Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 6th, 2019

What the Health?! – Very interesting documentary

leave a comment »

Thanks to Eddie from Australia for pointing this out, but don’t take everything at face value. For example, the statements regarding the WHO’s classification of carcinogens are correct, but the inferences in the film are not—see this WHO explainer.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 7:35 pm

Good luck eating a whole-food plant-based diet in France

leave a comment »

Saundra Haurant reports in the Guardian (back in October 2011):

There may have been fewer than 20 of them on the street, but a group of demonstrators in Paris has nonetheless made the national news in France today. Led by the French vegetarian group L214, they gathered in front of the office of the Direction Générale de l’Alimentation, a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture, to call on the government to scrap a decree they claim effectively imposes meat consumption on six million French schoolchildren.

A law was passed on 3 October which obliges school canteens feeding more than 80 children to adhere to minimum nutritional requirements, setting in stone how much protein, iron, calcium and fresh fruit schoolchildren should be given.

Schools now have to provide meals which include a protein element with accompaniment, such as rice or vegetables, a dairy product (for example cheese or yoghurt) and either a starter or a pudding. The protein can be cheese but a dairy product is also obligatory as a separate element.

So while the new rules do not explicitly ban vegetarian meals, Brigitte Gothière of the vegetarian association L214 says they make it clear that the state believes all sources of protein should come from animal, not vegetable, products. On a 20-meal cycle, a minimum of four meals must include “quality meat” and four “quality fish,” and on the other days, egg, cheese or “abats” (offal) should be the main dish. Isabelle Dudouet-Bercegeay, president of the Association Végétarienne de France, says: “It’s a case of ‘If you don’t want your child to eat meat, don’t use the canteen.'”

Vegetarian groups in France argue the decree could mean schools offering vegetarian meals are breaking the law, while they effectively make veganism at school impossible. In a statement protesting against the decree, L214 says: “The government has brought the law into school catering, imposing a model based on a high consumption of animal products and banning vegetarianism.”

In response to the protests, Matthieu Grégory, food adviser to the minister, told le Parisien the decree fits in with national Nutrition Santé (nutrition and health) plans and offers a “balanced diet.” He said: “Menus with a substitution can continue to exist if towns adhere to the decree. We will look at this on a case by case basis.”

School meals in France are a very different affair to their British equivalent. French children are happy meat eaters and frequently sit down to a lunch of rabbit, veal, cassoulet or raclette with accompanying charcuterie. But most French school canteens are supplied by a local, central kitchen and many “maternelles” (pre-schools up to age six) and “élémentaires” (for ages six to 10) only offer one meal option each day, so on a day when meat is the main dish, say the groups, there is no room for a vegetarian option. Older children often have a self-service system, so could opt out of meat. Since this is likely to be the only protein on offer, though: “That leaves them with a nutritionally deficient meal,” says Gothière.

With a culture and cuisine that is so deeply in love with meat in all its forms, avoiding eating it in France is a tricky business. There is a very small minority of non-meat eaters in the country – more than  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 2:01 pm

Donald Trump’s “Inoffensive” War on Reality

leave a comment »

Masha Gassen writes in the New Yorker:

Donald Trump’s Fourth of July address was most remarkable for the things it did not contain. Immediately afterward, commentators noted that Trump didn’t use the opportunity to attack the Democratic Party, to issue explicit campaign slogans, or, it would appear, make any impromptu additions (with the possible exception of the claim that American troops commandeered enemy airports during the Revolutionary War). The President was so disciplined on the occasion of the republic’s two hundred and forty-third birthday that Vox called his speech “inoffensive.” Slate gave the speech credit for being “not a complete authoritarian nightmare.” The Times noted that Trump called for unity, in a gesture uncharacteristic of his “divisive presidency.” The word “tame” popped up in different outlets, including Talking Points Memo, which concluded that, thanks to the President not going off script, “the whole thing was pretty standard.”

Campaign slogans and glaring Trumpisms were not the only things absent from the speech. Immigrants were missing. Trump’s most recent predecessors presided over Fourth of July naturalization ceremonies. A rhetorical link between the holiday and immigration has long seemed unbreakable. During his last Independence Day as President, Bill Clinton chose to speak in New York Harbor, against the backdrop of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. “Perhaps more than any other nation in all history, we have drawn our strength and spirit from people from other lands,” he said. “On this Fourth of July, standing in the shadow of Lady Liberty, we must resolve never to close the golden door behind us, and always not only to welcome people to our borders, but to welcome people into our hearts.” In a much-criticized series of Independence Day eventsin 1986, President Reagan lit the torch of the Statue of Liberty and noted the swearing in of twenty-seven thousand new citizens across the country. He also referred to the “immigrant story” of his then new Supreme Court nominee, Antonin Scalia.

That immigrant story is, of course, the story the Trump Administration has demonstratively abandoned. Last year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services dropped the phrase “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement. That phrase, like most foundational myths and more than some, obscures much of the country’s history: the first immigrants would more accurately be described as settler colonialists, who brought Africans here as slaves. But this was not why the Trump Administration deleted the phrase. Trump has retired the myth of America as a nation of immigrants because he staked his election campaign and his legitimacy as president on the demonization of immigrants—and on mobilizing Americans for a war against immigrants.

