Archive for November, 2013

Satireday on Eco-Crap


Make you Fink on Friday

As a parent there is one battle you’ll never win.

Eat your veges!

I had a pet hate when I was a kid, eat a bean, not on your life, but I loved peas. My brother was the opposite; he’d eat beans, but touch a pea, not until Hell froze over.

But now I eat beans, in fact, I had French beans just last night. I don’t know about my brother, if he now eats peas or not.

But for my mother it was pure torment.

Here’s an interesting article:

Don’t make children eat their greens

It’s the age-old family dilemma. And guess what, parents? It isn’t worth the bother

Tim and Ruby Lott. Photograph: Pål Hansen for Observer Food Monthly

One day, when my daughter, Ruby, was about 10 years old, I had a colossal argument with her about a pea. We were in Ikea in Brent Cross, north London. We had ordered lunch in the Ikea restaurant. It involved something and peas.

I had struggled to get Ruby to “eat normally” for as long as I could remember. She refused a wide variety of foods – most fruits, and most particularly any kind of green vegetable. On this day, I’d just had enough.

I was determined to make Ruby eat just one pea. Just one. It could be smothered in tomato ketchup. It could be dipped in honey. I just wanted her to eat… the… fucking… pea.

We spent half an hour discussing, arguing about and reasoning over that pea. I offered an absurd array of rewards. I don’t remember what they were, but they were princely. Whatever she wanted she could have. If she would just eat that pea. Then I began to threaten punishments. She could see she had made me angry, and it was obvious I was going to get even angrier if she didn’t Eat the Pea.

But she still wouldn’t eat the pea. And she hasn’t eaten one since.

After the Battle of the Pea, I reached a watershed. I became a lot less fussed about what Ruby ate. I don’t know if it made any difference. I don’t recall any marked immediate improvement in her eating behaviour. But I suspect that my defeat was a good thing.

Now she is 20, she has a very healthy attitude to food. She doesn’t worry about it. She loves steak tartare. She craves sushi and sashimi, she eats fruit, she’ll try most things. She has no body issues and no food issues that I can see. She has glowing skin and hair, and is a healthy weight.

She still doesn’t eat peas. Or any other kind of green vegetable, including salad. Her explanation is straightforward: “They don’t taste good.”

They don’t. But then, why do we spend so much time trying to get our children to eat them? And is it really, in the end, worth the candle?

My suspicion is that all the effort, care and concern that many families expend to get their children to “eat healthy”, may have no effect, or a bad effect. We worry too much, and this worry has as much to do with social shame, social display and a need for control as it does with healthy eating.

We don’t want our children to end up living on convenience foods, snacks and chips – partly because it is bad for them, but more pressingly, because it is bad for us. Because it is embarrassing.

Around the time of the Pea Incident, I had taken Ruby and her sister Cissy to a fancy French hotel in Mauritius. One night a week, they offered an amazing buffet. I sent the girls off to graze among the 50 or so amazingly varied and delicious platters of French and Asian food and charcuterie.

They came back with chips, white bread and a bit of chicken. That time I wasn’t even furious. I was just ashamed. What was wrong with these kids that amid all this wonderful plenty, they opted for the crappiest dishes on the menu? I just thought they must be horribly spoilt.

Ruby aged 7 and Cissy Lott aged 5. Photograph: Tim Lott

Perhaps this was unfair of me. But I do think many parents would feel the same. Yet it was just a meal. Why was I so upset? Perhaps the need for our children to eat healthy food is just a mask for a number of other anxieties. We want to fit in with our neighbours. We want to be able to make the correct social signals to our peer group – “I am a good middle-class person, because my children eat a varied diet and healthy food”. We are terrified our children might be overweight, which is now as much a social marker as a predictor of poor health.

Nutritional science, however, is inexact. Why did Ruby grow up with clear skin, shining hair and a healthy attitude to food despite eating very little fruit and no green vegetables and a relatively limited diet through most of her childhood?

The human body is more complex and adaptable than we realise. The Kitava tribe of Papua New Guinea subsist on a diet that mainly consists of sweet potato, coconut and some fish. They are healthy, have good skin, strong teeth and suffer from virtually none of all the “diseases of civilisation”. They don’t eat any green vegetables.

