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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Energy Fair Tabling

Posted by tinako on June 22, 2014

Water Beef Infographic

I find that I don’t like the picture of packaged body parts on my blog.

For the 6th year in a row, I tabled at my town’s energy fair on the topic of livestock’s effect on the environment.  Here’s a post about what I say, and it includes a closeup of the main display I made for the first energy fair; this year I removed the rather confusing information about choice of car vs. choice of diet and instead put up a graphic showing how much water is used for beef.  That got some comments.

I had tried to update the pie chart on causes of Amazon deforestation but couldn’t find anything more recent than what I had, 2006.

Really, though, I barely need my display any more at this event.  Of the dozens of people I talked to, almost every one knew about the livestock/environment connection.  I’m kicking myself for not asking them where they found out, although several volunteered that it was covered in a 6-week course they took on plant based diets, offered by our vegetarian society’s co-presidents, one of whom is a doctor.  When I first put up this display at the first energy fair six years ago, not a single person knew.  Some of the people I recognize as repeat visitors, but most are finding this info somewhere else.  Great!

So my display was used as casual reference instead of an informational talk, but I also have a tableful of handouts provided by the veg society and a few I pick up at Farm Sanctuary, which has one of the only fliers on the environment issue.

I want to mention that I am aware of and considering the point made by some that to encourage people to eat less meat because it is bad for the environment is a betrayal of the animals, a betrayal of my values.  That is, I would not tell people not to eat children because their production causes greenhouse gases (or because it’s not healthy for you to eat them).  I keep this in mind.  However, it is a fact that I will not be allowed to come to this fair and talk about animal rights.  They do not allow our local AR group to table there.  I’m allowed there because they know me and while I don’t pull punches, and will talk about whatever my visitors bring up, my materials and talks keep on topic (my original pitch to the committee tied in the livestock/environment issue).  Our vegetarian society is invited to health fairs at schools and so forth to talk about health – if our argument is instead all about animal suffering, we won’t be invited back.  We reach a lot of people this way, and I see the same visitors year after year, making progress both personally and in their families.

I also hope that once people are cutting back on meat for environmental or health reasons, they will have less excuse to ignore the suffering.  I think a lot of people avert their eyes from suffering because they don’t want to change their behavior, but if the behavior is already changed, they are free to express their compassion.

These thoughts are in transition (you may see from my posts that I am thinking about AR a lot), but that’s where I am right now.

Posted in AR, Environment, Social Justice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kids, TV, and Junk Values

Posted by tinako on June 19, 2014

I just read an article in Psychology Today, “Kids Under the Influence,” which reminds me why my decision to virtually eliminate TV watching by my kids almost from the start is my third all-time favorite parenting decision.  Number one: waiting till we could afford for me to stay home, which made possible favorite decision number two: breastfeeding, which led to attachment parenting.  None of these three choices mean I judge those who choose differently – I’m just so glad I did them.

I followed the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to permit no TV until my son was age two.  At that time, I started letting him watch a bit of Winnie the Pooh, but I didn’t like what happened.  I thought we would watch together and talk about the show, but he would zone out completely, eyes glued to the screen, face blank, hearing nothing else.  It was creepy how much it held him, and I stopped.

I didn’t mind at all not having television to give me a break.  I wanted to treasure this time with him, and then my daughter.  I kept remembering the hours and hours a day I would waste after school watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island, The Love Boat, even Love, American Style, whatever scheduled garbage paraded in front of my eyes.  I groan now and wish my parents had blasted the TV with a shotgun rather than allow my precious youth to dribble away in the darkness of the family room.  Instead, the kids, now middle-school age, had time with me, time to become best friends, time with other friends, and time to be creative alone.  Time, we had so much beautiful time, because we didn’t watch TV.

Because we watched no TV at all, the kids didn’t even really think about it.  It never occurred to them to ask for it.  One time I even asked them if they wished we watched more and they said no.  I mentioned to my son once that a friend had said, “No TV?  What do you do all day?”  He laughed and went back to building busily with his Lego.  For the last several years, as a treat, we have watched 1/2 hour pre-recorded age-appropriate programming one night a week, and a movie a second night, and that’s been fun, and they don’t seem to want it any more often.

Lately, as my children are becoming independent enough to make their own purchasing decisions, I have become aware of another benefit.  They have had limited exposure to junk values.  The most obvious is junk food ads.  They are aware of candy and pop, and they like it, but it doesn’t seem to have much hold on them.  They’ve heard of McDonald’s, of course, but I don’t think they’ve ever been in one – they don’t see what the big deal is.

There’s a broader picture here, though, in junk values.  I read a few years back that letting your kids watch TV was to invite strangers into your home to teach your kids values.  Often the values are to encourage kids to watch a show more by pressing their buttons (such as violence), so there will be as many eyes as possible watching the commercial, so there will be as many kids as possible nagging their parents for unhealthy food.  Even on non-commercial television, the values might not match up with my vegan non-violence: Sesame Street might visit a “farm,” by which I mean a pretend fantasy version of a farm, as opposed to where food really comes from.  Of course I don’t want Sesame Street to visit a slaughterhouse, but why actively lie?  Or the show might visit a zoo and  show how much fun the animals are having.  Circus, anyone?  There are shows I don’t like because the characters manipulate or exclude others without consequence.  There’s a critical few years where it’s easy for a parent to walk away from a program and not have any idea what’s going on, whereas if they’re reading to these pre-readers, they can have a teachable moment.  Even today, I can pick up a book my son was reading, flip through it, and start a conversation about aspects that bother me.  “Hmm.  Why do you suppose this character killed that one?”  Try doing that with a television program a child has watched in his bedroom.

