It’s that time of year: 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit for the Americans) in the shade, so humid that your legs stick together no matter what you’re wearing, with a bottle of white wine chilling in a tub of ice.
It’s a beautiful Aussie Christmas.
And since my Xmas celebrations consist of picking up my wife from work — she’s amazing, thank your doctors/vets/health people whenever possible — I thought I’d give all you lovely people a look back on the year that was.
Here is a collection of my favourite blogs of the year, which will all help you with one of those uncomfortable holiday situations that we all know and love.
It’s the Christmas special of Gid M-K: Health Nerd. Enjoy :)
10: Drink Diet
Diet Drinks Aren’t Killing You
How to stop worrying about that Big New Study that doesn’t mean much to your life
Who could forget the story that got me noticed by Splenda. With fearmongering everywhere about diet drinks causing everything from strokes to literally the end of the world, I wrote an alternate view that you were probably fine, actually.
It was a pretty big hit.
So remember at your Christmas do’s, it’s fine to ask for diet. It’s not going to hurt your health unless you are drinking diet root beer because that stuff tastes like baby vomit.
9: Drink Moderately But Also Feel A Bit Guilty
The Myth of Moderate Drinking
A bottle a day won’t keep the doctor away — but it might land you in hospital
Second on our great list comes the myth of moderate drinking. The first piece that I had published outside of Medium, and also one of my favourite blogs to write ever. Another fun fact is that this one went viral in Japan. Seriously.
A good one to read before you settle into your third cup of egg nog, because while the media really wants you to think that drinking is good for you, it isn’t.
Drinking moderately is great fun. It’s just not healthy.
8: Vaccinate. Because It Rhymes
The best fact about this blog is that it is now one of the top search results on Google for “Common Arguments Against Vaccines”.
It’s a good one to read before you have to interact with that hippy aunt who’s decided to bring quinoa and kale salad to Christmas dinner this year even though she was supposed to be making pie. If you need to convince someone that their 18-month-old should try and avoid measles, this blog is the one for you!
7: Eat Christmas Dinner It’s Delicious
Intermittent Fasting Can Help With Weight Loss…In Mice
Don’t start starving yourself just yet
Intermittent fasting is the “no fun” of dieting. If you’ve got a relative who’s decided that they need to fast until just after the giant meal is gone, this one’s for you.
Not to convince them to eat of course. If they fast, there’s more for you! Just so that you can smugly tell them when they are eating their boring Caesar salad after the meal that actually the evidence for intermittent fasting is limited and they would probably be better off just eating normally.
6: Douse Everything In Butter
Too Much Fat Is Still Bad For Your Health
Dietary guidelines haven’t shifted much in 40 years. Stop drinking butter
Do you have that one friend who’s insisted on putting butter in literally every dish? Have you turned up to Boxing Day lunch only to find coconut oil in your coffee?
Then this is the blog for you.
Just because we have moved on from the fat-fear of the 90s doesn’t suddenly mean that eating kilos of the stuff is good for you. Limiting your fat intake is still a good diet choice, perhaps by dousing your idiot friend in their homemade coconut oil smoothie because it too tastes like baby vomit.
5: Politics At The Table
“Personal Responsibility” Is A Meaningless Term
How our health choices are shaped by forces outside of our control
No Christmas is complete without an hours-long argument with your one uncle who voted Trump because “I shouldn’t have to pay for poor people’s lifestyle”. Before you go in swinging with boring facts like “most people on welfare are parents and/or disabled” or “no one chooses to be poor you unethical bastard”, read this blog.
Not only will it give you ammunition to fling across the dinner table over the upraised voices of your shocked family, it’s pretty funny as well.
4: Don’t Drink Raw Milk How Many Times Do I Have To Say This Goddam
Number 4 is the blog that you shared with your mommy group just to get a rise. It’s received more hate than any 2 other of my blogs combined, and it’s the one that got me labelled a “shill blogger” by the brilliant publication Natural News*.
If you’re tired of your nieces and nephews courting death because their mum read somewhere that raw milk prevents AIDs, this is the blog for you.
Seriously, don’t drink raw milk. It’s the most basic health advice ever.
3: That Pro-Life Argument
Five Ways To Actually Be Pro-Life (Based On Evidence)
What the evidence says about preventing unborn deaths
This Christmas, don’t have that same awful argument with your pro-life cousins about women’s health and misogyny! You know they’re just going to gaslight until you punch them in the face.
Instead, give them some actually pro-life things to think about. Remember: morons who want to control women’s bodies definitely deserve crotch-punches, but can sometimes be convinced by evidence and/or reason.
Sometimes not. That’s what makes Christmas so special.
2: Testosterone Tests And Transphobia
This is the blog to read before wading in to the argument between your grandfather and 18-year-old cousin about trans/intersex/really any women in sport. Giving grandpa slack because when he was a child women were considered property is for wimps, much better to use facts instead!
Testing testosterone is, of course, a waste of time, but more than that the entire system of gendered sport and “female” tests is pretty screwed up.
Take this blog and throw it in their face. It’s the right thing to do.
1: Miracle Cures
Hunting For Miracle Cures
We might never find a miracle solution for modern health problems. Maybe it’s time we stopped trying
Last but not least: my personal favourite. If you’ve ever wondered why we are all sitting around a table arguing about whether broccoli is good for you or causing cancer, this is the blog for you.
We all endlessly look for miracle cures. It’s something to do with the human condition.
Stupid, but inevitable.
That’s It For 2017
I hope these blogs stand you in good stead for the last week of the year. It’s been great.
If you have any topics you’d like to see covered, drop me a line in the comments and I’ll try to make it happen. I’ve got a few really interesting topics currently on the boil — more vaccines, a great one on health equity, and a myth-busting piece about abortions — but there’s always room for more great ideas.
75,000 words, 9,000 followers and more than 250,000 reads later, and I can honestly say it’s been a brilliant year.
Here’s looking forward to the next one.
If you enjoyed this, or are just happy that 2017 is over and we can all get tipsy in the presence of relatives without it being weird for once, let me know with the clap button below! You can also follow me on twitter, facebook, or medium, or just by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note: This is sarcasm. Natural News is basically a hub of people who say the opposite of whatever scientists have discovered. As far as I can tell it’s just because they don’t like the word “science”, which is as good a reason as any I guess.