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How Much Do You Like Your Diet? Given Adherence Likely Dependent On Enjoyment, Our Recent Paper Set Out To Quantify That

Posted  January 6, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Back in 2012, I wondered aloud about creating a scoring system for dietary enjoyment. I blogged about it a few times here and there, and happily, a wonderful team of researchers in New Zealand took notice. Now, thanks to the hard work of Michelle Jospé, along with Jillian Haszsard, and Rachel Taylor, the first step towards its formal use has been taken.

Our paper, A tool for assessing the satisfaction of a diet: Development and preliminary validation of the Diet Satisfaction Score, was published late last year and it details our Diet Satisfaction Score’s preliminary reliability and validity.

With the help of the 1,604 people (spanning 24 different countries!) who answered our survey questions, as well as 6 diverse experts (thanks to Melanie Dubyk, Kevin Hall, Scott Kahan, Silke Morrison, Marion Nestle, Sherry Pagoto, Arya Sharma and Ethan Weiss), we arrived on the following questions geared to address various aspects of dietary adherence and satisfaction

The simplest way to think of the Diet Satisfaction Score’s use is the higher the overall score (each question is answered on a 5 point Likert scale and the final DSS score is calculated by way of taking the mean of all available items yielding a total score between 1 and 5), the greater an individual’s satisfaction/enjoyment of that diet is. The hypothesis then would be higher scores correlating with better adherence and consequently better/sustained weight loss.

And that’s what our preliminary findings suggest whereby each 1-point higher Diet Satisfaction Score correlated with a 1.7 week longer diet duration. It was also found that compared with those who had abandoned their diets, those maintaining them reported larger losses.

The value of a simple and quick score like this to individuals would be as a means to assess how much (or how little) they were enjoying their diets taking into account more than just whether they like the foods they’re eating, but also the impact their chosen diet might be having on related aspects of life (socializing, time, cost, etc.). Those evaluating their new diets and finding their scores low, might explore means to tweak their diets, or to try new ones.

The DSS score’s value to clinicians would be as a quick means to screen their patients’ efforts and perhaps to use the tool to help trouble shoot, or to triage referrals to professional resources such as registered dietitians.

The value of the DSS score to researchers would be using this tool with shorter term studies as a means to predict whether or not their studied diets are likely to be sustainable (as who really cares how much weight a person might lose on a particular short term diet if few people would actually sustain it).

Of course now what’s required is the repeated use of the Diet Satisfaction score in a long-term prospective trial. The good news is that because the tool, like me, is diet agnostic, it can be administered with any and all dietary strategies. Should you be interested in using the Diet Satisfaction Score in your trial Dr. Jospe is the person to contact and her contact information is just this one click away.

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It’s Twelfth Night!

Posted  January 6, 2020  by  Anonymous

Today is Twelfth Night AKA Epiphany Eve.Here is one classic version:   And another much earlier classic too: The director, Wendy Toye, was one of the few female film directors in the 1950s (or in any decade, for that matter).

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Breaking: Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry Rejoins Board of Dakota Access Owner, Energy Transfer

Posted  January 3, 2020  by  Sharon Kelly
Rick Perry

Read time: 2 mins

Former Trump administration Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who resigned from his cabinet-level post last effective last month, has joined the board of directors of the general partner of Energy Transfer LP, according to a filing made today with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Energy Transfer.

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Comment: Thanks to the Climate Crisis, We’re Now in the Roaring Twenties

Posted  January 2, 2020  by  guest
Yanderra Bushfire in Australia December 2019

Read time: 8 mins

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from ClimateZone.org

The next decade will be noisy as hell. As more intense wildfires blaze across every continent except Antarctica, the sound of the planet burning will only get louder.

Climate scientists are looking back over the last decade, collating the data, and reviewing the numbers. Every single one of the most important metrics are signaling a worsening situation. It’s common knowledge that emissions of the carbon gases continue to increase and that this is driving up global temperatures, but the intensifying impact of heat waves and wildfires is starting to overwhelm governments’ capacity to keep these disasters under control.

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Its the Year of the Optometrist!

