Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Communication, Science, and Vaccines

Andrew Revkin has a fascinating post on scientific communication where he admits to being a "recovering denialist."

No, not of climate change. Instead, Revkin was in denial about the influence of scientific communication. He writes:
"My denial, I said, lay in my longstanding presumption, like that of many scientists and journalists, that better communication of information will tend to change people’s perceptions, priorities and behavior. This attitude, in my view, crested for climate scientists in the wake of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eating Right With Ruchi

In the comments to my last post, Alex asked me if I could write a diet and nutrition book and called it "Eating Right With Ruchi." Initially I demurred. How could I wade into such contested territory? But then I realized that I'm arduous ... how could I not wade into contested territory? So I give you Ruchi's manifesto in ... however many words this blog post ends up being.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Food as Religion

My article on veganism definitely got a few people riled up. My fiance for one, who I have decided that I am going to call Seamus for the purposes of this blog (no, he is not Irish, but I don't have a better name and I'm sick of not calling him anything.) Seamus has always said that veganism was too much of a life-style change for him and that it was a deal breaker. So there was some eye-rolling at my house over that post.

In addition, I had several friends tell me that if I became vegan they could never hang out with me.

Now before anyone rushes to condemn my friends/fiance who are all fine people for their supposed close-mindedness, I'd like to say that food has a way of getting all of us, even those of us who are most open-minded, riled up.

Food, it seems, is like politics or religion. Everyone thinks their worldview is the best one. And, I'm guilty of this too, no doubt about it. Hell, just look at the post on veganism.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Happiest Day of Your Life

Today, I was talking to a very good friend of mine who is about to give birth any day now. She told me that she had gotten a super cute hair cut today and she joked that she was now well prepared for the baby to arrive. The baby should try and be born tonight because her hair would look hot.

"That's important," I remarked. "Got to look good for the post-birth pics."

We continued in this vein until I suggested that she might want to get a Brazilian bikini wax for the big day.

Shockingly, she did not think that was a good idea.

"Come on!" I insisted. "Where's your commitment to looking good on THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE?"

And that's when I realized why the day your first child is born isn't the most important day of your life. It can't be. Because come on. There's a whole industry around looking good for this MOST IMPORTANT DAY, and even as masochistic as we women can be, most of us aren't going to agree to some waxing at 39 weeks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Fiance Is Going to Kill Me For Writing This

... but more and more, I'm starting to feel like veganism is the healthiest, most ethical option.

No, I'm not becoming a vegan. I don't think.

But about a year ago, I dramatically changed my diet to reduce my cholesterol. I've almost completely cut out cheese and butter from my diet. I only consume fat-free milk. I started eating fish twice a week, poultry a little less than that, and red meat on rare occasion.

As a result, I dropped my cholesterol by 100 points.

My diet now is fairly healthy. I think I could probably drop my cholesterol further if I cut out meat products completely, but for now I'm okay with the results. Health-wise I'm doing okay, but....

There's that small little nagging problem with the fish. You know, no big deal, we're just severely depleting the world's fisheries and driving some fish to extinction.

So, you know, while I think eating fish is a HEALTHY option, I'm not sure it's super ethical.

The truth is, aside from the fat-free milk and yogurt which I eat with my cereal, my diet leans towards veganism anyway. Most of my cooking is vegan, most of my lunches are vegan. My meat consumption is pretty much limited to eating out. I eat limited amounts of dairy and meat. And while it's not the healthiest choice nor what I would argue is the MOST ethical choice, for now, I'm okay with the choice.

My fiance feels (probably correctly) that my going vegan would seriously impact both of our lifestyles. I think it's a fair point, and given that he is perfectly happy eating mostly vegetarian food at home, I'm loathe to press him on this. Plus, there's that little niggling truth: I don't want to become a vegan either. As little as I eat meat, I'd miss it if I didn't get to eat it at all.

But for now, I'm redoubling my efforts to eat sustainably caught fish and organic meats. I'm not a vegan, or even a vegetarian. But for me, being a mostly-vegetarian is the sustainable path. For now.