cheese, potatoes and gravy. “Everything is better with bacon.”

Anyone who really believes that everything is better with bacon has an eating problem. And America, you most certainly do. Lady Liberty can no longer see her feet, and it isn’t because she’s expecting a little statue in four months.

Feed me Seymour!

Let me give you some perspective. I live in the world’s most populous country, a nation of 1.3 billion where the obesity rate is around 5 percent. You have a population of 311 million people with an obesity rate of greater than 20 percent. You haven’t always been this fat. To get an idea of how quickly you’ve let yourself go, check out an animated map on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website that shows how the obesity rate has exploded from 1985 to 2010. It’s disturbing and will make you pause the next time you think about supersizing your fries. Continue reading