Posted  January 1, 2020  by  Anonymous
People around the world are celebrating 2020 – which my husband calls The Year of the Optometrist.
Singapore, with 500 performing drones
New Year’s Eve - Singapore
Australia
Philippines
India
Kenya
London
Photos from the New York Times.
And from Twitter:
Image
Couldn’t resist this tweet:

“I’m going to learn the flute and write my novel this year”

dude if we aren’t bartering dried beans and ammo with the last person who remembers how to make antibiotics in a year let’s call it a win

— Mass for Shut-ins (is a podcast) (@edburmila) December 31, 2019


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Canadian scene

Posted  December 31, 2019  by  Anonymous
A few Canadian tweets to finish out the year:

Only in Canada eh https://t.co/AQwmru6GOs

— Raging🇨🇦Granny/ Resistor & Team Trudeau (@RagingLibNana) December 30, 2019

Exactly five years ago today, I moved from Nigeria to Canada and my life changed forever. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

— ufuoma (@theufuoma) December 31, 2019

Happy Birthday to The Guess Who singer songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist Burton Cummings, born on this day in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1947. 🎉🎂🎶🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/neqOAs6nWf

— Purple Beacon (@BeaconPurple) December 31, 2019

Crime is getting out of hand! https://t.co/Po7f2QjNYU

— Meanwhile in Canada (@MeanwhileinCana) December 31, 2019



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Children

Teachers, Stop Teaching Kids To Reward Anything and Everything With Junk Food And Candy!

Posted  December 31, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

The past 50 years of so have seen scads of unhealthy societal changes to how we use food, and near the top of that heap lies our now normalized use of junk food to reward, pacify, and entertain our children at every turn.

Take the jelly bean prayer up above. That was sent home with RD Nadine Devine‘s Junior Kindergartener in honour of Easter.

WWJD? Not that.

Or this needs-to-be-seen-to-be-believed note that was sent home with another friend’s 5 year old.

I imagine that the teachers responsible for those two examples don’t see either as unwise as why question normal behaviours? If everyone does them, they must be ok.

Yet I’d wager that if those same two Kindergarten teachers reflected on the lesson their use of classroom junk food is teaching their incredibly impressionable, young, students, they would recognize that teaching incredibly young children that it is normal to reward even the smallest of victories or celebrations with junk food is not in their students’ best interests.

Teachers, if you’re reading this, so far as rewarding kids go, it’s not difficult to do so without candy. Extra-recess, dressing your teacher up in funny clothing, being in charge of school announcements, a classroom dance party, have a class outside, hand out “no-homework” passes, stickers, bookmarks, etc…

I know that teachers care deeply about their students, which is why I genuinely believe that putting an end to junk-food classroom rewards is something that society, and teachers, can fix.

[And for some suggestions as to how you might begin to approach this with one your children’s teachers, coaches, whatever, here’s something I wrote a few years ago about shutting down your children’s sugar pushers]

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From the BP Spill to a Disappearing Island: A Decade of Covering Climate and the Environment in Louisiana

Posted  December 30, 2019  by  Julie Dermansky
Cemetery next to the Marathon Refinery, in Reserve, Louisiana, in the heart of Cancer Alley

Read time: 7 mins

What happens in Louisiana doesn’t stay in Louisiana. The state’s role in the oil and gas industry impacts both global markets and global climate change. It’s also on the front line of climate change impacts due to sea level rise and is vulnerable to storm systems intensified by global warming. Here is a selection of photos from a decade of my coverage of environmental issues in Louisiana.

The decade started with the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The impacts from the BP oil spill are still taking a toll on the environment, and a number of people exposed to the oil and the dispersant used to break up the oil continue to fight the company for compensation due to their health claims.

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Children

It’s More Important To Teach Your Kids to Cook Than to Play Soccer

Posted  December 30, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Photo courtesy of yoshiyasu nishikawa 

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

Yes, I know there will be people whose challenges and circumstances are real and severe enough that they genuinely can’t ensure their kids learn how to cook before leaving home. This post isn’t for them. This post is for everyone else.

For the first time in history the average American family is spending more money in restaurants than they are in grocery stores.

Kids are leaving home now knowing more about how to play soccer or hockey than they do about how to cook meals from fresh whole ingredients.

