Currently on view at the Institute of American Indian Arts' Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe is this piece on how the white flour, fat, salt and sugar influence on Indian traditional diets has led to out-of-control diabetes issues. Just outside, as noted in a prior post, visitors and vendors alike are eating fry breads, and other carby offerings.
Last Supper - C.Maxx Stevens’ exhibition is a conceptual installation. The new work by C. Maxx Stevens is based on her memories and experiences dealing with devastating effect of diabetes throughout native nations. The exhibition creates a larger social awareness of the epidemic and its dilemma in all of the United States. The exhibition includes her family archives and testimony/narratives of the disease and its impact on traditional values and the drastic evolution of diet as well as economy.
About the artist: C. Maxx Stevens, Muscogee/ Seminole, received the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowhip of Native American Fine Art in 2005 and was winner of the 2000 Visual Artist Award from the Andrea Frank Foundation in New York. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Indiana University in Bloomington and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and ceramics from Wichita State University in Kansas. Her installations are responses to site-specific environments where she explores the relationships among land, man, and the history of place. C. Maxx Stevens lives in Boulder, Colorado and is on the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado.
I have to either subscribe to the New England Journal of Medicine, or sign up and pay $15 to access the full article connecting potatoes and yogurt to diet, pro and con-ly. In order to read how they describe "eating potatoes," and what constitutes "yogurt."
$15 for 24 hour access to the study. !!!??
I beg your pardon, Washington Post! OK, I have not read the Harvard study, but that is the most simplistic and erroneous bit of info re the noble spud I can imagine. The piece published yesterday goes on to gush over yogurt, as in "...perhaps the biggest surprise was yogurt, every serving of which kept off nearly a pound over four years."
A serving of your average fruit-laced, high fructose corn syrup-filled commercial yogurt? Or a serving of full fat, plain organic Straus Family Creamery yogurt from happy cows?
So now America's dairy farmers are gloating, and the spud growers are mashing their own heads, and something complex is once more made simplistic, and misleading. And America's diet-crazed women are scooping cartons of Dannon into their carts.
Here's the beginning of a piece just noted today from SeattlePI:
"Pity the poor potato.
First, the anti-carb folks shun it. Now a Harvard study attacks it.
The study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine says the spud is making us fat.
To which Chris Voigt says nuts.
"If eating potatoes was so bad for you...I'd be dead by now."
That's not hyperbole. Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, went on a potato-only diet for 60 days last fall to counter the negative publicity against spuds.
It made him briefly famous. It also made him skinny.
He dropped 20 pounds. His cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose were all down. His cholesterol, for example, went from 214 to 147.
"Every health indicator," Voigt said, "was better or the same."
We of The Potato Museum have other stories like this. We continue to think that eating "good" foods like the potato, and a wide range of other foods, in moderation, is still key. ( We have irritated and annoyed the potato industry by stating here and there that French Fries made fresh should be an occasional delicious treat, not a daily staple, and yet fries consumption is on the rise all over, particularly in China, because the commercial industry is all about processed potatoes. So much for our proselytizing...)
But I should read the actual report. Yes.
"In an essay published last November in Canada's Maisonneuve journal, physician Kevin Patterson described his experiences working as an internist-intensivist at the Canadian Combat Surgical Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
One detail he noticed: The Afghan soldiers, police and civilians he treated in Kandahar had radically different bodies from those of the Canadians he took care of back home.
"Typical Afghan civilians and soldiers would have been 140 pounds or so as adults. And when we operated on them, what we were aware of was the absence of any fat or any adipose tissue underneath the skin," Patterson says. "Of course, when we operated on Canadians or Americans or Europeans, what was normal was to have most of the organs encased in fat. It had a visceral potency to it when you could see it directly there."
( Patterson, pictured in the Canadian Arctic, is also a novelist. More on him and his work at the National Review of Medicine website.)
Listen to Terry Gross interview Dr. Patterson on Fresh Air here:
From the Applebee's website: Appetizer Sampler.
Below, the same item as featured in today's G.B. Trudeau's Doonesbury cartoon strip.
2,590 calories, according to the strip. Of course, it's billed at Applebee's as an item to be shared. Between you and your tum? Between you and 5 pals?
In today's NYTimes, Michael Pollan writes that no discussion of health care reform, costs, and so on should overlook "...a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet."
It's obvious, it has been said and written before, but there it lies, maybe less like an elephant and more like what an elephant leaves behind after digesting a good meal.
When Foodie Spouse and I applied for a slightly different health insurance policy several years back, we were asked if we smoked--no, never--and if we "used alcohol." Nothing was asked about our diet, nor about our level of physical activity. I asked the asker why her company was not interested in knowing any of that.
You can get better auto insurance rates if you show evidence of being a safe, skilled driver. My health care provider apparently could care less that we might be a better risk for them than an inert couple hooked on fast food and soft drinks.
