Privilege of selective eating

July 20, 2015

Zoe Nicholson on the privilege of selective eating:

The ability to be so selective with what we eat is a Western world privilege.

Unfortunately an over-abundance of food is partly why we have so much unnecessary processed food-like food. The proliferation of such processed food is, I believe, a large part of why so many people are turning to different forms of eating, be it paleo, clean, gluten free etc. After all, if we only had fresh whole food available to us, the term “clean eating” probably wouldn’t even have arisen. I also suspect that if we only had fresh whole food available to us, and this includes grains and legumes, the “paleo diet” would not have come about either.

The one thing all these new styles of eating have in common is the elimination of highly processed food. Well almost, the food industry has responded with plenty of packaged paleo and “clean” food (aka processed food), which ironically is exactly how we got into this “food fight” in the first place. Watch this space, in a few years there will another style of eating to combat all the new food-like food that has infiltrated paleo and clean eating.

While all this goes on, there are millions of people in the world who are just happy to have whatever food is available. They are not interested if the food is gluten free, sugar free, clean, paleo or alkaline and most likely don’t even know the terms exist. 

Rice, maize and wheat provide 60 percent of the world’s food energy intake [source] . Of the top 10 crops in the world, all are carbohydrate rich food. I am not saying this is how it should be, but it is the current situation. The overwhelming majority of people in the world cannot afford (and I don’t mean financially) to eat “clean” or “paleo”. Luckily for them, they don’t need to because they are not exposed to an over-abundance of food, be it whole food or processed food.

However you choose to eat, try to keep things simple, stick to mostly whole fresh food, limit packaged food with multiple ingredients and be thankful you have access to so much nourishing food.

Try to avoid placing a moral value on how you eat or following a style of eating that doesn’t fit in easily with work, family, social events or travel. Why? Because this type of eating can foster an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to disordered eating or eating disorders. If one of your reasons for following a specific style of eating is weight loss, then you also may be increasing your risk of body image dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem.

For centuries the problem with food was getting enough. It still is for most in the developing world and the poor in the developed world.

But those with more than enough which gives them the luxury of choice are worried about getting too much and/or whether what they are getting is the “right” food.

Most of us in the developed world have the privilege of selective eating and that’s made what and how much we eat a problem of our own making.


Govt report card on BPS

July 7, 2015

The government has released a report card on its Better Public Service targets:

More young people are achieving higher qualifications, welfare dependency continues to fall and Kiwis are doing more of their government transactions digitally, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Paula Bennett say.

The Government today published the latest update of progress against the ten challenging targets set three years ago by the Prime Minister.

“There are now 42,000 fewer children living in a benefit dependent household than there were three years ago. That’s more than the combined populations of Masterton and Levin,” Mr English says.

“Today’s results confirm the Government is making continued improvements to some of the really difficult issues that affect our communities and families, however progress in other areas is slower.

“We are getting a better understanding of the most vulnerable New Zealanders, and we’re willing to pay a bit more upfront to change their lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.”

Mrs Bennett says the BPS results targets were designed to drive a positive change in the public service and signal a willingness to try new things and work across agencies to have more of an impact in people’s lives.

“Significant progress has been made since the Prime Minister first set the targets in 2012,” Mrs Bennett says.

Since the targets were introduced:

  • participation in Early Childhood Education has increased from 94.7 per cent to 96.1 per cent
  • the proportion of immunised 8-month olds has increased from 84 per cent to 92.9 per cent
  • there has been a 14 per cent decrease in people being hospitalised for the first time with rheumatic fever
  • the trend in the number of children and young people experiencing substantiated physical abuse has flattened, after previously being on an upward trajectory
  • the proportion of 18-year olds who achieve a NCEA Level 2 qualification has increased from 74.3 per cent to about 81.1 per cent
  • the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds with a qualification at Level 4 or above has increased from 51.4 per cent to 54.2 per cent
  • total crime, violent crime and youth crime have dropped 17.6 per cent, 9.1 per cent and 37.3 per cent respectively
  • the rate of reoffending has dropped 9.6 per cent
  • there has been a net reduction of 16 percent in business effort when dealing with government agencies
  • 45.8 per cent of government service transactions are now completed digitally, up from 30.4 per cent in 2012.

