Dear Cia Column

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Adamsuper2002 on Thu May 14, 2015 2:43 am

Dear Cia,

I'm want to start my own blog, but I have no idea how to go about it. Do you have any tips you could share with me?

~Hammy
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Fri May 15, 2015 12:40 am

Dear Tex,

That's easy... cause the monocle was included in my original illustration.  Razz




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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Fri May 15, 2015 1:04 am

Dear Hammy,

Hmm, well a bit odd considering I'm not a professional blogger, and I hardly ever update Bread-A-Lot anymore, except when I'm halfway inspired for it. But in that maybe I can offer what I know from my little experience maintaining the server blog...

1) Pick a convenient platform to work with, such as Blogger (which is what I'm used to).  The simpler and less complex it is, the more likely you'll feel to write in it.

2) Pick a theme that will inspire you to write often.  If you hate vegetables and decide to force yourself into writing on vegetables, chances are you wouldn't want to maintain it often.  ^^;

3) Add pictures.  Blog posts without at least one illustration are dull and boring.

4) Add value-add to your blog -- my blog easily attracts people since it so essential to the application process and since it keeps them up-to-date with all server achievements or issues... a far cry from the the total isolation experienced on our parent server.  You probably won't have the exact same things, so find other reasons for a little micro community of readers to return, be it an interesting writing style or great pictures or some narrative gimmick (like a comic).

5) Google is your friend. They also maintain Blogger, lol.  Either way, take advantage of the fact that information, as well as opinions, are now only a keystroke away.  ^^


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by NomNomAlice on Fri May 15, 2015 3:49 pm

Dear Cia,

What would you suggest to do for someone wanting to learn how to cook, but who doesn't have anyone to teach them? Cookbooks? Youtube videos? Thank you!
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Fri May 15, 2015 5:10 pm

Hi Alice!  ^^

So nice to see a question from you!  Very Happy

That's a brilliant question, and it largely depends on how you personally enjoy learning.  Are you a visual learner, an audio learner, or a literary learner?  This will greatly determine the feasibility of the learning method. ^^

Although YouTube videos are a wonderful audio/video resource that I highly recommend that you check out, it is only good if you already know what to look for, otherwise it can come off as a disjointed mess.  Plus if you're more into hands on learning, thats a lot of trips from the stove to the computer/laptop/tablet, unless you don't mind getting them a little dirty.  ^^

Plus I always prefer to take the power outage approach... In the event of a power outage or internet outage, when you're not able to watch online videos or recipes, what is it best to have on hand?  A good cookbook?  Or an expensive doorstop?  XD

The cookbook has a more permanent feel, it can handle better in rugged environments, it is usually accompanied with beautiful pictures and a good index, and is a wonderful thing to pass down to your kids, younger siblings or friends. ^^

You'll want to pick a good cookbook filled with beautiful illustrations, an easy to read writing style, respect for novice cooks, and that is health-conscious too.  Given your namesake, I think you were made for this gem...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1449450334/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1449450334&linkCode=as2&tag=nomnombookshelf-20&linkId=YRS5GPGRCLHGNKZF

The author also has a fantastic website you can check out too...

http://nomnompaleo.com

If you have any more specific questions about cooking, feel free to post them.  Good luck!  ^^

--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Adamsuper2002 on Sat May 16, 2015 4:15 pm

Dear Cia,

You know that fire needs three things to burn: Fuel, Oxygen and Heat. But if that's the case, then how is our sun, and in fact any other star burning in the vacuum of space with no Oxygen?

~Hammy
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sun May 17, 2015 7:31 pm

Dear Hammy,

Well even without looking it up on Google, I knew that stars aren't exactly things on fire, which implies that they'd be giant balls of wood or something combustible continuously burning, resulting in progressively little light and a short lifespan of only a few weeks.  Life as we know it would never have developed if that were the case.  

Instead, stars are more akin to atomic or hydrogen bomb explosions, made of base elements like hydrogen exploding under pressure and releasing intense amounts of energy. Like a fire, however, the supply of hydrogen isn't infinite, and over the course of several billion years its supply will run out, after which our sun will start consuming its next available fuel source, helium.  It's around this helium-burning stage that a sun's size and color may expand, from the standard bright yellow star we know today, to a super gigantic blue or red giant as big as our solar system.  After the helium is depleted, other heavier elements may be burned instead, including eventually [yes] oxygen, but this largely depends on how resilient the star is to begin with.  Some will collapse with a whimper long before they can burn heavier elements, resulting in what we know of as white dwarf stars; and others will grow too big and pop into a grand supernova, possibly leaving behind a neutron star or a black hole.

