where trouble was needed

September 19, 2009

More Health Food?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 1:53 pm

Comment on Chocolate as Health Food

This newsbyte about chocolate as health food has been popping up from time to time. Who funded this research?

The Mars Corporation recently endowed a chair in chocolate science at the University of California at Davis. While it may well have the reported health benefits, do we really need university research to promote chocolate?

NYT columnist Michael Pollan cautions against foods that make health claims.

Don’t most people who enjoy chocolate also enjoy the idea that they are “indulging,” and take pleasure in its naughtiness? Why throw that out the window in the name of health? Is it to encourage people to eat MORE of it and not just as an occasional treat?

As Michael Pollan said, “Fortunately for everyone playing this game, scientists can find an antioxidant in just about any plant-based food they choose to study.”


Gail Collins linked the issues of access to health care and access to higher education.

As costs skyrocket in both fields, don’t we need to question university research priorities?  Studying chocolate?  Really?  It doesn’t matter that the money may be coming from Mars Corporation (well it does matter to the integrity of the research, even if it doesn’t “cost” the university money to put its weight behind the results) —  is this what we want academia and higher education to become, and is this the way we want science to guide our decisions on health? (link)

ps … I agree with the other posters that when eating chocolate one has to consider a lot more than its anti-oxidants. All the more so if it comes loaded with sugar, etc. Most of all, considering its addictive quality, I would refrain from introducing it (or processed foods / sweets in general) to children until they are old enough to have developed tastes for a variety of healthy whole foods and mature enough to understand the concept of moderation, with proper modeling from the adults around them. With this foundation, one can enjoy processed foods / sweets without over-eating them or missing them when they’re not there.


September 16, 2009

Alfie Kohn in New York Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 2:58 pm

HEALTH | September 15, 2009
Mind: When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’
Evidence is now available about the mainstream thinking on the disciplining of children.

my comment:

Dear Alfie Kohn, thanks for speaking up for Unconditional Parenting. I guess I am surprised to see that it encounters this much resistance "even" in the New York Times.

One most important point I took home from your book is, in the event of misbehavior, respond to your child, not to bystanders. When I have shared this advice with others, their wide-eyed sighs of gratitude show that people crave permission to do this and many other things you advise to support autonomy (esp, "avoid rushing"). These techniques really do work. We don’t need to demean ourselves or our children by resorting to bribes, law-enforcement via time-outs, counting, and other ways we maintain the upper hand. We really can explain and be answerable and flexible, thus modeling responsible behaviour.

I thank you for your clear message on praise. When my daughter was just 20 months old I held back (with great difficulty, I might add) from "praising" a drawing she had made, remaining silent long enough to hear her observe, "mountains." From that day I was sold.

To be honest, when I read _Unconditional Parenting_ 3-4 years ago, I called it a "dumbed down version of the Continuum Concept" — not to dismiss "for dummies" books. Having lived among indigenous communities in India, I could relate to some of the observations Liedloff made about family relationships among the Yecuana, and bristled at what I read as your attempts to translate these into lessons fitting a suburban middle-class consumer lifestyle.

Still, in a world where we are surrounded by people ready to accuse us of being permissive, not-disciplining when we are actually cultivating inner discipline, it helps to have an expert like you to reassure us and remind us that there is evidence to support our approach.

Of course I get evidence of this every day. People might call me biased :-). But if I did not see my child growing more capable of making responsible choices, expressing compassion, and learning from mistakes, from where would I get the patience to keep up? It takes a lot of time to listen, answer, explain, give her a role in decision making, explain some more, try to see things from her perspective. It also takes considerable faith to recognize that there is something to learn from a tantrum – both for the child and parent. Much of what we learn goes towards preventing the conditions that lead to the tantrum, since often they are in our control. But no matter what we do, there are times when life does not make sense. A tantrum is one honest response to this — till we can build inner reserves of confidence in ourselves against the abyss – the absurdity of life, the unquenchable why, what if … We would do well to acknowledge and respect this process rather than silence or apologize for it.

September 11, 2009

Nestle Boycott – letter to Greenpeace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 3:53 pm

Hey Greepeace,
1. Why does Greenpeace India website show pictures of gorceries that do not look like they are in India at all? lettuce, kiwi, big glossy oranges and whole wheat bread? in brown paper bags?

how about local fruits & veggies in a CLOTH bag?

2. Nestle Boycott is as old as I am. why cut out the history?

I have boycotted Nestle since 1977. I will not stop till they go GM Free, procure locally, and STOP promoting formula in violation of WHO code on Breastfeeding.

September 10, 2009

In Lawmaker’s Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 4:20 pm

In Lawmaker’s Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol
Published: September 10, 2009

Dear Editor,
If interrupting the speech with applause is not a breach of protocol, why is shouting a breach of protocol?  Is it because the shouter insulted the President that this has become news?  Would people be happy if he shouted, “I disagree!”I wish someone had shouted “You lie!” at least once when W lied to Congress.   Rather than asking hecklers to apologize, ask them for evidence.  Hold them accountable.  If you prohibit heckling, prohibit applause as well. Vice President and Speaker of the House should not lead standing ovations.I wasn’t in time to post my comment on NY Times site but I don’t think anyone else has asked this question.   Have New York Times readers become sheep?  (Or have I fallen asleep counting them and am only now waking up?)

September 8, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 12:42 pm

September 4, 2009

President in the Classroom?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 8:02 pm

Comment on Some Parents Oppose Obama School Speech

When I was in school we were taken to the library to view the space shuttle launch and a few other live events from time to time – not pre-reviewed by curriculum committee, I presume. I don’t think anyone thought it was indoctrination. We could still question the space program. And we should still be able to question the president, in fact all the more effectively, after hearing such a speech.

It is an interesting question though about beaming the president into the classroom. Opt-out should be allowed – but then I believe it should be allowed of many things, including school itself. I hope this debate encourages people to think more critically about the curriculum as a whole, about multiple avenues bringing advertising and junk food into schools, and the role of media like Channel 1 that is beamed into thousands of classrooms *daily.*

I trust that Obama’s school message is motivated by concern for students and would serve a useful purpose. I hope it would generate discussion that will help students become more active in their learning.

September 1, 2009

Dear Roy Blount

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 4:15 pm

I sure wish I had known about you when I was in elementary school. From the moment I learned about onomatopoeia I felt very strongly that all words partook of this quality, if not from their origin then in the course of their co-evolution with their sound. Of course I did not know about origins or evolution in biological life but I felt it instinctively in the life of letters. My feelings about the letter B are well known to family and friends of the time. While we may disagree on interpretations of specific relationships of sound and sense I was delighted by your numerous examples and just knowing a kindred spirit commanded such a high place. As a child I loved reading the notes in the word entries of the AHD and the chance to read more elaborate notes on the letters themselves is a pleasure I never anticipated.

I must take issue with many of your anecdotes and digressions … more on that later.

Reference: Alphabet Juice

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