Driving in the Middle East is a whole other world, a world of chaos until you realize that the rules are different, no matter what the published rules are. To drive in Qatar, I started at 0430 on a Friday morning, when there was little or no traffic (things have changed) and would drive until traffic began to thicken. Eventually, I knew the city and gained confidence that I could drive without getting killed. In Kuwait, for months, I would only drive to relatively nearby shopping areas, or drive only on back roads carefully plotted on the map during low traffic hours. After a while, you begin to get a sense of things, and the sensation of imminent death lessens.
Adventures in Qatar: a radiator dropping off a truck in front of me, being hit on purpose by a man who didn’t like women driving, being pushed into a round about by a Hummer, being nearly assaulted by two young Qataris who believed we had insulted them by being in the lane where they wanted to be, watching men drive up the wrong side of the ring roads because they were too important to wait in line, later standing and laughing at their crashed cars – Daddy would buy them another. It sounds crazy, but you get used to it.
Kuwait was a whole different ball game, controlled chaos at high speeds. Adventures in Kuwait: the sleeping elderly man driving in the lane next to me who almost hit me, watching drivers drive through red lights as if they were green, sparks off the fenders of SUVs on Highway 30 as people wove quickly in and out of traffic, the dramatic crashed and burned out cars on the sides of the highways, the car impaled on a palm tree – 10 feet above the road. Kuwait was so surreal that I couldn’t even begin to imagine how some of the accidents happened; I learned to be a very prayerful driver.
So out of idle curiosity, today I looked up highest rate of traffic fatalities per country, and found this on Wikipedia. So here’s a surprise . . . Kuwait’s fatalities statistic is roughly equal to that of the United States. Qatar’s is significantly higher, and many countries are even double or triple Kuwaits fatality rate. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this.
List of countries Fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants
Benin 31.2 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 10.9
British Virgin Islands 21.7
Brunei Darussalam 13.8
Burkina Faso 31.1
Cape Verde 25.1
Central African Republic 32.2
Republic of the Congo 28.8
Cook Islands 45.0
Costa Rica 15.4
Czech Republic 10.4
Dominican Republic 17.3
El Salvador 12.6
The Gambia 36.6
Republic of Ireland 3.51
Republic of Korea 11.3
Marshall Islands 7.4
Federated States of Micronesia 14.4
New Zealand 8.6
Palestinian territories 5.6
Papua New Guinea 14.2
Puerto Rico 12.8
Republic of Macedonia 6.9
Republic of Moldova 15.1
Saint Lucia 17.6
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6.6
San Marino 0
Sao Tome and Principe 33.0
Saudi Arabia 29.0
Sierra Leone 28.3
Solomon Islands 16.9
South Africa 33.2
Sri Lanka 13.5
Syrian Arab Republic 32.9
Trinidad and Tobago 15.5
United Arab Emirates 37.1
United Kingdom 3.59
United Republic of Tanzania 34.3
United States of America 12.3
Like all statistics, I think some are honest, and some need to be taken with a grain of salt. I found reading through them fascinating. You can get more information, accidents per thousand cars, total accidents, etc.
LOL, this is hilarious, and also frightening when you think what might be in the preserved sandwich.
There are four videos showing food non-deterioration, by Melanie Warner, author of Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Foods Took Over the American Meal
What I love about this article is that although the proposition did not pass this time, journalists are writing about the lies and misrepresentations made, and the issue will come up again and again until it passes. Big money calls the tune in a lot of places, but idealists can be pesky and persistent, and in the long run, persistence can outplay big money.
As for me, I follow the great advice “shop the perimeter,” looking for the least processed food. We also have a wonderful store in Pensacola, Everman’s, where you can buy local and organic foods. It is a treasure.
Did Monsanto Trick California Voters?
The “No on 37″ campaign spent $46 million burying the state’s voters in an avalanche of misleading ads and outright falsehoods. Their efforts defeated the proposition, 53 percent to 47 percent.
