News Roundup: Thursday 4.3.2014

If your NCAA bracket is still going strong, then you must be clairvoyant or a time traveler “back from the future.” Regardless of who you’re rooting for this Monday, we’re bound to see some great teams play. Watching these incredible athletes play their hearts out is a fabulous reminder of the power of teamwork, diligence, and smart moves. As we continue to unite to fight for our health, let’s take a page from their playbook, Warriors! On tap today we’ve got some sobering news about climate change, a fabulous piece on the importance of nature, some hopeful news about soda sales, advice on s-l-o-w-i-n-g down, an inspiring video letter from Alice Waters and a lot more. Go team!

Words to Live By


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

— Michael Jordan

Newest News


Climate Change, Agriculture and a Hungry World
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The relationship between agriculture and weather dates back to time immemorial. The more unpredictable the weather, the more unpredictable agriculture becomes, which is true on any farm, but it is increasingly true at the global scale. This week, the UN International Panel on Climate Change released a comprehensive report cataloging and projecting the impacts of climate change. Among many sobering trajectories, agriculture and global food supplies are poised to take a hit. What can be done to see a different reality? Check out our “Get Involved” sections for some of our favorite organizations that are working to make a difference.
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The Right to Hike
As Wellness Warriors, we believe that everyone has the right to pursue their healthiest existence, and we make it a point to stand up against systems of oppression that take this right away. One of those rights is the of access to experiences in the natural world. Richard Louv shares that sentiment and addresses specifically how important a “nature connection” is for developing a sense of self and spirit. Though Louv wrote this essay in 2009, its truth is as paramount as ever.


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Pompeo and GMOs
A few months ago, we learned about the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) plans to create a self-serving weak and watered down food labeling bill to thwart GMO labeling proponents and quell public outrage. Preposterous, right? Who would ever back that bill? It looks like the GMA may have found their puppet. Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) is poised to introduce the bill to the House in the next two weeks.This is breaking news, so if you are not a Politico Pro subscriber you may need to wait a few days to read a full report on this story. We’ll keep you updated.


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Get Involved


Glyphosate: Not So Great.
Though many people (especially those folks at Monsanto) would have you believe that Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate is a safe herbicide, science seems to prove otherwise. This Organic Consumers Association (OCA) letter references a study published a year ago that found glyphosate to be a slow killer. It also seems that some of Roundup’s inert ingredients may cause harm to humans as well. What’s more? It is evident that “herbicide addiction” creates “super weeds” that call for stronger, and more poisonous chemicals.  Join the  OCA in fight for GMO labeling, learn a little more about glyphosate and make a donation at the link below.


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Changing Climate Change
The latest International Panel on Climate Change report paints a dire picture for agriculture and many other aspects of our future (see above for more), but there is still hope. Check out the work of some of our favorite organizations.
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The Fast Food Frontline


Sad Soda Sales Make for Happier, Healthier Humans!
More and more people have stopped drinking soda, according to one of the beverage industry trade associations. Perhaps our world is waking up to the reality that pumping crazy amounts of sugar (and other harmful chemicals) into our bodies is just plain bad for our overall health. We applaud advocacy and education groups for their hard work in exposing the truth on sodas and sugary drinks! Read the short blurb from the Center for Science in the Public Interest and take a look at the Beverage Digest report for more detail.
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The Plight of Fast Food Workers Continues
“Off-the-books” work, no breaks, refused overtime; these are just some of the complaints that fast food workers reported in a recent survey. And we’re not talking about just a few workers, we’re talking about roughly 90% of workers in these restaurants. As protests for increased fast-food worker wages continue, opponents to wage-hikes will have a hard time shaking off this report. It is worth mentioning that the survey was done online, and, as you can read in the Washington Post commentary below, though the survey was not as rigorously scientific as it could have been, the results are expected to be valid within a modest standard error.

 

Prevention News


The Low Down on Slowing Down
Though some recent news on monkeys and low calorie diets leaves some room for debate about the health benefits of calorie restrictions, it is safe to assume that watching what we eat can be a huge benefit to our health. It turns out that not only watching, but also smelling, feeling, tasting, and maybe even hearing what we eat can benefit our health. That is, if we take the time to do all of those things. Dr. Weil highlights a recent study showing that the slower you eat, the more likely you are to consume fewer calories. So, if you are trying to shed a few pounds, slow down -- your body and mind will thank you.
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What We're Watching


To: Alice Waters. From: Alice Waters
Alice Waters is a true inspiration. We are huge fans of the the Edible Schoolyard Project, Slow Food and many other organizations that she has been vital in starting and supporting. We’d happily take any advice that she has. Luckily, as a part of CBS’s creative ‘Note to Self” series, Waters gives advice to her younger self, and we get to glean some of the wisdom.   “Cooking is a way to build communities... always collaborate... remember to be grateful.” There are some wonderful gems as Waters once again inspires.
 
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Wonderful Listening


Are We Free from Fat Free?
The “Fat Free” craze for preventing heart disease is turning out to be another fad in public health that is most likely not useful. Dr. Walter Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health has spent over twenty years pointing out that when fat is taken out, other things (a lot of times carbs) are put in as replacements which seem to make no difference in heart health. Hear from his associate Darioush Mozaffarian of the Harvard Medical School about the struggle to get this science out and about how the connections between diet, heart disease, and fat consumption are a lot more complicated than we once thought.
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Tasty


Asparagus is Sprigging Up!
Spring time means fiddleheads and asparagus for many of us, and the latter of the two may find their way to the farmers market very soon. You really can’t go wrong with fresh, local asparagus, but this recipe is certainly a way to go right.
 
Buttermilk Asparagus Salad
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Photo credit: 101 Cookbooks
 

Prep time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-6

BUTTERMILK DRESSING:

  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • scant teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup / 240 ml buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil

SALAD:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1 large handful of cooked posole / hominy (see head notes)
  • a big handful of chopped cilantro
  • a big handful of sprouts (I used radish sprouts here)

PREPARATION:

To make the dressing, combine the garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash into a paste using the flat side of your knife. Place in a medium bowl or jar, then add the buttermilk and vinegar. Whisk together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Let sit while you make the rest of the components.

You can saute or steam the asparagus. I used a simple basket steamer over a bit of water in a skillet. It might be easier for you to do a "steam-saute"....Start with a cold skillet. Add 1/4 cup / 60 ml water, a splash of olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, add the asparagus, cover, cooking until the asparagus is just tender and bright in color, barely a minute. In either case, drain, then transfer to a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, combine the asparagus, posole, cilantro, and sprouts in a large bowl. Coat generously with a splash of the buttermilk dressing, and toss well before serving. You'll likely have a bit of leftover dressing which can be used on vegetables, noodles, salads, and grains.

 

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