Fast Food, A Large Problem is Just Getting Larger

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According to a study done by Boston University and Tuffs University, fast food makes up 11% of the average American’s diet.  It’s also been helping with the increase in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  So, how has this happened?  Well, the portion sizes have increased over the last 30 years along, with the amount of sodium that is put in these products.  The portion size has increased a whopping 22%.  That actually surprised me, however, I haven’t been in a fast food restaurant for at least 5 years, so I had no idea.

Since, according to this study, 33.6% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant every day no wonder that according to research, 40% of adult Americans are obese.  Not only are the foods more calorie-dense, but the increase in sodium is also problematic.  Too much sodium can lead to heart disease and strokes.  This is a health crisis, and so far, trying to make adults aware of the problem doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

It doesn’t seem as if there is a will to begin the intervention that would help in addressing this situation.  The Trump administration is backing the food industry with pushing back against food labels that would warn consumers about the levels of sodium, fat and sugars in prepared foods.  If you could come up with a solution to this problem of obesity and illness, what would it be?  Leave your ideas in the comments below.

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https://www.bu.edu/research/articles/fast-food-expansion/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html

 

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Yes, I’m Still Vegan

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There have been a lot of people in the vegan community who have suddenly decided that they no longer are vegan due to health problems.  The most popular reasoning for this decision is that after numerous 21-day water fasts; drinking detox teas, doing a “colon cleanse”; eating a restricted diet; and traveling to tropical islands, they have discovered they have health problems.  I wonder why?  A 21-day water fast?  Restricted diets?  Detox teas and a “colon cleanse”?  Going to tropical islands which are teeming with bacteria and/or parasites?  Any or all of these reasons could lead to health problems.

Then, there is the “other” reason – just not getting enough protein in their diet.  First of all, has anyone, anywhere ever died of a protein deficiency?  No, of course not.  The amount of protein that the body “needs” each day is small, and there is scientific evidence that if you eat a plant-based diet with plenty of amino acids, your body makes its own protein.  Besides which, certain types of beans have a protein index of up to 28.5 grams of protein per one cup.  In order to round out your protein, brown rice, nuts, and oatmeal help to complete the package.

My journey toward veganism began when I was a child who finally put together the fact that animals had to be killed in order to be on my plate.  I was appalled at the fact, refused to eat and threw a temper tantrum refusing to eat any meat.  After about a week of “discipline” and having meat forcibly shoveled down my throat, I gave in.  There is only so much “discipline” a six-year-old can take.  It took me too many years to give up all animal products, and that is the fact that makes me ashamed.

Why am I still Vegan?  Because I’ve seen the slaughterhouse videos.  I’ve seen the lives of the animals that people put on their plates.  I’ve seen human torture of animals used for meat and dairy.  It makes me sick.  Another reason, as if I needed one, is that eating those animals is what is killing humans; cancer, heart disease, the list goes on, are all linked, again, scientifically, to eating meat, seafood and dairy.

Knowing all that I know, I would never stop eating a plant-based diet.  I refuse to add to the destruction of the planet, to the horrific lives that animals lead in order for humans to eat meat.  If you want to know more about the scientific facts of a plant-based diet, please go to https://nutritionfacts.org/

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-enough-protein-beans-7842.html

 

Tao Te Ching – Verse 29 – We Are the World

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I recently picked up a translation with commentary of the Tao Te Ching at my local libraries’ book sale.  While the book itself was slightly battered, what I found inside is a treasure-trove of wisdom passed down over the last 2,500 years.  Verse 29, We Are the World, relates to today with its emphasis on how the most powerful and wealthy seek to destroy the planet.  Below is Verse 29 as it was translated by Ralph Allan Dale.  Read it, reflect on these powerful words and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Verse 29 – We Are the World

 Those who have most power and wealth

treat the planet as a thing to be possessed,

to be used and abused according to their own dictates.

but the planet is a living organism,

a Great Spiritual Integrity.

 

To violate this Integrity

is certain to cull forth disaster

since each and every one of us

is an inherent part of this very organism.

 

All attempts to control the world

can only lead to its decimation

and to our own demise

since we are an inseparable part

of what we are senselessly trying to coerce.

 

Any attempt to possess the world

can only lead to its loss

and to our own dissolution

since we are an intrinsic part

of what we are foolishly trying to possess.

 

The world’s pulse is our pulse.

The world’s rhythms are our rhythms.

To treat our planet with care, moderation and love

is to be in synchrony with ourselves

and to live in the Great Integrity.

Taken from Tao Te Ching  A New Translation & Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale Copyright 2002 by Ralph Alan Dale

 

 

What the “Gig” Economy Really Means

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I recently read the book Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler.  It was a well-researched book, and I must say that it made me sick to my stomach.  There were so many things that I learned about this “new” type of work.  It’s portrayed as an alternative to 9 to 5 jobs, that supposedly brings the worker a “balance” between life and work.  The spiel is that you “get” to work whenever you want, therefore having time off to pursue whatever it is your little heart desires.

