Category Archives: Uncategorized

15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg: “It Is The Suffering Of Many That Pay For The Luxuries Of Few”

Every sentence, every word, of this 2-minute speech is powerful. She is something else.

Teen Activist Says Leaders Not ‘Mature Enough’ To Take Action On Climate Change, Washington Post, 15 December 2018

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you”.

What Is The Mediterranean Diet? I Aim To Find Out.

Mediterranean Sea. Wikipedia

I’m curious about the Mediterranean Diet. Everywhere I look, fruits, vegetables, and beans are on the list. But I also see copious amounts of oil, more nuts than the average person can afford, alcohol every day, sometimes several times a day, and daily servings of meat, fish, eggs, and/or dairy. Something doesn’t make sense. All this animal food and fat and alcohol shouldn’t equate with health. I also have a hard time believing that the Mediterranean region which has been ravaged by war for hundreds of years supported populations that were so prosperous they could eat this way. Historically, eating animal food was a luxury. Also, many descriptions of the Mediterranean diet say to avoid processed foods but many others include bread and pasta which are processed foods. There doesn’t seem to be a clear definition. What exactly is the Mediterranean Diet? Is it really healthful? I’ll be exploring the answer over several posts.

First, an actual Mediterranean Diet does not exist. The style of eating that became the “Mediterranean Diet” was first described by Ancel Keys about 50 years ago:

Ancel Keys and his Italian colleague Flaminio Fidanza and their SCS [Seven Countries Study] colleagues were central to the modern recognition, definition, and promotion of the eating pattern they found in Italy and Greece in the 1950s and ’60s, now popularly called “The Mediterranean Diet”. Ancel Keys was the first researcher who associated the traditional Mediterranean diet with a low risk of CHD. However, the Mediterranean diet does not exist. The Mediterranean Sea borders 18 countries that differ markedly in geography, economic status, health, lifestyle and diet.
Mediterranean Dietary Patterns In The 1960s, Seven Countries Study

The 7 countries in Keys’ Seven Countries Study were:

United States
Finland
Netherlands
Italy
Yugoslavia
Greece
Japan

The Seven Countries Study was formally started in fall 1958 in Yugoslavia. In total, 12,763 males, 40–59 years of age, were enrolled as 16 cohorts, in seven countries, in four regions of the world (United States, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Japan). One cohort is in the United States, two cohorts in Finland, one in the Netherlands, three in Italy, five in Yugoslavia (two in Croatia, and three in Serbia), two in Greece, and two in Japan. The entry examinations were performed between 1958 and 1964 with an average participation rate of 90%, lowest in the USA, with 75% and highest in one of the Japanese cohorts, with 100%. The study has continued for more than 50 years.

Sit-Stand Desks

What do you think?

The Ups And Downs Of Sit-Stand Desks, Eurekalert, 12 March 2019

[The review] examines the effects of a sit-stand desk [SSD] in the following domains: behavior, physiological, work performance, psychological, discomfort, and posture.

“The study found only minimal impacts on any of those areas, the strongest being changes in behavior and discomfort,” said Baker [professor of occupational therapy at Tufts University].

Their work showed that use of a SSD effectively got participants to sit less and stand more and that the device made users more comfortable at work. However, many frustrations with SSDs stem from the physiological outcomes. Early adopters were fed the idea that these desks would be the miracle cure for obesity, but users were not achieving the results they expected. According to the review, physiological effects were the most studied, but within that domain, there were no significant results with regards to obesity.

“There are health benefits to using sit-stand desks, such as a small decrease in blood pressure or low back pain relief, but people simply are not yet burning enough calories to lose weight with these devices,”

Chambers [lead author, professor of bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering] noted that the current research is limited because many of studies were done with young and healthy subjects who were asked to use the desk for a week or month at most. Since some of the significant benefits are with cardiovascular health or muscle discomfort, it may be beneficial to perform additional studies with middle-aged or overweight workers.

The Effect Of Sit-stand Desks On Office Worker Behavioral And Health Outcomes: A Scoping Review, Applied Ergonomics, January 2019

Apple Cinnamon Squares

This is another way of cooking my Applesauce Spice Loaf (vegan, low-fat). I like this better. I made some minor tweaks to the recipe but the biggest change is that sweetened cinnamon topping. It’s amazing what a small change can do.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons warm water

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

1 3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of diced raw apple pieces, skin on

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch square pan. Place the parchment-lined pan into the oven to preheat.

Mix flax seed and water. Set aside.

Mix cinnamon and sugar topping. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.

In another large bowl combine applesauce, almond milk, maple syrup, vinegar, and flax mixture. Whisk until blended.

Remove pan from oven and place on hob or trivet.

Add wet to dry. Stir just until you see no dry flour. Don’t over-blend. Fold in apple pieces. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle topping.

Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes then remove (by holding parchment corners) and place on cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing. Makes 16 squares. Freezes well. A 15-second-microwave-blast right before eating does wonders 🙂

Into the freezer…

This recipe also makes good muffins. The only thing that changes is the oven temperature and cooking time. I set it high, 400 or I might try 420 next time, and bake for 8 minutes then turn the temperature down to 375 for an additional 16 minutes (24 minutes total cooking time). The oven probably won’t recover in those 8 minutes but that’s OK, it will still be hot enough to give the muffins a nice oven spring.

How To Strengthen Abdominals Without Injuring The Back

In the very beginning of this video, Dr. McGill* is using a simulator to create a disc herniation by merely flexing and bending a spine repeatedly, in a movement that resembles a sit-up. The rest of the video shows how to perform his 3 basic exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles without injuring the back (modified curl-up, bird dog, side plank).

Here he is discussing myths about exercise. Did you know that sucking in your stomach is harmful? It can cause the spine to buckle (a sideways deflection).

He says that a flexible back or a strong back are not protective of back injury. In fact, they are associated with more injury. The muscles of the back are meant to stabilize, to prevent movement. This is true for abdominal muscles and others of the core or torso. However, since back and stomach muscles are in constant use, they need to be maintained to provide endurance.

Here’s another video showing McGill’s “Big 3” exercises for stabilizing the back:

Bird Dog
Modified Curl-up
Side Plank

What I am learning – over the years! because this just isn’t sinking in – is that repetitive motion is not your friend, especially if it is done with weights. It damages wrists, elbows, necks, knees, and backs. The above three exercises are low-impact and non-repetitive.

* Dr. Stuart McGill is a professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo where he taught for 32 years. His research involved how the back functions, how it becomes injured, how to prevent injury, how to rehabilitate an injured back, and how to enhance athletic performance. His clients include professional athletes. He currently serves on the editorial boards for the journals Clinical Biomechanics, Applied Biomechanics, and Spine, and is the author of several books.