Thursday, 25 October 2012

What is a person to do?

*sigh* Once again, I have managed to make someone feel that they had to escalate one of my e-mails to her Director, my Director, my Manager, the Working Group Lead... She only missed my supervisor! Maybe I should help her out and forward it to the Director General & the CEO? (joking)

But, at some point, I knew this was going to happen. The writing was on the wall. I wrote the process, to the best of my abilities, double-checking my sources and following best practices, adapting, where necessary to meet the requirement of an organisation new to the process... I got feedback and I defended why I did what I did (links to external sites in a word document - no porn, totally relevant to the subject at hand).

But last week, the DG told her that she "owned" the process. And that's when she was blessed with the power to smite.

She was showing her lack of clear understanding of the subject matter early on in the project. She didn't really grasp all the parallel initiatives, and their influence on our work. But now that she has been blessed, she knows all, and those who disagree or question her are to be smited.

I think I might ask to be removed from the project. At least that will guarantee that she won't escalate my e-mails anymore... And my poor manager, who is a good guy, won't get dragged into this shit anymore... Ya really gotta feel bad for him. He's too busy to be bothered with this crap. :( My director is a very nice person too... Everyone's time is wasted on this one.

... And now I'm waiting for the shit-storm that is sure to follow *sigh* better pick up some mixer for this evening. I have a feeling it's going to involve Bombay Sapphire Gin.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Prop 37 & GMO Labelling

The US election is just around the corner. I will be so thankful when it's over! These people give new meaning to term "election year".

But our neighbours to the south are also voting on something called Proposition 37 in the state of California. I vaguely understood that Prop 37 had to do with the labelling of Genetically Modified Organisms (foods), aka GMO's.

Why am I interested? Well, that's kinda the point of being The Mad Granola. Why should all Americans be interested? Well, California had one of the first certifications for Organics... and then other states followed suit. And then Canada got on board too. Canada and the USA recognize each other's organic certifications. (you can read more about that here)

I keep reading the same tag-line for every article emphasizing the importance of Prop 37:
As goes California, so goes the Nation
... and Canada too. (of course, the reverse cannot be said, since we made gay marriage legal first, and they're still trying to figure it out.)

Time to get an edumacation. What I didn't understand was this:

What the hell are companies like Kashi and Larabar doing campaigning against labelling GMO foods??! They're always spouting off about how we can trust them because the would never hurt us and they are natural... So why don't they want to support labelling GMO foods? Apparently, there's been some propaganda goin' on all over the InterWeb! On both sides. You can't have a good food fight without Monsanto... but I'll save that for another post.
Oh MY! That is damning! Until you read this:

Oh! Ok, I get it! The exemptions are already covered by other regulations. That makes sense. I'm not a lawyer, but I understand the need to avoid redundancy.

Dr. David Suzuki is for GMO labelling. Dr. Oz is for GMO labelling. I really don't understand this PhD's open letter to Dr. Oz. Maybe he's mad because he was denied his 15 minutes of fame? He feels that Dr. Oz didn't give a balanced point of view on "biotechnology crops". I didn't see the show so I don't have an opinion on whether Dr. Oz's show had a bias one way or the other. But Bruce Chassy, PhD's letter did make me go out and get an opinion:

I'm for GMO labelling. I just want to know what I'm eating, ok? I may choose to buy GMO, or not... but at least let me make that choice, based on my abilities to personally assess what's right for me. Without the labels, I don't know what I'm eating. 

Let me ask you this: Do you really want to hear about the safety of "biotechnology crops", or do would you rather know what you are eating, and where it came from? Or both! Both would be good. 

What are you going to do with that list of companies who are campaigning against an initiative to label GM food? Let me know in the comments. I don't think I'll be buying Kashi granola bars for the kids this weekend.

You can read more on Proposition 37 at and

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Chronic Dieting Causes Low Thyroid and Depression

Are you kidding me?!
I love my RSS feed. It’s so entertaining, and educational. For instance, did you know that if you have hypothyroidism, your disease and the symptoms of depression you suffer from are caused by chronic calorie depletion? According to Kevin Cann on Robb Wolf's blog it's true!
As a woman who has been dealing with hypothyroidism for 20 years, I can tell you this: CHRONIC CALORIE DEPLETION CANNOT CAUSE  HYPOTHYROIDISM! As a friend of mine likes to say, "That's like putting DesCartes before the horse". 