For better details, you can check out this video... Smile




--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Haasman29 on Fri May 22, 2015 6:10 pm

Dear Cia,

Why does everyone think kale is some kind of uber-healthy superfood?
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sat May 23, 2015 1:08 am

Dear Haas,

I'll have to take a raincheck... busy boozy here... XD


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sat May 23, 2015 9:44 pm

Dear Avocado,

Well I'm glad you asked that question, since it is important to touch on the subject of the so-called "super foods".  By the popular definition, super foods are actually nutrient-dense foods that contain useful nutritional things such as hundreds of vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and some kind of anti-cancer property (particularly cancer since that's the great buzz disease du jour). While this definition is not a problem in itself, it does still need to adhere to common conceptions of health which, as you know, involve a huge fear of fat as well as an admonishment of animal food sources.  This means that of all the societally-approved "health" choices, you're limited to such things as kale, quinoa, blueberries, chia seed, oatmeal (hah!!), green tea, and acai berries -- all things that may have SOME helpful properties, but can also have detrimental properties either directly (as in the case of quinoa and oatmeal) or as a result of inproper preparation (such as kale) or consumed in exaggerated excess (such as the berries).

If people were truly interested in real nutrient density that would do tremendous good to their body, they'd be dining on grass-fed beef liver, chugging down some bone broth soup, enjoying wild-caught sardines, or feasting on spicy roasted crickets -- but instead, we just celebrate what we're told to celebrate.

That's not to say that kale is bad... it is one of the best and most nutrient-dense leafy greens on the planet, chock full of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidant and antiinflammatory agents (which are, by extension, anti-carinogous) -- it's also one of the best sources of beta-carotene vitamin A and elemntal magnesium (depending on where it's grown).  It is low in carbohydrate and very high in fiber, making it a great and convenient fiber option for those on grainless diets.  And well prepared with a good deal of fat (i.e., kale pesto, yum!) it can be very tasty and nutritious, as the fat makes its many fat-soluble vitamins (including vitamin A and k) bioavailable to you).

However, we can't lose sight of the fact that kale is not without its issues that, while nowhere near as bad as wheat or soy, can still ruin your enjoyment of this vegetable unless you respect it enough to learn more about it.  Kale is actually a brassica, the same kind of mutant mustard family from which you also get broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and kohlrabi -- this means that it is not an ancient plant, but rather a relatively modern one brought about by agricultural domestication.  That's not to say this is bad, but from an evolutionary standpoint this is a fairly new food item for us humans.  Kale does still contain some anti-nutrients for defense, including oxalates that impair thyroid function or promote the formation of kidney stones.  These oxalates are weak enough to be mostly deactivated by heat, but given the latest "juicing" craze it's not uncommon for people to chug down huge swathes of raw kale by the glass, convinced they're doing something amazingly healthy.  They do so at their own peril, not just for what's stated above, but also because raw cable can lead to gastrointestinal upset and gas in some people.  While you shouldn't outright boil it, some kind of steaming, sauteeing or roasting is preferable for this leafy green.

But why the obsession for these so-called "Superfoods" to begin with?  My theory is that because of the many oxidizing and inflammatory consequences of the Standard American Diet (and I only pick on SAD  since that's where the idea of superfoods came from), any foods that fit within the dogmatic paradigm of SAD, and also have enough natural properties to slow down the steady descent into inevitable health deterioration, are going to be paraded around as saviors.  Without these superfoods, dairy products like cheese that supply some semblance of essential saturated fat, and vitamin and mineral fortification of staples like milk and sandwich bread, the incidence of disease would have skyrocketed to such a horrifying extent, people would have had no choice but to question the lifestyle and food advice of the so-called "experts".  I feel we're already approaching that critical meltdown point of public opinion, which is why the "experts" are becoming louder and more obnoxious in their health claims, even as people following their advice consistently fail to see improvements in weight, quality of life or protection against sickness and disease.  It's worse for them when people doing the exact opposite (such as myself) actually experience all those oft-touted solutions, and in a matter that's more consistent with family traditions, ancient cultures, and just basic human biology -- under that practical paradigm, where your body rarely faces the continuous onslaught of inflammation and oxidation, superfoods cease to become THE food to eat, and just become another interesting ingredient to have in your meal.


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by HannahChi on Sat May 30, 2015 12:02 pm

dear Cia:
Can you make "paint" by crushing berries?
I saw it in a movie once.