That’s so incredibly unfortunate, not only for those kids, but for their future families.

Cooking is a life skill and it’s a parents job to teach those before they leave home. If you aren’t comfortable with cooking yourself, take the opportunity to learn with your kids. Your kids learning how to cook will serve not only to help them in providing themselves and their futures with healthful meals, but will also save them money during their lean years and will likely reduce their risk of developing a myriad of diet-related, chronic, non-communicable diseases.

Whether by way of the ridiculous amount of online recipes and resources, or enrolling in a cooking course or supper club, cooking, like any skill, is obtained by way of practice. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at cooking now. Take the time, and there’s no doubt you’ll get there.

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Comedy Can Help Us Tackle The Climate Crisis – Here’s How

Posted  December 29, 2019  by  guest

Read time: 5 mins

By Birte Loschenkohl, University of Essex

Society’s defining issues are rarely presented as raw facts and stats, and climate change is no exception. From the performance of funerals for lost species and glaciers to the claim that the best we can do is adapt to impending catastrophe, climate change is often narrated like a classic Greek tragedy. Errors in human judgement set off a chain of events that once in motion inevitably bring extreme suffering, and a powerful sense of helplessness to change what we know is coming.
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A Year Of Resistance: How Youth Protests Shaped The Discussion On Climate Change

Posted  December 28, 2019  by  guest

Read time: 5 mins

By Joe Curnow, University of Manitoba and Anjali Helferty, University of Toronto

Greta Thunberg made history again this month when she was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The 16-year-old has become the face of youth climate action, going from a lone child sitting outside the Swedish parliament building in mid-2018 to a symbol for climate strikers — young and old — around the world.

Thunberg was far from the first young person to speak up in an effort to hold the powerful accountable for their inaction on climate change, yet the recognition of her efforts come at a time when world leaders will have to decide whether — or with how much effort — they will tackle climate change. Their actions or inactions will determine how much more vocal youth will become in 2020.

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A Look Back at Some of DeSmog’s Major Investigations of 2019

Posted  December 27, 2019  by  Anonymous

Read time: 8 mins

As 2019 comes to a close, DeSmog is reflecting on another year that featured high-impact investigations and accountability reporting by our team of journalists about the reckless fossil fuel industry. From new revelations regarding dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure, to new documents shedding light on early efforts to undermine climate science and exert industry influence over climate and energy policy, the past year was filled with exceptional investigative work by DeSmog. The following recaps some of the highlights of our public interest reporting over the past year.

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The Food Industry Spends A Cancer Moonshot On Advertising Every 3 Weeks

Posted  December 27, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

Some perspective.

Did you hear about the “Cancer Moonshot 2020“?

In their words,

The Cancer MoonShot 2020 Program is one of the most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiatives launched to date, seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients.

And so what’s the cost of this ambitious program over the course of the next 5 years?

$1 billion.

Sound impressive?

Maybe less so when you consider that according to AdAge, in 2014 alone, the top 25 US food industry brands spent just shy of 15x that amount advertising their products.

That’s a moonshot worth every 3 weeks!

Spread that out over the billion dollar moonshot’s 5 year duration and suddenly you realize that through 2020 the food industry will spend 75 times more money trying to get you to buy Coca-Cola, KFC, Cheerios, Dunkin, etc., than the government will be spending on their “MoonShot” to cure cancer.

If we want to see population level improvements to diet, no doubt that part of the requirement will be food industry advertising reform. Banning advertising that targets kids altogether, reforming front-of-package claims, cracking down on deceit, and more, because with a cancer moonshot of food industry advertising every three weeks, consumers don’t stand a chance if we don’t.

[And of course the other issue worth noting is how incredibly irresponsible it is to promote a 5-year, billion dollar investment as a cancer moonshot.]

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The mysterious macaques of Gibraltar

Posted  December 26, 2019  by  Anonymous

Gibraltar Macaque

One of the famed macaques of Gibraltar, the only monkey in Europe and subject of a new academic book by two Canadian researchers. (Photo courtesy University of Toronto)

If you’ve ever visited Gibraltar, a rock off the south of Spain that is United Kingdom territory, the most memorable thing about the place are the cheeky monkeys who have lived there for the past 300 years. Monkey Tales, The Gibraltar Macaque: A Living Legacy and a Perfect Nuisance by Larry Sawchuk and Lianne Tripp is the first academic book that looks in detail at Europe’s last remaining wild monkey population.