Follow me here: 
  1. Trigger: Stress, Environment (cigarette smoke), Cancer, Genetics etc.
  2. Then comes the hypothyroidism, undiagnosed, 
  3. Then comes the weight/depression, bad enough to force you to see the doctor,
  4. Then comes the diet! 
Does that sound like calorie depletion causes low thyroid and depression to you? It doesn't to me. The trigger always comes first.
Where do these people find this stuff? When you are hypothyroid, food does not fill you up. That switch in your brain that tells you you're full is not working. It's gone. It's almost impossible to eat sensibly when your satiety centre is shut down. All those diets that tell you that you don't have to watch your portions, just eat until you're full? They don't work when you're hypothyroid. 

The worst thing about being hypothyroid is having people tell you there is nothing wrong with you. Or better yet, your dieting is causing your condition.

Don't you just love it when someone tells you how you are? Especially when they know nothing about you?
I sure do... NOT!

Check out Mary Shomon for more info on Hypothyroidism and triggers.

Mexican office of the Pan American Health Organization accepts funding from Multi-nationals!

What do you think? If multi-nation companies fund WHO organizations, are they:

  1. Paying to clean up the mess they made, or;
  2. Extending their influence over health organizations in an effort to push their "profits first, customer health be damned" agenda.
That's one of the questions that Friday's Reuter's "Special Report: Food, beverage industry pays for seat at health-policy table" should have asked.

Personally, I think these multi-nationals should be taxed according to their negative impact on our health care bill. You produce sugar-laden drinks? And sell multi-millions of dollars of those drinks? That's your share of the health care costs to Type-2 Diabetes treatments. Tax them to the point where it is no longer profitable for them to sell products that harm our health.

And multi-nationals have no business at the policy table of the World Health Organization.

As for the WHO, I understand that it's important to have an international body that watches out for health trends world-wide... They establish protocols to deal with disease outbreaks, and identify things like obesity as a world-wide concern, instead of a regional concern... But maybe it needs to be linked to an association of academic institutes, rather than a body made up of politicians, bureaucrats,  and diplomats.

Off on a related tangent - 
This is not new stuff, by the way. Way back in grade 13 World Geography class (circa 1985), one of my classmates, Tracey, did a project on Nestlé's initiative to provide baby formula to third world country hospitals. This is the same Nestlé company mentioned in the Reuter's article. It was a multi-national then and they got a little bigger since then. On the face of it, Nestlé was providing free formula to hospitals. They look like the good guys, right?

However, they were also influencing doctors to push the formula onto poor moms who had just given birth. The doctors got the newborns hooked on formula instead of breast milk, thereby creating a new customer for Nestlé. The problem was that theses very poor moms didn't have the money to buy formula. Now that they were convinced that the formula was better than their breast milk, and their own breast milk stopped production, they had no choice but to buy the formula. However, they didn't have money. The formula had to be mixed with distilled water. Their water sources were often polluted, unreliable, and/or kilometres away. What is a mom to do. She must feed her baby. So she does what she knows: dilute the formula so that it lasts as long as possible...until she can come up with the money for another can. Sometimes she'd stretch a can for up to a week-worth of feedings. Is it any wonder that infant mortality rates were so high? There was/is rampant malnutrition in the third world. That can was supposed to be enough for 1 day worth of feedings, not a week!

I never did hear if Nestlé is still practicing this horrible technique in the third world. I've heard Big Pharma does this all the time, all over the world. You can see it on tv. All those drug commercials for erectile disfunction, depression, smoking cessation, etc. So it wouldn't surprise me.

I gave birth to my daughter in 1987. The nurses at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, half-heartedly tried to get me to nurse my daughter. I didn't have much success. Maybe because they had bottle-fed her right after I gave birth and before I had a chance to nurse her. Who knows? She was a very hungry baby and I was very concerned that she wasn't getting enough nourishment from me. They sent me home with a Carnation Formula kit from Nestlé, and my daughter was bottle-fed from that point on.

