Be Nice to the Ugly Ones!
Many years ago while I was at high school one of my best friends lived on a local agricultural research farm.
His father was the head of that research farm and on behalf of the government undertook various projects related to agriculture.
It was their job to create new strains of food bearing plants that were suitable to be grown not just in the local area but all over the country.
They way they did this was by cross breeding and mixing various plant varieties in an attempt to create new variations that would increase yields as well as make them suitable for growing in different conditions.
One evening I was at a party and was in conversation with my friends father.
I asked him why it was that modern tomatoes had absolutely no tomato flavor like the ones my own father grew in the backyard.
His answer was quite simple.
It was because flavour was not part of the original brief.
He explained to me that he was most likely the guilty party when it came to the tomatoes I was referring to and that most of the county’s tomatoes were of that variety.
It was bred to have a very long shelf life, to be suitable to withstand transportation, to be picked when green and to turn red evenly and at a predictable rate and to have a firm flesh.
However no part of the requirement was that the tomato has to taste like a tomato… so it didn’t.
I was outraged, he just laughed.
The reason I raise this story is that in the past 40 or so years this has been common practice with nearly all of out fruit and vegetables.
Appearance and shelf life rule the roost with flavour and nutritional value being shunted to the back of the queue or not even added to the queue in the first place.
Not only has this lowered the value of our produce but it has created in our minds the concept that good fruit and vegetables can be identified by a perfection of appearance.
Because of that mindset we throw away tons and tons of perfectly good fruit and vegetables on daily basis because it does not look perfect.
The guy in article below is doing something about it and should be recognised for doing so.
One Doctor’s Quest to Fix Cesarean Sections
In most western countries these days there is an interesting and very wide variation on the percentage of pregnancies that ultimately end in a c-section.
In fact within the borders of those same countries where there is very little variation in other factors that variation continues.
If you are a pregnant woman living in Perth Western Australia you have an enormously inflated chance of having a c-section when compared to a woman in the Eastern States of Australia.
I often wondered about this because the sort of factors you would think would be rather consistent when comparing a place like Australia should also result in consistent c-section rates.
So, being a nosy person I asked my G.P.
Now before I go any further you have to understand my G.P. is in no way a believer in the fact that he, because of being a Doctor, has anything more important to say about just about anything!
So Graeme explained it to me.
You see about 30 or 40 years ago the concept of suing hospitals and Doctors for behaving negligently started to take root.
In response to that they began to get insurance coverage to ward off any potential financial problem as a result.
As this area developed one particular area of medicine began to stand out from the crowd as being (from an insurance point of view) the most troublesome.
That area was of course obstetrics.
Payouts for bungled procedures for this part of the field of medicine climbed exponentially every time a case hit the courts because a disaster at birth meant compensation would have to be calculated from the point of view of an entire lifetime.
Now bear in mind that prior to that time, childbirth was considered to be a “natural process” and what would be would be.
Now doctors were being held accountable and as a result their insurance premiums were going through the roof.
So, at some point there was a fundamental shift in how childbirth was viewed and at that point it became necessary for doctors to take control of the process.
Childbirth went from being a “natural process” to a “medical procedure.”
C-sections went from being a rare exception to the rule to being a desired outcome from the doctor’s point of view because as such they could control every aspect of it.
Going to Hospital is Bad for Your Health
It’s kind of amazing don’t you think that at the drop of a hat all the major health providers and medical companies will add their names to any sort of heart disease prevention program going around.
They are always there with their corporate logos and P.R. reps ready to extoll the virtues of reducing heart disease through whatever program is going.
Of course all the while never really DOING anything about it or challenging anything that they know causes heart disease.
After all, some good PR is always welcome but at the end of the day, business is business!
So I was pretty amused to see that this week FoodBabe was featuring an article pointing out the fact that whilst all the big hospitals are talking the talk, they are definitely not walking the walk when it comes to their own practices!
There is a rich tradition of pure comedy gold based on hospital food but bear in mind that all good comedy has it’s roots firmly planted in the truth.
Antibiotics and Common Ailments
One of the impending medical problems we are facing or are at least about to face is the end of life stage coming to our common antibiotics.
I have written about this before on the blog and it has been taken up as a subject on a number of online properties.
The fact of the matter is that our current array of antibiotics is nearing the time at which they will no longer be effective against the germs and diseases they previously dealt with.
On top of that we are also facing the emergence of a number of “superbugs” which are not only impervious to antibiotics but also have the ability to assist other bugs in gaining immunity to antibiotics.
Whilst the cause of this surge in resistance is still being debated the most likely reasons come down to one single cause. Overuse.
There are currently two areas where the overuse or incorrect use of antibiotics is a problem and unfortunately it is not just confined to medical uses on humans.
Of course the main culprit here is most likely overuse by general practitioners where the local M.D. has been merrily prescribing antibiotics for conditions that are not even effectively handled by antibiotics.
This if course leads to a watering down of their effectiveness.
The other problem with M.D.s is the use of antibiotics at the drop of a hat rather than allowing the possibility of the patient recovering under his or her own steam.
Both these scenarios lead to widespread exposure of certain bugs to antibiotics but in an uncontrolled manner so that the result is the bugs develop immunity.
So the next time someone really needs the antibiotic that should deal with whatever they have we find it’s effectiveness has been severely compromised because the bug itself has evolved.
The other area leading the charge in the increasing ineffectiveness of antibiotics is the agricultural industry.
At the moment most meat producers are dosing their herds with antibiotics regularly not to deal with any disease but to increase output and subsequently profits.
This results in the same situation as the the use of the medicines in humans but also adds trace antibiotics to the food system which we are eating.
In other words, even when we think we are not getting antibiotics, we most likely still are!
This means that at any given time bacteria present in or on our bodies which we can deal with just fine are slowly but surely building resistance to the antibiotics.
At the time when perhaps you are a little physically rundown or you suffer an injury that bacteria may gain a foothold and it is then that you will need the antibiotic traditionally known to deal with it… unless of course it has, in the meantime become immuned to that one.
In light of this it is a good time to really start thinking about how we use antibiotics.
And as usual the sensible thing to do is find the middle ground.
Don’t just blindly go onto them at the first sign of a cough and on the other hand don’t rule them out when medically it is advisable to use them.