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School “Hot Lunches” Are Beyond Awful. How Did We Let Them Happen?

Posted  December 25, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

A friend on Twitter sent the photo up above to me. It’s this week’s hot lunch offering for his kid’s school’s kindergartners through Grade 6ers.

Hot dogs, donuts, and juice.

Really?

And then of course there’s pizza days, sub days, and various other awful food days that not only serve kids literal fast food, but in so doing also teach kids that it’s a totally normal/alright to have fast food each and every week.

Parents would jump in front of buses for their children, and yet packing them a healthy lunch everyday isn’t doable? Clearly it’s not a money thing as $5 for a hot dog, a donut and a juice box certainly doesn’t make this hot lunch a value proposition.

How did we get here as a society?

More importantly, how do we leave?

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Christmas

Posted  December 24, 2019  by  Anonymous

My favorite passages from A Christmas Carol are the descriptions of Christmas in Victorian London:Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and con…

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Why You Should Probably Just Ignore All Breakfast Studies

Posted  December 24, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff
By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016.

Ugh, breakfast stories.

Such a frustrating topic in nutrition as for both health reporters and diet gurus it would seem that there is no middle ground, breakfast is positioned either as essential or pointless.

Well I’ll tell you what’s pointless – “breakfast” studies.

I’m putting breakfast in quotations because virtually all the is it good for you or not breakfast studies seem to study breakfast as a whole.

Seems to me that regardless of your chosen end point (be it weight, appetite, hunger, adiposity, heart disease, insulin, school performance, whatever) what a person eats for breakfast will matter a great deal, and just studying whether or not a person ate breakfast, will lump together bowls of Froot Loops with almond topped steel cut oats, and Pop Tarts with summer vegetable omelettes.

My experience, born out of a dozen years of working with thousands of patients on weight management, has been that for most, a protein rich breakfast benefits all-day satiety, whereas a bowl of ultra-processed, sugar-fortified carbs, doesn’t. And please note, I said most, not all.

Ultimately breakfast matters for some and not for others, and if you’re curious whether or not it’s important for you, what you choose to eat for breakfast is going to play a big role in your answer.

And for the love of everything holy, please, please, stop reporting on “breakfast” studies, whether you or they are pro or con, as if they’re able to make conclusions about the utility of breakfast as a whole.

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2019 in Photos: Impacts from Environmental Rollbacks and the Growing Climate Activism

Posted  December 23, 2019  by  Julie Dermansky
Christmas tree on tombstone in cemetery near coal power plant

Read time: 7 mins

Here is a selection of photos I shot for DeSmog in 2019, another year when arguably not enough collective action was taken to protect the planet from global warming. 

Throughout 2019 the Trump administration continued to roll back environmental standards. Meanwhile, advocacy groups and activists ramped up the battle for clean air and water and a livable climate. 

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No Diet Works For Everyone, And Every Diet Works For Someone

Posted  December 23, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

As has been my tradition, in December I repost old favourites from years gone by. This year am looking back to 2016

Two weeks ago Kevin Hall and I had our diet commentary published in The Lancet. Not surprisingly, we upset some folks – primarily low-carbers. Some accused us of being low-fat cheerleaders. Others that we fostered an “animus” towards low-carb diets.

While I can’t speak for Kevin, I can honestly state that I’m totally fine with low-carb diets. For some people they’re a life changer and our office is happy to work with patients on them. I’ve also got nothing against low fat, Paleo, intermittent fasting, vegan, gluten-free, or any other diet that has a name.