I regret I was not more adamant about breast feeding. But thankfully, the Civic Hospital has changed since I gave birth in 1987. My daughter is now the mother of two beautiful children: both born at the Civic Hospital, now the Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus. My daughter was whole-heartedly encouraged to breast-feed! No one offered a bottle of formula to her. No one took her babies away after they were born to feed them in the nursery. Both her children were by her beside from the time they were born, until they left the hospital. For that, I am very grateful. It's a regret my daughter will not have.

I just hope that the hospitals in Africa, that Tracey spoke of in 1985, have kicked Nestlé out and kept the multi-nationals away from all those new mothers. If someone knows the current information on this topic, please post it. We cannot forget the past sins of multi-nationals. We need to learn from history and fight against its repetition.

Post your thoughts. And have a lovely Sunday :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

What My Dogs Teach Me

Watching my dog, Gracie, a German Shepard-something-or-other, run around the yard is an education in what one should, and shouldn’t do. For instance, Gracie is absolutely joyful. She skips when she runs. She sprints after balls. She teases her brother, Iggy-The-Parsons-Jack-Russell-Terrier. She follows her big sister, Tara-The-Husky-Collie-Mix, and Tara teaches her things, like how far she can run, how to fetch the ball, when to put the Husky-death-grip on Iggy. All very useful things to know, if you’re a dog, or live with a dog. All things one should know how to do: be joyful; work hard; have fun; don’t take life too seriously; learn something new everyday; self-defense, etc.
Gracie, a Bernese Mountain Dog-Lab cross... at least, that's what the shelter told us
Iggy, Parsons Jack Russell Terrier. I dare you to try and take away that ball. Go 'head.
Tara, Husky-Bearded Collie cross... again, according to the shelter.
I have learned other things from watching my dogs, too. The biggest one relates to diet: Just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean you should. It didn’t take a rocket-scientist (please note: I am not a rocket scientist) to figure out that the vomit I found with the bits of plastic in it, came from Gracie, who had been caught chewing on said plastic plant container earlier that day. And so it goes that I had to sit down and really think about all the stuff I’ve been reading lately on diet and exercise. Just because I can eat wheat, gluten, meat, sugar, pesticides, BPA, salt, transfat, banana peels, soy, cabbage... and the list goes on, doesn’t mean I should.

That’s a long list of stuff I can eat, but maybe I shouldn’t. It’s not even a comprehensive list. I didn’t mention anything about processed food. Actually, they are all pretty controversial. Wheat and gluten-free diet books are probably the bane of every wheat farmer and the Canadian Wheat Board. Afterall, there are doctors saying that their product is harming the public (yes, Dr. William Davis, I'm looking at your Wheat Belly, you too, Dr. Loren Cordain). Not good for commodity prices… not good for their market. But don't worry, I won't tell my next door neighbour, The-Commercial-Corn-and-Soy-Farmer that you think he's trying to kill the human race.

That's enough mud-slinging at the paleo folks for tonight. There's more than enough mud to go around! Everyone in the food/diet industry is fair game where I'm concerned. I get pretty cranky when my thyroid meds aren't working right.

I'm bringing back the Drama Llama!

This morning I was going through my reader feed, and what do I see? More internet drama! Quelle surprise!

I used to see a lot of this in the vegetarian/vegan webboards. Heck! VeggiesUnite (now VegWeb) shut down and implemented a user screening  before they would allow you to have an account, so you could post a comment or recipe, or whatever. What a pain in the butt when you're just looking for a recipe.

Those Internet vegetarians/vegans are not the peace loving, animal saving innocents PETA would have you believe. Nope. There's a lot of intolerance in those Internet veggies.

At this time, I'd like to point out that internet vegetarians are not the same as vegetarians in real life. Real life vegetarians are pretty compassionate people. There are exceptions, of course, but you are not going to find a lot of real life vegetarians on the vegetarian Internet websites. Real life vegetarians have more sense.

Given my experience with the veggie webboards of the 1990's & early 2000's, why am I surprised to see the same type of bad behaviour at Paleo Diet blog, Free The Animal. Check out the comments section for the ultimate in drama.

Richard Nikoley, you are the first mention in my blog, and the winner of this week's Drama Llama. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!