If You Teach Someone to Fish: Creative Solutions to the Food Crisis

The health crisis here in the US is reaching a critical point. There are drugs in our drinking water, sick cows in our meat supply, and additives in pretty much everything. We’re seeing huge increases in diabetes rates and bowel disease. We are not a healthy country.

The food industry isn’t entirely to blame: pollution, occupational exposure to chemicals, and lack of time/money to exercise are part of it too. You can’t simply blame one industry, but the overall effect of all of these factors is that we are exposed to a brew of chemicals unprecedented in human history, and we don’t know exactly how it is affecting us. You can study, say, the effects of dioxin exposure through tampon use; but what happens to someone who’s exposed to a multitude of chemical products through tampon use and food additives and pesticides and polluted water and industrial chemicals released into the air? How do you control for all that? You don’t, you can’t, so we’re reduced to guesswork. And a lack of proof means that the government can’t or won’t curb the corporations that pollute. (See Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream for more on this.)

So what do we do? (Solutions after the jump.) Read the rest of this entry »

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News you can use, from sushi to booze

-Asian chefs and kitchen workers are on strike in Israel. The Israeli government, which initially brought the chefs in as part of a move to replace Palestinian workers during the first Intifada, has decided it no longer wants them. Instead, they plan to train Israelis to cook Asian food instead. Two wrongs make a bad meal.

-In happier and more local news, the latest fruit of gentrification in Fishtown has arrived in the form of the Memphis Taproom. It’s a new bar that promises to serve tasty local food and, according to the Philadelphia City Paper, “a sizable American craft selection in addition to Belgian, German and English brews.” And for this transplanted Pittsburgher, it gets even better: “It would be pretty much a sin not to have really good pierogies and really nice kielbasa,” says co-owner Brendan Hartranft. All this, and it’s right down the street? I can’t wait until this place opens, in April. Oh, and they’ve promised to keep prices down. Sweet. [where: 19125]

-It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the Philly Craft Beer Festival is coming up!

-A Columbia University study finds that body image is a better predictor of health than obesity. Furthermore, the results seem to suggest that discrimination and body-based oppression and the stress associated with them have a bigger impact on fat people’s health than the weight itself:

“Our data suggest that some of the obesity epidemic may be partially attributable to social constructs that surround ideal body types,” said Peter Muennig, MD, MPH, Mailman School of Public Health assistant professor of Health Policy and Management. “Younger persons, Whites, and women are disproportionately affected by negative body image concerns, and these groups unduly suffer from BMI-associated morbidity and mortality.”

…There is evidence that discrimination against heavy people is pervasive, occurring in social settings, the workplace, and the home. These processes are likely internalized, leading to a negative body image that also may serve as a source of chronic stress.

“The data add support to our hypothesis that the psychological stress that accompanies a negative body image explains some of the morbidity commonly associated with being obese. Our finding that the desire to lose weight was a much stronger predictor of unhealthy days than was BMI further suggests that perceived difference plays a greater role in generating disease,” said Dr. Muennig.

Interesting findings indeed. And if you’re trying to feel a little more sane about what you eat and how you feel about your body, check out this post about intuitive eating over at Shapely Prose.

-Good article on the Bush administration’s linguistic sleight-of-hand when it comes to food safety, from Gourmet.com’s regular feature Politics of the Plate.

-Finally, I’m told that shellfish are particularly sweet and lovely this time of year. Mario Batali’s recipe for crab tortelloni with scallions and poppy seeds might have to be our fancy, splurge-y meal for the week. There’s nothing like good crabmeat treated well. I used to turn down homemade crab cakes during my picky-eater childhood; I could kick myself for doing that now!

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New Foods to Contain Appetite Suppressants. Really.

Via Coldmud, a disturbing new product announcement in the British newspaper Telegraph:

Fat-fighting ready-meals and snacks containing appetite suppressants could appear in supermarkets within two years.

Scientists are developing a new approach that will incorporate hunger-curbing plant chemicals called lipids into a wide range of convenience foods such as cakes and biscuits.

Lipids exist in cereals including oats, which explains why a bowl of porridge keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Dr Peter Wilde, of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, is developing a way of isolating those lipids that are easily digested by the body and concentrating them into a product that can be inserted into food.

“We are looking at how to change the satiety properties,” said Dr Wilde.

“We are trying to reduce appetite by using the body’s own natural response rather than using an appetite suppressant drug.”

Because our brains evolved thousands of years ago, when fat was scarce, we have a big appetite for this high-calorie food. So the scientists are trying to find a way to fool our brains into thinking we have consumed enough fat.

Let’s follow this logic for a minute, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

Love Your Body Day

 

 

 

Note: This page is a bit outdated.  To see what’s currently happening with Love Your Body Day, click on the ‘Love Your Body Day’ link above, or just click here.

 

 

 

Love Your Body Day Philadelphia!

Sick of fashion magazines telling you you’re too fat? Tired of the endless pressure to diet? Come to Love Your Body Day and celebrate your own real beauty! We’ll be making pages for a zine about our experiences learning to live with and love our bodies. No artistic talent required! Come out, have fun, get creative and celebrate on Sunday, October 21, 2007 from 11 am to 2:30 pm.

The A-Space, 4722 Baltimore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA

I’m part of organizing this workshop, and I hope any of you all (male, female and/or otherwise identified) will consider coming out to be a part of it!

Love Your Body Day was originally conceived by the National Organization for Women, about ten years ago, with a focus on protesting sexism and unrealistic beauty standards in advertising. It’s since grown well beyond the buttoned-down confines of NOW, and feminist groups on campuses and in neighborhood around the country participate with various activities.

How does this relate to a blog about real food? Glad you asked, my friends. Read the rest of this entry »