I have lived nearly 50 years, and I have seen life as it is. Pain, misery, hunger...cruelty beyond belief.

I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets. I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle...or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I have held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no gallant last words...only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question: "Why?"

I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?

Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams--this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Source: Man of La Mancha

"Everytime you spend money, your casting a vote for the kind of world you want." -unknown

I came across this article in the "Globe and Mail," and found it quite interesting...

Humans have spent millions of years adapting to their environments. At one time we hunted and gathered our food, but now we rely on agriculture, which has only been around for approximately 11,000 years. Therefore, what this is implying is that our bodies and "genes are still optimized for life on the savannah." Humans were made to live life like the caveman did such as hunting and gathering our food. 

So what is this "Paleo Lifestyle" all about?

"The Paleo diet depends on the assupmtion that our genes haven't had time to adapt to the 'modern' diet. Since evolution depends on random mutations, larger populations evolve more quickly because there's a greater chance that a particularly favorable mutation will occur. As a result, our genome is now changing roughly 100 times faster than it was during the Paleolithic era, meaning that we have had time to at least adapt to an agriculture diet."

This is an interesting concept considering there are so many people who have food tolerances such as, gluten, dairy, peanuts potatoes, preservatives, artificial coloring and eggs. In this article Alex uses an example of the ability to digest dairy products, such as milk. "More than 90 per cent of Swedes, for example, carry this mutation." However in contrast he gives us the example of how Finnish reindeer herders have "acquired genes that allow them to digest meat more efficiently, while other populations can better digest alcohol or grains." 
Something I have actually learned as that in Australia the aboriginal people lack the enzyme that detoxifies alcohol. this could have something to with the fact that these people survived in the bush eating "bush tucker" for many many years. 

Alex covers six key elements in his article for the "Paleolithic lifestyle." These six key elements are according to a Swedish health researcher who specializes in the effects of 'ancestral' diets, Pedro Carrera-Bastos.

  1. Pollution
  2. Acute Stress
  3. Sleep
  4. Sunshine
  5. Physical Activity
  6. Fresh, Unprocessed Food

Source: Globe and Mail, Article by Alex Hutchinson



<p>Anup Shah, <a href="http://www.globalissues.org/issue/749/food-and-agriculture-issues">Food and Agriculture Issues</a>, <cite>Global Issues</cite>, Updated: July 31, 2011</p>


After Rob and Gavin's presentation today I wanted to try and find some information on the men in Africa with Aids, it was actually a question of mine, "where do the men fit into in all this?" when I read "Race Against Time." I thought this was an interesting article. 
Interestingly enough some students and I were talking about Cuba the other night, and today I just so happened to come across this article in the globe and mail. It is only a small article, but after working in agriculture and beginning my studies I've become very interested in agriculture from an international view point. Anyways, that article was talking about how Cuban farmers are finally being allowed after decades "to sell their crops directly to hotels and other tourist enterprises" (article by AFP, Globe & Mail). Hopefully this will help Cuba's economy. I don't know a lot about Cuba, other then a bit of their history, that it is a communist country and that they are not allowed into the US as the Americans are not allowed in Cuba. Therefore I am hoping to do a little more research into the countries agriculture system and policies. 
There are many ways for Congress to frustrate the American people. A high-profile failure to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit, for example. But declaring pizza sauce a vegetable? That, it turns out, might work even better.

Congress passed a revised agriculture appropriations bill last week, essentially making it easier to count pizza sauce as a serving of vegetables. The move has drawn widespread outrage from consumer advocates and pundits, who see “pizza is a vegetable.” as outlandish.

There’s just one little misperception: Congress didn’t declare pizza to be a vegetable. And, from a strictly nutritional standpoint, there’s decent evidence that lawmakers didn’t exactly bungle this decision.

Let’s revisit the facts: Despite what one might expect from the headlines, if you scour theagriculture appropriations bill, referenced in numerous stories, you won’t find a single mention of the word “pizza,” or even “vegetable,” for that matter.

This is not a fight over pizza. It is, instead, a fight about tomato paste. Specifically, it’s a fight about how much of the product counts as one serving of vegetables.

Right now, tomato paste gets a sort of special treatment under school lunch regulations. Just “an eighth of a cup of tomato paste is credited with as much nutritional value as half a cup of vegetables,” my colleague Dina ElBoghdady explained last week.

The Obama administration guidelines, outlined in January, would have nixed tomato paste’s extra credit, counting a half cup as a half cup. “Under this proposal, schools would credit tomato paste and puree based on actual volume as served,” the regulation, published in the Federal Register on Jan. 13, 2011, explains. “Schools would not be allowed to credit a volume of fruits or vegetables that is more than the actual serving size.”

