Category : Dieting/Food/Nutrition

([London] Times) Critics dismiss plan to reduce hours of Ramadan fast

A scholar has sparked controversy by telling British Muslims that they can cut their Ramadan fast because of the long summer days.

The holy month begins on Thursday, and believers will by tradition stop eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

However, Usama Hasan has issued a fatwa saying that Muslims can fast for shorter periods in 2015 because Ramadan falls during summer.

The Islamic calendar uses lunar months, so the fast occurs at different times on the western calendar each year. In the Middle East, where Islam originated, the days are shorter. In Mecca the fast lasts between 12 and 15 hours. Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

How, and why, a journalist tricked news outlets into thinking chocolate makes you thin

This spring, the journal International Archives of Medicine published a delicious new study: According to researchers at Germany’s Institute of Diet and Health, people who ate dark chocolate while dieting lost more weight…

It was unbelievable news. And reporters shouldn’t have believed it.

It turns out that the Institute of Diet and Health is just a Web site with no institute attached. Johannes Bohannon, health researcher and lead author of the study, is really John Bohannon, a science journalist. And the study, while based on real results of an actual clinical trial, wasn’t aimed at testing the health benefits of chocolate. It was aimed at testing health reporters, to see if they could distinguish a bad science story from a good one.

In many cases, they couldn’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Science & Technology, Theology

(BBC) South Sudan clashes leave 300,000 without aid, says UN

More than 300,000 people are without “life-saving” aid in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state after heavy fighting forced aid agencies to withdraw, the UN has said.

Government forces have been advancing towards Leer, the birthplace of rebel leader Riek Machar, reports say.

Emergency relief has come to a stop in areas worst-affected by fighting, the UN said.

International mediation efforts to end the 17-month conflict have failed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Poverty, Sudan, Theology, Violence

Kendall Harmon Birthday Follow up

Since a number of you were kind enough to inquire, Elizabeth and I went out to eat at the new Five Loaves Cafe in Summerville, South Carolina. For those of who in the South Carolina Lowcountry (or for any who plan to visit) I can recommend it highly–the food, ambience and service were excellent. We later went to the movie Kingsman:The Secret Service–we had heard that is was “fun,” and indeed it was!

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Harmon Family, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television

ISIS burns food donations from US intended for Syrian refugees

The Islamic State has allegedly burned boxes of food aid coming from the United States that were intended for Syrian civilians.

The Independent reports that two trucks containing the food parcels were intercepted at an ISIS checkpoint manned by the group’s “Hisba” police force in Syria’s Aleppo province. The boxes had the markings of Koch Foods, a chicken company based in the state of Illinois in the US.

According to The Independent, the Islamic State seized and burned the boxes, which contained chicken meat, claiming that the animal products were not slaughtered according to Islamic law.

The International Business Times, however, said that the boxes had markings to show that the chicken meat was “halal,” or had been slaughtered according to the dictates of Islamic Law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Violence

From the Do not Take Yourself too Seriously Deprtment–THIN MINTS

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Humor / Trivia

Friday Mental Health Break–A Retired Arkansas Nurse who Uses Her Pension to Feed 1000s

Charolotte Tidwell, 69, works six days a week to feed thousands of hungry in Arkansas using her own pension money to foot much of the bill.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Churches in Pubs

Pastor Phillip Heinze began holding church services in a bar when he realized that attending a regular church was uncomfortable for some people. “They say the most difficult thing for us was walking through those doors””that for us church just is a scary place. That was probably the conversation that informed me the most. I said, well, let’s try a new church in place that’s not so scary.” There are a growing number of religious services and conversations in pubs, but the trend has its critics.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Alcohol/Drinking, Consumer/consumer spending, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WP Wonkblog) Nation’s top nutrition panel: the American diet is killing us

America, please eat more fruits and vegetables.

A new report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which convenes every five years, says that the rest of the American diet is having devastating effects: about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. And maybe worse, about half of American adults – about 117 million people – have preventable chronic diseases related to poor diet and physical inactivity, the group said.

This dismal diagnosis is the foundation for the group’s report, which provides the scientific basis for the nation’s Dietary Guidelines, the advice booklet that will be issued by the federal government late this year.

