CK Friday Links--Friday May 11, 2012

Here's yet another selection of interesting links from around the internet. As always, I welcome your thoughts and your feedback.

PS: Follow me on Twitter!

The person who embarks on a journey toward raw food is very different from the person who comes out the other side. (Karen Knowler)

After her son wins a Hershey Bar at school, a blogger writes a manifesto against snacks in the classroom. Extra credit for CK readers who can articulate the other side of this debate. (The Lunch Tray)

The big lie called BMI. (Dietriffic) Related: Weight is just a number. (Casual Kitchen)

Why trying to regulate the food and ag industries is practically impossible. (A Sweet LifeBonus post: Hmmm, maybe we should let our kids play in the mud after all.

Why do we try to persuade people to eat better by using crazy scientific terminology or hyperbolic headlines? (5 Second Rule)

Recipe Links:
Cheap, healthy and you can make it in five minutes. Mom's Four Bean Salad. (Eating Rules)

A real-live homemade Orange Julius recipe. Rocky Balboa would be proud. (Food Renegade)

A hilariously quick and easy Black Bean Soup. (Kahakai Kitchen)

Off-Topic Links:
What's the difference between a career and an avocation? Plenty. (Food Woolf)

Consumers are overwhelmed by marketers' relentless efforts to engage with them. (Harvard Business Review)

Forget what you've been told: Money really can buy happiness. (TED Talks)

Do you have an interesting article or recipe that you'd like to see featured in Casual Kitchen's Food Links? Send me an email!

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Anonymous said...

Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness -- when you don't spend it on yourself.

How does this Jibe with your previous manefesto on saving money beyond the point where it hurts & all of the associated ways that we talk ourselves out of saving...

Anonymous said...

I'm referring to this post in my above comment:

Daniel said...

Anonymous, you make a good point, but keep in mind that Friday Links isn't about maintaining some kind of internally consistent message for readers. It's about sharing a wide range of thought and ideas.

But, still, watch that TED Talks video and you'll see there isn't as great a gulf as you'd think between it and my Extreme Savings post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Stuart Carter said...

raw foods. Yet another annoying fad that ignores the science behind cooking, and such things as "bioavailability of nutrients". Just because a nutritional analysis of raw corn shows it has niacin, it doesn't mean the niacin is available to your body - it isn't, until the corn is nixtamalised!

Melissa said...

Cooking is my vocation, but will not likely ever be my career, which is just fine with me!

I read all the links this week, Dan. Good stuff. I must comment on The Lunch Tray one: you say extra credit to those who can articulate the other side... well, I am usually the first in line to see the other side, but I don't see it here. My opinion is that the school was wrong, period. I've read some blogs recently with some pretty nutty overcontrolling foodie parents (seriously, go to the birthday party where they will be serving cake... it won't kill all of you...), but I think this is one case where the mother is 100% on target. Not sure how you could argue for the school's dispensing of Coke and ice cream or for giving the kid a massive candy bar as a reward.

Daniel said...

Stuart, I don't look at raw foods an an either/or kind of thing like many raw foodists view it. I'll never go 100% raw for example.

However, after I did a mini raw foods trial and ate 100% raw for one week, I did discover it was another tool that could play a useful role in my diet.

Stuart Carter said...

I was more objecting to the whole extremist approach, similar to that displayed by hard core vegans and hard core carnivores. One should eat a balanced diet while listening to one's own body - what works for you doesn't necessarily work for anyone else.

That's why I like your blog - you take a very balanced approach to food and nutrition, you're not trying to evangelise a particular agenda.

Daniel said...

Melissa, I'm thinking there may be a *few* contra arguments that one could make on that post. I think you're getting at one of them in your parenthetical comment on cake. But I think there might be more.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying this to defend that school for repeatedly giving out Cokes and Hershey Bars. And of course, maybe I'm totally wrong (wouldn't be the first time!), and there's no "other side" at all.

I'm really curious what readers see (or, uh, *don't* see) here.


