As I was trying to figure out what to have for a mid-morning snack the other day (deciding between a yogurt followed by a banana, or half a Chocolove chocolate bar followed by the other half of that bar) I started thinking about nutrition labels.

Experts have agreed upon the following label as the best way to educate mankind about what we’re putting in our bodies:

nutrition label

These labels are fine. Totally adequate. We’ve all been taught what they mean. However, if we actually understood them we wouldn’t need Weight Watchers to simplify things further and count points for us.

When it comes to labels, I like them to tell me exactly what’s going on without numbers. This is the proper way. Case and point: The letter A was used in 17th century colonial Boston to label adulteresses as evidenced in The Scarlet Letter, and in more modern times fashion designers have been kind enough to use labels such as “Prada,” “Ralph Lauren” and so on. Therefore, my proposed labels would be free of meaningless math as well.

no capes no math

My proposed labels would also deconstruct the current ones even further. For example, when I look at fat content, I’m really wondering how long until I’m hungry again. When I look at potassium, well, I don’t– if I wanted potassium I’d eat a banana. My point is, each line on my new nutrition label still answers the same question as it did on the old label. The line for sodium still tells you about sodium, the line for cholesterol still tells you about cholesterol… but in a way that does not require conversions:

For example, let’s say I wanted to eat some junk food:

new nutrition labels

So there you have it. I’m sure Mrs Obama will reach out to me when she’s not so busy and we’ll start a new health campaign called “Food: Ready, Filling and Labeled.”

So that’s what I’m thinking (out loud) today. Thanks Amanda!




What do you look at when you look at nutrition labels? (I always glance at fat, sodium, and protein. And sometimes sugar.)

Do you pay attention to suggested serving sizes?  (I do pay attention, I just don’t always agree with their suggestion.)

Do you like numbers? (Gross.)

If we were to personify your inner athlete, what would he or she look like?

Big and intense like the Hulk?

sheldon puny human


Agile and speedy like the Flash?

sheldon the flash


Strong and focused like Bruce Lee?

bruce lee


…Mine looks more like Larry David.


It’s whiny, neurotic, and manages to offend others by just being itself. (But on the upside, it wears sneakers everywhere.)

Whenever it comes to trying a new activity, the following conversation between me and my Inner Athlete (IA) comes to pass:

Me: I should try CrossFit.

IA: (Sits up from a reclining position) What are you nuts?! Have you seen the amount of coordination and lung capacity and general athleticism required for CrossFit? Have you seen how much people sweat? Do you even have that much water in your body?

Me: Yeah, but you know, people start out at all different levels.

IA: Yeah you’re going to get leveled if you take one step inside that Box, Snowflake.

Me: I think you’re overreacting. I’ll just go at my own pace.

IA: What is this really about? Are you stressed? Anxious? Can’t you just take a brisk walk and call it a day?

Me: What? No — I just think it’s time I try CrossFit. Everybody who tries it seems to love it.

IA: Have it your way but just so you know, I’m not on board with this.

Me: Listen, Inner Athlete — this is happening.

IA: Listen, Charlotte — this is not happening yet. What if your form is all wrong and you break in half like a twig? What if your form is perfect but you get stuck frozen in that position with the thing above your head and can’t move til someone notices and has to come rescue you? What if your barre workout clothes don’t cut it for Box workouts? What if you need upper body strength? What if there are people there?

Me: Huh, I hadn’t thought about those things.

IA: (Says nothing, returns to reclining position.)

Me: Ok, you win this week. But next week we’re doing it!

IA: Oh good, next week you have a dentist appointment so that’ll be convenient when you accidentally knock your teeth out.

My Inner Athlete and I then stare at each other for a while, simultaneously saying everything and nothing:




So if we were to personify your inner athlete, which one do you most identify with — Hulk, Lee, Flash or David?

Or, if none of those options are to your liking, what famous person or cartoon character does inner athlete most resemble?