Animal agriculture is choking the Earth and making us sick. We must act now | James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron

Film-maker James Cameron and environmentalist Suzy Amis Cameron writes that to preserve Americas majestic national parks, clean air and water for future generations leaders must be pressed to address foods environmental impact

Our collective minds are stuck on this idea that talking about foods environmental impact risks taking something very intimate away from us. In fact its just the opposite. Reconsidering how we eat offers us hope, and empowers us with choice over what our future planet will look like. And we can ask our local leaders from city mayors to school district boards to hospital management to help, by widening our food options.

On Monday and Tuesday, the city of Chicago is hosting a summit for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy to discuss climate solutions cities can undertake. Strategies to address and lower foods impact should be front and center.

Animal agriculture is choking the Earth, and the longer we turn a blind eye, the more we limit our ability to nourish ourselves, protect waterways and habitats, and pursue other uses of our precious natural resources. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of theleading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

On top of this, eating too much meat and dairy is making us sick, greatlyincreasing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several major cancers (including breast, liver and prostate) and obesity. Diets optimal for human health vary, according to David Katz, of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, but all of them are made up mostly of whole, wholesome plant foods.

So what gives? Why cant we see the forest for the bacon? The truth can be hard to swallow: that we simply need less meat and dairy and more plant-based options in our food system if were to reach our climate goals.

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The Avatar movie set had plant-based menus. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex Features

This can start with individual action. Five years ago, our family felt hopeless about climate change, and helpless to make meaningful change. But when we connected the dots on animal agricultures impact on the environment, coupled with the truth about nutrition, we took heart because it gave us something we could actually do.

To create change at the scale needed, this will take more than individual choice we need to get climate leaders on board about the impact of food. Cities and counties have used their buying power to transition fleets from diesel to electric, and we need to do the same with how we purchase food. We have done this in our own community, moving the lunch program of Muse School, in Calabasas, California, and the Avatar movie set to plant-based menus. Scaling up initiatives like these can make a big difference: if the US reduced meat consumption by 50%, its the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road. We think thats damn hopeful.

Decision-makers on all levels can make it easier for us to eat better, by expanding access to food options that are good for our health, affordable, and climate-friendly. Nationwide, cities and school districts have adopted food purchasing policies that include environment, health and fair labor standards. The city of Chicago is a recent adopter of this Good Food Purchasing Program, and so the solutions-focus of the summit is the perfect place to discuss how food can move us toward climate goals. In the same breath that we discuss fossil fuels, we should be talking animal ag, or were missing a big part of the problem and a big part of the solution.

Yes, food is inherently personal. Its the cornerstone of holidays, it fuels high school athletes and long workdays, and it nourishes nursing mothers and growing children. And yes, Americans love meat and cheese. But more than that, we love our majestic national parks, family beach vacations and clean air and water for our children and grandchildren.

As individuals, we can make choices on how to better nourish our families, and as citizens, we can encourage local leaders to make choices that will allow us to enjoy our land and natural resources now and in the future.

James Cameron is a film-maker and deep-sea explorer. Suzy Amis Cameron is a founder of Muse School and Plant Power Task Force.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/04/animal-agriculture-choking-earth-making-sick-climate-food-environmental-impact-james-cameron-suzy-amis-cameron

Are veggie burgers and cheese-less pizza the solution for a sustainable future?

Image: pixabay

Eco-conscious consumers may want to practice portion control before chowing down on that cheeseburger.

Recent studies about the environmental impact of agricultural industries like meat and dairy have produced worrying statistics. Widely cited research suggests that red meat products are responsible for as much as 40 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to vegetables and grains. The dairy industry is a culprit as well, with traditional dairy farming contributing to greenhouse gas emission through cow manure, feed production, and milk processing. Practices within both industries can contribute to soil degradation, water waste, and harmful runoff.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outline top-priority objectives for tackling global issues like climate change, food waste, and sustainable agriculture. Major corporations and small startups alike are taking steps toward making these goals realities — and a few companies are specifically focusing on responsible consumption.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need to pare down your diet to carrot sticks in order to make an impact. Maintaining an environmentally friendly lifestyle is less about going completely meat-free, and more about responsible choices. Below are four organizations proving that an eco-conscious lifestyle is easier than you might think.

Beyond Meat

Companies like Beyond Meat want to ensure that carnivorous consumers can have it all: Big, juicy burgers and a sustainable diet. The company produces plant-based products that look and (more importantly) taste like real meat. Beyond Meat’s burgers are so realistic that some grocery stores have even started stocking them in the meat aisle.

