nutrition

“Meat is healthy” says meat industry.

TLDR: Meat industry tells governments to change scientific research paper findings from meat is unfit for human consumption to eat meat regularly – because the industry would die otherwise.

Good morning! How have you been? I have been splendid! Well, in truth I’ve been wondering where on earth the juicing part of my juicer went, wondering how the waitress cross cook got vegan mixed up with please put beef mince and cheese on my pizza, indefinitely borrowing a spare juicer part from some friends (oh how I love my friends right now *drinks fresh orange juice for the first time in over a month*),  and wondering why God is so cruel as to give watermelon an off season.

These thoughts were put aside as a full scale hunt (google search) was made for intelligent nutrition youtube channels. It took a minute to find a list that wasn’t purely about celebrities and how to lose weight – mostly lose weight. Then I found nutrition.org.

Hosted by Dr. Michael Gregor, the channel takes on scientific research and journal entries relating or relevant to health, nutrition and the food industry. The video that got my attention was titled The Funding Effect. The video makes use of several published research papers that discuss the correlation of scientific paper results and the desired result of the person or corporation funding said paper.

What the video found was that a research paper into the meat industry found animal to be unsuitable for human consumption. This did not go down well with the animal consumption (meat, dairy, eggs) industry. If people were advised by their government not to eat any meat, eggs or dairy, then they would do so. The industry pressured the government to change the wording. The government met them half way: eat less meat, eggs and dairy. This was still not good enough. If people are advised to eat less, they will want to know why. The meat/animal consumption industry believes so strongly that if you knew what meat and egg and dairy is really doing to your health you would not eat that. Their industry would go out of business you would be that adverse to it. Therefor the wording must advise the population to eat meat, eggs and dairy on a regular basis for a healthy diet. Otherwise the economy, the animal industry argues, will suffer.

Of course in reality the agriculture and other industries would absorb the economic effect and employees of the animal industry would have found jobs quickly in agriculture and other positively affected industries.

Some would still say that human health should not be placed before corporate profit and the industry should still survive because the economy, and to them I say ok, then go brush your teeth with radium in an asbestos house with lead pipes. No?

Suggestion@Google: If you’re really not going to stop posting ridiculous lose weight adverts everywhere at least have the decency to link us some sexy flowery muumuus as well.

Suggestion@science: If you’re going to allow corporations to fund scientific research then insist all contributing corporations be identified on the paper in an easily accessible, easy to read fashion.
Ultimately, research papers such as this will always have money involved, because even if an industry doesn’t pay for the research, they can pay or lobby the government to keep research from the public. Never-the-less, I’d still like to know if my research was brought to me by a person or company with a vested interest in the research findings.

Stay profitable compadres,

Summer Tay.

*If you’re interested in learning more on the funding effect then here is a link to a free paper of Sheldon Krimskys work similar to that mentioned in the video linked above. The one mentioned would cost $30 and as much as I like you, I don’t spend $30 and break a (albeit terrible) law for you like you.

*fun fact: according to scientific studies, soft drink coca cola is good for you and has 0 negative health affects, yay! …

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Day 86: Home Economics (High School Edition)

Ever thought high school left you in want? Math – when have you ever used algebra in real life? Science – understanding why adding mentos to coke makes it blow up. Did they think we were going to sue this as a skill in real life? Is there something they know that I do not? Until the zombie apocalypse happens I don’t see how this knowledge is important in our everyday lives. 

Home economics. The structure of the class (as I remember it from my humble public high school days) was you choose your recipe the week before. You then purchase the ingredients (parents a grumbling about the cost along the way), lug them next to your vulnerable text books and writing pads in you already over stuffed back pack and bring them to school. You store it in the schools fridge until class (hopefully there is room for all you kit) and when it is time, go back and get it all out again in a cluster of 30 other people scrambling to grab theirs too. You cook you food, you clean your dishes,and then the teacher comes around and tastes everyones food and grades them on how much they enjoy it. Then you store it again until home time, run back to the fridge at 3.15 when you remember it’s there, beg the bus driver at 3.20 to let you on with food (again. This happens every xday, why cant he just let you on???). Awkwardly stink up the bus with your foods for 30 minutes then walk it all the way up the steep hill to your home. Good times. 

What I feel is missing. Nutrition. Understanding personal nutrition and meal needs and ability to out knowledge into practice (from grocery shopping to cooking methods). Knowledge of food industry practices from dairy to junk food ‘restaurants’ to agriculture. How to find out the actual nutrient value of non labelled food (fruit and vegetable. Just because the standard nutrient of apples is x, doesn’t mean that the apple you picked up from the grocery store or even from you friendly neighbourhood food market has x nutrient it. Also explain to them why.). Standardized testing.

The Theory. 
The students learn their bodies personal factors from bone density, metabolism, allergies and personal taste preferences.Then they make a meal plan based of their knowledge of food and beverage and their own personal bodies. they will also need to express nutritional figures and explain their choices using rationale. Then the teacher, who will also be a nutritionist (we’re swamped with underemployed nutritionists here so that shouldn’t be hard) will grade them on how well they completed one, and give advice on what they ought be doing. 