What happened this week was that Congress blocked that change: Tomato paste will continue to get outsized credit, with one-eighth of a cup essentially counted as something four times larger.

This makes it easier, and cheaper, for pizza manufacturers to produce a product that includes a serving of vegetables. But, as my colleagues over at The Checkup emphasize, itby no means declares the pizza itself a vegetable. Schools lunches are still measured byfederal regulations for calories (no more than one-third of daily recommended value) and fat content (less than 30 percent of the meal), which limits how much pizza students can be served. A cafeteria worker can’t just pile a slice of pizza on a plate and say she’s serving salad.

Back to the tomato paste controversy: Should a smaller serving of tomato paste have equal footing with a half-cup of other fruits and vegetables?

If you stack one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste up against a half-cup of some pretty common fruits and vegetables, the paste actually doesn’t do so badly. Here are nutrition facts for one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste (left) versus a half a cup of apples (right):

All told, the nutrition facts look really similar. Tomato paste does do a lot worse on sodium, but it also does much better in terms of calcium and potassium content. It also slightly edges out apples on dietary fiber, with a lower amount of sugar.

I tested out a few other comparisons, and they came out relatively close. You can see the results below.

Measuring fruit and vegetable servings by volume is a bit of an odd convention in the first place. When it comes to calories and nutrients, they’re really all over the map. A half-cup of avocado is quite nutritionally different from a half-cup of zucchini.

As for the half-cup of tomato paste at the center of this debate, it would no doubt have had more nutrients than an eighth-cup. Advocacy groups were disappointed to see the regulatory change blocked. More tomato paste would mean more pizza sauce, would mean more potassium and fiber. But the smaller serving, in strictly nutritional terms, looks a whole lot like the larger serving of some of the most common fruits and vegetables we consume.

Moreover, it’s far from clear how much this decision matters for what students actually eat. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture writes guidelines for what school meals should look like, few schools actually follow them. Just 20 percent of schools served meals that met federal guidelines for fat content, according to a 2007 USDA audit

Thursday, November 3rd 2011

I really enjoyed reading the “Evaluating Literature” article; it was one of the best ones I have read so far. I think that it really raised some good questions and thoughts to how Christians should interpret things; to help us think about what we are reading and if it is going to be hurtful to us. Its funny Christians think porn is bad, and I agree, I think it is disgusting and very degrading to women and men. However, what about all these magazines on the newsstands that are within arms reach everywhere? These are acceptable. Are they not full of fake images of beauty? Pornography to ones body image, emotions and raping our soul. However, its ok to read this crap… hummm… it seems to be its more accepted because it is presented in a more moral way. But its ok, its moral of us to tell society that you need to lose 15lbs in order to live a better live and be happy, exercise and diet to look good and be happy, give us tips on better sex, what we should wear, smell like, yet where is God in all this? We let media become our idol! We rather know what Angelia Jolie is doing then about the starving kids and Africa. We focus on all the things we want instead of what it is we already have and need. Sometimes I wonder if morals even exist within our societies anymore. 

Nicole Leger

Jamaican dairy farmers are throwing away milk that they are unable to sell - thanks to a market flooded with cheap imports from Europe

"Dairy farmers are crying out for help. But we cannot offer them a market while processors have a choice of cheap imports. This is our opportunity to say to Europe: 'Export subsidies are killing the developing countries. Jamaican farmers are pleading with you.'"

- Fiona Black, Dairy Herd Services, Jamaica

Before the early 1990s, the Jamaican dairy industry was healthy, and growing. But when the Jamaican government opened up the dairy market to imports - in response to pressure from the World Bank - that changed overnight. Shiploads of cheap milk powder from Europe, produced and exported with the aid of massive EU subsidies, spelt disaster for Jamaica's dairy farmers.

Jamaican dairy processors - including the multinational, Nestlé - have turned their backs on the local dairy industry, preferring to use the cheaper, imported powder.

In spite of their efforts over the past ten years, Jamaican dairy farmers are losing the battle against subsidised imports. Less than one-fifth of what the country consumes is now provided by the local industry.

The effects on dairy farmers - many of whom are women running their own small businesses - are disastrous. They are literally throwing away thousands of litres of milk from overflowing coolers. Many are leaving the industry that has supported their families for generations.

Rich countries pressure poor countries to open up their markets - and then dump subsidised goods on them, wreaking havoc on local industries. At the same time, rich countries fiercely protect their own markets from poor countries' exports.