Category Archives: Book

Turin mayor wants entire Italian city to go vegetarian

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Turin

Italian city wants to turn vegetarian: The mayor of Turin, the northern Italian city of 870,000 that hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006, has made a controversial new pitch: local citizens should give up their bollito and carne cruda in favor of a vegan or vegetarian diet. Chiara Appendino, who was sworn in as mayor last month, unveiled her plan for the city yesterday, and one major platform was promoting a plant-based diet for Turin’s residents.

“The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens and the welfare of our animals,” Appendino wrote in the proposal. She detailed a plan for the next five years—the length of a mayoral term—to work toward this veggie-friendly utopia. “Leading medical, nutritional, and political experts will help promote a culture of respect in our schools, teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights,” the plan continued.

While the mayor’s plan could be seen as grandstanding, it appears that Italy’s food culture is shifting. Younger Italians are more open to trying new foods, and immigrants have brought different cuisines with them from around the world. (Roughly 30 vegetarian or vegan restaurants have opened in Turin, Italy’s fourth-biggest city by population, within the past few years.) Appendino herself belongs to the relatively young Five Star movement, which was founded by the Italian comedian-turned-political activist Beppe Grillo, an outspoken vegetarian who is one of the major names leading the conversation about food culture in the country. Italian parliament member Luigi Di Maio, who also belongs to the Five Star party, even had a vegan cake at his birthday this year.

Yet food as social activism isn’t new in this part of Italy: the “slow food” movement, which encourages people to use locally-grown food over chain restaurants and fast food, began in the nearby town of Bra. Still, despite some shifts in the area’s food scene, many people are opposed to Appendino’s plan. Turin resident Elena Coda complained to The Local that losing meat from the area’s cuisine was a metaphor for losing local Piedemontese culture. “Great foods like wild boar ragu and Chianina steak are already disappearing from the menu once famed for its meats, wines, and cheeses,” she said. The good news? Wine is (almost always) vegan.  – Condé  Nast Traveler, by Lilat Marcus

Walking meetings increase physical activity and improve bodily health

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Walking

Walking for Health: Is it time to rethink traditional work meetings? Replacing a seated work meeting with a walking meeting can increase workers’ physical activity and lead to positive health effects, according to researchers from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. As part of a study, the researchers recruited 17 workers who led weekly meetings. The workers agreed to wear an accelerometer to track their physical activity at work during a three-week period. They also adhered to guidelines for conducting meetings and note-taking while walking. The protocol included following a set route and walking for at least 30 minutes per meeting.

Results showed that, by the third week, participants had increased their moderate-vigorous physical activity to 117 minutes – up from 107 the first week and 114 the second week. Walking meetings and other interventions to increase physical activity are necessary to “counter the negative health effects of sedentary behavior,” Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, the study’s principal investigator and assistant professor of public health sciences, said in a press release.

Brisk walking for as little as 15 minutes per day can increase a person’s life expectancy by up to three years, researchers said. “Walking is known to have tremendous health benefits,” Hannah Kling, lead study author and project director, said in the release. “Having sedentary, white-collar workers consider walking meetings feasible suggests that this intervention has the potential to positively influence the health of many individuals.” The study was published June 23 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.  –Safety & Health

Gifted Children: personality traits to describe precocious children

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Dakota Fanning

“There’s been two people I’ve met that’s amazed me. One was Angelina Jolie, and the other was Dakota Fanning. I’m convinced this child has the soul of a 40 year old person.” -Denzel Washington, discussing his film Man on Fire  

 

Precocious Children“Getting into everything,” “stubborn” and, sometimes, “a pain in the neck” are just a few of the ways precocious children are described. Many personality traits associated with precocious children stem from their advanced language and reasoning abilities. Unfortunately, this makes it that much harder to trick your toddler into believing that his fish “went swimming” down the toilet or that the hair dryer only works when it’s held by an adult. Understanding these personality traits can make it easier to handle those “memorable” situations.

Empathy

When she was 2 years old, your precocious little one sobbed seeing a bird eating a live worm, and by 5 she’s contemplating a vegan lifestyle. A lot of precocious children decide to become vegetarians. Early on in life, they may develop a heightened awareness of the treatment of animals and may decide they want to become vegans or vegetarians. Precocious kids often have a highly developed sense of morality and emotional understanding, notes Linda Silverman, Ph.D., in “Early Signs of Giftedness.” Such children are often described as sensitive and caring by their classmates and peers, even during situations that would leave her peers unfazed.

Persistence

Precocious children are often dogged in their pursuit of solving a challenge; like that cell phone back you thought was so securely in place. Their ability to think of alternative solutions combined with the desire to learn means precocious children may spend long periods trying to solve a challenging puzzle or building a difficult block tower. This trait may be misinterpreted as being stubborn, given that a precocious child may become so relentless in his pursuits that he resents interruption for other necessary activities.

Creativity

The creativity of a precocious child doesn’t necessarily end with the recent “mural” she drew on the dining room wall. A precocious child often finds several different ways to reach the same end-point, whether it’s solving a shape puzzle or figuring out how to lasso the cookie tin with a dress sash. Her work habits may appear unconventional or non-conforming, which can make her seem uncooperative or uncontrollable since she’s always figuring out new ways to accomplish a task or access prohibited items.

Curiosity

Curiosity can equate to asking “why” every five minutes or wanting to talk about connections he’s making. For example, a precocious toddler listening to a story about a magic scarf might ask lots of questions about how the magic scarf was made, where it came from and the material, rather than simply accepting that the scarf was magical. One-sentence answers rarely satisfy a precocious child’s curiosity, and it can feel overwhelming to keep up with the barrage of questions. As noted in “Education of Gifted and Talented Children,” by Gary Davis et al., it’s important to stimulate his curiosity by searching for the answer together.  –Our Everyday Life