Much of the meat industry’s environmental impact revolves around problematic livestock practices, which is why plant-based foods are a more sustainable option. Companies like Beyond Meat can help mitigate many problems inherent in the meat industry — without asking consumers to completely forego their beloved burgers.

Sabra

Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose initiative is a program launched in 2016 that combats food deserts — or areas/neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable fruits and vegetables. According to the company’s estimates, more than 23 million Americans live in such deserts. Many of these families ultimately end up turning to less environmentally conscious (and not to mention, less healthy) meals simply due to lack of access and affordability.

Image: sabra

Plants with a Purpose establishes organic work-share gardens in locations like Richmond, Virginia, where Sabra’s Gold LEED certified hummus-manufacturing facility is headquartered. Alongside community education efforts, these types of gardens help improve urban agriculture in underserved communities. 

“This is the land of plenty, but there are plenty who lack far too much including access to the necessity of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Sabra CEO Shali Shalit-Shoval on the Sabra website. “As a brand dedicated to creating a fresh new way of eating and connecting, we are uniquely positioned to help address this very real and sometimes surprising challenge facing communities across the country.”

Daiya

“Find your happy plate,” riffs plant-based foods brand Daiya

Much like Beyond Meat offers a burger alternative to consumers who crave their daily dose of beef (but want to skip the side of guilt), Daiya offers a slew of dairy-free foods that taste about as close to the real deal as possible: We’re talking pizza, mac and cheese, and even gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Better yet, the company ensures that every step of their supply chain — from the way ingredients are grown to packaging materials — are sustainable.

Image: daiya

The brand offers a variety of dairy-free dishes for eco-conscious consumers and for people with dietary restrictions. Their products are also free from common allergens like gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. On Daiya’s website, the company also provides a variety of plant-based living tips and recipe suggestions for getting the most out of their products.

Worldwide demand for milk products is skyrocketing. While the dairy industry is evolving in its own right, companies like Daiya that provide plant-based alternatives are another option for environmentally savvy consumers who hope to cut down their carbon footprint.

Beauty Without Cruelty

It’s not just what we put in our bodies that can have a detrimental environmental impact: What we put on our bodies counts, too. The cosmetics industry is often a perpetrator of ecologically harmful pollutants like some preservatives (including parabens and triclosan), microplastics, and UV filters.

Image: pixabay

A member of the Vegan Society, BWC makes beauty products that are 100% suitable for vegans and vegetarians; in addition, the brand uses recycled materials and responsible sourcing methods to minimize its environmental footprint. Their products range from hair and skincare treatments to nail polishes and makeup. Many of the company’s products are fragrance-free and others are gluten-free, too, for consumers with particularly sensitive skin.

Living an eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult. With the rise of sustainability-focused startups as well as concerted efforts from established brands, the bar for responsible consumerism is being raised every day.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/06/companies-reducing-meat-consumption/

Mass starvation is humanitys fate if we keep flogging the land to death | George Monbiot

The Earth cannot accommodate our need and greed for food. We must change our diet before its too late, writes Guardian columnist George Monbiot

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is notbecause I dont care Icare very much. Its only because I have a bigger question onmy mind. Where is all the food going to come from?

By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UNs famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the worlds croplands.

Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India among the worlds critical growing regions levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in south Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by the year 2050. Where willit come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. These predictions could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4C of warming in the US corn belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But thats viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with fewer than fivehectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the UK has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated intolarge farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfoldon land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global sea grab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. About 3billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as peoples incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UKs farmland footprint (the land requiredto meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how exactly do we accommodate it?

Graph from Our World in Data.

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses and 53% of the protein are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beefcattle or sheep: a 100-folddifference.

Its true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other life forms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of theplanet.

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I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna lions, elephants, whales and tuna vanishing. Photograph: Douglas Klug/Getty Images

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UNexpects meat consumption to rise by70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape fromgrey wastes, being beaten back byarmed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna lions, elephants, whales and tuna vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just anightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that neednever end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth witha living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal- to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people anddouble the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help:one paper suggests it reduces water useby at least 82% and land useby 99%.

The next green revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we the richer people now consuming the living planet find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/mass-starvation-humanity-flogging-land-death-earth-food

Top five celeb ‘diets to avoid’ in 2018

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The British Dietetic Association has released a list of diets they say we should steer clear of in the new year.

They include the Raw Vegan, Alkaline, Pioppi and Ketogenic diets, as well as Katie Price’s Nutritional Supplements.

Sian Porter from the BDA said: “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The British Nutrition Foundation agreed that the five diets are best avoided, while Dr Aseem Malhotra, author of The Pioppi diet, defended his meal plan.