Daniel said...

Thanks for the kind words Stuart. I guess with raw food, what intrigued me in the first place was seeing some extremely striking examples of people who radically changed their health, weight and bodies by going 100% raw. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking at length to a number of raw foodists at a conference a few years ago.

It made me wonder if there really was something "there" there, and that's why I looked into the diet in the first place. It turned out that there actually *was* something there, just not enough for me to go hard core.

And honestly, I had an absolute blast doing my one-week raw trial, but I also had a blast going right back to cooked food. :)


Elizabeth said...

I think the manifesto makes some very good points about parents being able to control what goes in to their kids and about being careful about using food regularly as reward. But I also think that that issue - control - can be counterproductive to raising kids who can make good choices for themselves. If a parent controls everything their kids eat, those kids won't have a chance to learn to choose for themselves what they will eat. They don't get to experience food as pleasure (which it, in addition to providing fuel and nutrients, it certainly is!), and being controlling of kids' choices teaches them that you don't trust them to make good ones for themselves.

Obviously, kids at different stages of development have different capacities for choice, and catering to the average 2-year-old's every dietary whim will put you on a fast track to problems. But why not let kids experience things and learn for themselves about different foods? I think kids - once they learn how to pay attention to how foods make them feel - can start to recognize that you can only have so much candy and "junk" foods before you start to feel worse. They will develop an internal sense of what is healthy and good by experiencing a variety of foods. And they will feel empowered by the trust that parents place in them when they trust them to make choices on their own.

Daniel said...

Elizabeth, that's an excellent point. I hadn't even thought about that aspect at all. Thank you for sharing.


Brittany said...

There are a couple of counter-arguments to the Lunch Tray argument.

The first Elizabeth articulated well. If you're claiming it is ultimately the parents' responsibility to ensure their kids develop good eating habits, then teach them good eating habits instead of just banning them access to all unhealthy food! Bans don't build a healthy relationship to food either.

Second, I disagree on principle that parents should be the ultimate authority on everything related to their kids, being of more the "it takes a village" and "giving birth doesn't magically give you a ph.d. in raising well-adjusted kids" mindset. But this is a somewhat of a digression.

Finally, a variety of points from the couple of years I spent teaching in Houston ISD. She says she lives in Houston and her kids are in HISD schools... well, Texas has explicit laws forbidding teachers from giving kids unhealthy food in the classroom and from using food as rewards. So not sure what's happening in her kids' classrooms--either a gross violation of the law (which, given that she's a rapid anti-school-snack blogger, I don't know why she hasn't reported it) or a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of the facts on her part. But again, digression.

As a teacher, I found the ban on ever giving food as a reward to be very frustrating. Now, the examples in her article are incredibly extreme. But I don't see the harm in an occasional class-wide treat party after everyone works hard for a goal or math conversion activity using twizzlers to measure things. It is a "quick and dirty" way to get instant buy-in and attention, but it's effective. Calling it "lazy and unimaginative" is a bit rude and heavy-handed.

It should not be overused, but you can't dress up like a zombie and let kids throw water balloons at you while calculating angle and arc everyday. You can't let kids cut your hair if they meet their grade goals more than once a year, really. Yeah, I did both of those things when I taught, among many others. I don't think "lazy and unimaginative" was ever a label my critics would ever pick. But I also--horror--used food treats (pre-ban) in other circumstances. Sometimes, you need quick and nearly-guaranteed to work.

Finally, the Texas law forbidding any food as a reward had a result of meaning I could no longer bring in *healthy* food as a reward either! (Another teacher and I used to do fruit, which our kids loved.) I worked in a low-income district where a combination of food deserts, strapped family resources, and lack of nutritional education meant that most of my kids didn't have regular access to fresh fruit. So a bag of clementines both was a great motivator for a learning game and a nutritional boost to my kids. But instead a grassroots effort to encourage healthier snacks, we just banned food entirely. Great step.

So no grand coherent rebuttal, but some irate thoughts to ponder anyway.