Greens are not a must-have. Nutrients found in green vegetables can easily be found elsewhere. “The human body is very clever and can adapt over generations. It can use what resources it has available,” says Charlotte Stirling-Reed of the Nutrition Society, an independent organisation that promotes and disseminates nutritional science. “If you still eat a wide variety of different foods you will get those nutrients elsewhere.

“Most of the vitamins and nutrients in green vegetables can easily be found from other sources – in meat and fish and lentils and beans, in other fruit and vegetables. As long as you are getting variety and the right amount of food every day you will be OK.

“Everybody is individual and very different. If Ruby is eating well, every day, mainly healthy foods, she will be thriving. The anxieties and concerns and worries of the parents can rub off on their children and cause fussy eating. That’s very common.”

The psychotherapist Susie Orbach, author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue, makes a similar point about adults getting over-anxious about food and sees parental anxiety as a major contributor to disordered eating. I told her that I used to get particularly upset if I spent a lot of time and effort preparing my children’s food and they rejected it.

She sees such anxiety as centring on issues of control and rejection of the offerer of the food rather than the food itself. In other words, you’re not getting upset when your child won’t eat because it’s not healthy. It’s because you perceive the child as rejecting your love. And the whole framing of the issue around health and nutrition – food as “medicine” – is misguided.

Read more

Read more

Yes, it’s a dilemma faced by all parents. But don’t stop here, read more of this fascinating story

Are we Slowing Down?

Many children ‘slower runners than their parents were’

Children are advised to do at least an hour of vigorous activity every day

Many children cannot run as fast as their parents could when they were young, a study of global fitness says.

Experts say the work – being presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting – suggests children’s fitness levels may be declining.

Researchers analysed data spanning 46 years and involving more than 25 million children in 28 countries.

On average, children today run a mile 90 seconds slower than did their counterparts 30 years ago, they said.


Across nations, cardiovascular endurance – gauged by how far children can run in a set time – has dwindled consistently by about 5% every decade, according to the findings.

The decline is seen in boys and girls and across all ages from nine to 17 years, and is linked to obesity, with some countries faring worse than others.

Lead researcher Dr Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences said: “In fact, about 30% to 60% of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass.”

The problem is largely one of Western countries, but some parts of Asia like South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong are also seeing this phenomenon.

Dr Tomkinson said children needed to be inspired and encouraged to do more vigorous exercise.

If not, the public health consequences could be dire.

Huff and puff

“If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life,” said Dr Tomkinson.

To stay healthy, children and young people need to do at least an hour of physical activity – such as walking or cycling to school and running in the playground – every day. It can be done in small chunks rather than one session.

Prof Michael Gwitz of the American Heart Association said: “The type of exercise is really important.”

He says exercise must be something that “makes you sweat” and is “sustained and dynamic” to promote cardiovascular fitness.

Simply going to the gym or belonging to a school sports team might not be enough, unless you are moving around a lot.

Christopher Allen of the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s well established that being physically inactive in childhood can have serious health implications later in life.

“Keeping active can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the sooner kids start, the better.

“By encouraging children to get active, we can help protect their hearts as they grow up. Parents, schools and community groups can all help kids on their way to 60 minutes exercise a day.”


Not only exercise, get them off any form of soda, and don’t feed them anything that comes in a packet or a can from the supermarket.


Not a CTWW Post, this is a Placebo

The apocalypse has arrived.

No Change the World Wednesday post on Reduce Footprints.

Small is taking her annual hiatus until the 20th January, so this is not a CTWW post, it’s a placebo.

Not for you, not for Small, IT’S FOR ME! I can’t do Humpday without a CTWW.

It’s true, every Wednesday I participate in CTWW, it becomes a routine, one gets used to it, then suddenly there’s this great big gaping hole in the middle of the week.

I need coffee!

Last week I got a new cabinet. It wasn’t from a store, and it wasn’t new. It was thrown out in the rubbish.

Most of the regulars to this blog will know that I rarely buy new furniture. Almost all the furniture in my house has been collected off the street, recycled and/or repurposed.


The cabinet on top is the one that I rescued last week, it is now the home for my glassware and bits.

With the exception of my hat and the glasses and stuff, nothing in that photo has been bought. It has all come from the street, (actually, the TV was given to me by my ex), even the plants. With a bit of imagination and a lot of necessity, magic can be worked.

While I do like the finer things in life, good coffee, wine and fine dining, my lifestyle is somewhat frugal. I can’t see the sense in spending a fortune in home furnishings, when with a bit of effort they can be free.