Raw Vegan

Image copyright REX/Shutterstock

Gwyneth Paltrow, Megan Fox and Sting have all come out in support of a vegan diet of uncooked foods.

Supporters define raw food as anything that has not been refined, canned or chemically processed, and has not been heated above 48C.

They argue that applying heat destroys some of the natural enzymes in food and that the body therefore needs to do more work to break the food down. They also say you lose nutrients through this process.

But Mrs Porter said: “People think that vegan is shorthand for healthy, but it requires careful planning to make sure you don’t miss out on important nutrients.”

The NHS suggests vegans consider taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements.

Heat also brings out the nutrients in some foods, such as carrots while others, such as potatoes, cannot be eaten raw.

Alkaline

Tom Brady and the Duchess of York have been famous proponents of the alkaline diet.

The diet is based on the theory that you can change the pH balance (level of acidity) of your body and blood through the food that you eat – despite there currently being no substantial evidence to suggest that this is possible.

Advocates have claimed that high levels of “excess acid” in the body contribute to a range of health conditions including arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney and liver disorders, and even cancer.

They suggest eating “alkaline foods”, primarily fruit and vegetables, to correct this.

But, according to Cancer Research UK, while eating more fruit and vegetables may help you lose weight, the pH of your food will not impact the pH of your blood.

Mrs Porter said: “So if it works to lose weight, it’s because you’re cutting down on calories.”

The NHS says that the alkaline diet lacks evidence, and advises against cutting out whole food groups, as some versions of the diet suggest.

Katie Price – Nutritional Supplements

Image copyright REX/Shutterstock

Katie Price has released a range of hydration, breakfast and meal replacement shakes.

According to the website, the drinks support muscle tone and maintenance as well as decreasing snacking and cravings.

Mrs Porter said: “The problem is people need to reintroduce food so you want something you can stick to.”

While rapid weight loss can be motivating, the BDA said it is unsustainable and that appetite suppressors are not a healthy or advisable way of losing weight.

Sarah Coe from the BNF said: “Meal replacement products can be useful for people that have a lot of weight to lose, but should always be used under supervision from a health professional.”

Katie Price Nutrition did not respond to a BBC request for comment.

Pioppi Diet

The Pioppi diet claims to promote the principles of the Mediterranean diet to promote weight loss and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The authors, Dr Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill, recommend a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet with fruit and vegetables, fish, olive oil, alcohol in moderation and exercise.

They suggest intermittent fasting and discourage eating red meat, starchy carbs, and sweetened treats.

The BDA accused the pair of “hijacking” the Mediterranean diet with their agenda, saying it was “ridiculous” to include coconut oil or cauliflower for a pizza base as one of their suggestions.

Mrs Porter said: “We all know now that a Mediterranean-style diet is one of the most healthy diets to follow. But it’s not low carb.”

Image copyright Science Photo Library

The British Nutrition Foundation agrees, saying that a traditional Mediterranean diet typically includes pasta and rice at every meal.

Mrs Porter added that the argument to eat a high level of saturated fat was based on evidence that had been “cherry-picked rather than looking at it in its entirety”.

She said: “Why it might help you lose weight is because it’s making healthier choices and you’d be having overall less calories.”

But Dr Malhotra, a cardiologist and adviser at the National Obesity Forum, said: “The Pioppi Diet is an independent evaluation that marries the secrets of one of the world’s healthiest villages with the latest medical, nutrition and exercise research to bust many myths prevalent in today’s weight loss and health industries.

“It has received endorsements from a number of eminent international doctors, dieticians, Cochrane researchers and sports scientists.

“One has to question the financial links and influence of various food companies on the BDA. In my view, they cannot be trusted as an independent source of dietary advice.”

In response to this, a BDA spokesperson said: “The analysis we release is always based on evidence and is unaffected by the important relationships we have with the nation’s food producers.

“Our spokespeople, like all dieticians, are required to adhere to evidence-based practice as part of their registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.”

Ketogenic

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kobe Bryant has been linked to the Ketogenic diet

A huge number of celebrities have been linked with this diet including Kim Kardashian, Kobe Bryant and Alec Baldwin.

The premise is to eat a very low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet, with carbohydrates coming from non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

The aim is to push the body into a state of “ketosis”. Because it doesn’t have the glucose from the carbohydrates, it instead breaks down fat to produce energy.

Ms Porter said: “The sinister thing here is people saying it can cure cancer and things like that – it absolutely cannot!”

She said by not eating carbohydrates, you avoid eating the calorie-laden things that generally accompany them: “If you’re cutting out carbs, such as pasta, you’re cutting out creamy sauce. If you’re cutting out bread, you’re cutting out butter. If you’re cutting out biscuits, you’re cutting out sugar.”

