Thursday, April 20, 2006

Touch + Food = Culture

Suzette Haden-Elgin notes:
It has been suggested [starting with J.W. Prescott and Douglas Wallace, "Developmental Sociobiology and the Origins of Aggressive Behavior," a paper presented at the 21st International Congress of Psychology in July 1976] that the more biased a culture is against touch, the more violent it is likely to be. If that hypothesis is valid, a culture that places a high value on violence is going to do everything possible to maintain and nuture its anti-touch bias and keep down the level of acceptance for everything related to nonviolent touch.
That explains an awful lot, at least to me. When "touchy-feely" became a slur, we were pretty well doomed, eh?

By the way, Ampersand noted another disturbing bit of research:
No commercial program, clinical program, or research model has been able to demonstrate significant long-term weight loss for more than a small fraction of the participants. Given the potential dangers of weight cycling and repeated failure, it is unscientific and unethical to support the continued use of dieting as an intervention for obesity.
It gets worse:
There are few studies in the medical literature that indicate that mortality risk is actually reduced by weight loss, and there are some that suggest that weight loss increases the risk of death.
There's an exception in the research for people with certain preconditions (high blood pressure, diabetes), but for healthy fat people, the way to stay healthy is, apparently, to stay fat. Exercise helps, as does a reasonably balanced diet, but "eat like a thin person" is a myth and clearly a failed model.

Worse, comes news [via] that agroindustrial vegetables aren't as nutritious as the farmed foods of yesteryear
The past five decades have been marked by the "Green Revolution," which has seen a marked increase in U.S. production and yields as farmers have turned to the fastest-growing and greatest-producing plants.

The tradeoff is that the faster-growing plants aren't able to acquire the nutrients that their slower-growing cousins can, either by synthesis or from the soil.
So, to eat a truly healthy diet, it turns out, you actually have to care where your food comes from.... It's quite disconcerting to realize that macrobiotic food nuts are actually dead-on right about something that you care about.

OK: time to focus on getting more sleep and exercise.

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