But Monsanto and their peeps didn’t just spend $46 million promoting their opinion. They also lied and got away with it. Check out these examples:
1) They illegally included the FDA logo in a “No on 37″ mailing to state residents, and made up a quote from the FDA, which the FDA refuted. The FDA did not and cannot express an opinion on ballot initiatives.
2) They used the Stanford logo in TV ads and mailers, when the University also did not take a stand on the issue. And they said that Henry I. Miller, their hired gun, is a professor at Stanford when in reality, he works for the Hoover Institution — which rents office space on the campus.
3) They paid a PR firm with expertise in fighting recycling legislation (on behalf of the soda pop industry) to generate a misleading ”study” that was designed to show the proposition raising food prices by hundreds of dollars per state resident per year. This despite independent economic analysis concluding that it would not raise prices in any meaningful way, and that in Europe, mandated labeling was not linked to an increase in food prices. (Do you really believe the pesticide and junk food companies would spend $46 million trying to save you money?)
4) They said there have never been any documented ill-effects from GMO consumption. But many allege that 37 direct human deaths and 1,500 disabilities linked to a toxic batch of the supplement Tryptophanwere caused by a genetically engineered strain of bacteria used in production. And there are numerous reports of livestock that have died as a result of grazing on GMO cotton. There could be far more widespread ill-effects, but without labeling, it’s nearly impossible to find out conclusively.
5) They said Prop 37 was full of exemptions for special interests. But in reality, the exemptions were modeled after those adopted throughout the European Union and every other country that calls for labeling. For instance, livestock that are fed GMO grains don’t have to be labeled genetically engineered unless the animal, itself, is genetically engineered. That’s not a special interest exemption — it’s basic science.
What’s Next For The Food Movement?
In the last decade, the movement for healthy, sustainable food has been growing exponentially, with consumption of organic foods growing from $8 billion in 2000 to $31 billion in 2011. We’ve seen an equally dramatic rise in the number of farmer’s markets and CSAs. Still, it’s a big jump to move from 4 percent market share, to changing national food policy. Tobacco was found to be harmful to health in 1950, and it took nearly half a century to meaningfully change laws.
The food movement is growing fast, but as a political force, it’s still in its infancy. Big agribusiness still controls the purse strings in Congress, and runs the show at the FDA. At least for now.
An ABC News poll found that 93 percent of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. Even after a narrow loss against a heavily financed and deeply entrenched food industry, the rapidly growing food movement may be just getting started.
“The arc of history is long,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us, ”but it bends towards justice.” As we’ve seen time and time again, when enough people demand it, eventually, change does come.
Ocean Robbins is founder and co-host (with best-selling author John Robbins) of the 60,000 member Food Revolution Network, an initiative to help you heal your body, and your world… with food.
“How did it go?” AdventureMan asked as I came in. He had a dental appointment and couldn’t take the Happy Little Boy to his swimming lesson, so I had taken him.
“It’s probably one of the best days of my life,” I told him. “Happy Little Boy had so much fun. He was really swimming on his own, using the ring, even floating on his back. He was really happy.”
A year ago, he was more fearful and clingy. He had his good days and bad days at the pool, mostly good, thanks to some really good teachers. To see him so happy, so confident, so joyful – now that is a really good day. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it.
This morning was his last parent-child class; now he will be joining the bigger kids swimming classes, where we take him and he and the other kids work directly with the teacher without us in the pool . . . so this is the end of an era.
My Mother was asking for some recent shots, so this morning AdventureMan took him in, and I shot some photos. These are for you, Mom
We have strong feelings about children learning as young as possible how to be safe in the water. As one of our swimming buddies said, “Florida is surrounded by water.” They had better know the rudiments of water safety. Thank goodness for the YMCA, Miss Donna and Miss Bonnie.
(Photos courtesy of adoring grandmother, LOL!)