The danger, she said, is that you can lose a lot of fibre from your diet which is important for gut health. Also, by removing whole grains from your diet you’re depriving your body of many vitamins and minerals.

The BNF advises that it can be effective for losing weight in the short-term but this weight loss can be hard to sustain.


So how do I lose weight?

The BDA has a fact sheet recommending some of the best ways to lose weight. They suggest:

  • Keep a food and mood diary to monitor how the two are connected
  • Make a list of non-food related tasks you can do to distract you from thinking about food
  • Set realistic goals: losing only 5-10% of your weight has massive health benefits
  • Avoid eating at the same time as doing something else, such as watching TV, as this can cause you to overeat
  • Half fill your plate with vegetables/salad and divide the other half between a protein and a starchy carbohydrate like potatoes or rice

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42264838

Why your diet should include more fat

Think back to the ’80s and ’90s when buying anything that didn’t don a low-fat label was simply taboo. Back then, butter and egg yolks topped the “do not eat” list, while refined carbs and packaged foods weren’t given a second thought. But times have definitely changed.

These days, experts tout fat as a must-have macro and full-fat products, like whole milk, avocado, ghee and coconut oil, join the ranks of superfoods.
Yet, some people still question what kinds of fat they should eat and exactly how it affects the body. That’s why we called on Mark Hyman, MD, author of the “Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook,” to help us wipe clean the greasy mess of info and lay down the facts on fat.

    5 Myths About Fat — Debunked

    1. Myth: Fat on my plate equals fat on my body.
    Reality: Even though this myth is the basis for low-fat diets and food products, it’s far from the truth. Eating fat won’t make you fat. Completely eliminating or limiting fat from your diet can actually make you gain weight, often because it leaves you feeling so deprived. Conversely, some studies have found that fatty foods can aid in weight loss.
    “The problem with most diets is that they lack the key ingredient that makes food taste good and cuts your hunger,” says Dr. Hyman. And you guessed it, that’s fat. “Healthy fats are the best source of energy for your body, and they keep your metabolism and fat-burning mechanisms running as they’re meant to,” Dr. Hyman explains.
    Research supports this, showing that a low-fat diet could slow down metabolism. So now you have permission to enjoy a spoonful of nut butter with an apple before your next workout or a satiating piece of steak for dinner every once in a while.
    2. Myth: Saturated fat should get a big fat “I’ll pass.”
    Reality: Not so fast. While saturated fat has long been known as public health enemy number one, recent research proves it’s not so scary. Of course, you shouldn’t always opt for a meal full of red meat and butter, but having them occasionally won’t wreck your health (or your waistline).
    In fact, Dr. Hyman whips some butter into his coffee in the morning. Although it’s higher in saturated fat, he says butter is a more wholesome ingredient, particularly the grass-fed variety.
    What’s worse than eating high-fat foods: replacing them with loads of sugar. Refined carbs can increase your chances of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.
    3. Myth: All fat causes health problems.
    Reality: Eating different sources of fat can actually boost your health. Omega-3 fatty acids (those found in fish and some nuts and seeds) can help strengthen your heart and possibly your mental well-being, too. And the monounsaturated fats in olive oil (as well as nuts and avocados) can also cut your risk of heart disease.
    Dr. Hyman has even seen some of his patients reverse type 2 diabetes by eating a high-fat diet.
    4. Myth: High-cholesterol foods raise your LDL cholesterol levels.
    Reality: Previous thinking also cautioned against foods high in cholesterol (a type of fat), but that’s no longer the case. Dietary cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise the “bad” cholesterol levels in your body, Dr. Hyman explains. Instead, it can elevate HDL or the “good” kind.
    One caveat: Trans fats and linoleic acid (found in vegetable oils) can harm your health. So steer clear of partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils, like canola, as well as packaged foods like cream-filled candies, frozen pizza and margarine. Sometimes, the nutrition label doesn’t show trans fat, so look for hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list.
    5. Myth: Fat will keep me from my fitness goals.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Reality: Some endurance athletes actually embrace what’s known as the ketogenic diet. This plan involves getting about 70 to 75 percent of your daily calories from fat and just five to 10 percent from carbs. Though researchers are still looking into the proven (dis)advantages of the diet, it can help your body adjust to running off fat stores, rather than carbs, explains Pam Nisevich Bede, RD, dietitian with Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition.
    (The mechanisms for this work similarly to intermittent fasting: When you run out of glycogen for energy, your body turns to other sources, like fat.) “Since most of us exercise to burn off that internal fat storage, it can be a win-win,” Bede says.
    The typical high-fat foods in a ketogenic diet aren’t cheeseburgers and fries, though. It’s more like avocados, fish, peanut butter, meat and eggs. Note that it also takes the body about three to five weeks to adapt to a low-carb, high-fat diet, especially if you regularly chow down on foods like pizza and pasta. And because your body digests fat more slowly than carbs (like bagels), it keeps you fuller for longer and provides a steadier source of energy levels to help you power through a long run or fitness class. If you do have a high-fat meal, wait about two hours before working out, Bede says.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/07/health/eat-more-fat-less-sugar/index.html