So, just an update from home this week.

Simple Green Ideas

How many of these are lying abandoned in cupboards around the world?


Broken, burnt out, or simply bought a new one.

Try this for an idea…


It doesn’t have to be a kitchen fish bowl, it could be a terrarium, or a planter.

Monday Moaning

522“I-522 would have required that non-exempt foods and agricultural products offered for retail sale state “clearly and conspicuously” on the front of the package if they were genetically-engineered, contain or might have contained genetically-engineered ingredients.”Wikipedia

Pepsi, Coke, Nestle top multi-million-dollar campaign against I-522

Pepsico, Coca-Cola and NestleUSA have each put up more than $1 million to defeat Washington’s Initiative 522, money  the food industry giants channeled through a “Defense of Brands Strategic Account,” set up by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) so companies would leave no footprints.

The initiative, which has drawn the ire of the food industry and agribusiness, would require the labeling of genetically modified food products, seeds and seed stocks sold on the shelves of Washington stores.

In yielding to a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, GMA agreed to list donors to what has become a $17.1 million campaign to defeat I-522.

The list is a who’s-who of America’s powerful food and agribusiness firms.  It was posted late Friday on the balky website of the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Coca-Cola and Pepsico have been here before.  The American Beverage Association, in 2010, spent $16.9 million on a TV blitz that rolled back a small soda pop-junk food tax enacted by the Washington Legislature in an effort to ease cuts in money to the state’s schools and colleges.

The “No on 522″ donations include: (read the full article for a comprehensive list of donors)

Source: SeattlePI read more.


These companies are fighting for their survival; in other words for their ability to make huge profits.

They know that if GMOs are a required part of labeling, they’ll lose a substantial part of their market because the public are daily becoming more discerning and more concerned with GMOs and their effect on our health.

We are at war, company profits vs the right to choose.

Personally, I have stopped knowingly buying any product that I even suspect contains GMOs, That includes Coca Cola or any soda, but not limited to.

minefieldThe whole food industry is a minefield of horrors at our expense.

We deserve the right to know the path through this minefield, we deserve the right to protect ourselves from corporate greed.

The amount of money these corporations and companies have spent to defeat this labeling proposal is obscene, and shows how frightened they are of losing their precious profits. It also shows how blatantly ignorant they are of our health.

They don’t care!

Satireday on Eco-Crap


Make you Fink on Friday

Why do so many people drink soda?

Consider this…


Now, ask yourself again.

Why do I drink soda?

Schmeat, scheet, schite

Reblogged from: Things that Fizz & Stuff

Schmeat: a tasty-sounding word, but what does it mean?

Oxford Dictionaries’ intriguing runner-up for word of the year refers to the synthetic meat grown from a soup of antibiotics and foetal bovine serum. Feel schick yet?

Schmeat isn’t murder … a lab-grown slab of schmeat. Photograph: David Parry/PA

Age: About six months.

Appearance: Almost like the real thing.

Schmeat? Schwat? It’s one of the runners-up for Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year.

Schwat does it schmean? You know, that could get real old, real fast.

Schokay. Schi’ll schtop now. Thanks. It’s the name of that meat-type-stuff scientists grew earlier this year.

Oh, you mean that hamburger that started life as a few cells cultured in a delicious nutritional soup of antibiotics and foetal bovine serum but is still ethically and ecologically better than hacking lumps off actual cows? Yes.

I don’t get it. Has it been dismissed as nonsensical by the Guild of Jewish Mothers? “Meat-schmeat!” No, it’s a combination of “sheet” and “meat”.

Sheet? Because that’s how you grow meat that does not have to be supported by a cow/sheep/pig skeleton. In sheets.

I’ve just been a little bit schick in my mouth. Schfair enough. No, wait, schtop – I mean, stop – it.

Hang on – shouldn’t it be “shmeat”? Why’s the “c” there? That is a question for more cunning linguists than I.

OK, then – why is it only a runner-up? It seems like a pretty good word to me. Neat. Rolls off the tongue. Probably very useful once we’ve reduced the world to a spinning ball of dust and are living in pods and depending on petri dishes for our food. Yes, but it hasn’t had the 17,000% increase in usage that the winner has had over the last year.

Which is? “Selfie” – a picture people take of themselves on their phone and post on social media. Coincidentally, most of them look about as prepossessing as the average bunch of meat fibres emerging from dish of foetal bovine serum.