The reality is that many of these “jobs” are low paying (3 to 5 dollars an hour), your life revolves around being available at a moment’s notice to accept any and all jobs that come your way.  There are no sick days, no vacation days, no retirement benefits, no health insurance.  If you are injured while on a job, there are no pay benefits.  You also do not have any legal resources at your fingertips, either.  You are not considered an employee, therefore there is no legal redress for any injuries or compensation.

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This leaves the gig worker “hanging out to dry”, so to speak.  Sarah Kessler tells of workers who don’t want to leave their computers because they can’t afford to miss a possible job opportunity.  When talking about what it is that workers want, most people want a flexible work schedule along with all the benefits that a traditional worker enjoys – health insurance, paid sick and vacation days, retirement benefits, and legal rights that employees have.

To me, the gig economy is really just another way to benefit the companies that promote them.  Uber is a prime example.  They get people, who have no rights as employees, to work for them for less wages than an actual employee would receive – thus benefiting the companies bottom line.  To me, it seems to be the ultimate “bait and switch”.  What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Alignment

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I recently had an experience that struck me as being rather important.  I was attempting to do some Sun Salutations after taking my daily walk, and discovered that my back was on the verge of spasming.  Of course, this was not an acceptable thing have happened so I decided to slow down, and focus on trying to not put any weight on my back.  I made an effort to focus on my breath and stretching my legs instead of focusing on bending my back as far as I could.  While I was doing that, I realized that I’d gotten into the bad habit of not keeping my head in alignment.  It’s funny how quickly you can form bad habits. So, that brought my thinking to the idea of alignment and what it means.

The dictionary defines alignment as parts being in line with each other. This concept also can be applied to our lives.  When we’re out of alignment with one or more different aspects of our lives, we can become confused, upset and just plain grumpy.  I’ve realized that some my unhappiness may have to do with my feeling that parts of my life are out of alignment.  I’m not where I was hoping I’d be regarding some of my goals for this year.  The feelings that I’ve been dealing with are due, in part, to this.  So, as with other problems, I’ll be figuring out how to deal with this, and create a plan to help myself address my issues.

Have you ever felt that your life is not in alignment?  How have you dealt with this?  Did you find a way to balance yourself out?  If so, please leave your experiences in the comments, and maybe we can help each other on our paths to alignment.

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Why Are We Losing I.Q. Points?

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There are a lot of scientific studies out that show that we are losing I.Q. points every year.  This is disturbing news, but there are many indications that maybe we’re losing these points due to the type of I.Q. test that is administered.  Now, my thoughts about this have to do with shortened attention spans, and a lessened importance on education that has become all-pervasive in the U.S.  And, I think that this actually holds water.  There are places in the U.S. where teachers earn so little that they are on food stamps and housing assistance.  At the same time, they are required to have an extensive education – as they should be.  As we know, there have been teacher’s strikes all over the place regarding both salaries and the very state of the schools that they teach in.  Why do schools have exposed wiring and leaky roofs?  And, why do teachers have to supply their classrooms with paper, pencils, crayons, and the like?  Where does the money go?

Starting in the 1980’s there has been a vilification of educated people.  They have notoriously been portrayed as “elites”, and supposedly “out of touch”, interestingly this has usually been done by people who are either millionaires or billionaires (which right there is irony).  Now, I’ve personally seen the work that teachers do.  My mother was a teacher, and the hours are not confined to the hours that a school is open.  There is preparation work that takes place during the summers, and then there are the hours and hours of grading papers which is done outside of “paid” hours.  As someone who home-schooled my two children from grades 3 to 7, I have to say that I’ve got quite an appreciation for the work that teachers do.  And, I only taught 2 children, imagine having to teach 30+ every day!

My other thought is that people have a shortened attention span.  A lot of our activities require fast-paced thoughts and actions.  This can have a detrimental effect on how the growing brain works.  I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy while I was pregnant with my first child.  This book had a huge influence on how I raised my children.  I was raised with none to little television.  Yes, this is true.  I’ve never seen many of the “iconic” shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Do I feel deprived?  No, absolutely not!  I have seen some of these shows later on, and didn’t really feel like I missed anything.  So, believe it or not, my children were also raised without television.  What did we do after dinner?  I read books to them.  Some of these books include, but are not limited to: the Narnia series; Little House in the Big Woods series; and of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  There were a lot of other books I read besides.  They also played a lot, and this is extremely important to growing brains, also.

Critical thinking is so important.  You can regurgitate facts until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean that you understand any of them.  Critical thinking is one of the most important things that people can be taught.  I had my children pick a topic and write me a report on it.  They also had to check where the information they were using came from, who funded the research and whether or not it was a peer-reviewed scientific study.

Do you think that people are losing their intelligence, or that maybe the way we raise, teach and test should be looked into?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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