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Haasman29 on Sat May 30, 2015 4:43 pm

Dear Cia,

Is music really able to help fight depression and boost one's mood?
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sat May 30, 2015 10:44 pm

Dear Hannah,

Wow, what a unique question, good show! Smile

Paint is a bit of a complex thing requiring more than just a single ingredient... paint is actually a painting medium composed of a binder, an emulsifier and a pigment.  Binders are usually something sticky (ie, milk, eggs yolks, animal fat, plant sap, etc), emulsifiers help mix in mediums together into a consistent substance (ie, water), and pigments are where the colour is established.  It's as a pigment that a berry can, in theory, be used to produce a colour, since berries have natural pigments that can be used to construct your paint colour, either by themselves, or in combination with other natural ingredients to produce other shades of colour.  Pigments also don't have to be plants... they can be things like tree bark, dirt, animals (ie, cochineal), ores (ie, copper), clay and even minerals! All us Minecraft players know about the latter... Lapis Lazuli has always been prized in the ancient world for being the only easy way to produce such a vibrant shade of blue, the kind used for royalty or impressive works of art such as the Ishtar Gate:



In any case, if you'd like to know more about creating your own natural paints, please check out this resource!  It sounds really fun, and they even have a section on berries! ^^

http://artful-kids.com/blog/2010/09/08/natural-paints/


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sat May 30, 2015 11:13 pm

Dear Avocado,

Although I feel that depression is best fought at the source -- such as diet (or lack thereof) that can be directly causing or aggravating depression and anxiety, as well as a deficiency of key nutrients such as Vitamin D -- I don't want to discount the power of short-term solutions for dealing or relieving depression. These can also be powerful allies, especially if you're not able to address the source at this time, and need ways of alleviating the symptoms.

That being said, music CAN help fight depression and boost your mood in exactly the same way as meditation has been touted (and with good reason) to do the same thing -- at least depending on the kind of music, it can help your mind focus away from problems and onto positive stimuli, balance your brain waves, deepen your breath and reduce your heart rate or blood pressure.  If it's particularly uplifting or comforting, it can give you a sense of well-being or positivity, and certainly nostalgia if you're listening to something from the good ol' days. ^^



Ahhhh, Karen, you left us too early... Happy Cia

And best of all, the effect of music is immediate, usually cheap (or free!), and if it's live (like during a concert or gospel choir) very vibrant and intoxicating.  Although the reasons why may sound metaphysical, bear in mind there is still a lot we don't know about the human brain, and the effects of invisible factors on the brain, especially when it comes to sound waves.  A popular mantra to repeat while meditating, for instance, is simply the word "Om" (or "Aum") chanted in a long sustained sound... and sure enough this particular sound is great at relaxing muscles and increasing focus.  

Given that old and ancient cultures were a lot more on-the-ball than we give them credit for, I wouldn't discount their admiration for the power of music, the use of mantra and chants to ward off bad spirits, the feeding of the human soul, and the need to tap into ones Chakra or Chi to heal oneself spiritually.  We are, in fact, highly spiritual beings seeking connections to something reater than ourselves, and need a healthy "spiritual" diet almost as we need a food diet.  And if we cannot get this spirituality from friends or family or religion or beliefs or hobbies or passions or something -- due to the realities or prejudices of society -- then at the very least music can certainly help sustain this unappreciated human need.

For more on the concept of music therapy, please check out this page:

http://howtodealwithdepression1.blogspot.com/p/music-to-lift-your-mood.html


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Haasman29 on Sun May 31, 2015 11:38 am

Dear Cia,

What are the effects on a person using a social media, like Facebook, regularly? What other effects happen when they overuse social media? (I read online that it can make one become much more self-centered, having some kind of narcissist effect.)
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by HannahChi on Sun May 31, 2015 4:14 pm

Dear Cia:
If you could send a message to the entire world, what would you say in 30 seconds?

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sun May 31, 2015 4:21 pm

Dear Avocado,

Well to be honest I'm probably the worst person to ask this since I intentionally avoid social media like the plague -- minus a few impersonal things such as Steam and my blog and this forum for the purposes of running this server.

The effects will vary from person to person and that makes sense since social media plays (or rather shapes) the sensitivities of its participants.  The outcomes you describe of social media "obsession" are true in some cases, including feeling of isolation and paranoia... you told me via steam you felt that, and I certainly did a bit in my old short time on facebook. The opposite is of course true... you also get people who gain success there by being epic drama queens and attention whores.  And it's all pretty much on purpose.