But let’s go back to the schmeat of the issue. Is it arriving on our supermarket shelves anytime soon? Scientists predict it will be producible in sufficient amounts by the end of the decade.

Is it going to be the best thing since sliced bread or the worst thing since turkey bacon? Time alone will tell, my friend. Time alone will tell.

Do say: “Scha fantastic idea! Schign me up.”

Don’t say: “I bet it tastes like schite.”


Change the World Wednesday – 20th Nov

Got it right this week, CTWW on Wednesday, not Friday.


My new non-stick saucepans

Small commented about my ‘FAIL’ stamp; the fail was not getting CTWW up on a Wednesday, which I normally do, only once before I missed and hit a Thursday.

The other aspect of the ‘FAIL’ was my new saucepans… non-stick, but aren’t they beautiful? That deep red burgundy look is so chic. Also, I like the glass lids, so you don’t need to keep lifting the lid to see what’s going on in there. While I succumbed to the non-stick, they are replacing aluminium pots, which I consider the greater evil when it comes to contamination, but then at my time of life memory loss can be explained easily; and sometimes it is most convenient…

I have been a little more than off-colour since Saturday night; I disagreed with something that ate me. But this morning, as I predicted in today’s early morning post, Farting with Confidence all is explained. The preceding posts explain why I have a new camera. The above photo was taken as an experiment. So, my week so far has been off-colour, but colourful…

Click on the banner for the full post

On with this week’s CTWW.

It brings with it some disturbing news.

Small is going to do her annual magic act and disappear until the 20th Jan.

Now, I know that Small works hard, and she has a life to lead; not like some of us old doddery folk who have the luxury of spending our lives at the keyboard. She, therefore deserves a rest. But she has set a good challenge.

What would you like to see on Reduce Footprints in 2014?

I’d like to know if there’s anything you’d like us to add, delete, or improve upon. How can we make CTWW better? Does Meet & Greet work for you? Do you find guest posts valuable and, if so, what topics would you like to see? Can we improve upon the Recipes, Reviews, and Special Offers pages? All suggestions are welcome so … the sky is the limit … consider this your “wish list” for a new Reduce Footprints blog!

bucket-list-picWow! A wish list. Now is that a Christmas wish list, or a Bucket list?

So we have to put our thinking caps on.

My initial thought is that Small does a pretty good job, her blog is cool, and she uses a great design.

I have been following Reduce Footprints since Adam was a cowboy and Moses played fullback for the Arabs, that’s a long time, since the beginning.

I have seen changes from the original, I have seen changes in the blog layout, I have seen changes in the content.

Green thinking cap

Green thinking cap

Most of the content does it for me. I even read the vegan recipes, although I am a carnivore, they are of interest because of the other cap I wear, the Chef. I am not a fan of vege/vegan, although many dishes are exactly that.

Special offers, etc don’t do it for me. But then I am a stingy old crock, and I live in a part of the world that doesn’t have many of these products. I have no doubt there are many who would find such info useful.

There is also the fact that I haven’t embraced buying stuff on the net; I like shopping with real money, the thrill of the hunt, the capture, and dealing the final coup de gras by paying for your prize, then you walk out of the store with your trophy and a smug smile. I don’t consider that ‘shopping’, to me it’s more like therapy. It’s the feel good factor in life, a bit like digging in the garden and getting ones hands dirty. The internet, although I use the net a lot,  has made life too clinical, clean, sterilised; it has taken the adventure out of life.

If I had one criticism, it would be the lack of images. I have a golden rule, at least one image per post. I try to make the images used pertinent, or not (maybe humerous, satire) just to break the monotony of ‘just’ text. Having said that, I don’t find RF boring, far from it. I am much more eclectic in my content, whereas RF is more focused.

Over Small’s festive season hiatus, I will endeavour to make posts on a Wednesday, that have a CTWW flavour, I can’t bear the thought of no CTWW for two months, it would be like morning without coffee, it would be like vegetarian without lentils, it would be like Christmas without Santa; you just don’t do it.

3240.thank-youThank you Small for your company and all the hard work that you do during the year. Have a good break and come back refreshed.

Also all the referrals that I have had from RF, a BIG GREEN thank you too for your support, and I hope you also have a great festive season.

I am pressing my ‘thank you’ key.

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