Trump’s American story is the story of struggle, “the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right,” as he said in the address. Over the course of forty-seven minutes, Trump enumerated American military conquests and the branches of the U.S. armed forces. A quick listing of civilian achievement—medical discoveries, cultural accomplishments, civil-rights advancements, and space exploration—was thrown in at the beginning of the speech, but the master narrative Trump proposed was one of wars and victories, punctuated by the roar of airplane engines for flyovers and the songs of each armed-forces branch.

The narrative was also one of fear. Trump spoke like the leader of a country under siege. The President and the people who joined him onstage were in a fortress of their own, a clear protective enclosure that, streaked with rain, made for an incongruously melancholy sight, as though we were watching them through a veil of tears.

Trump extolled the strength and battle-readiness of American troops but named no current threat. He promised only to strike fear into the hearts of America’s enemies. But his audience knows who the enemy is. North Korea or China may go from enemy to partner to friend on a whim, but there is one enemy whom Trump has consistently, obsessively described as an existential threat: the immigrant.

Two days before the July 4th celebration, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General issued an urgent report on the conditions in migrant detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley. Photographs in the report showed children and adults in crowded cages. Other pictures showed people in extremely crowded holding rooms raising up signs in windows, apparently attempting to attract the attention of government inspectors. The document reported “serious overcrowding” and prolonged detention that violated federal guidelines. Children had no access to showers and hadn’t been provided with hot meals. At one facility, the report said, adults were held in standing-room-only conditions. “Most single adults had not had a shower . . . despite several being held for as long as a month,” the report said. A diet of bologna sandwiches had made some of the detainees sick. The report left no doubt that “concentration camps” was an accurate term for the facilities it described. On the eve of Independence Day, the media reported the story, which looked obscene among other stories. How could we read, write, or talk about anything else?

The President responded in a series of tweets in which he blamed the Democrats and the immigrants themselves. “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!” he tweeted. Most of Trump’s tweeting day, though, was spent on other issues: railing against the Supreme Court’s decision not to allow a citizenship question on the census, for example, and hyping expectations for his Fourth of July extravaganza. In the Trumpian universe, immigrants pose a superhuman threat but are themselves of subhuman significance. Through his tweets, his attacks on the media, and his lying, Trump has been waging a battle to define reality to the exclusion of documented facts. In Trump’s reality, it’s not just that the Administration refuses to be held accountable for running concentration camps—it’s that the camps, and the suffering in them, do not exist.

The July 4th celebration, inspired by Trump’s visit to France during Bastille Day festivities in 2017 and informed by his affinity for the sabre-rattling tyrants of the world, was a high point in the President’s battle to command reality. With the possible exception of rain streaks, the pictures from the rally are his image of himself and the country. Following his speech, Trump kept retweeting images of his own limo leaving the White House, of fighter jets flying, of the red stage and a strange cross-like formation of red elevated platforms, and of himself speaking. In these pictures, Trump is the supreme ruler of the mightiest military empire in the history of the world and his people are with him in the public square. Nothing else exists.

A common maxim of the Trump era has it that two Americas exist, each with its own media and consequently limited view of the world. In fact, though, in one America there is only Trump, his tanks and planes and ships. In the America that a majority of us inhabit, however, there are concentration camps—and Trump with his flyovers. In this America, it is increasingly clear that concentration camps and the public spectacle of mobilization are not in contradiction: one is, in fact, a consequence of the other. It is also clear that the omissions of Trump’s speech are not accidental. In addition to not mentioning immigrants, Trump didn’t mention the complexity of the American project. Until two and a half years ago, Republican and Democratic Presidents regularly reminded the American public that this country’s democracy is a work in progress, that its guiding principles are a set of abstract ideals that continue to be reinterpreted.

“This union of corrected wrongs and expanded rights has brought the blessings of liberty to the two hundred and fifteen million Americans, but the struggle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is never truly won,” President Gerald Ford said on July 4, 1976. “Each generation of Americans, indeed of all humanity, must strive to achieve these aspirations anew. Liberty is a living flame to be fed, not dead ashes to be revered, even in a Bicentennial Year. It is fitting that we ask ourselves hard questions even on a glorious day like today. Are the institutions under which we live working the way they should? Are the foundations laid in 1776 and 1789 still strong enough and sound enough to resist the tremors of our times? Are our God-given rights secure, our hard-won liberties protected?”

Forty years later, in a much more casual celebration on the White House lawn, President Barack Obama said, “On a day like this, we celebrate, we have fun, we marvel at everything that’s been done before, but we also have to recommit ourselves to making sure that everybody in this country is free; that everybody has opportunity; that everybody gets a fair shot; that we look after all of our veterans when they come home; that we look after our military families and give them a fair shake; that every child has a good education.”