Early on in this decision, someone mildly criticized it by pointing out that if my kids don’t watch TV, they’ll have nothing to talk about with their peers.  I have found that to a very small degree this may be true, and it’s possible it has made my son’s shyness slightly more difficult, though my daughter isn’t shy.  But I don’t think it’s worth opening my children to programming and values I think are harmful so they’ll have something to say to people who want to talk of nothing else.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Say No to Animal Gifting Hunger Organizations

Posted by tinako on March 13, 2014

I have no problem recounting statistics about the environmental problems caused by livestock here in the U.S., and taking into consideration that Americans can choose to eat a healthy diet containing no animal products.  But when it comes to countries where marginal farmland and subsistence farming may make the issues more complex, I stayed out of it.

This article, “10 Reasons to Say No to Animal Gifting Hunger Organizations,” dives right in.  Have you been told their land will support nothing but grazing animals?  Have you been offered the image of cows and goats wandering around the homestead eating plants that were of no use anyway, producing free milk which is healthy and nutritious for starving people?  Find out.

Posted in Animals, Environment, Nutrition, Social Justice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bad Eating Habits Start in the Womb

Posted by tinako on February 5, 2014

Great NY Times article on studies showing the lifelong effects a baby’s diet has: “changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.”

Posted in Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

March Against Monsanto

Posted by tinako on October 10, 2013

Blogger Header MAM MainThere’ll be another March Against Monsanto this Saturday, October 12th, somewhere near you.  Don’t let our government and businesses think we’ve lost interest in these issues.  It only takes an hour to come out and show that you want a change.

Posted in Environment, GMOs, Social Justice | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Bill Moyers on Ag-Gag

Posted by tinako on July 22, 2013

Ag-Gag Laws Silence Whistleblowers (via Moyers & Company)

Muckrakers and activists have been working to expose the brutality of industrialized meat production since Upton Sinclair’s writing of The Jungle in 1906. But an ALEC model bill known as “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” would make it…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Animals, Disease, Environment, Social Justice | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Take Your Vitamins

Posted by tinako on June 24, 2013

I like this opinion piece in the N.Y. Times, “Don’t Take Your Vitamins,” which has a nice summary of the substantial research showing increases in death from taking vitamin pills, and why the FDA is powerless to inform you of this.  I know you’ll be surprised that the answer is corporate money.

Posted in Cancer, Cardiovascular, Disease | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Exercise affects Satiety

Posted by tinako on March 15, 2013

This connection took me completely by surprise.  I have been asking friends and family how they experience satiety, the sense that you’ve had enough to eat, and found there was a wide variation.  One friend says she has never felt satiety, that she always wants more.  A family member tells me that to him satiety is on or off, and that it doesn’t kick in for a while after eating.  My son and I, on the other hand, feel it slowly coming on as we eat – we feel a stretching sensation in our stomachs and know from experience at what point we need to stop or we will feel ill later.  Is the knowing satiety, or is it the ability to stop eating?  There was a time (before I ran) when I would eat myself sick and continue to eat – did I experience satiety or just a stomachache?

I also figured satiety was something people were ignoring, or the call for food was overpowering will. My friends and family are often surprised that food just doesn’t have much of a hold on me.  For this reason I’m rather humble about my ability to maintain my weight – somehow my wiring has made it easy.

A recent article in the New York Times has astonished me.  In The Appetite Workout, two studies are cited opening a window onto a new view of satiety, and it’s all about exercise-induced hormones.  The article is short and well-written, so I won’t summarize it.

But they weren’t measuring people’s sense of how full they were.  They were measuring how much they ate.  In this case, at least, satiety is not the awareness but the action.

By the way, I run, but my son doesn’t, and we’re both normal weight, but at 13 he still has less control over what he eats than I do, since I shop and he is penniless.

Posted in Exercise, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Healthy Food is Cheaper than Junk

Posted by tinako on July 26, 2012

The USDA has an interesting new view of the argument that healthy food is more expensive than junk food: that may often be so calorie for calorie, but how about satiety?

Check out this article, “Healthy Food is a Better Deal than Junk Food

Posted in Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Big Food

Posted by tinako on July 23, 2012

I just listened to a Yale Rudd Center podcast about a new exhibit at the Yale Peabody Museum called “Big Food: Health, Culture, and the Evolution of Eating.”

I’ve asked my city’s science museum to consider hosting this exhibit.  In addition to wanting to see it for myself, I love the idea that area schoolchildren could be exposed to these ideas in a fun way.

Maybe you’d like to see it at your local museum, too.

Posted in Nutrition, Schools | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »