Category Archives: Uncategorized

Prison labor’s new frontier: Artisanal foods

Kiersten Marek:

Prison labor is now making goat cheese for Whole Foods.

Originally posted on Fortune:

Some years back, a small Colorado goat-cheese maker called Haystack Mountain faced its version of a classic growth challenge: National demand was growing for its chèvres and other cheeses, and the company was struggling to find enough local goat farmers to produce milk. The solution came from a surprising source: Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI). Today six inmates milk 1,000 goats twice a day on a prison-run farm. After non-inmate employees cultivate the cheese at a company facility, it’s sold in Whole Foods [fortune-stock symbol="WFM"] outlets, among other stores.

Prison labor has gone artisanal. Sure, plenty of inmates still churn out government office furniture and the like, and incarcerated workers have occasionally been used by large companies since the late 1970s. Nationwide 63,032 inmates produce more than $2 billion worth of products a year, most of them sold to government entities.

But in recent years a new wave has begun, driven…

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Gluten Freedom — An Essential Guide to Gluten Issues, with Recipes!

glufreeDuring the writing of my own book on cooking to nourish your archetypes, I read Gluten Freedom by Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD, Founder and Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Given that many of my own recipes feature gluten-free alternatives, I was eager to read an expert’s version of the history of gluten-related illnesses and to learn more about the current state of treatment. Dr. Fasano’s book did not disappoint. The book contains a comprehensive review of the spectrum of gluten-related disorders, and also includes chapters on discussing leaky gut (you’ll get introduced to zonulin) as well as gluten’s influence on brain chemistry. Gluten Freedom also discusses new treatments and therapies, including enzyme therapy, a “celiac pill” treatment, and the possible development of a therapeutic vaccine. The book also talks about methods for prevention including delaying gluten introduction until one year of age, which is now being studied.

Taking the subject to a richer level of detail and creativity, Gluten Freedom also offers several recipes to remove gluten from the menu including all-time favorites like chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free scones. There is a charming chapter called “Dinner with Dr. Fasano” where we learn about the region, Campania, where Dr. Fasano spent his childhood. He then offers what sounds like a heavenly five-course meal of gluten-free specialties including Capri Salad featuring Mozzarella di bufala di Campania — the soft mozzarella cheese from the Dr.’s home region.

I like how this book provides comprehensive information on gluten issues including an appendix of apps for mobile phones as well as an extensive list for recommended reading. There are also some excellent practical features like a “Wheat Alert” table of menu items that contain wheat, and a stage-by-stage life guide for how to avoid gluten from cradle to grave.

After finishing the book, I was still left with a question, which I posed to the authors: “Is there any value in a low-gluten diet even if you don’t have gluten sensitivity? Does it help to diversify the grains we eat? If gluten calories are substituted with more fruits and vegetables, would that be better for overall health?”

Pam Cureton, one of the contributing writers for the book and a registered dietitian at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, responded:

“No, there is no advantage to following a low-gluten diet for those who tolerate gluten. There is, however, an advantage to eating more whole, natural foods and reducing the amount of processed foods to reduce unwanted levels of sodium, sugar, fats and extra calories. For people who tolerate gluten, these are the problem ingredients, not the wheat, rye or barley. Including these as whole grains along with other ancient grains, amaranth, millet, sorghum and others, would benefit everyone.”

I’m glad my own oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe contains sorghum! Thanks, Pam! And thanks to Dr. Fasano and all the contributors to Gluten Freedom — helping us navigate this difficult health and dietary issue.

Link to Gluten Freedom on Amazon

Rhode Island Supreme Court Rejects Equality of School Funding: Sorry, Kids!

Kiersten Marek:

Wow, this story did not make the local newspapers, or if it did, I missed it. This is where we need legal advocacy to “amend and strengthen the state constitution’s education clause.” What kind of a legal advocacy organization would handle something like this?

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Almost sixty years to the day of the U.S. Supreme court’s historic Brown decision, the Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit against the stste’s inequitable funding system. The court said it was “deeply concerned” and acknowledged that the funding disparities hurt poor urban children most, but passed the buck. “Not our problem,” the court said.

Here is a summary from the Education Law Center.

RI SUPREME COURT IS “DEEPLY CONCERNED” BUT DENIES RELIEF TO SCHOOL CHILDREN

May 15, 2014

On May 3, 2014, the Rhode Island Supreme Court dismissed the fair school funding case, Woonsocket v. State. The Court concluded that conditions in the plaintiffs’ schools “make a strong case” against the current funding system. Nonetheless, the justices denied plaintiffs the chance to present their evidence in a trial on the merits of the case.

The Court wrote, “We emphasize that we are deeply concerned by the conditions of…

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Update after Knee Surgery

Kiersten Marek:

Update from Diane Ravitch…more precautions should have been taken to prevent clots from traveling. However, progress is being made toward recovery and let’s hope for a full one.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

I haven’t been able to write before now. The pain after surgery was so bad that I was kept on various drugs to keep me sedated. I spent two days in the recovery room, then moved to a regular room. But my health remained fragile, On Sunday, the surgeon sent me for a CT scan, where I learned I had a blood clot in one of my lungs. My greatest fear about surgery was triggering a clot, which could go to my brain or lung or heart . There were many conversations among the various specialists about whether I should get a filter inserted in my blood vessels to prevents clots from traveling. The consensus was no, so didn’t. The consensus was wrong.