This is especially bad news for me; I love broiling and roasting to concentrate flavors. I love those crispy pieces of grilled foods . . . the latest from Bottom Line Publications.
How it’s cooked may increase your risk for chronic illness.
Some of the most serious chronic health problems in the US, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and kidney and heart disease, have been linked to what we eat—processed foods, fast food, red meat, etc. What may surprise you is that the increased health risks from these foods may be due in large part to how they are cooked.
Dry-heat cooking, such as grilling, broiling, frying and even baking and roasting, greatly increases levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins. Small amounts of these chemical compounds are naturally present in all foods, but their levels rise dramatically when foods are subjected to dry heat, which frequently occurs both in home cooking and in commercial food preparation.
The danger: AGEs are oxidants that produce free radicals, damage DNA, trigger inflammation throughout the body and accelerate the aging process. They also make cholesterol more likely to cling to artery walls, the underlying cause of most heart attacks. Some researchers now believe that AGEs can be linked to most chronic diseases.
A NEW THREAT
A century ago, people mainly ate fresh, homemade foods, such as grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits, with relatively small amounts of meat. The processed food industry was still in its infancy.
However, in the following decades, meat portions grew larger, and Americans acquired a strong desire for the intense flavors, aromas and colors in commercially prepared “browned” foods, such as crackers, chips, cookies, grilled and broiled meats, french fries, pizza, etc. During this time, the rates of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases started to rise. This wasn’t a coincidence—the rich taste, smell and appearance of these foods primarily come from AGEs.
Our bodies can neutralize the small amounts of AGEs that are naturally found in foods (and that we produce as a by-product of metabolism). But our defense mechanisms are overwhelmed with the high amounts that are now very common in the typical American diet.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
AGEs are measured in kilounits (kU). We recommend consuming no more than 5,000 kU to 8,000 kU per day (see box for examples of kU levels in some common foods). Recent studies have shown that the average American typically consumes more than 15,000 kU daily, and many people eat well over 20,000 kU daily.
Reducing dietary AGEs may be especially important for people with diabetes because high blood sugar levels cause more AGEs to form. It’s also crucial for people with kidney disease because they are less able to remove AGEs from the body. AGEs also are elevated in patients with heart disease, obesity and dementia.
Researchers can measure the amounts of AGEs in the blood, but doctors don’t commonly use this test because it’s not currently available for commercial use. What your doctor can do is measure levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation. If your level is high (above 3 mg/dL), you may have excessive AGEs in your blood. If you eat a lot of grilled, broiled and roasted meats, for example, and/or heat-treated processed foods, this also means your AGE levels are likely too high.
AN “AGE-LESS” DIET
Our studies have shown that people who make simple dietary changes can reduce their levels of AGEs by more than 50% in four months. The reduction is accompanied by a similar decrease in CRP levels. Helpful strategies…
Eat less animal protein. Animal protein, especially red meat, is among the main sources of AGEs—and the levels can multiply tenfold when the meat is grilled, broiled, baked or roasted. Helpful: Eat beef no more than three times a week.
Because animal fat also contributes to AGE intake, eat lean meats. They have fewer AGEs than higher-fat meats. Animal fats such as butter also are higher in AGEs than plant fats such as olive oil.
Best approach: Fill three-quarters of your plate with plant foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, and leave no more than one-quarter of the plate for animal foods, such as meats and cheeses.
Soups and stews are tasty ways to serve small portions of meat. Also enjoy more meatless meals, such as vegetarian chili or veggie burgers. Nonfat milk and yogurt are low in AGEs and are a good way to add protein to meals and snacks.
Avoid dry-heat cooking, such as grilling, broiling, baking, roasting and frying. High, dry heat greatly increases AGEs. Example: A piece of raw meat might have 500 kU to 700 kU of AGEs. But after the meat is broiled, the level can rise to 5,000 kU to 8,000 kU.
