you kids these days with your rapidly growing concern for the state of the world and your knowledge of important issues at increasingly younger ages despite having been told your opinions don’t matter by the adults who put you in these situations
“All calories are not the same. It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with the calories. Sugar is a poison by itself.”
Robert Lustig, Sugar: The Bitter Truth
"It’s one thing to suggest, as most nutritionists will, that a healthful diet includes more fruits and vegetables, and maybe less fat, red meat and salt, or less of everything. It’s entirely different to claim that one particularly cherished aspect of our diet might not just be an unhealthful indulgence but actually be toxic, that when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it. Suggesting that sugar might kill us is what zealots do. But Lustig, who has genuine expertise, has accumulated and synthesized a mass of evidence, which he finds compelling enough to convict sugar. His critics consider that evidence insufficient, but there’s no way to know who might be right, or what must be done to find out, without discussing it.
If I didn’t buy this argument myself, I wouldn’t be writing about it here. And I also have a disclaimer to acknowledge. I’ve spent much of the last decade doing journalistic research on diet and chronic disease — some of the more contrarian findings, on dietary fat, appeared in this magazine —– and I have come to conclusions similar to Lustig’s.
The history of the debate over the health effects of sugar has gone on far longer than you might imagine. It is littered with erroneous statements and conclusions because even the supposed authorities had no true understanding of what they were talking about. They didn’t know, quite literally, what they meant by the word “sugar” and therefore what the implications were.”
Watch: Sugar: The Bitter Truth
A good week in food and parenting.
These were a hit as desserts for kiddo’s belated first birthday party over the weekend (we pushed it for late February and February 29 fell on March 1 this year, or whatever, oops). I first had one in Taiwan while pregnant and had no idea what they were called. My first bite sent me to another planet and I couldn’t get them out of my head.
Nearly a year later, in the fall, I spotted them at a bakery in Flushing’s Chinatown (which dwarfs Manhattan’s Chinatown, not that there is a contest but it’s not common knowledge and I think it’s important to know!) and that bakery has a location in the city, and from them we ordered 50 — Fifty! — when for a time I didn’t think I’d ever see one again. We don’t offer her sweet foods yet but did make a concession and she had a small taste at her party. I can only hope for a future in which we share a cool parent-child love for eating these things.
More in food: I sourced a sourdough starter, finally! My friend gave me a jar of hers and now I’ve got to feed it daily and soon it will feed me forever. There is someone in my community who makes 4 loaves weekly and gives them away, first-come / first-serve (I get his email alerts) but really the satisfaction is in being able to make my own, so this is good.
On the parenting front, a friend who also does elimination communication with her children joined me to attend this month’s Diaper-Free in NYC meetup.
I went with curiosity and a hope to offer support and insight to newcomers and curious gawkers. My friend and I wound up being on the answering side of the Q & A segment — along with a handful of others we dispelled some misinformation and unnecessary “black/white” thinking for the other ~40 or so expectant or newer parents, and helped brainstorm best practices for peoples’ specific family needs, home setup, etc.
I’m realizing that it’s important to have a presence at these and breastfeeding groups because there’s a general lack of strong representation and straight-forward information, and a flood of corporate and cultural misinformation. So often it’s ~90% people wanting help or answers or insight, and then a ghost town when it comes to the veterans. And because there are so many different paths that lead to “success” with either of these infant-tending practices, it’s helpful to get that message across — to dismantle the “pass/fail” parent trap or the feeling of loneliness or despair that newcomers get — and share individual experiences and offer support.
I’m also coming from being rather misinformed and mislead for ~2/3 of my life, with a nasty cocktail of instilled shame and lack of faith in the things a woman’s body can / can’t / should / shouldn’t do (hat tip to Catholicism, lopsided public school sex ed, bullshit teen and womens’ magazines of the 90s and the ensuing internalized misogyny!) so that greatly contributes to the urge to have a more active and present role in supporting women / parents in my community.
Boss Bitch: WeTheUrban Certified! 21 year old photography major, Lindsay Bottos, has turned cruel, anonymous messages that she received on Tumblr ‘selfies’ into an art project.
The project calls attention to the harsh words people feel emboldened to say about others - especially women - in an online environment, things that they would most likely never say to someone’s face.