What matters most to me, and what was also the crux of our commentary, is whether or not a person likes their chosen diet enough to sustain it. Food is not simply fuel. Food is comfort, food is celebration, and food serves as the foundation of a huge part of our social lives. Regardless of whether or not one diet vs. another diet affords a person an additional few pounds of loss (or even whether or not it confers specific health benefits) pales in importance to whether or not a person likes that diet’s style of eating enough to live with it for good

As noted in our piece, every diet out there has its long term success stories, and so moving forward, if you see anyone out there suggesting their diet is the best (or that your diet is the worst) rest assured they have an agenda. Their agenda might simply reflect an n=1 mentality of, “it worked for me therefore it’s what you should do“, it might reflect basic post-purchase rationalization, or it might reflect genuine science and studies that infer greater short term losses or potential health benefits. But if they can’t wrap their heads around adherence (which on an individual basis is an expression of whether or not you like what you’re eating and don’t miss what you’re not) as any diet’s long term’s most critical component, their ideology is showing.

Temporary efforts will only yield temporary outcomes no matter how exciting the outcomes might be in the short run.

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Happy Festivus!

Posted  December 23, 2019  by  Anonymous
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The Fracking Industry’s Methane Problem Is a Climate Problem

Posted  December 22, 2019  by  Anonymous
methane gas warning sign

Read time: 9 mins

While carbon dioxide — deservedly — gets a bad rap when it comes to climate change, about 40 percent of global warming actually can be attributed to the powerful greenhouse gas methane, according to the 2013 IPCC report. This makes addressing methane emissions critical to stopping additional warming, especially in the near future. Methane is shorter-lived in the atmosphere but 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. 

Atmospheric levels of methane stopped increasing around the year 2000 and at the time were expected to decrease in the future. However, they began increasing again in the last 10 years, spurring researchers to explore why. Robert Howarth, a biogeochemist at Cornell University, recently presented his latest research linking the increase in methane to fossil fuel production, with fracking for natural gas, which is mostly methane, likely a major source. 

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Automakers Accelerating Climate Change, Failing to Put the Brakes on Emissions

Posted  December 21, 2019  by  Anonymous

Read time: 5 mins

Automakers are failing to drive a rapid shift towards low-carbon transport, according to a new analysisindicating that the industry is not aligned with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C.

That study, released earlier this month by CDP and the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), looked at 25 leading auto manufacturers and graded each company on its overall alignment with the transition to a low-carbon economy. No company managed to score an “A” grade, and most of the manufacturers continue to produce fleets made almost entirely of gasoline-powered vehicles. 

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Saturday Stories: Statistical Lies, Cell Phone Location Tracking, and Survivors

Posted  December 21, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Stephen Senn, in Error, on lies, damn lies, and statistics (ok, really just on statistical lies) as they pertain to personalized medicine

Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel, in The New York Times, with what will surely win them a Pulitzer, on how cellphone tracking companies probably know everything about your life. Then read this incredible follow up story on tracking President Trump. And finally this piece on how to protect your own data somewhat.

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, in Forward, interviews and photographs 5 inspiring women survivors of the Holocaust

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As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, US Regulators Enable Firms to Duck Cleanup Costs

Posted  December 20, 2019  by  Anonymous
Equipment for reclamation of an old oil and gas well in the eastern U.S.

Read time: 9 mins

In over their heads with debt, U.S. shale oil and gas firms are now moving from a boom in fracking to a boom in bankruptcies. This trend of failing finances has the potential for the U.S. public, both at the state and federal levels, to be left on the hook for paying to properly shut down and clean up even more drilling sites.

Expect these companies to try reducing their debt through the process of bankruptcy and, like the coal industry, attempting to get out of environmental and employee-related financial obligations. 

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While Talking up Climate Action, Oil Majors Eye Argentina’s Shale Reserves

Posted  December 19, 2019  by  Anonymous
Rig at sunset in Vaca Muerta

Read time: 11 mins

Even as international climate negotiators tried to make progress at the UN climate summit in Madrid in early December, fossil fuel production and consumption has continued to rise, and major oil companies have been seeking new horizons to exploit.

The industry is not slowing down, even in the face of the worsening climate crisis. Although many oil companies signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement, they have simultaneously poured $50 billion into projects since 2018 that are not aligned with climate targets. The industry also has plans to invest $1.4 trillion in new oil and gas projects around the world over the next five years, despite the fact that existing projects contain enough greenhouse gases to use up the remaining carbon budget.