“I wouldn’t call it gloomy,” said Marian Neuhouser, a committee member from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. “I call it reality.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theology

(St. Dig. News) Kenyan Anglican Church buys rice in preparation for looming famine

Following massive crop failure in most parts of Kirinyaga County due to inadequate short rains late last year, the Anglican Church is buying rice to mitigate the looming famine.

Diocesan Bishop Joseph Kibucwa said the church has so far spent Sh1 million in buying paddy rice from farmers at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. The cleric said although the programme was started a bit late when the harvesting season was almost ending, the church has managed to secure some reasonable amount of the grain. ”We took some time studying the situation before arriving at this decision to buy the paddy rice and have it stored for use when the looming famine finally starts to bite our people,” Kibucwa said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Dept-Local Church Full Of Brainwashed Dummies Feeds Town’s Poor

Sources confirmed today that the brainwashed morons at First Baptist Assembly of Christ, all of whom blindly accept whatever simplistic fairy tales are fed to them, volunteer each Wednesday night to provide meals to impoverished members of the community. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in town who have fallen on hard times and are unable to afford to put food on the table, so we try to help out as best we can,” said 48-year-old Kerri Bellamy, one of the mindless sheep who adheres to a backward ideology and is incapable of thinking for herself, while spooning out homemade shepherd’s pie to a line of poor and homeless individuals.

Read it all from the Onion.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Humor / Trivia, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Bishop Alan Smith's address on breaking the cycle of deprivation

For some years I worked in two parts of the West Midlands””wonderful places to live and work; I have many friends there still””but they were both characterised as areas that had extremely low aspirations. It was one thing to change the school but if the child went home and was told repeatedly, “Actually, that sort of thing does not make any difference to us. You are wasting your time”, all the work was undone. There needs to be a profound social and cultural change in the family as well.

That was one of the things that struck me when I was reading the comments in the interim report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, which reported back in 2012. It summarised its conclusions into seven “key truths”. I will pick out just the first four, which show precisely this connection. The first key truth was:

“The point of greatest leverage for social mobility is what happens between ages 0 and 3, primarily in the home”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT Mag.) Rise and Shine– What kids around the world eat for breakfast

Americans tend to lack imagination when it comes to breakfast. The vast majority of us, surveys say, start our days with cold cereal ”” and those of us with children are more likely to buy the kinds with the most sugar. Children all over the world eat cornflakes and drink chocolate milk, of course, but in many places they also eat things that would strike the average American palate as strange, or worse.

Breakfast for a child in Burkina Faso, for example, might well include millet-seed porridge; in Japan, rice and a putrid soybean goop known as natto; in Jamaica, a mush of plantains or peanuts or cornmeal; in New Zealand, toast covered with Vegemite, a salty paste made of brewer’s yeast; and in China, jook, a rice gruel topped with pickled tofu, strings of dried meat or egg. In Cuba, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, it is not uncommon to find very young children sipping coffee with milk in the mornings. In Pakistan, kids often take their milk with Rooh Afza, a bright red syrup made from fruits, flowers and herbs. Swedish filmjolk is one of dozens of iterations of soured milk found on breakfast tables across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. For a child in southern India, the day might start with a steamed cake made from fermented lentils and rice called idli. “The idea that children should have bland, sweet food is a very industrial presumption,” says Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University who grew up in India. “In many parts of the world, breakfast is tepid, sour, fermented and savory.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Theology

(NPR) Out West, Nuns On The Ranch Give A Heavenly Twist To Beef

When many religious orders were founded centuries ago during the Middle Ages, agriculture was more than a way of life; it was a way of survival. Monasteries were self-sustaining, growing the food they ate. While farming has become less common as society has urbanized, Schortemeyer says the abbey’s farm is more than just a quaint business. Other sisters have questioned the ranch’s value, but Schortemeyer says it keeps the sisters connected to the outside world.

“When our neighbors are suffering from drought or suffering from flooding, we can totally relate to them. We’re not above and beyond. … It’s good to be at the mercy of the environment, and so that other people know we don’t live some ethereal life,” she says.