Learning to understand your own body and its limitations is important at that age.  I personally doubt anyone gets harassed more openly or are more unabashedly, insensitively scrutinized by their elders, peers and everyone else about their meal habits and appearance as when they are in  high school. The damage from inappropriate dieting can be devastating. 

Practical
Cooking skills. Each cooking class should have a standard recipe. Simple to make ,very few ingredients and cheap to buy ingredients for because lets face it, these kids will either go to uni or enter lowest level employment at a fraction of minimum wage because they’re under 21 (and those guys only get a percentage of minimum wage) and they’re not going to be affording much for a while. Then grade them on how well they followed the method of cooking. Grade them extra marks for things that show ingenuity and creativity. But most importantly have a standard grading system for each one that makes the grading fair and is comparative to others. 

Multiple Choice + Essay.
For this test I would have them watch a documentary the week prior to the test.
A multiple choice including everything they have learnt. 
Essay.
1. A person is sick with x disease, what meal do you make them, whats in it and why that meal?
2. Make a hypothesis based on movie x, explain the documentary and why you feel it supports this theory. 

Students should also be taught about the food industries. What are the practices of the agriculture side? The dairy side? The meat side? The Corporate side of things. Should we care if Nestle ties to force their formula on 3rd world countries, or that palm oil fiasco? Should we care that the *junk food companies created a union for its industry to fight any government regulation they dislike (even at the expense of the people)? What about the addition of GMOs? Should our schools be teaching our children to look out for these things when determining what brands to buy? This is the sort of knowledge I feel would be great for a M.C. test. Each term a different doco is selected for testing. The manuscript for the movie is available online. Print off for students who learn better reading.

How does this relate to being vegan? How many children do you think will be vegan – or at least vegan-curious – if they watched Food Inc, Earthlings or even read about the meat industry killing practices? How many people will cut down on meat when they realise how it is affecting their health or even weight? Even those sporty sports who want to be best of the best will feel their ears prick up when they learn how much better they would be on the field without meat. The “I only get A+’s” crowd will get to feel more superior as their brains become stronger and smarter and increased concentration and memory on a vegan diet. Everyone gets moderate their own body effectively and become impervious to looks based teasing. It’d be very liberating. 

As a non-mother, non-education related worker with no official background in nutrition, what are you thoughts on my suggestions? Like them, dislike them, see issues or holes in the theory, or have your own you’d like to throw in the mix? 

1st day of high school was like magic: Pick a crowd, any crowd…

Summer Tay.

*What? You thought corporations were anti union? Nooo not at all! They’re against you having a union. 

Day 56: Dried Mangoes

Dried mangoes! I have found a place that sells dried mangoes. They contain no fat, limited protein and limited dietary fibre and they have about as much sugar as a bottle of coke. The only place that seems to stock them in store in Daiso, a Japanese multi-purpose store that sells almost everything for $2.80, including 100grams of dried mangoes from the Phillipines.

Image

My bedtime snack.

Their taste is exactly like dried mangoes. The texture is weird. The skin feels almost, hairy? Get past that and it’s just like eating dried apricots. The smell from the bag was not promising though. Smells like unhealthiness.

Cunning plan: next time there is a party, put dried mangoes and dried apricots in a bowl and mix them all up. Because stuff maturity, my veganism is going to be fun! Well, for me anyways 😛

Everyone seems to agree these are great for boosting energy levels during times of energy draining difficulty such as waking/getting up in the morning or after reaching your desk at work. I really shouldn’t be eating these at 10pm.

Overall verdict is that they definitely do not beat the real thing – raw, unprocessed, unchanged in any way mangoes are still the best thing to ever happen to taste buds. Dried mangoes do not seem to be in any way healthy in itself, but can count as a ‘healthier alternative’ to boosting energy levels and a vegan option when required. I would very much like to use these to make a mango cheesecake one day.

A lot of people have described how to make these yourself. It’s actually pretty easy, but of course, it requires a food processor or blender. To make them you take off the skin and remove pip, blend/process the middle part until smooth, then lay it out onto a baking tray and bake till yummy. Cut into pieces as desired. I just keep looking at the pictures and thinking, “what a waste of a perfectly good mango”, as a silent inner tear is shed.

I wonder if my housemates would appreciate a so long, and thanks for all the food mango cheesecake as thanks for being some pretty awesome housemates and for all the times I’ve “borrowed” from their spices…

To maintaining a vigilant stance on being a cliche prankster, to showing appreciation where due, but mostly, to mangoes,

Summer Tay.

P.S. in case you were wondering, the nutritional value of the dried apricots per 100g:
Fat:                  0.0g
Protein:            0.7g
Dietary fibre:    2.0g
Carbs:            90.5g
-Sugars:         80.9g

Yeah.