Personally, I find social media to just be a cleverly-disguised extension of a surveillance state.  Of course an agency such as the NSA can't possibly write a case profile on all of us, there is simply not enough manpower for that.  But what if they could get the people in the US... and even the Western world in general... to write their OWN case profiles for them? And not just that, but one where they'd splurge all their life story, personal details and hobbies, friend, political ideologies and associations, literature they read, shows they watch, and petitions they've signed.  And lest we forget... LOTS AND LOTS OF PICTURES!!  Of themselves, their friends, their families, their dogs and cats, their homes and cars... all going into a centralized searchable database where they can be accessed with a mere search parameter.  And best of all, the people feel empowered doing so... the conditions are right to make them feel like they're in own reality TV show. Of course they end up feeling self-centered and narcissist, and surrounded by SO MANY [often fake] FRIENDS -- it's just an illusion to incentivize their continued self-surveillance. Call it the proverbial cyber carrot on the cyber stick.

I have more to say on the matter, but then we'd get into geo-politics and that'll get messy, so I'll end it at that.  >v>


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Sun May 31, 2015 4:23 pm

Dear Hannah,

I would say...

"STOP FEARING FAT AND LOVING GRAINS, YOU FOOLZ!" XD

or

"HANNAH FOR UK PRIME MINISTER, MIMI FOR UK QUEEN!" XD

But lol, I'll probably just say a concise version of this speech (warning, language):




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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Raddaman8000 on Sun May 31, 2015 5:35 pm

Dear Cia,

Are there any negative/positive affects of drinking carbonated water instead of ordinary water?  I do like seltzers, and I was just wondering what you thought.
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by bravewolf11 on Sun May 31, 2015 10:15 pm

Dear Cia,
What does grovel mean?
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:45 am

Dear Rad,

Well if this is in lieu of sodas, simply because you want the taste of something gassy and carbonated, then standard unflavored, unsweetened seltzer water is certainly miles better than your average can of coke.  I would almost go far as to say it's a very neutral drink, generally providing zero health impact given it's just water infused with carbon dioxide.  Though I've read about concerns that the carbonation creates acidic water which then increases the acidity of your body over time, I'm not thoroughly convinced that's actually how it works, or if it would even be a concern given its effect a) would be counteracted with a good balanced diet, and b) would be insignificant anyway.  Most people drink sugar or eat bread which is TONS more acidic, and you don't see people melting left and right.  Razz



Granted if you start drinking variants that are artificially flavored with sugar or artficial sweeteners, THEN you have a small health concern -- not as much as soda of course, but more than just plain water or seltzer.  If you want lemon flavored seltzer, the healthiest route is to buy plain seltzer (which is cheap er too) and also some real lemons, then just squeeze in some juice to flavor the whole thing.  A little goes a very long way. ^^

As for any positives... not from carbonated water.  Like I said, concerns about acidity, flouride or flavoring aside, it's a fairly neutral drink... the only real benefit is that you're drinking your water in a semi-pure form, so add those to the traditional "8 glasses a day".  If it's mineral water, then there may be SOME benefit depending on where it was sourced, as it could be a viable option for flouride-free water, and it can also contain some helpful dissolved minerals such as magnesium.  


--Cia

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:51 am

Dear Brave,

To grovel is to bow in such an exaggerated form that you're literally on the ground begging for forgiveness or pleading for a big favor or paying respect to immeasurable greatness.  

If you need a visual example of groveling... think of worms... Razz



[and gawd, how I hate this movie... the worms part was the only thing that made me laugh]  >v>


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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by HannahChi on Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:32 am

Dear Cia:
How did people cope with diseases in the past such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and attention deflict? Were they vulnerable or not?

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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Haasman29 on Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:57 pm

Dear Cia,

Do you have any gardening tips to use in general? (I wanna try growing some own food for my own, no preservatives or crap XD)
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Re: Dear Cia Column

Post by Ciabatta on Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:21 am

Dear Hannah,

That's a fascinating question and one that I feel needs extensive and diverse research beyond what I could supply in a little Dear Cia reply here.  Even today it's really hard to say how we cope with these diseases.

I will say this... at least speaking from a purely Western perspective, degenerative diseases like the ones you described (diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, etc) were actually quite rare over 100 years ago.  They were primarily diseases of the rich, or of societies that had readily available "processed" food products in the form of things like crystallized sugar and refined grains.  Absent those conditions, and the average person was notoriously lean and strong, even up to old age.  

