Weekend Reading, 12.1.13
December 1, 2013

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy first of the month, friends! I welcomed December today with my first sampling of Christmas carols, a little holiday shopping for my near and dear, and some perusal of scrumptious and seasonal recipes from friends. Here’s what I found:

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Ashlae’s baked pumpkin and tofu with kale looks like perfect seasonal comfort food.

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Speaking of pumpkin, I’m drooling over Anne’s pumpkin pie chia pudding (I love mixing pumpkin and chia! As well as pumpkin and…anything).

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Lauren’s raw coconut passionfruit kisses are not only beautiful and scrumptious sounding, but would make nice holiday gifts as well.

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Beth’s grain free cranberry spice mini tarts are also on my dessert radar–so pretty and festive!

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Finally, Anthony’s curried miso butternut squash soup looks thick enough to be a stew (which is how I love most of my winter soups). Just the thing for a cold December night.

Reads

1. Time Magazine’s 25 inventions of the year. I found a couple of these picks a little odd (the cronut? really?), but some of them–a water-cleaning, floating pool, or South Korea’s invisible skyscraper–are pretty cool.

2. For anyone who’s interested in 23andMe, and some of the controversy surrounding it (and personalized gene mapping on the whole), I thought this blog post, from Discover online, was a good summation of recent opinions and developments.

3. The Hollywood Reporter’s incredibly well reported expose of the AHA (Animal Humane Association), which is the organization responsible for the accreditation we’ve all seen in movies: “No Animals Were Harmed….” The article highlights a couple of the egregious instances of animal abuse we’ve all heard about (HBO’s Lucky, The Hobbit), but it goes much deeper, delving into the AHA’s fraudulence. A disturbing, and important, feature from Gary Baum.

4. An interesting article about Sabina Cehajic-Clancy, a social psychologist who is exploring “socio-psychological processes of sustainable intergroup reconciliation” in the post-conflict society of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The article discusses Clancy’s attempts to probe the origins of intergroup hatred, as well as the factors that prevent acknowledgment of past aggression and ultimate reconciliation between cultural groups. When asked why she has chosen this particular line of inquiry, Clancy said,

Coming from and living in a region marked by history of occupation, conflict, war but also co-existence, common heritage, culture, and experience of unity. I find my work very exciting as I research an important, relevant and highly applicable phenomena of how to come to terms with the past marked by collective violence and gross human right violations and at the same time pave the road towards sustainable reconciliation.

5. A powerful and important article from Maryn McKenna imagining a post-antibiotic world. The article is a hard look at the growing, and terrifying, threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria and infections. McKenna evokes a future in which common childhood infections, like strep, become deadly once more, or innovations like organ transplants or hip replacements become impossible because post-procedural infection can’t be warded off. She writes,

Before antibiotics, five women died out of every 1,000 who gave birth. One out of nine people who got a skin infection died, even from something as simple as a scrape or an insect bite. Three out of ten people who contracted pneumonia died from it. Ear infections caused deafness; sore throats were followed by heart failure. In a post-antibiotic era, would you mess around with power tools? Let your kid climb a tree? Have another child?

Over-prescription of drugs is often cited as the major culprit behind antibiotic resistance, but animal agriculture is another, possibly much greater, contributor. By weight, 80% of antibiotics sold each year in the US each year are used in agriculture. “A growing body of scientific research links antibiotic use in animals to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: in the animals’ own guts, in the manure that farmers use on crops or store on their land, and in human illnesses as well,” writes McKenna. “Resistant bacteria move from animals to humans in groundwater and dust, on flies, and via the meat those animals get turned into.”

In the end, McKenna mourns the untimely death of her great-uncle, who died of infection following a wound. His death came, tragically, just before the advent of penicillin. In closing, McKenna muses, “I imagine what he might have thought — thirty years old, newly married, adored by his siblings, thrilled for the excitement of his job — if he had known that a few years later, his life could have been saved in hours. I think he would have marveled at antibiotics, and longed for them, and found our disrespect of them an enormous waste. As I do.”

