Mental health, public health, global health. New and interesting developments in technology and the arts. Meditation research. And occasionally cute animals.

 

Climate Change & Food: 'Act now to diversify crops at risk, say scientists'

climateadaptation:

“Farm chiefs have a narrowing chance to diversify vital crops at rising threat from drought, flood and pests brought by climate change, food researchers warned on Monday.

The world’s nearly 7 billion people are massively dependent on a dozen or so crops that, thanks to modern agriculture, are intensively cultivated in a tiny number of strains, they said.

When climate change gets into higher gear, many of these strains could be crippled by hotter and drier – or conversely wetter – weather and exposed to insects and microbial pests that advance into new habitats.

“Farmers have always adapted, but the pace of change under climate change is going to be much greater than in the past. There’s going to be a real need to move fast,” said Bruce Campbell, head of a research programme called Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

“There are two sorts of changes that are going to happen. One is a gradual temperature increase, the other is the extremes, extremes of heat and floods, and I think they are already here. In the meteorological records, there are so many extremes that are being beaten, although it’s very difficult to pin them to climate change.”

The adaptation strategies are being published in a compendium book, Crop Adaptation to Climate Change.”

Source: Eco-Business

(Source: plantedcity)

jayparkinsonmd:

THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”
This is just plain wrong.
(via)

jayparkinsonmd:

THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

This is just plain wrong.

(via)

Back to the Wild to Build Better, Climate-Resilient Wheat

A genetic archaeologist of sorts, Cary Fowler works to save the wild species threatened by crop domestication.

Our Big Pig Problem

For more than 50 years microbiologists have warned against using antibiotics to fatten up farm animals. The practice, they argue, threatens human health by turning farms into breeding grounds of drug-resistant bacteria. Farmers responded that restricting antibiotics in livestock would devastate the industry and significantly raise costs to consumers. We now have empirical data that should resolve this debate. Since 1995 Denmark has enforced progressively tighter rules on the use of antibiotics in the raising of pigs, poultry and other livestock. In the process, it has shown that it is possible to protect human health without hurting farmers.

How to make oatmeal......wrong

McDonald’s and oatmeal:

Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)

That would mean not only changing the way Americans eat and the way they farm — away from industrialized, cheap calories and toward more organic, small-scale production, with plenty of fruits and vegetables — but also altering the way we work and relate to one another. To its most ardent adherents, the food movement isn’t just about reform — it’s about revolution.

Is the World Producing Enough Food?

Global food prices are soaring again, as droughts, freezes and floods have affected various crops in many parts of the world. At the same time, demand is rising with living standards in fast-growing countries.

The price spikes are not as sharp as they were in 2008, but the new volatility reflects more than the sum of recent freakish weather “events,” from severe droughts in China and Russia to floods in Australia to a deep freeze in Mexico.

Economists and scientists have identified longer-term changes — from global warming to China’s economic growth to a lack of productive farmland — as the culprits. Is the world producing enough food — specifically grain? Is this a continuation of the 2008 crisis, or something quite different?

Hollywood's obsession with tiny women, big meals

Stars are increasingly being pressured to show off their appetites while staying skinny. It’s time for it to stop.

India’s free hot lunches.

Man, they look so much better than the lunches we had when I was growing up…

Improvised dinner tonight

  • Chickpeas cooked with garlic and celery
  • quinoa (made with the liquid leftover from the chickpeas)
  • red, yellow, and green bell pepper
  • white onion and shallots
  • toasted walnuts
  • raisins
  • fresh parsley
  • fennel, curry powder, cinnamon, and lemon
  • fresh ground salt, pepper

Turns out when you mix these things together and cook, the results are absurdly tasty.

Note to self: keep doing this cooking thing.  It’s pretty awesome.

whitecoatwanderlust:

publicradiointernational:

gregleding:

From Slate: Food Deserts in America:
A 2009 study by the Department of Agriculture found that 2.3 million households do not have access to a car and live more than a mile from a supermarket. Much of the public health debate over rising obesity rates has turned to these “food deserts,” where convenience store fare is more accessible—and more expensive—than healthier options farther away. This map colors each county in America by the percentage of households in food deserts, according to the USDA’s definition. Data is not available for Alaska and Hawaii.

It’s like a food-desert belt across the South.

Talk about “access to health!” When I lived on the north side of Chicago, I was within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and a new Jewel-Osco was set to open in the fall… you can bet that there was nothing like that grocery trifecta on the south or west sides of the city. 
Some innovative solutions have received attention, such as opening farmers’ markets in low-income areas, increasing the amount of healthy foods at corner bodegas, and introducing produce at Walgreens, but someone needs to convince the Jewels and Safeways of the world to set up shop in these food deserts. Any MBA/MPH people wanna work on a pitch? :P

whitecoatwanderlust:

publicradiointernational:

gregleding:

From Slate: Food Deserts in America:

2009 study by the Department of Agriculture found that 2.3 million households do not have access to a car and live more than a mile from a supermarket. Much of the public health debate over rising obesity rates has turned to these “food deserts,” where convenience store fare is more accessible—and more expensive—than healthier options farther away. This map colors each county in America by the percentage of households in food deserts, according to the USDA’s definition. Data is not available for Alaska and Hawaii.

It’s like a food-desert belt across the South.

Talk about “access to health!” When I lived on the north side of Chicago, I was within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and a new Jewel-Osco was set to open in the fall… you can bet that there was nothing like that grocery trifecta on the south or west sides of the city. 

Some innovative solutions have received attention, such as opening farmers’ markets in low-income areas, increasing the amount of healthy foods at corner bodegas, and introducing produce at Walgreens, but someone needs to convince the Jewels and Safeways of the world to set up shop in these food deserts. Any MBA/MPH people wanna work on a pitch? :P

Global Food Prices in 2011 Face Perilous Rise

Food prices globally are rising to dangerous levels. There is talk of a coming crisis, like the ones that produced riots around the world in 2008 and 1974. Many of the ingredients of a disaster are present, but governments can stop the problem before it causes too much damage.

7 Things I Learned About Food in 2010

#1 The intersection of food, culture and class is a conversation we might finally be ready to have. In the course of 2 short weeks The Washington Post, Newsweek and The New York Times all ran articles about how class and food divide us, or don’t. At the same time, Sarah Palin fused food and politics, pitting herself against Michelle Obama and her anti-obesity initiative. Now maybe you didn’t think trying to reverse diet-related disease was political, but I assure you, now it is.

Palin’s not just willingness, but glee, at politicking over things like our children’s health infuriates me to no end.  But the article does make a good point - food, nutrition, and food production have gotten particularly political recently.

Distraction, noise cause overeating

…Beegah says he usually does not eat this way. At home he wouldn’t think of loading up on triple portions of fatty foods for breakfast. But traveling, being on the go, it turns out Beegah’s brain isn’t processing food the same way as it would if he were having a quiet meal in his own kitchen. The sensory overload can really throw off judgment or inure us to the sensation of feeling full. Scientists are just beginning to understand how this disruption works.