While we do think of past life expectancy as being rather short, this was not universally true, and where it was true it wasn't for reasons we might imagine, like the kind today were our loved ones seem to almost fall apart with degenerative diseases as they get older.  The vast majority of diseases were not degenerative but rather infectious in nature, as we might imagine given poor sanitary conditions, no access to clean water, primitive healthcare systems, greater cohabitation with livestock animals, and greater exposure to dangerous environments (ie, swamps and jungles).  Typhoid, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, small pox, pneumonia, dysentery and cholera are all examples of the major disease killers of the last millenia, and are still killing millions of people today in impoverished countries.  These diseases would have indeed infected impoverished people back in the day, but also children as well... infant mortality was substantially higher in the past than it is now.  And lest we forget the far greater dangers of accidents, infighting, wild animal attacks and war which killed off many people well before their prime.  But should they survive this gauntlet of the practical every-day horrors of the past, then they were home free to grow old and strong, an envy for the many older folk today who grow up expecting crippling diseases.

Then again, there were still SOME degenerative diseases, and it's interesting to now how they were thought of...


Diabetes:  Although rare, it's been around since antiquity in the oldest grain-eating cultures of the world, and described more as "sweet urine syndrome" than anything else.  Although not scientifically-understood till the latter half of the 19th century, it was never truly viewed as an untreatable disease it is today, and many treatments (some effective) have been prescribed over the centuries.  Have a look at this cookbook for diabetic treatment written in 1917... you may even see some VERY familiar health advice therein...!  

https://archive.org/stream/diabeticcookeryr00oppeiala#page/vi/mode/2up


Obesity:  It was once a status symbol to be fat -- it was a means to show off your wealth, as you could afford to eat things like fine cake and croissants, once intangible things for many people given how expensive grains and sugar were to raise, certainly not for the entire population.  Whether through poverty (able only to eat wild vegetables and insects) or lack of choice (living in a region with only beef and potatoes), the vast majority of the population was actually very lean; it seems ironic that now we worry about becoming obese, when in the past people worried about being too thin...

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a2/90/e4/a290e43135e649558f1ff96838e27e35.jpg

Not to say there weren't obese people, and certainly in richer civilizations such as the British Empire you would begin to see commoners put on a bit of weight, and be miserable and ostracized for it.  However, common wisdom also dictated that it was starchy and sugary things like bread and beer that got people fat, and so diets prescribed to eliminate these true "fatty" foods were often very effective.  It was, in fact, the medical establishment that complicated things and started promoting some very wacky notions of diet and exercise that would become the framework for the backwards dietary advice we get today.  It was this medical establishment that the great William Banting called out in his ground breaking publication, the Letter on Corpulence, which despite being considered the grandfather of the low-carb movement, was actually just an elaboration of advice and knowledge that was already commonplace in traditional treatment of obesity...

https://archive.org/details/letteroncorpulen00bant


Cancer: given what I perceive is a close connection of cancer with elevated blood sugar (being that cancer thrives in acidic conditions and consumes glucose), it's no surprise that this condition closely mirrors the proliferation of diabetes.  Treatments were just as sporadic as they are today, but it was never widespread enough to warrant any further advancements in the medical treatment of this disease beyond just removal.


Heart Disease:  contrary to popular assumption today, heart disease was RARE prior to 1900 (at least in the Western world), despite the fact that people ate fat and animal protein like there was no tomorrow in those days.  It was so rare, physicians would travel across the sea just to get a chance to observe heart surgery!  Why did it start to creep up in the 20th century?  I personally find it telling that CRISCO was invented and released to the public in 1911 (by Proctor & Gamble), and a few years later we started getting an exponential trickle of heart disease cases.  The number exploded in the 20's and 30's with the parallel rise in the uptake of these hydrogenated vegetable trans-fatty sludge oils, now in more varieties and products, such as corn oil and margarine.  These fats were finally implicated as a probable cause for the rising incidence of heart disease... but with so much money at stake, these sludge oils were given a free pass, while traditional healthy fats were scapegoated and denigrated for decades to come.  There was certainly no known cure for this new killer disease,  certainly not while they replaced all lard with CRISCO for things like baking cookies or frying some potatoes.  It was this fear and uncertainty of the unknown that scientists abused in order to promote the Lipid Hypothesis, and make people senselessly-scared to death of [healthy] fat and cholesterol for decades.


Attention Disorders: probably didn't exist.  Kids ate better when they could, had no cumpolsory school systems, were much more active, and were given adult-like responbilities from a very early age.  When they themselves were playing a huge part in supporting their family, there simply was no room or precursor for attention deficit disorder.... or if they did happen to exist, they'd just work out how to adapt to being a little "touched in the head".


--Cia

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