    India expands payment scheme for Hindus to marry person of Dalit caste

    Government is to scrap income ceiling for cash incentive but critics say slow uptake is due to millennia-old prejudice not economics

    Indias government has expanded a scheme offering payment incentives to Hindus who marry members of the countrys poorest and most oppressed caste, the Dalits.

    A scheme introduced in 2013 offered 250,000 rupees (2,900) to encourage Hindus from higher castes to marry members of the untouchable community, in the hope that it would help to remove the stigma of intercaste marriage and foster greater social cohesion.

    To qualify, the annual income of the spouse from the high caste had to be less than 500,000 rupees (5,800).

    The government envisaged about 500 such marriages annually, but less than 100 have taken place each year.

    On Wednesday, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced it would scrap the income ceiling, and said all couples in which one spouse is from the Dalit caste would receive the cash incentive.

    Ancient prejudices against Dalits remain stubbornly entrenched in India. Marriages between the higher castes and Dalits are very rare, with the vast majority of Indians marrying within their own caste. Many Indians will not even eat with a Dalit.

    Dalits were traditionally thought to fall outside the four main classes of caste that determined the shape of Hindu lives, from jobs and diets to marriage prospects.

    As a result, they were considered impure and banished to the periphery of Indian society, suffering thousands of years of exclusion and extreme poverty that affirmative action programmes over the last 70 years have done little to address.

    Officials believe the schemes low success rate so far is also due to a combination of other factors: the income ceiling and also lack of awareness of the scheme. Many Dalits contacted by the Guardian had never heard of it.

    Rahul Sonpimple, 28, a sociology PhD student in New Delhi, had no idea about the scheme but said it was a waste of time.

    Caste is not to do with money or wealth or materialism. If it were, then a poor Brahmin would happily marry a billionaire Dalit. But he wont, because it is about caste pride, pride in your birth, he said.

    John Dayal, secretary general of the All-India Christian Council, said the scheme was fundamentally misconceived because it monetised hatred and attempted to use cash to end a millennia-old system which is rooted not in economics, but in prejudices.

    I know of several intercaste marriages but they are all done in secret or under police or court protection, Dayal said. What we need is not cash incentives but a social upheaval to end discrimination against Dalits.

    Crimes against Dalits show no sign of abating. The latest statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau show a rise of 5.5% between 2015 and 2016.

    Michael Safi contributed to this report

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/06/india-expands-payment-scheme-for-hindus-marry-person-dalit-caste

    The 6 Skin Care Products The Victoria’s Secret Angels Use For Glowing Skin

    It’s that time of year again: the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show. As if your latest Instagram feed hasn’t already, the public viewing will make us stress-eat, cry over tubs of Halo Top, and promise ourselves that we’ll use the gym membership first thing in the morning. However, as usual, we’ll only wake up and laugh because there’s no way in hell we’re going to the gym before 10am. I really do applaud the Angels for their hard work, and by hard work, I mean excessively working out and going on liquid diets. Yes, the Angels are known for their technically good physique, but have you seen their skin? It’s fucking perfect. Maybe it’s Maybelline, or maybe it’s surgery a photo app I’ve yet to discover. Either way, it’s flawless. They clearly take like, really good care of their skin. I know I def would if I had millions of followers on Instagram, too. Their strict routine is honestly one we could follow ourselves if we weren’t so lazy, so I’ve made our lives easier and found their beauty secrets. Here’s everything you need in order to have flawless skin like a Victoria’s Secret Angel model.

    1. Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk

    The models don’t use just any ordinary face wash. They use a super gentle cleansing milk that’s non-irritating and non-drying. A cleansing milk is basically made up lightweight oils that provide hydration, remove a long-wearing contour, and barely leave a greasy residue. Don’t get it twisted. This isn’t the shit in your fridge. The cleansers are v soothing and clean sensitive skin thoroughly, so your chances of a breakout are like, little to none.