“We set these targets to stretch the public services to get better results from the more than $70 billion we spend each year,” Mrs Bennett says. “We have always said that some of them will be challenging.

“For example, reducing rheumatic fever remains difficult, but progress has been made. The previously increasing trend for assaults on children has been successfully flattened, but more needs to be done to achieve the target.

“We are making progress in many cases by working with individuals and families to develop services better suited to their needs,” she says.

The government deserves credit for setting targets against which progress can be measured, for working for the most vulnerable and being prepared to spend more upfront to solve long-standing problems.

But these targets aren’t just about the government, they’re about people served by public servants and those public servants who are working to meet the targets.

Education minister Hekia Parata gives credit where it’s due:

Today’s Better Public Service (BPS) update showing the Government is on track to achieve its goal of lifting the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA  Level 2 is a tribute to the hard work and professionalism of teachers and principals, says Education Minister Hekia Parata. . .

These targets aren’t necessarily destinations, many are staging posts in a journey towards better public services and better outcomes for the people who use them.

The  report is here.
John Key's photo.


Rural round-up

July 6, 2015

Matt Bell wins 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest

After a nail-biting finish Matt Bell of Aorangi is the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion.

“This is the most surreal feeling, all the hard work has paid off. The blood, sweat and tears – it was all worth it! It’s somewhat of a dream at the moment” said Mr Bell.

Competition in the 47th ANZ Young Farmer Contest was fierce, with the Evening Show rounds resulting in a tie between East Coast’s Sully Alsop and Aorangi’s Matt Bell. Matt Bell won on a count-back of Practical Day scores. . . .

Young farmers ‘shattered’ after tough contest – Daniel Hutchinson:

The best young farmers in the land flocked to Taupo for a showdown as the town hosted the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest on Saturday.

Animal instincts and rat cunning were on display as the seven contestants battled it out with fencing duels (wire fences), shearing feats and even a speech contest during the three-day competition.

After a nail-biting finish on Saturday night, Matt Bell of Aorangi was declared the 2015 champion. . .

Plans to invest up to $30m goat plant:

A goats’ milk company has announced plans to invest up to $30 million to build processing and packaging facilities in Hawke’s Bay.

Fresco Nutrition’s managing director Greg Wycherley said there was growing demand for infant formula that came from goats and sheep milk, particularly in Asia.

He said Hawke’s Bay was the ideal place to produce and process the product. . .

Speech to Federated Farmers 2015 Annual Conference – Nathan Guy:

Good morning and thank you all for the opportunity to speak to your annual conference here this morning.

I would like to begin by acknowledging your President, Dr William Rolleston; Chief Executive, Graham Smith; members of your National Board; and all other members here today.

My congratulations go to Dr Rolleston who has just been elected as the Vice-President of the World Farmers Organisation.

I met with newly elected WFO President Evelyn Nguleka and Executive Director Marco Marzano in Europe recently.

As an organization “of farmers, for farmers” the main focus of the WFO is to represent the interests of its hugely diverse constituency in international forums where they are often the only voice for farmers. . .

 Low flyer wins top prize at NZ aviation awards:

The business is usually flying close to the ground. But this week, top dressing firm Ravensdown Aerowork was the high flyer when it took out the prestigious ServiceIQ Award for Excellence in Training at the Aviation Industry Association Awards in Queenstown.

ServiceIQ Sector Advisor Gary Scrafton, says the Wanganui-based aviation firm places a strong emphasis on its people, ensuring that they have the skills they need to do both a great job in the air, and to provide customers with top-class service. . .

 

Further boost for New Zealand Cycle Trail:

The Government is investing nearly $400,000 in six new projects to enhance and maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key announced today. 

“This is the second round of funding available through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund and brings the total investment under the fund so far to $1.36 million,” says Mr Key.