In other words, the oil majors are actively betting on, and are heavily invested in, blowing past climate targets and burning as much carbon as possible, despite protestations from company executives that they are good-faith actors.

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A note on conservative human relations

Posted  December 19, 2019  by  Anonymous

Some time ago, I lost my life partner to cancer. Two prominent right-wing bloggers, with whom I had crossed swords many a time, expressed what I believed were sincere commiserations, a genuine reaching across the aisle. It was much…

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Why Every Holiday Season Should be All-You-Can-Eat!

Posted  December 19, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Ok, yes, the headline is very clickbait-y as there’s a crucial qualifying word missing.

Thoughtfully

This holiday season should be all-you-can-thoughtfully-eat, where thoughtfully means asking just two questions before each and every indulgence.

1. Is it worth it?
2. How much do I need to be happily satisfied?

As I’ve said many times before, food isn’t just fuel. As a species we use food for comfort and for celebration and no doubt for most of us, the answers to those two prior questions will be different in December than in January.

And here’s a promise. If you don’t ask those questions every indulgence will be worth it and you’ll have far more of each than you need to be happily satisfied.

(this post was first published back in 2014)

        
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This Be The Verse

Posted  December 19, 2019  by  Anonymous

I find myself reading a number of the advice columnists these days. And as I read about all the problems people have with their families, I often think of this great poem:

This Be The Verseby Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Someday I will share this with my own adult children, if I ever have the courage.

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Trump’s Christmas Gift to Big Oil: Killing Hopes of Electric Car Tax Credit Extension

Posted  December 18, 2019  by  Anonymous
Donald Trump

Read time: 3 mins

The oil industry, a staunch opponent of electric vehicles (EVs), received an early Christmas present from the White House as President Trump reportedly intervened to quash an EV tax credit expansion from inclusion in a government spending package. 

The tax credit is meant to help offset the upfront cost of electric vehicles and boost the EV market. Consumers who purchase an EV can currently claim a credit up to $7,500, and the credit phases out once auto manufacturers sell 200,000 qualifying vehicles. Tesla and General Motors have both hit the 200,000-vehicle cap and had lobbied for an extension. A bipartisan proposal called for allowing a $7,000 credit for an additional 400,000 vehicles sold. 

That proposal, introduced earlier this year as the Driving America Forward Act, was rolled into a broader package of incentives for renewable energy that proponents hoped to pass as part of an end-of-year spending deal. But groups tied to the Koch network and backed by oil industry funding worked hard to kill the clean energy incentives. These groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week urging the Senate to oppose any bill that includes an EV tax credit extension. 

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Energy Analysts Deliver More Bad News for US Fracking Industry’s Business Model

Posted  December 17, 2019  by  Anonymous
Oil Fields Near Stanton, TX

Read time: 7 mins

This month, the energy consulting firm Wood MacKenzie gave an online presentation that basically debunked the whole business model of the shale industry.

In this webinar, which explored the declining production rates of oil wells in the Permian region, research director Ben Shattuck noted how it was impossible to accurately forecast how much oil a shale play held based on estimates from existing wells.

Over the years of us doing this, as analysts, we’ve learned that you really have to do it well by well,” Shattuck explained of analyzing well performance. “You cannot take anything for granted.”

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Great tweets of the day, animal edition

Posted  December 17, 2019  by  Anonymous

Here are some good animal tweets:

— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) December 15, 2019

— Right Wing, Shoots Left 🍷🐓🏒🥅🌈 (@HILITINGHOCKEY) December 14, 2019

I can’t stop watching this. You really need the sound on. A perfect elixir to get Trump out of your head before bed!

pic.twitter.com/9dcuJqSKXv

— Mystery Solvent (@MysterySolvent) December 10, 2019

Any hope of getting my prowl on today is #BuriedUnderTheSnow. #CatsOfTwitter pic.twitter.com/nwk2mcxru5

— 🐾Beware of Dogma🐾 (@ellelljaytoo) November 16, 2019

ok its time again for this pup who was asked to ‘sit’ but was not asked to ‘stay’ and is just doing fine this pup is doing just fine if u ask me