    2. Boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel Eye Mask

    IDK about you, but I have never left the United States of America, let alone be boujee enough to randomly take a two-week vacation to Cannes. If you’re one of these people, congratulations, I hate you this is probably for you. Since the Angels travel a whole fucking lot, they’re constantly jet-lagged and exhausted. Life is hard when you’re a rich, hot lingerie model. Obviously, I can like, totally relate. So, they’re always using hydrogel eye masks to relieve swelling and get rid of corpse-like under-eye bags. These masks help keep the sensitive area moisturized and looking alert in case you feel anything but alive the next day.

    3. Perricone MD Ultimate Hydration Starter Kit

    A top priority of theirs is staying (and looking) hydrated at all times. Not only should you be pounding back water bottles on the regular (instead of just first thing in the AM after a blackout), but your face should also be getting just as much water. Some of their routines require intensive hydration kits to ensure their skin is soft, smooth, and receiving the moisture it needs 24/7. This often includes a hydrating serum, cream, and eye gel to apply all throughout the year.

    4. GLAMGLOW FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment

    Victoria’s Secret models always have glowing skin. I mean, Photoshopped or not, their faces are rays of fucking sunshine. Well, not only do they use a brightening mask in the days leading up to the fashion show, but they also use brightening treatments year-round to maintain their famous glow. This particular treatment contains special intense brightening ingredients and technology to enhance and increase your skin’s glow quickly after first use.

    5. Natura Bisse Oxygen Mask

    Okay, well, the models use a lot of masks if you haven’t noticed. The next one they swear by is an oxygen mask, or oxygen treatment. Luckily for you, this isn’t some sort of process where your skin is physically pumped with air. Instead, using a detoxifying and deep cleansing oxygen mask delivers the same results. It opens up your pores to allow much-needed air in to help your skin breathe and purify itself. This one leaves a refreshingly cool sensation that totally makes you feel like a brand new woman when you’re finished.

    6. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

    I can’t stress enough how much I swear by this product. Mario is the solution to all my life’s problems, and since I’m such a good friend, I’m letting you in on the world’s best secret. This, in particular, is a product the Victoria’s Secret Angel’s facialist uses daily on their skin. It’s perfectly made for rude af overnight breakouts or pesky blemishes you see growing that you want to disappear before they become a thing. The calamine helps get rid of any irritation, redness, and swelling almost immediately after applying. Seriously, it’s a life-saver—model or not.

     

    Read more: http://www.betches.com/victorias-secret-angels-skin-care-routine

    Blue Apron loses its CEO

    Blue Apron founder Matt Salzberg is stepping aside as the company’s CEO, the company announced Thursday. CFO Brad Dickerson has been promoted to take his place.

    It’s been a volatile past few months for the cooking kit company, which went public in June. Shares closed Thursday at just $2.99 (Blue Apron went public at $10 per share, after originally hoping to go public between $15 and $17).

    But Amazon purchased Whole Foods just days before its debut and investors were concerned that this would eventually impact Blue Apron. There also was skepticism about Blue Apron’s customer retention.

    Blue Apron’s costly new warehouse also put a dip in investor enthusiasm, as it was revealed that the company would spend less on marketing to help finance it. Marketing had been a key element of Blue Apron’s growth.

    Salzberg will be staying on as executive chairman and chairman of the board of directors.

    Blue Apron laid off 6 percent of its employees last month.

    Earlier this month, Blue Apron reported earnings that disappointed investors. The company brought in $210.6 million for the quarter, which is impressive for just a five-year-old business. But growth was slowing and costs were growing.

    Competitor HelloFresh recently went public in Europe. Plated was recently bought for $200 million.

    There are countless meal delivery startups and Blue Apron has been a leader. But many of them offer discounts to new customers, which encourages people to switch from business to business.

    Some of them have a different focus — Sun Basket and Green Chef are focused on organic. Others fit particular diets or are designed to be prepared in minutes.

    Blue Apron has marketed themselves as a way to cook gourmet food without having to hunt down all the ingredients. It still has a cult following amongst some customers, but the stock market is not optimistic that it will be able to keep up its growth.

    Blue Apron was backed by Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital before its IPO. Salzberg previously worked at Bessemer as an associate.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/30/blue-apron-loses-its-ceo/

    Sugar Industry Buried Evidence Of Links To Cancer And Heart Disease For Half A Century

    Hundreds of thousands of years ago, we craved energy-dense foods packed with salts, fats, and sugars because they ensured our survival. Nowadays, those in wealthy nations have easy access to a cornucopia of treats, and it’s one of the driving causes of obesity, itself linked to a plethora of health afflictions.