But, as Pollan points out, once the pre-existing condition loophole is removed with the passage of a proposed health care bill, "... health insurance companies will promptly discover they have a powerful interest in reducing rates of obesity and chronic diseases linked to diet."
According to Pollan, currently it costs the country $147 billion to handle obesity in the United States.
Yesterday evening, out walking with the terrier, I watched young parents leaving the neighborhood soccer fields with their kids after practice. A pretty, seriously overweight blond mother looking well shy of 30, and her hefty 6 year-old daughter climbed up into their Jeep, the mom with some effort.
This is not only nuts, it's irresponsibly sad.
Eat more veggies, ginger, turmeric, blueberries, whole grains and fish, cut way back on red meat, dairy, and trans fats, and, presto, you will be entering the anti-inflammation zone. It's all in a book aptly called The Anti-Inflammation Zone, by Barry Sears. Now this diet is not aimed at "weight loss," apparently, but people do lose weight on it. And, by yes, reducing inflammatory-ness, one takes a firm step towards preventing all manner of disease, including heart ailments, cancer, even Alzheimer's.
The LA Times did a piece on the anti-inflammatory trend and the author noted that the Mediterranean diet really does closely resemble the a-i edibles approach, except possibly for the heavy use of ginger and turmeric.
Is this yet another recycling/repackaging of common-sensical eating? And what about the Inuit?
Curiously, what was common and sensible eating for the northern-dwelling Inuit many years ago-- their traditional diet---hints at the positive role of fatty fish as described here in Discover magazine, in 2004.
"Today, when diet books top the best-seller list and nobody seems sure of what to eat to stay healthy, it’s surprising to learn how well the Eskimo did on a high-protein, high-fat diet. Shaped by glacial temperatures, stark landscapes, and protracted winters, the traditional Eskimo diet had little in the way of plant food, no agricultural or dairy products, and was unusually low in carbohydrates. Mostly people subsisted on what they hunted and fished. "
Here's the fishy kicker. "... like a “natural aspirin,” adds (Professor Eric) Dewailly, omega-3 polyunsaturated fats ( from fish and sea mammals) help put a damper on runaway inflammatory processes, which play a part in atherosclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, and other so-called diseases of civilization."
You, too, can fight back against food tax! YEAH! I just stumbled onto this cheery, filled-with-young-healthy-looking models website called Americans Against Food Taxes, with its healthy lunch box message. The gigantic US beverage/convenience store industry cares deeply about your health, and that of your kids, and doesn't want bananas, um, and apples, huh?, taxed. No Cokes are pictured, oddly. No 7-Up pictured, either. No crappy soft drinks pictured anywhere on the website. Gosh and golly.
On the News tab is a photo of a young guy holding a paper bag overflowing with fresh veggies. No one is going to tax bell peppers, lettuce and asparagus..........
But here's the text, as it begins the --be afraid, America, be very afraid-- message that health care is bad and scary, and soft drinks are good and American.
"Get ready, because that’s exactly what many lawmakers and advocates of health care reform have in mind to help pay for the massive health care reform being considered in Congress. Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks. Other watchdog groups are busy identifying other food items they believe are too high in sugar or fat content to tax as well."
A Coke being equated with "food".
CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVORS, CAFFEINE.
57MG CAFFEINE/20 OZ
65 grams of sugars, 240 calories. See sugar content of assorted drinks/juices here. And this, from a 2008 report published by newser.com:
"According to a study recently published in The Journal of School Nursing, soft drink consumption has increased by 300 percent in the past 20 years, the Allen Press reports, with 56 to 85 percent of children consuming at least one soft drink daily.These beverages currently constitute the leading source of added sugars in the diet.."
So much to be pissed off about these days. I think I'll go cultivate my garden.
Just flipped through the book The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Lfe, by Joseph Maroon, MD, Atria 2009, so you wouldn't have to. Not that this is an arduous read at all--it flows, it answers questions, it's well-researched. ( Do we love the fact that author's name is MAROON, or what? You'll see why.)
Basically it boils down to this: Drink red wine; eat dark choc; eat red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, apples, cranberries and so on--you see the pattern here? Oh--drink green tea. Not rooibos, the "red tea" of South Africa? No mention of it.
And exercise, be happy, be spiritual, and all that.
I am being glib here, but that may stem from my eyes having lighted on the words "Iceberg lettuce" in the recipe section of the book.
All the bits about "gene activation" drove me to open that bottle of red. But--for those of you into the deeper story behind the glory of certain (reddish) foods, please, read this book.
( Thanks to photo from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325125937.htm a site that also details the power of red wine specifically in fighting cancer.)
Apparently a full-fledged, deep, lengthy, costly (?,) study of weight loss efforts indicates that it doesn't really matter that much whether you suck eggs, eat antelope livers, or wolf down masses of pickled beets, you will lose weight ONLY if you eat less than you do now. Low fat, low carb, high fat, high carb, so what.