Benedictine monasteries, with orders like the Trappists and Cistercians, use the motto Ora et Labora, meaning prayer and work. That motto doesn’t represent separate ideas to the sisters. All day long, prayer and work are intertwined.

“Praying with the scriptures is like chewing your cud,” Schortemeyer says. “So all through the day, we’re ruminating on it. We chew, chew, chew, swallow, regurgitate. So it’s not just ‘the Lord is my shepherd,’ it’s ‘the Lord is my cowboy.’ ”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Anthropology, Church History, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Veterinarians face conflicting allegiances to animals, farmers – and drug companies

The relationships between medical doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are subject to strict rules that require the public disclosure of payments for meals, trips, consulting, speaking and research.

No laws or regulations ”“ including the new FDA directives ”“
require veterinarians to reveal financial connections to drug companies. That means veterinarians can be wined and dined and given scholarships, awards, stipends, gifts and trips by pharmaceutical benefactors without the knowledge of the FDA or the public.

Of the 90,000 veterinarians who practice in the United States, about 11,000 ”“ or one of every eight ”“ work in food animal production, according to a 2013 workforce study. Livestock and poultry specialists advise growers on health issues from insemination to birth to weaning to fattening to euthanasia. They also treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. Many train farmhands how to spot disease and administer drugs.

In some ways, the role of the veterinarian is more complicated than that of the medical doctor. For a veterinarian, the patient is the animal but the client is the owner.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

(Chrn Today) Britain's hunger crisis: Bishop of Truro says benefits system doesn't work

The Bishop of Truro, together with a group of cross-party MPs, has criticised the effectiveness the benefits system in a comprehensive report into Britain’s hunger crisis released today.

The Feeding Britain report was published by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty, led by Labour MP Frank Field and the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and was compiled with funding from the Archbishop’s charitable trust.

The report said that benefit-related problems were the reason most often given for people resorting to a food bank. Problems with the administration of benefits, creating delays or income gaps which create emergency needs were some of the problems cited.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(New Statesman) Food banks: why can't people afford to eat in the world's sixth richest country?

When a family turns to the food bank in a time of need, they are met with warmth and compassion that is qualitatively different to what the state can provide. So when they are provided with food, it acts as a social gateway to a discussion about the wider problems in someone’s life.

We believe this offers a valuable opportunity for us to redesign a fragmented approach to support. We want to help more food banks evolve into hubs where services like debt and welfare advice are in one place, and end the system where people are sent from pillar to post in a constant cycle of referral.

We therefore propose a practical solution. We will bring together the voluntary sector, stakeholders and retailers in a new national voice: Feeding Britain. This will have three key goals that have been difficult to address by individual food banks in isolation. First, we will seek to double the redistribution of surplus food. Second, we will pilot twelve regional hubs that bring local agencies together. Third, we will pilot schemes to tackle school holiday hunger.

Read it all from Frank Field and John Glen.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's speech at the APPG hunger report launch

I have spoken to numerous politicians on this, and I know well that, whereas it’s easy to be cynical, the reality is that there are huge numbers of people, both from government and opposition, all across the spectrum of opposition parties, who are absolutely committed to ensuring the wellbeing of their constituents and all the people in their country.

They are guided by a strong moral compass and we need to recognise that and not always be too cynical about what we see our politicians doing. The issue is how you turn that moral compass into practical action.

If we want to understand what is driving people to the point where they will put up with the shame of having to ask for help from a food bank (and people usually arrive with an unjustified sense of shame); if we want to find the practical solutions that will substantially reduce the numbers of people needing to do so; then the only way we can do this is by a collective effort, drawing on the wisdom of politicians from every political background, of food banks, charities and non-profits working in the sector, of retailers and of Government departments.

You might think from some of yesterday’s coverage, and today’s, that the report is asking the Government to move into the food bank sector. It’s not. It is far more interesting and creative than that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(CSM) The new ethics of eating–The animal-welfare movement gains momentum

Barn No. 5 at Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs is about to become a state-of-the-art multiplex for hens. Two massive scaffolding-like structures, each the length of four school buses, are getting their final nuts and bolts, and in a few weeks, 8,000 cage-free chickens will come thronging and clucking into these new “aviary” roosts. Moving freely around the barn, they will perch on rows of shiny bars, nest on private mats, and quench their thirst from tiny water nipples. While one conveyor belt whisks chicken waste out the door, another one will collect the bounty ”“ a nonstop supply of brown and white eggs.