Sorry to end weekend reading on such a somber note! I hope you enjoy the articles. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new recipe, and then there’s some fun stuff coming soon, including the kickoff of a new monthly roundup of product finds and recipe favorites, as well as a holiday gift guide. Have a great evening.

xo

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    11 Comments
  1. Many essential oils that are therapeutic grade, third party tested to be pure are naturally antibiotic such as essential oils of Basil, Clove, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Melaleuca, oregano, to name a few. The natural antibiotics in these essential oils are much more complex than the primitive water soluble man made ones. They are also adaptogenic, and not likely to wipe out our healthy flora. We have not seen bacteria developing a resistance to these essential oils.

  2. Quite interesting to read that 23andme piece. I’ve debated getting it myself for fun, knowing that the results are probably not all that reliable given our current state of knowledge. But that article – and the many it linked to – really convinced me to wait until something better comes along. I think he’s right to say that the government is going to have to play ball, and actually get creative rather than trying to stop the inevitable tide that will come from overseas if not within the US.

  3. The antibiotic article gets my skin crawling. I cannot tell you the amount of times I talk with fellow moms & they say, “Suzy had a weird rash & the doctor doesn’t know what it is so he’s going to put her on antibiotics for a week & see what happens,” or “My baby has an ear infection so the doctor said he needed antiobiotics.” As if antibiotics are the cure-all. Oy vey. I see over-prescription of antibiotics as a HUGE problem. Thanks for the the link–& as always, I love to see what you’ve been reading!

    ox

  4. Wow, what a powerful article – the thought of a future without antibiotics is truly terrifying. As a doc (I’m a resident in Internal Medicine), I see dozens of people every day who would absolutely be dead without modern antibiotics. I’ve seen patients come in septic, confused, blood pressure tanking and minutes away from needing ICU; a few hours later after fluids and antibiotics, they’re completely different people.

    We are certainly much nearer than most people think to the world describes by McKenna; we’re already seen a frightening increase in antibiotic-resistant bugs like MRSA, VRE, and ESBL. The few “big gun” antibiotics that we count on to treat these stubborn infections are being pulled out more and more, and it’s only a matter of time before widespread resistance develops. Further compounding the problem is the fact that there are no new antibiotics under development; they’re such a low-profit drug that no company wants to invest the millions of dollars needed for research and development.

    I think we all have a responsibility to try to decrease antibiotic resistance; physicians in particular, but also patients, in recognizing that demanding an antibiotic prescription from a doc for a mild viral illness is seriously irresponsible.

  5. Great links! I found the TIME article really disturbing – what with it saying it ran from most fun to most useful and nearly ending with a drone that can carry 2000kg of weapons. How can they truly believe we live in a world where the ability to kill masses of people whilst sitting safe in an office in the attacking country is something useful?!?

  6. 23 and me is great. I have the MTHFR gene and 23and me test for that. Treating that is so important for prevention of disease and many conditions women face.

    As someone who relies on long term antibiotics, I hate to think of people being even more strict with giving them, in the case of lyme disease and other tick borne infections. It’s already hard enough to get them covered by insurance and a doctor to prescribe them. (although easy if you have chronic acne) However, I also use herbs to help fight infection and I think they need to be looked at for more acute cases of bacterial and viral infections. They tend not to be as strong, but are better at fighting more strains and different forms of bacteria whereas antibiotics are more specific.

  7. those cranberry orange mini tarts look to die for! i got a little holiday shopping done (ONLINE!!) myself 🙂 you couldn’t pay me to go out into that kind of crazy! the 23andme thing is really interesting and i’ve been hearing about it for years but i have to ask…do you *really* want to know all that? i mean, knowledge is power in some sense (in terms of preventive care) BUT how is it going to impact the ‘paranoia’ factor of your health you know? complicated stuff.

  8. The exposé of the AHA was really interesting Gena- thanks for sharing. Honestly, I didn’t even know such an organization existed, but if they’re not doing their job properly than there’s virtually no point in them existing. Here’s to hoping this article wakes a lot of people up to such cruel and alarming practices in the film industry and provokes a call to action.

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