    The US government has only recently updated its health guidelines to advise people to cut out a lot of sugar from their diets, but as highlighted in two recent studies, the sugar industry has been aware of its dangers for at least half a century.

    “The sugar industry did not disclose evidence of harm from animal studies that would have (1) strengthened the case that the coronary heart disease risk of sucrose is greater than starch and (2) caused sucrose to be scrutinized as a potential carcinogen,” the team wrote in their paper.

    Today, the trade association for the sugar industry in the US is known as the Sugar Association, but back in the 1960s, it was the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF). Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco have been digging through old records and, over the last few years, have uncovered evidence of a cover-up by the SRF of their own research that put them in a bad light.

    As reported last year in JAMA Internal Medicine, the first study, funded by the SRF in secret, was published back in 1967. Using statistical techniques that reviewers would now say heavily biased the data, the paper discounted evidence linking sugar consumption to the levels of lipids (fats) within the blood – which in turn was linked to heart disease.

    This study happened to appear at a time when that exact link was being debated by scientists across the world, and it sought to muddy the waters. The link today is absolutely clear and uncontroversial.

    As has just been revealed in PLOS Biology, a second peculiar research project has been found. Carried out between 1967 and 1971 under the name Project 259, the SRF was assessing how sugar intake affected the digestive systems of rats.

    After finding that there was a link to bladder cancer, the SRF terminated the project’s funding shortly before it was due to be completed. The results were never published.

    It’s worth remembering that plenty of industry research is often kept behind closed doors. Major studies by tobacco companies and fossil fuel companies are often published behind a prohibitively expensive paywall or without fanfare, so not everyone can easily see them.

    Even when the research lines up with what independent scientists have found, the PR messages the companies espouse are often in direct conflict with the studies. We’re not saying that all industries are involved in such behaviors, but it does seem like those selling sugar aren’t exactly being very open.

    For their part, the researchers make a direct comparison between what is essentially Big Tobacco and Big Sugar.

    “The tobacco industry also has a long history of conducting research on the health effects of its products that is often decades ahead of the general scientific community and not publishing results that do not support its agenda,” they noted.

    “This paper provides empirical data suggesting that the sugar industry has a similar history of conducting, but not publishing studies with results that are counter to its commercial interests.”

    For its part, the Sugar Association has released a statement deriding the new PLOS Biology study – one which claims that the sugar industry has always had a “commitment to transparency”. 

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/sugar-industry-buried-evidence-links-cancer-heart-disease-half-century/

    Researchers Publish Bombshell Report That Suggests Sugar Industry Conspiracy

    In 1964, a group of researchers published Dietary Fats and Intestinal Thiamine Synthesis in Rats in the journal Nutrition Reviews. It tackled the classic sugar versus fat conundrum that has puzzled dieters for decades: Whats worse for health, sugar or fat?

    The researchers divided rats into two groups. One group had diets that were 75 percent fat but no sugar, a sort of rodent Whole Foods regimen. It contrasted with the other group of rats, who had a lower fat countjust 15 percentbut 60 percent sucrose as well. The conclusion the team came to? Rats fed sucrose metabolized it as a carbohydrate and developed thiamine deficiency, often leading to heart failure; more complex carbohydrates helped create a gut bacteria that synthesized thiamine.

    That paper got the Sugar Research Foundation interested in understanding the role of the white stuff in our microbiome. The foundationa precursor to todays Sugar Associationasked a group, referred to as Project 259 and led by Dr. W. F. R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, to study the effect of sugar in the gut between 1967 and 1971. It found that rats and guinea pigs given diets higher in sugar led to higher levels of triglycerides than those fed a standard pellet diet of cereal, soybean, and whitefish meals. That led to higher levels of beta-glucoronidase in urine, a now-proven result of bladder cancer. An internal document later described the Project 259 research as one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats. In short: A sugar-heavy diet was connected to heart disease.

    But those results never saw the light of day by the now-defunct Sugar Research Foundation, according to a damning new paper published in PLOS Biology from Cristin E. Kearns, Dorie Apollonio, and Stanton A. Glantz. Its the latest in a series of papers Kearns and Glantz have teamed up on investigating the sugar industrys clamping down on research in postwar America, suggesting sugar was guilt-free and a healthier substitute to fat.

    Judging by the media and public interest, it basically shows that the sugar industry pretty much behaved the same way the tobacco companies did, Glantz, a professor of medicine and tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Daily Beast. Glantzs previous work explored the tobacco lobbying industry, with a 2013 paper in Tobacco Control tracing the rise of the Tea Party to tobaccos efforts to align themselves with libertarians through third party groups staunchly opposing taxation and regulation.