The roosts, which line both sides of the barn, are replacing dense rows of wire cages that housed chickens for some 60 years. Frank Hilliker, a third-generation egg farmer in this dusty town north of San Diego, strolls through the barn, hoists himself up to the top of the roosting tiers, and surveys the chickens’ new domain.

“Those are privacy curtains,” he says, pointing down at a strip of tomato-red plastic flaps. “Inside is a little AstroTurf pad that they get to lie on, and that’s where they lay their eggs!”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(BBC) Archbishop Justin Welby urges help for UK hungry

More help is needed to prevent families in the UK going hungry, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby says food is being wasted in “astonishing” amounts, but hunger “stalks large parts” of the country.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he backed a parliamentary report, to be released on Monday, which aims to end hunger in the UK by 2020.

The report is expected to call for a new publicly-funded body, known as Feeding Britain, to make this happen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(Daily Mail on Sunday) The Archbishop of Canterbury on hunger in Britain

A few weeks later in England, I was talking to some people ”“ a mum, dad and one child ”“ in a food bank. They were ashamed to be there. The dad talked miserably. He said they had each been skipping a day’s meals once a week in order to have more for the child, but then they needed new tyres for the car so they could get to work at night, and just could not make ends meet. So they had to come to a food bank.

They were treated with respect, love even, by the volunteers from local churches. But they were hungry, and ashamed to be hungry.

I found their plight more shocking. It was less serious, but it was here. And they weren’t careless with what they had ”“ they were just up against it. It shocked me that being up against it at the wrong time brought them to this stage.

There are many like them. But we can do something about it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

Good local article on One80 Place that trains homeless residents for restaurant work

One80 Place’s program isn’t unique: There are dozens of similar kitchen-based initiatives across the country, ranging from modest Culinary 101-type classes to full-fledged restaurants serving the public. But it’s especially appropriate for Charleston, where severe understaffing threatens to upend the local food-and-beverage economy.

The lurking downer is that the efficacy of such programs remains remarkably unclear. Scholars have scrutinized the causes of homelessness and the demographics of the U.S. homeless population, but whether job training leads to long-term employment remains largely unexplored. Even Catalyst Kitchens, a national network of organizations that “transform lives through foodservice job training and social enterprise,” couldn’t muster any evidence showing kitchen-centered training results in better outcomes than other interventions.

“We’re all sort of finding our way,” says Angela DuPree, One80 Place’s director of operations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Poverty

(AP) Colorado Proposes Edible Pot Ban, Then Retreats

Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks.

The suggestion sparked marijuana industry outrage and legal concerns from a regulatory workgroup that met Monday to review the agency’s suggestion. Colorado’s 2012 marijuana-legalization measure says retail pot is legal in all forms.

“If the horse wasn’t already out of the barn, I think that would be a nice proposal for us to put on the table,” said Karin McGowan, the department’s deputy executive director.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

In the Diocese of Portsmouth, a Vicar trains as barista for a church coffee shop

St Barnabas Church in Swanmore will launch Barnaby’s Coffee Shop on October 11 after a £20,000 project to create a relaxed space for coffee, cake and chat.

Members of the congregation have worked hard to transform their old Victorian school room into a modern coffee shop. Volunteers ”“ including the vicar the Rev Claire Towns ”“ have been training as baristas so they can serve everything from expressos to macchiatos.

The church has bought proper coffee machines, comfy seating, atmospheric lighting and real Columbian coffee to ensure a quality experience.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Mental Health Break–Actor Jeff Bridges Fights to End Childhood Hunger, Providing summer lunches

Jeff Bridges has been working on childhood hunger for longer than the children he champions today have been alive. In fact, it’s been a 30-year crusade. In the early 1980s, the Academy Award-winning actor founded the End Hunger Network, an organization focused on feeding children around the world. More recently, he’s focused on feeding kids here in the United States. Motivating the shift in Bridges’ attention is the reality that more than 16 million American kids live in households that are labelled “food insecure” ”“ those that don’t know with certainty where their next meal will come from, or if it will come at all.