The reference to the study eludes me, perhaps because I yawned through its findings.
Eat less, enjoy what you eat, move more.
ps Still, I favor the Mediterranean style of eating, along with loads of walkies.
"Diets" don't work but eating well/differently/less does. You knew this, right? Also, moving about rather than lying around like a bored teenager, keeps your body happy. Maybe not "thin," but happy.
Also--women who have had no boobs to speak of other than during pregnancy who gain a tad extra in later years suddenly enjoy having breasts. What's wrong with that?
And, to repeat----From the NYT last July: "The New England Journal report also affirmed something many women have believed all along — that low-carb diets work better for men than women. Male low-carb dieters lost about 11 pounds, compared to about 9 pounds on a Mediterranean diet. Women low-carb dieters lost only about 5 pounds, compared to about 14 on the Mediterranean diet."
Let's face it--Anyone eating Mediterranean style will be delighted and delightful, over the long haul.
Also--anyone deciding to put his/her gym membership on hold until the outdoor pool reopens will find delectation at the local community center--damn fine use of taxpayer dollars--where the fitness paraphernalia is available free.
As for the two boxes of Trader Joe's seasonal peppermint cookies still lurking in my pantry, shall I give them to Goodwill?!
Apparently the January cover of the O mag has a pic of the trim Oprah and the chunky Oprah, and inside, the chunky O evidently regrets same. So what?! She's rich, influential, has a private chef...she's active, on-the-ball, and, ok, a tad heavy. Fortunately, she's given up trying to be "thin," but I really do not think she needs to stress out about this. Nor make other naturally larger persons feel badly about themselves. Of course, she is only 5 feet 6 inches tall..............uh oh.
Recent food reports tell us that A---women eat less in times of famine, as they provide for their children and husbands first, B---low carb diets, as well as the Mediterranean diet, work far better than low fat diets, and C--jalapeno peppers may be the salmonella culprits, and that $100 million in losses later tomato growers are looking at cooking up a mess of marinara sauce.
C--OK, not so obvious...
Oh, and this reported in The Guardian from Angela Hartnett, a Brit chef acquainted with Michelin stars, her own, that is:
"What's the best/worst thing about the British food scene?
The best? Hmmmm. The worst is that we think we're now a nation of foodies and we're not. Oh, and I think it's really bad that good food costs so much and bad food is so cheap. That's wrong."
As noted in an earlier post, I am finally reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, written with contributions from family members, and it truly is more than it seems. As many of you know, she recounts with sly humor a year of eating locally, most from their own 40 acres in Virginia, but also examines with graceful precision a range of food issues. The perils of cheap food, raising and dispatching animals, infusing unexpected recipes with veggies, organic vs sustainable et al, and more. A bonus: simple, straight-forward recipes, plus, an invitation to make cheese. I plan to try this asap.
The Washington Post is running Part 2 of a major piece on childhood obesity in America, an exploration of the excesses of one country's love affair with bad food and drink choices, among other things. But always part of this not-new story, is that in the poorest of our country's neighborhoods are the fewest decent supermarkets. The well-off have access to good food, gyms, personal trainers, and multitudes of how-to books and magazines on health and well-being.
( My unsolicited advice to all new parents--never take your kid to McD's or the equivalent, period. One visit and they are hooked. )
Meanwhile, to buffets---I returned to a favorite Indian joint recently and found two of the three primary veggie offerings were 1--potatoes and a few green pepper hunks; 2--carrots and peas. Neither dish had much appeal, even though I enjoy both spuds and carrots. But I felt I was witnessing the "cheapening down" of what was once a worthwhile buffet, a phenomenon written up on the Internets recently. And, puzzled by the not so fine taste of the chapati bread, I decided that they were made with inferior flour, to save costs, given the huge rise in wheat prices. I will ask about that the next time I stop by, if I stop by again, but before parking myself for lunch, I will more closely scan the buffet offerings.
In between mel0dramatic reports on lame bowling skills and memories of shooting ducks as a wee lass and all the flotsam and jetsam of American political discourse, I have noted disparagement of Senator Obama's campaign eating style. Apparently he doesn't finish all his waffles! He shies away from fat-laden nightmares like Philly cheesesteaks ( I may be making this one up) and so on. He's not into multiple brewskies, either.
So the guy is trim, healthy, and against all the odds during this marathon primary season, he wants to stay that way and hold off the carbs. What a nutcase! What a crappy exemplar of all that is American!
Please, superdelegates, end the agony soon so that Barry O' can take a break to revisit farmers markets and Senator Clinton can hole up in her Georgetown home tossing back whatever she damn pleases.
This tidbit from the NYT a few days back may amuse....
ps Not getting into the use of "waffle" as a verb...
(Thanks to http://www.easywafflerecipe.com/ for handsome, healthy-looking waffle photo.)