    While a similar connection between sugar and the government hasnt been found yet, Glantz and Kearns have uncovered evidence over the past few years that shows the sugar industry was heavily involved in muffling research that indicated its product was dangerous to health. Scientific journals followed suit, with even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine publishing a report that suggested that any linkage between sucrose and coronary heart disease was false, and that sucrose was in fact better than starch. (Pover died a few years ago, according to Kearns.)

    Pover and Project 259s original research disappeared for decades, until Glantz and Kearns unearthed it. They suspect that the study was not quite ready for publication and that Pover asked for more funds to ensure accuracy. Theyd been funding it for two years and about $200,000 in todays money, Kearns said. He needed 18 more weeks, but they probably said no.

    Even the incomplete results are interesting, Glantz pointed out. The sugar industry proved there were no differences to how sugar calories were metabolized compared to starch calories.

    Which is, of course, totally untrueand the latest in a slow but steady unraveling of the industry that pushes soda, high fructose corn syrup, and more in the American diet.

    And this isnt even the first time the sugar industry has misrepresented scientific results that would indicate sugar is not as sweet as it might appear. Glantz and Kearns published another industry-rocking report last year in JAMA Internal Medicine that showed the Sugar Research Foundation systematically discounted studies that tied sugar to ill health effects such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease by secretly funding groups in the 1960s and 1970s casting fat as the culprit behind these chronic diseases. The soda industrys denial of sodas connection with obesity and other nutritional studies backed by food giants that suggest candy does not affect a childs weight all fall in the same category.

    These guys are not nice, Glantz said. They were distorting the whole process. People would look at you and say you need psychological treatment for daring to suggest that sugar was not as healthy as it was made out to be.

    That made Glantzs and Kearns work especially difficult as they waded through old documents that often showcased conflicting results and confusion about the exact effects of sugar on a diet. Kearns is a professor of dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and started researching the sugar industry after attending a dental conference about a decade ago. In a session about diabetes and periodontal diseasetwo conditions that are affected by sugar intakeshe noticed that no one was talking about reducing sugar to control them.

    The diet advice was to reduce fat and reduce calories, and all the brochures said that, too, Kearns told The Daily Beast. But its not what the research and guidelines say. Im a dentist, and I know: The role of sugar in tooth decay is significant, and its the number one chronic disease in children.

    So Kearns teamed up with Glantz, who had made a name for himself uncovering the tobacco industrys stealthy PR campaign during the 1960s and 1970s to distance itself from lung cancer, funding research that downplayed its health effects, and allowed for advertising that glamorized smoking. The two found internal documents that suggested natural alternatives to sugar, such as the sugar beet industry in Colorado in the 1970s, went out of business. Kearns found that odd, along with the demonization of high fructose corn syrup (a corn product) by the sugar industry, and started delving more into the industry.

    Glantz, for his part, said there are immediate parallels between the sugar and tobacco industry. The two even shared lobbyists, with several going from tobacco to sugar, explaining the similar PR campaign and philosophy of both. They wanted to stay on top of the science and be ahead of the science, Glantz said. They worked to manipulate the process and prevent a scientific consensus from emerging.

    The fact that the sugar industry funded an alternate study to quash scientific results it had itself found to continue an image of being a sensible item to have in a diet is something that heavily contributed to the very modern American obesity, heart disease, and cancer epidemics, but have also repeatedly been shown to be used in marketing campaigns for impoverishedand often, heavily Hispanic and African-Americancommunities. It was what convinced Coca-Cola to use sucrose [instead of high fructose corn syrup], Kearns pointed out. Glantz added that sugar is seen as pure and unadulterated, something that is innocent and not considered a serious vice or health detraction on the levels of smoking: You add sucrose to your coffee. You bake with it. You have snack and beverages in it. Its even in your hamburgers and pizza.

    The sugar industry, for their part, released a statement, saying: The article we are discussing is not actually a study, but a perspective: a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry. (The report was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute of Health Policy Studies, the UCSF School of Dentistry, and the Nutrition Science Initiative.)

    The ubiquity of sugar in our diet, whether we realize it or not, has huge implications not only for our health but also for medical expenses in this country. Glantz and Kearns hope that this most recent paper will pressure the Food and Drug Administration to recommend diets contain less than 10 percent of sugars daily (as of 2011, average sugar consumption hovered in the 15 percent range) and for stricter oversight on nutrition research.

    A lot of people, they ask, Why are you looking at this ancient history? Who cares? Glantz said of his work investigating the tobacco and sugar industries and how they funded research. I always say, Trust me, people will care.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/researchers-publish-bombshell-report-that-suggests-sugar-industry-conspiracy