“Priority has been given to proposals that aim to improve the safety and quality of the Great Rides – the premier rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail. Three of the successful applications are for repairs to sections of trail that have incurred storm damage. . .

NZ blackcurrants improve mental agility

Researchers say New Zealand blackcurrants can keep people mentally young and agile, and aid in managing the effects of depression and Parkinson’s disease.

A study conducted by scientists at New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research, in collaboration with Britain’s Northumbria University, showed the compounds found in New Zealand blackcurrants increased accuracy, attention and mood.

The research also found juice from a specific New Zealand blackcurrant cultivar, Blackadder, reduced the activity of the enzymes which regulate serotonin and dopamine concentrations in the brain. . .

Seafood industry supports efforts to save Auckland Islands’ sea lions:

The seafood industry actively supports measures to conserve the Auckland Islands sea lion, Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement says.

His comments follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgrading the sea lions’ status from vulnerable to endangered.

“The decline in the sea lion population at the Auckland Islands has been a cause of concern for some time, although other populations are increasing. . .

Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale Catalogue Out Now:

The catalogue for New Zealand Bloodstock’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale are due in letterboxes early next week and can be viewed online now.

There are 73 horses catalogued, consisting of broodmares (40), weanlings (6), yearlings (4), two-year-old’s (9), unraced stock (2), racehorses (11) and stallion shares (1).

A range of sires will be on offer at NZB’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale with 53 sires represented, including the progeny of leading sires from New Zealand and Australia, Savabeel and Fastnet Rock. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2015

Calm cattle eases storm’s pain – Kate Taylor:

Easterly faces on Heughan and Carol Gordon’s Waimarama farm still bear the scars of a brutal storm that hit coastal Hawke’s Bay during Easter weekend four years ago.

But when you’re there on a still, clear winter’s day in the Hawke’s Bay sunshine, it’s hard to picture 750mm of rain falling in just 36 hours.

The property is a 260ha sheep and beef farm, plus 50ha lease block, running between Waimarama Rd and the Maraetotara ridge, south east of Hastings, rising sharply off the road up to about 300m above sea level.  Gordon and his wife Carol moved to Hawke’s Bay from Kaitawa, near Pahiatua, six years ago having previously farmed in Taihape.  . .

Going great Gunns – Joanna Davies:

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought Burwood Downs farm in South Otago five decades ago survival was their only goal. Times may have changed but Allan endures and he’s glad still to be on the land he loves. Joanna Davies tells the tale. Photos by John Cosgrove.

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought 445 hectares at Wangaloa on the South Otago coast in 1965 they knew they’d be there for the long haul. Fifty years later and mortgage free, Allan stands by his original view that farming is a long-distance event and not a sprint – though there have been a few hurdles along the way. 

When the pair bought Burwood Downs farm in the Clutha District five decades ago their first goal was to survive. State Advances had given them a £32,000 mortgage for land. They had a second mortgage of about £10,000 for plant plus stock of 2000 ewes, 500 hoggets, 56 cows, 56 calves and a few odds and sods. . .

Advance Parties gaining traction:

Deer Industry NZ is fielding an upsurge in the number of farmers wanting to join an Advance Party (AP).

These are an innovative concept, designed to get deer farmers to encourage and support each other in adopting management practices that will make their farms more profitable.

There are nine APs underway, as part of a three-year trial of the concept. One of the nine is developing tools or ‘metrics’ that farmers can use to measure the performance of their deer businesses. The rest are on-farm groups located from Hawkes Bay to Southland. . .

Spark Digital operates to fix the gap between urban and rural surgery:

Spark Digital is powering Mobile Health Solutions as a unique paperless mobile surgical centre – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mobile Health Solutions runs a fully-equipped operating theatre housed in a purpose built 20m bus. It travels the length of New Zealand, from Kaitaia to Gore taking a full range of surgical services to rural areas. The bus journeys on a five week cycle clocking up 50,000km a year and has performed 18,500 operations.