(via https://t.co/oS1Qwthmkq) pic.twitter.com/9AsEKZxbqz

— darth™ (@darth) July 30, 2018

And one political one, of course:

an adult with the mental capacity of a child, wearing ill-fitting clothes and repeatedly making terrible choices, is put in a situation where global disaster occurs if he screws up

im talking about the movie Elf but makes u think kinda, right

— ho ho holesome content (@SortaBad) December 14, 2019


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Public Comments Reveal Big Oil and Koch-backed Opposition to Minnesota’s Clean Car Standards

Posted  December 16, 2019  by  Anonymous
A man and little boy charge a Nissan Leaf electric car

Read time: 5 mins

As Minnesota begins the rulemaking process to adopt a pair of clean car standards, citizens and organizations weighed in with their comments and concerns, through an official Request for Comments portal.

A DeSmog analysis found that a majority of the hundreds of comments received were supportive of the initiative, which aims to reduce the state’s transportation-sector emissions.

However, opposing comments also poured in from industry groups and citizens borrowing a script provided by a right-wing think tank tied to the petrochemical billionaire Koch network. 

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New Film Dark Waters Shines Light on Chemical Pollution History in Ohio River Valley

Posted  December 13, 2019  by  Sharon Kelly
Mark Ruffalo in Dark Waters

Read time: 8 mins

Dark Waters, the new film starring Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott, is set in the Ohio River Valley city of Parkersburg, West Virginia — a place about 150 miles downstream from where Shell is currently building a sprawling plastics manufacturing plant, known as an “ethane cracker,” in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

Ruffalo’s film, directed by Todd Haynes, debuted to critical acclaim, earning a Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating of 91 percent, with The Atlantic calling it a “chilling true story of corporate indifference.”

While much of Dark Waters, as the title suggests, centers on contaminated water, the story of perflouroctanic acid (PFOA), the Teflon-linked chemical at the heart of the film, is also a story about air pollution. And as much as the film looks back to history, DuPont’s pollution — and the company’s decades-long cover-up — may gain new relevance as the chemical industry plans a multi-billion dollar expansion, fed by fracked fossil fuels, along the banks of the Ohio.

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Can someone tell me what is going on in Alberta?

Posted  December 10, 2019  by  Anonymous

I don’t really follow Alberta news, but the constant “cut, cut, cut” and “whine, whine, whine” I am hearing from there recently is getting chaotic.

Does the Alberta UCP government have any idea what it is doing?

They are supposedly going to reduce surgical wait times by paying for more private surgical facilities, but at the same time they are cutting back on primary care doctors and eliminating nursing positions.  
They cut taxes for corporations, at the same time as they are nickle-and-diming drug coverage for dependents of seniors – people who don’t have a lot of other health insurance choices – and forcing school boards to use maintenance funds to maintain teaching staff levels — a trade-off that isn’t going to work more than once.
Premier Kenney seems to be furious at PMJT because supposedly Alberta is paying more in equalization than he thinks is fair – except no provincial taxpayers “pay” for equalization, its a federal transfer program and anyway Canada is using the 2009 Harper formula which was apparently fine with Kenney until now.  Of course, Alberta is now losing jobs – 18,000 in November alone, the highest monthly job loss in Alberta history.
Why, if this keeps up, maybe they’ll be entitled to equalization payments too!  (Side note: I will never forget how upset and appalled the Toronto-centric media were when Ontario actually qualified for equalization because of the 2009 downturn – complaints heard again when Ontario stopped being entitled to the payments in 2018.)
Kenney doesn’t seem to have the capacity or the will to put together the kind of government stimulus and employment programs that have been used in the past to counter economic downturns and job losses — which don’t even yet include the companies that are not moving there because of the Wexit stupidity.

Jason Kenney is happy to stoke the flames of Wexit because he thinks it will help him win political points. But there are real economic consequences to Kenney promoting and indulging Alberta separatism – like a thousand jobs in downtown Calgary. #ableg pic.twitter.com/Ewu5WNAECp

— Progress Alberta (@ProgressAlberta) December 9, 2019

But never mind — instead, lets everybody just trash WestJet – whose head office IS located in Calgary (at least, for now) — for insufficient loyalty to Dear Leader:

our premier just subtweeted the CEO of @WestJet over his comments on #wexitalberta in case you needed any more proof @Alberta_UCP has the same level of maturity and leadership skills as band of schoolyard bullies #cdnpoli #ableg #abpoli https://t.co/l0GM24Mos1

— Bridget Casey (@BridgieCasey) December 10, 2019

If Alberta now needs more provincial revenue to support its government obligations, then first they need to implement a provincial sales tax, like every other province has done already, before they start demanding more money from the rest of Canada.

