Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We Must Claim The High Moral Ground

Sunday I listened to John Ikerd speak on sustainability at the OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Asso.) conference. He emphasized that we must take the high moral ground that what we are promoting is the right thing to do, whether farming ecologically or organizing local food systems or communicating with our politicians. As he says in this recent blog:
“For purposes of this discussion, I have defined an ethic as: a set of rules of behavior based on individual or collective ideas about what is morally good and bad and thus is right and wrong. An ethic can be individual, communal, or societal and thus can guide the decisions and actions of individuals, communities, societies, or humanity as a whole. An ethic of sustainability ultimately must eventually encompass humanity, if the global sustainability movement is to succeed in its mission. However, individual ethics eventually shape communal ethics and communal ethics shape societal ethics, which ultimately guide the evolution of humanity.”

And then I reread Rev. William Barber’s piece in a recent issue of The Nation, where he speaks of the same issue of what is morally right and wrong and raises some pointed questions:
 “This is why progressives must learn to “speak in tongues” toward a new political Pentecost, because the issues we face in 2016 are not matters of left and right; instead, they are matters of right and wrong. What religious tradition urges its devotees to fleece the poor and destroy public schools? What concept of God informs the believer that it is right to turn hungry children away from preschool programs where they can get a head start in life and a nutritious breakfast, or to deny poor children medical care and dentistry? What Scripture permits the beating of prisoners or refuses a person a fair trial? We have a genuine moral vision, and it is time that we embraced it.”

There are many conservatives who are religious, but progressives have the high moral ground, while it seems like the Right Wing has become totally greedy and selfish and legalistic.  Setting aside the “hot button” issues, about which religious people sincerely disagree on ethical grounds, progressives are fighting for what is morally right, and we must maintain the high moral ground in all we do. And, as Rev. Barber emphasizes, we must band together with all those fighting for what is ethically right on a host of different issues if we are going to turn things around in this country. As Ikerd, who is an economist, said, we farm ecologically because it is right, not because it is highly profitable, we shop at the farmers market because it is the right thing to do, not because it is cheaper. We must appeal to folks’ higher moral standards if we are to win them over and change our society.

Kris Johnson

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nutrition in the headlines again - or it should have been!

I just finished reading this book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by  Nina Teicholz (https://thebigfatsurprise.com/)
It's familiar territory to me, but what an indictment of our nutrition authorities! Nina documents the shocking refusal of so-called nutrition experts to entertain the idea that there might be another way to look at the issue of saturated fat, instead accusing those who have studied the research carefully of 'quackery' for suggesting that saturated fat is not bad. They simply refuse to look at all the research with an open mind - a very bad habit for anyone calling themselves a scientist!

Two recent stories in The New York Times (one after the other in my large print weekly edition) make me wonder if we’ll ever get the nutrition right!
relates the problems nursing homes are having taking care of massively obese patients. And I’ll bet they are feeding them the very low fat high carb type of diet that made them fat in the first place, since that is the standard diet in nursing homes. And that is what we’ve been told is a healthy diet for nearly 40 years - still recommended in the government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
This is what guides food policy in many institutions, including our public schools.  Pity the poor children that can have low fat chocolate milk with extra sugar, but not the whole milk that is truly nourishing – and never any butter on their tasteless vegetables.

Which leads me to the other shocking article, where nutrition is completely ignored, as babies are given drugs for problems that are probably the result of missing nutrients.
Imagine giving babies,  or even toddlers, Prozac or Risperdal for depression! The doctors who prescribe these drugs know so little about nutrition, they have no idea that faulty nutrition of the child or even the mother could be at the root of the problem. Yet good nutrition is essential  for the brain to work properly. The influence on behavior of several common nutrient deficiencies is detailed in this article:
And good natural fats, like butter, are needed to absorb several of these important nutrients.

Parents who follow the Dietary Guidelines based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS, rich with natural fats, have healthy happy children with little in the way of behavior problems. As evidence, check out the Healthy Baby Photo Gallery

These happy faces are an inspiration!

Kris, retired and reformed dietitian