Spark Digital delivers reliable mobile broadband to the unit using a dual option service that can fail over from 4G to 3G and vice versa when required. . .

 

When did farming become a paper-pushing exercise? – Chris Lewis:

People often ask me, what Federated Farmers elected people do with their day. Well I’m currently sitting in my office writing this column and looking at my diary for the next few weeks, which is filled with Federated Farmers work.

In the next few weeks my days are jam packed with meetings, with the majority focused on paper shuffling or death by paper cuts. There is so much going on in the primary industries I feel like I’m tied to my desk, barely ever leaving the house, because the paper work never stops! I kid you not; farming is becoming a paper pushing exercise!

Farmers do the essential stuff like PAYE forms, paying bills, financial budgets, staff rosters, and general planning, but more and more forms are coming in that tell us we cannot do our job until we have filled them out. Some make sense but others seem to be an answer to lefties using social media to push their vendettas’ against farmers. We are in an era where people’s dislike or even hatred is expressed over a keyboard and answered by bureaucrats pushing more paper work at the alleged problem. . .

Leading New Zealand Grower Rebrands:

One of New Zealand’s leading growers and the largest organic apple producer, BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND, has launched a new corporate name and brand to reflect the consolidation of the company and the positive growth.

The Bostock Group’s three main brands JB Organics, JM Bostock Ltd and D M Palmer will all now become part of BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND.

BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND owner and founder, John Bostock said the company had experienced significant expansion and was delighted to announce a new brand to simplify the company’s identities. . .

SealesWinslow passes on savings:

Farm animal nutrition company SealesWinslow is passing on business efficiencies through lower feed costs, sharing gains with farmers at a time when budgets are tight.

SealesWinslow’s chief operating officer Chris Brown said the business was reaping the benefits of higher efficiencies following the $10 million upgrade of its production and distribution facilities and was also saving costs through improved procurement.

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients subsidiary has significantly reduced its prices across its calf and bulk dairy ranges. . .

Three top tips for calf nutrition:

Calving season is just around the corner and there are three top tips for healthy productive calves.

1. Feed good-quality colostrum for at least four days

2. Set up spacious, dry, draught-free housing

3. Don’t skimp on feed quality – you will pay later!

Wendy Morgan, SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager, says developing a plan is essential for calves to achieve weaning weights quickly while their digestive development is supported. . .

 


Marching for Waitaki’s health services

July 5, 2015

Nearly 30 years ago around 13,000 people marched through Oamaru to protest against proposed cuts to health services.

This morning there’s another march for the same reason and it’s got political.

Dunedin North MP Dr David Clark has been accused of trying to ”hijack” tomorrow’s health march in Oamaru, and has been denied speaking rights after refusing to accept a condition not to criticise the Government.
National Party Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean will speak at the march because she had agreed to that condition, Waitaki Mayor and march organiser Gary Kircher said.

The event was ”not political”.

The focus was the Southern District Health Board and its funding priorities. . .

The Mayor says more in a Facebook post.

. . . As has been clear from the start, this march has been about the cuts to our hospital funding proposed by the Southern DHB. Instead, David wants to make it political by bringing in the much wider issue of government funding and he wants to use our march to make his political statement.
Now, we all would love for central government to put more money into health, but the SDHB has had increases and they’re simply not passing on our fair share to us in Waitaki. They haven’t done so for years. Instead, we had no increase last year and they want to cut 5% from our funding this year! They would rather make our people go to Dunedin for services which we can deliver far more efficiently in Oamaru! For example, we have excellent scanning equipment and services in Oamaru Hospital but we only get around $15,000 per year to run them. People complain that they have to go to Dunedin for scans when they could be done right here! However, David doesn’t want to focus on this. Perhaps it’s because many of the Dunedin Hospital staff who benefit from this wasteful spending live in his electorate?
I have made the offer to David that he can march alongside me and our Councillors at the front of the march, I’ve told him that I will acknowledge him and his support for the aim of our march in my speech, and I had intend to have him up on the stage with the speakers and our Councillors. And I had offered to let him speak if he focussed on the reason for the march. But if he really prefers to let the DHB off the hook by playing politics, I make no apology for declining his last-minute request to speak.  . .