Better approach: Cook with moist heat—stew, poach, steam, boil or microwave. A piece of chicken that’s poached or boiled, for example, will have about 1,000 kU. The same piece of chicken will have about 5,000 kU when it’s broiled.
If you have a desire for grilled or roasted foods, vegetables and fruits are better choices than meats. These foods have far fewer AGEs than meats and fats when cooked with dry heat.
If you do cook with dry heat, marinate first. The eventual formation of AGEs is reduced by about 50% when raw meats are marinated in acidic ingredients, such as vinegar or lemon juice. For each pound of meat, use the juice from two lemons or an equivalent amount of vinegar or lime juice plus enough water to cover the meat (about one cup). Add some garlic and/or herbs for extra flavor. Avoid commercial marinades since they’re usually high in sugar and/or oil, which will increase AGEs.
Reheat gently. Microwaving is a good method for reheating meats and other foods. Be sure to include plenty of liquid and reheat to a safe temperature to prevent the possibility of food-borne illness due, for example, to E. coli or salmonella.
Soups, sauces and gravies should be brought to a boil. Leftovers such as meats and casseroles should be reheated to 165°F.
Don’t eat certain foods together. Consuming meats with foods that are high in sugar—for example, having a slice of cake after eating a hamburger—allows existing AGEs in the meat to interact with the sugars in the cake, creating higher levels of AGEs.
Similarly, eating meats with very high-fat foods, such as a hamburger topped with bacon and cheese, will produce far more AGEs than consuming these foods by themselves.
Focus on fresh foods. Because processed foods have high levels of AGEs, fresh foods and foods that have been minimally processed are a much better choice.
A serving of rice, for example, will have almost no AGEs, but the same amount of crispy rice cereal will have 600 kU. Avoid takeout and convenience foods, such as fast-food burgers, fries and pizza.
Warning: Any food that has been browned or crisped, such as cookies, crackers, chips, etc., will be high in AGEs.
Sources: Sandra Woodruff, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant based in Tallahassee, Florida, and Helen Vlassara, MD, an endocrinologist and professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, where she directs the Experimental Diabetes and Aging Division. They are coauthors of The AGE-Less Way: Escape America’s Overeating Epidemic. (www.TheAGE-lessWay.com)
Imagine you are a retired military man who likes birds and butterflies and gardens and photography and military history . . .
Now, imagine you can find all of the above on one island. Dauphin Island is a paradise for AdventureMan.
Imagine you are a woman who loves road trips, beautiful beaches, taking pictures, taking walks, beautiful scenery, especially beaches and wading birds . . .
And that is also all on the same island.
We can’t wait to go back to Dauphin Island. Birding season is just kicking up again, after the heat of the summer and the threat of hurricane season. The birds migrating south have their final rest on Dauphin Island, before heading out across the big Gulf of Mexico to warmer climates for the winter.
And there’s an old fort, too!
These forts were built to protect the American southern coast from a variety of enemies, including at one time, our fellow Americans. They are built solidly, with great big cannons.
So what is the fort defending against now?
There is another way to get to Dauphin Island from Pensacola, if you get there at the right time and there isn’t much of a line, because this little ferry can’t take a lot of cars. It goes to Fort Morgan, still in Alabama, but across Mobile Bay:
AdventureMan says the forts are built in the style influenced by Marc René, marquis de Montalembert, who is said to want to do for defense what Vauban had done for the attack.
As we were out last night, we saw this gathering of trucks. They are not Gulf Power trucks, or at least they don’t say Gulf Power, but they sure look like trucks pre-positioned to take care of wind-driven electrical outaages. It’s very reassuring.
The weather is very warm – lows in the high 70′s, highs in the low 80′s – and the air is drenched with humidity. An electrical outage is hard on an Alaska girl like me, who hates stale warm air. It’s also hard because this weather is ideal for mosquito breeding, and mosquitos head my way when given any access. Let’s keep the electricity flowing and the air conditioning running!