Watch the whole video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Education, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television

(London Times) A kitchen appliance that captures the zeitgeist–a selfie toaster

If ever a kitchen appliance captured the zeitgeist, this is it: you can now eat your own face, thanks to a selfie toaster.

The toasters are custom built to scorch a particular image into a piece of bread. They cost $75 (£45), and to order one you must send a picture of yourself to the manufacturer.

Read it all (subsciption required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(JTNYCR) A Profile of St. Lydia's, a NYC Dinner Church Tied to the Lutheran and Episcopal traditions

The journey to St. Lydia’s began when Emily Scott and Rachel Pollak came from the Western United States to the East Coast to attend St. Lawrence College. Scott, an Episcopalian, hailed from Bothwell, Washington. Pollak, a Unitarian, came from Salt Lake City, Utah. Both also went on to complete graduate degrees at Yale Divinity School in 2007. By this time they were friends sharing ideas about what “doing church” would look like in the Twenty-first Century.

Scott graduated from the Institute of Sacred Music as a liturgist and musician. She had a passion for worship, arts and liturgy that emerged from her upbringing as an Episcopalian. Pollak received a Master of Arts and Religion from Yale. However, their paths diverged after Pollak moved to study at the Art Institute of Chicago while Scott stayed on the East Coast to work at a local church in New York City.

After she moved to the massive city, Scott began holding more and more dinner parties. The first traces of an idea about a new church can be seen in those friendly gatherings….

Part one is here and part two is there. Read them both.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) As Food Prices Rise, The Federal Reserve Keeps a Watchful Eye

U.S. food prices are on the rise, raising a sensitive question: When the cost of a hamburger patty soars, does it count as inflation?

It does to everyone who eats and especially poorer Americans, whose food costs absorb a larger portion of their income. But central bankers take a more nuanced view. They sometimes look past food-price increases that appear temporary or isolated while trying to control broad and long-term inflation trends, not blips that might soon reverse.

The Federal Reserve faces an especially important challenge now as it mulls the long-standing dilemma of what to make of the price of a pork chop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government

(WSJ) Shmuly Yanklowitz: Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat

As an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, I am deeply committed to keeping kosher. Even as a teenager, I took pride in the strict rules governing food preparation in the kashrut tradition””like the separating of milk and meat, and the strict supervision preventing the consumption of such things as blood or bugs””thinking it raised simple consumption to a higher ethical and spiritual plane.

Many have also long believed that kosher certification conveys greater healthfulness. That was especially the case in the era before government food inspection. During the period of the “New Immigration” (1880-1920), when East European Jews were crowded into neighborhoods such as New York City’s Lower East Side, kosher laws were seen as preventing illness, in contrast with nonkosher food such as pork, which was often contaminated with trichinosis, and other foods that were prepared without supervision. But the most important aspect of keeping kosher is that for centuries it has helped the Jewish people remain spiritually alive.

It pains me to say this, but given what I have learned in recent years, I cannot pretend anymore that kosher meat, poultry and dairy is any healthier or ethical than nonkosher food. I still promote how kashrut in its pure form aims to morally and spiritually elevate us, but the authentic realization of this timeless ritual is vanishingly rare.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CT) Ethnic Violence Kills 10,000””and It Gets Even Worse in South Sudan

South Sudan’s problems…are far from over. Relief experts said famine and disease pose great risk. The rainy season has begun, making delivery of food more difficult in this France-sized nation with few paved roads. Families in some cases have survived by eating leaves. Malnourished children will die of starvation before the end of the year unless relief aid arrives now. Health officials say nine people have died from cholera so far in May.

“We are now in a race against time to prevent the deaths of 50,000 children under the age of five who are already suffering high levels of malnutrition,” said Perry Mansfield, South Sudan National Director, World Vision.

“The numbers of very hungry is staggering. Almost 5 million people are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. People have fled their homes and so cannot plant their crops. Almost a quarter of a million children will be severely malnourished by the end of the year. But the costs of air dropping and flying in food is more expensive than trucking it in, but delivery options and time are running out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Violence