Well, I am still here but it is not easy, I can’t get out of bed without help. I can’t walk. The pain in my knee remains…

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NYC THE PLAYGROUND OF THE RICH & FAMOUS – INCOME INEQUALITY

Kiersten Marek:

Tough time to live in New York City!

Originally posted on bonjukianpatten:

BROOKLYN is now too expensive for people to live unless you live in section 8 apartment or are rich you are out of luck in any borough but the Bronx or Staten Island – who wants to live there! Yuk!

NYC is untouchable and no one is hiring and it’s been almost 5 months now. Not a peep.

We moved in 2006 and never looked back but we miss the old NYC – this one just sucks.

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NYC Is Even More Unaffordable Than You Think, In 6 Charts

Posted: 04/25/2014 11:42 am EDT Updated: 04/25/2014 2:59 pm EDT
 We knew it was bad, but not this bad.

Rents in New York City have skyrocketed over the past decade while New Yorkers’ incomes have fallen, creating a dearth of affordable housing for the people that need it most. That’s the takeaway from a disheartening report released by city Comptroller Scott…

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Justice for Lena

Originally posted on Bluestockings Magazine :

Trigger Warning: This article and Lena’s testimony include graphic depictions of sexual assault, violence and trauma.
Photo by Cynthia Fong

Photo by Cynthia Fong

Earlier today, Brown University student, Lena Sclove, returned to campus to discuss the University’s unacceptable response to her sexual assault that occurred during the fall semester of 2013.

Lena was accompanied by her parents, Marcie and Richard Sclove, and the President of Road to Recovery, Inc., Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., who oversees a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual violence and their families. Friends, Brown students, and community members all gathered outside the Van Wickle Gates to hear her story.

On August 2, 2013, Lena was strangled twice and raped by a former friend, who is also a Brown University student. During the assault, she said “no” over seven times – she never once said “yes”. She had no doubt of the seriousness of the crime that…

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California: Record Numbers of 50 to 64 Year Olds Shacking Up with Parents.

Originally posted on THOMÉ REVIEW:

A recent study conducted by researchers at UCLA have found that the number of 50-64 year olds in California moving back into the homes of their even older parents has ballooned by 67% over the past 7 years. The study attempted to count only those who moved back in due to economic necessity, as opposed to other reasons such as caring for an aging parent.

As the LA Times reports:

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health…

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Google inks a 407 MW wind energy deal with MidAmerican Energy for its Iowa data center

Kiersten Marek:

More good news…

Originally posted on 9to5Google:

purchasing-wind

If it feels like a lot of major corporations are going green, it could have something to do with today being Earth Day and of course Google is joining in on the eco-friendly festivities. Sure, the company is fighting poachers and helping nonprofit organizations, but what about its own backyard? Earlier today, the folks in Mountain View announced a new deal with MidAmerican Energy that will supply its Iowa data center with up to 407 megawatts of 100 percent renewable wind energy.

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Cool as a Cucumber-Dill-Avocado Soup

Kiersten Marek:

Looks good…

Originally posted on Niki Nutrition:

IMG_2495

Spring has sprung-ish! Here in Montreal, Mother Nature is being a real woman and cannot seem to make up her mind. She keeps switching back and forth between winter and spring (mild days alternating with snowstorms, the Montreal usual tee hee…). Hopefully this summer-y recipe will hasten spring’s arrival :) . Spring clean your body with this cleansing and cooling gazpacho-type soup.

What you’ll need:

1 large organic English cucumber

1 large avocado, pitted

1/2 onion

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 1/2 cups of cold water

1 teaspoon of sea salt

How-to go about making this:

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor.

2. Pulse until creamy and smooth.

3. Chill for 45 minutes or more.

4. Place the soup in your temple a.k.a. eat up.

To conclude with a fun fact, cucumbers contain silica which is an essential component of healthy connective tissue (skin, muscles…

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Elizabeth Warren and I

Kiersten Marek:

Please tell me that Elizabeth Warren is not going to be bought by the Corporate Education Reform movement. That would just be too depressing for words.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

I have recently read that Senator Elizabeth Warren is a supporter of school vouchers. This made people who despise public schools, like certain hedge fund managers, tingle with joy. At last, a progressive who is as contemptuous of public education as they are! At last, someone who will support their efforts to dismantle our nation’s precious democratic institution whose doors are open to all.

About a month ago, I visited Senator Warren in her office in Washington, and she said without reservation that this was untrue.

She told me that she was, like me, a graduate of public schools. Without public education, she said, she would not be where she is today.

I gave her a copy of “Reign of Error,” which she promised to read.

Since I am writing this on an iPad from Louisville, I can’t figure out how to add the photo of me and Warren, holding…

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