In less than three years, as our senses . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 1:24 pm

Updated Tahini-Lemon Salad Dressing Recipe

leave a comment »

I updated this recipe. Here’s what it is now:

I took a little jar that that once held some food—capers, I think. It’s a good size and a sort of squat shape. I put into the jar:

1/4 cup tahini, and I used 365 Organic from Whole Foods
juice of a large lemon (about 2 tablespoons, possibly a little more)
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used Enzo’s balsamic traditional vinegar)
2-4 tablespoons water (I used 2 but it got too thick after setting, so added more)
about 2 teaspoons dried mint
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Cap the jar and shake vigorously until dressing is smooth.hisk.

That worked for me. You can obviously tinker with proportions if you want. It made enough for 4 or 5 salads.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 11:11 am

How to Optimize Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio

leave a comment »

The past two weeks show my omega-6 to omega-3 ratio average as 1.885. A typical American ratio is 16. Ideal is 1. I don’t make a great effort. Mostly I just grind and eat 2 tablespoons flaxseed with my breakfast, and that provides a lot of omega-3. I also take an omega-3 capsule as a supplement, and it uses a vegan formula (from algae) rather than fish oil (which can carry contaminants like PCBs).

One way I avoid overdoing the omega-6 is by avoiding processed foods, and in particular I won’t buy any food that contains soybean oil or cottonseed oil, and those oils are often found in processed foods because they’re cheap. Check the ingredients label on salad dressings (I make my own), mayonnaise (when I ate it, I made my own), and other prepared foods. Also check the nutrition facts for the sodium level, while you’re at it.

Kris Gunnars writes at Healthline:

Today, most people are eating a lot of omega-6 fatty acids.

At the same time, the consumption of animal foods that are high in omega-3s is the lowest it has ever been.

Scientists suspect that a distorted ratio of these polyunsaturated fatty acids may be one of the most damaging aspects of the Western diet.

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are called polyunsaturated fats because they have many double bonds (poly=many).

Your body doesn’t have the enzymes to produce them, so you must get them from your diet.

If you don’t get any from your diet, you develop a deficiency and become sick. That is why they are termed “essential” fatty acids.

However, these fatty acids are different than most other fats. They are not simply used for energy or stored, they are biologically active and have important roles in processes like blood clotting and inflammation.

But omega-6s and omega-3s don’t have the same effects. Scientists believe omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory (1Trusted Source).

Of course, inflammation is essential for your survival. It helps protect your body from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when it’s chronic or excessive.

In fact, chronic inflammation may be one of the leading drivers of the most serious modern diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and many types of cancer.

Scientists have hypothesized that a diet high in omega-6s but low in omega-3s increases inflammation, while a diet that includes balanced amounts of each reduces inflammation (2Trusted Source).

Those who follow a Western diet are typically eating way too much omega-6s relative to omega-3s. Many believe this is a serious health problem.

SUMMARY: An omega-6 to omega-3 ratio that is too high may contribute to excess inflammation in the body, potentially raising the risk of various diseases.

According to Dr. Stephan Guyenet, typical omega-6 to omega-3 ratios for pre-industrial populations ranged from 4:1 to 1:4.

Hunter-gatherers who ate mostly land animals consumed these fats at ratios of 2:1 to 4:1, while the Inuit, who ate mostly omega-3 rich seafood, had a ratio of 1:4. Other pre-industrial populations were somewhere in between.

Anthropological evidence also suggests that the ratio human beings evolved eating was somewhere around 1:1, while the ratio today is about 16:1 (3).

Although these populations had a lower life expectancy than modern people, some researchers estimate that chronic lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, were much less common.

Not only did pre-industrial populations get much less omega-6 from their diets, they also got more physical exercise, ate less sugar and didn’t have access to modern junk food.

All of these factors could explain their lower rates of modern lifestyle diseases. However, the effect cannot be solely attributed to a lower intake of omega-6 fatty acids.

SUMMARY: People who ate a pre-industrial diet had an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of about 4:1 to 1:4, most falling somewhere in between. The ratio today is 16:1, much higher than what people are genetically adapted to.

Western populations are eating large amounts of processed seed and vegetable oils. Some of these oils are loaded with omega-6s.

The technology to process these oils didn’t exist until about 100 years ago, and people have not had time to genetically adapt to the high amounts of omega-6.

In the graph below, you can see the dramatic increase in soybean oil consumption in the US, from zero to 24 pounds (11 kgs) per person per year. This amounted to a whopping 7% of total calories in the year 1999 (4Trusted Source). . . .

Continue reading. The graph is quite interesting.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 10:30 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Chiseled Face’s Sherlock and the iKon 101

leave a comment »

That’s also a Chiseled Face brush, apparently a limited edition, and it’s a brush I like a lot: simple elegance and a good feel from the knot. Sherlock is one of the Face’s stand-bys:

Our Sherlock scent is inspired by the character brought to life in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his classic series – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – written in the late 1800’s. It is a warm tobacco based scent blended with toasted caramel, black pepper, moist dirt, and finished with a touch of leather, moss, mandarin, honey, and rose.

It made a very fine lather, and my iKon 101 readily removed lather and with it the stubble, leaving my face perfectly smooth for the matching aftershave.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 July 2019 at 8:14 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: