WIRTW Weekly Roundup – June 14, 2017!
Hello everyone! June seems to be flying past much faster than I expected, but I still have had time to find some good articles around the internet!
This article talks about a Korean-American man’s struggle with proving that he’s “Korean enough” to his relatives through food, and science fiction’s relationship to the “other.” Why are alien foods such a punchline in science fiction, and how does that relate to us respecting cultures from around the world?
You’ve heard of Sasquatch, right? Did you know that its origin is a bastardization of the original First Nations myths of the Sasq’ets forest people? Though this article focuses on cultural appropriation in Canada, it still holds relevant for the rest of us.
Anthropometry is the measurement of the human individual. BMI is an example of an anthropometric measurement, but it’s better used for population data rather than the individual. In addition, BMI doesn’t take into consideration of frame size or body fat. Many health professionals familiar with these types of measurements will tell you this. Other measurements we use for body adipose measurements include skinfolds, waist-to-hip ratios, and techniques like bioelectrical impedence, DXA, or water displacement, but as far as practicality and cost goes, BMI is pretty easy to calculate. A new study published in PLoS ONE shows that a relatively new measurement, waist-to-height ratio, could be just as easy and a better predictor at visceral fat (fat around organs = bad) than BMI. I recommend reading the discussion section of this article for further information on the strengths and weaknesses of these measurements. I’m definitely interested in the future of this measurement in healthcare practice.
A study by psychologists at Stanford University found that people selected more vegetable dishes when given “indulgent” names, vs bland or health positive/health negative messages. Let me start off by saying that this study is bullshit. If you click the link, you can see a table of some of the food descriptions they’ve given the foods. For beets: “dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned beets,” “beets,” “lighter-choice beets with no added sugar,” “high-antioxidant beets.” Or let’s look at the sweet potatoes: “zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes,” “sweet potatoes,” “cholesterol-free sweet potatoes,” “wholesome sweet potato superfood.” It seems glaringly obvious that menu items that describe the cooking methods and flavorings of the foods have more appeal. You don’t need to add superfluous words like “zesty” or “twisted.” Let me know how a food is cooked or what the flavorings are and I’m more likely to try it. That’s not indulgent or decadent by any means. People appreciate knowing the health benefits of food too, but health by itself isn’t much motivation to eat something if it doesn’t taste good.
John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance talks about his new book The Potlikker Papers, which gets into the aspects of “race, class, gender, [and] ethnicity.” I’ve read several books published by the Southern Foodways Alliance so I expect this one to be good as well. Food studies people may be interested in checking this out.
Lately I’ve been seeing things about activated charcoal all over the place, and its popularity among foodies as a pleasing aesthetic (e.g, black ice cream) and as a powerful detoxer available in oral supplements and external beauty supplies. This article does a really good job of explaining what activated charcoal is, the cultural appeal of charcoal-dyed foods and the potential health risks of excessively consuming charcoal.
Androids dream of electric sheep, and sometimes vegetarians dream of eating hamburgers, even years after removing meat from their diets! This article gets into the psychology and social significance of meat eating (or abstinence from meat). For some, social anxiety, guilt, and morality associated with abstinence of meat eating can lead to these meatmares. I highly recommend reading this article! To my vegetarian/vegan readers, have you ever dreamt of eating meat?
From the article: “The “Dear Orlando” photo series, released today on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, features survivors, family members, and first responders giving their own accounts of what happened, and how their lives have changed in the wake of that night.” While looking through this photo essay I took some time to reflect on the state of LGBTQ rights, especially for people of color, and what needs to be done in the continuous fight for equality/equity.
50 years. It’s sometimes hard for me to grasp that my mother is older than the decision that overturned the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States and made interracial marriage legal. Things like this serve as a reminder to me that many of our most significant cultural changes are still quite young. Check the article for a brief history of the Loving v Virginia case and a few images of the photo essay The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait by Grey Villet.
That’s all for this week! Are there any other recent articles that you think are worth a read?
Until next time…