There is a legitimate argument about whether the population based funding model is calculated correctly for large areas with smaller and older populations but that is an argument for another day.

Today is not about whether the south’s share of the health cake is big enough but because Waitaki is not getting it’s fair share of the south’s slice.

Waitaki District Health Services chair George Berry puts the board’s case here.

 


Opt-out contraception for all girls overkill

July 2, 2015

Health researchers have suggested long-term contraception be provided for all teenage girls before they become sexually active:

In an article in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Neil Pickering and Dr Lynley Anderson from the university’s Bioethics Centre and Dr Helen Paterson from its Department of Women’s and Children’s Health say teen pregnancy places significant costs on the individual and society, and is associated with higher perinatal mortality.

“We also know the children of teen pregnancies do poorly in statistics related to poverty, imprisonment and teen pregnancy.

“In a worryingly large number of cases, pregnancy in the teenage years is bad for the teenager, is bad for the child of the teenager and it is bad for both of them during the whole pregnancy. Obviously that also impacts on society.”

That isn’t controversial but the suggested solution is:

Dr Paterson says teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in New Zealand have improved recently, possibly since the LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) Jadelle became funded by Pharmac five years ago.

“If you use withdrawal as a method, pregnancy rates are 22 per cent per annum. If you use condoms it is 18 per cent, if you use the pill it is 9 per cent, and if you use a LARC it is 0.5 per cent.”

Dr Pickering says there is a good case for making it an opt-out programme which provides adolescents with the opportunity to have a LARC, rather than having to go and seek care.

“For a programme to be effective you need to get as many people involved as possible and an opt-out programme seems to be more effective. You still get the right to say no and in terms of justice it treats everybody the same.”

There is an alternative view:

. . . Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says most young women aren’t having sex before they turn 16.

“We’re overkilling it putting implants in people who aren’t intending to or aren’t having sex,” she told NZ Newswire. . .

Family Planning is much more interested in ensuring there are good services and contraceptive options available to young women, Ms Edmond said. . .

The conversation around contraception also needs to extend to the role of young men.

“They need information around choices and access to services,” Ms Edmond said.

“It’s not just girls who are having to manage (fertility).” . . .

And it’s not just pregnancy that is the only unwanted consequence of sex.

LARC might be an effective contraceptive but it would not protect people from sexually transmitted diseases nor the emotional trauma that can follow early and casual relationships.

Then there’s the question of ethics in prescribing anything for all young women, most of whom don’t need it.

Health researchers might not be concerned about the moral dimension of this issue but would there not also be a danger of normalising early sexual experience?

Or have we come to a time when legal, moral, or not, that doesn’t matter?


Baby it’s cold inside

June 24, 2015

The South Island has woken to the second morning in a row of sub–zero temperatures.

. . . It was -6.4degC in Queenstown at 6.30am and -8.1degC in Alexandra, while Wanaka was -3.7degC and Oamaru was -3.1degC. Dunedin was -0.5degC.

Omarama was sitting at -20degC while Tara Hills near Twizel was -18.9degC about 6.30am.

The all time record low is – 25.6degC, recorded in Ranfurly in 1903. . .

This is winter as it used to be.

Breaking ice on puddles and skating on icy patches on footpaths as we walked to school was a regular occurrence.

Back then it was cold outside and in.

We lived in uninsulated houses with little heating.  We had a fire in the kitchen and in the very depths of winter a kerosene heater was lit in the hall to take the chill off the bedrooms before we went to bed.

It was colder still for my mother who was one on nine children in a house with too few bedrooms to accommodate them. The oldest ones slept on an open veranda winter and summer.

Children sleeping in conditions like that now would almost certainly be reported to welfare agencies.

Back then it wasn’t unusual although temperatures were regularly lower.

Were cold-related illnesses also normal and not reported, or has something else changed that people in cold houses and the health problems resulting from that have become news?

 

 


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