Public advised of aggressive panhandler from Alberta who will probably just spend money on corporate tax cuts #ableg #cdnpoli https://t.co/NLZ9YbyQz8

— The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) December 10, 2019

Whatever is going on in Alberta, I sure hope its not catching.

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Daughter Dearest

Posted  December 9, 2019  by  Anonymous

Hmmm — I’ve been saying for years that SOMEBODY in Trump’s inner circle is a Russian asset.  I am convinced that someone very close to him has been feeding him all the pro-Putin and pro-Russian stuff he has been parroting since 2016, convincing him that the Russian world-view is correct, leading him to say things like how unfair it is that Russia is out of the G7, etc.

Occasionally, Trump has actually done something anti-Russian, like announce new sanctions in retaliation for assassinations – maybe when the asset is out of town and isn’t whispering in his ear.  But then later Trump will almost always reverse himself and change his mind, indicating that the asset continues their subversion.

I have not been able to believe that Trump himself is the asset — he isn’t smart enough and his lies are often too self-delusional to be the kind of conscious falsehoods that a Russian asset would need to promote.

So now maybe we are finding out who the Russian asset might be: maybe its Ivanka.

Reaching out to someone like Steele and trying to develop/maintain a relationship w him is the kind of thing one might do if you were a Russian asset. https://t.co/IrKOQ60KwM

— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) December 9, 2019


NEW via @thamburger @PostRoz: Ivanka Trump was personal friends with former British spy Christopher Steele, according to person familiar with the situation https://t.co/h21YbomZO3

— Matea Gold (@mateagold) December 9, 2019


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#IfYouServeItWeWillEatIt Vegetarian Conference Food Nudge RCT Edition

Posted  December 9, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

As I’ve noted before (usually in the context of soda and junk food) if you serve it, we will eat it, even if the ‘we’ are a bunch of medical or dietetic professionals.

But what happens if you serve healthier fare? And what happens if you give people a little nudge towards it?

A recent study sought to explore that and prior to 3 conferences, randomized attendees into receiving one of the following two options to consider for their lunch choices

Group 1 (this was the non-vegetarian default ask): At the conference a non-vegetarian buffet will be served for lunch. Please state here if you would like to have a vegetarian dish prepared for you: __________________________________.

Group 2 (this was the vegetarian default ask): At the conference a vegetarian buffet will be served for lunch. Please state here if you would like to have a non-vegetarian dish prepared for you:__________________________________.

You know what happened next.

At all 3 conferences, whatever was highlighted as the default lunch option was chosen by the vast majority for lunch.

At the first conference, the vegetarian choice increased from 2% to 87%. At the second conference it increased from 6% to 86%. And at the third conference it increased from 12.5% to 89%.

You know what would have certainly led to even higher numbers? No non-vegetarian options. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting vegetarian diets are a panacea, there are plenty of unhealthy vegetarian foods, but this simple study illustrates the power afforded to conference organizers in terms of what’s being served and how it’s being presented to attendees. The same of course would be true of any venue where meals and/or snacks are presented.

Given we eat what we’re served, it seems to me to be a straightforward expectation, at least for medical and dietetic conferences, that we’re served healthy options.

[Thanks to my friend and colleague David Nunan for sharing this study with me, and you should follow him on Twitter if you don’t already]

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Saturday Stories: Chaos, Hatred, And Ethos

Posted  December 7, 2019  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Joshua Hammer, in GQ, writing on chaos at the top of the world.

Bari Weiss (and whether you loathe her or not everyone should read this harrowing article), in the New York Times, on how the global surge in Jew hatred should not be written off as isolated incidents of bigotry.

Rachel Laudan, in The Hedgehog Review, on the establishment of a modern culinary ethos.

(photo source)

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