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  • Reply to: Fancy a nice cup of Haitian coffee? It may be closer than you think   1 month 1 week ago

    I think your heart is in the right place.

    But these programs keep duplicating themselves, but they're not making a dent in Haitian misery. Why is that?

  • Reply to: Is fried chicken setting back development in the Caribbean?   1 month 2 weeks ago

    great blog

  • Reply to: “What Haiti taught us all”   2 months 2 weeks ago

    What is predictable is that calamities, both natural and human made, will come....and in the usual places; where the poor are. We know what the consequences of past practices are, but look at alternatives as "too pricy". If we can forcast the weather we can surely forcast the outcomes like in Nepal. I will let you forcast the next likely one. I know you can. Will you/

  • Reply to: Targeting motorcycle users to improve traffic safety in Latin America   2 months 3 weeks ago

    Hello. I live in Spain where it is no longer circulates a motorcycle without a helmet. Also the smooth running of a motorcycle is very important. Everything I need for my bike I buy at www.recambiosscooter.com

  • Reply to: Is fried chicken setting back development in the Caribbean?   3 months 1 week ago

    This is a subject that really needs discussion in the region and this report will be a great start.

    Old photographs of the Caribbean from the late 19th through the first half of the 20th century show little obesity among the lower-income population. They were eating a diet that was suited to long days of physical labor, and that diet, except for the addition of American-style fast food, has not essentially changed: meat (or fish) rice plus yams and some other starch, a very little bit of vegetables on the side. Also for the first half of the 20th century most country people walked everywhere. This change in the physical nature of work can be made very quickly--as quickly as a move into town. But the body does not adapt to the change with the same speed. (In some of the smaller islands in the Eastern Caribbean remittances from relatives who had emigrated had the same effect by two means: 1)it became a status marker to eat processed imported food rather than food that you had grown on your own land (there's a whole cultural history associated with this too); and 2) it became possible to afford cars.)Poverty is a psychological factor as well, as can be seen right here in DC: in Northeast DC where I live all these cheap carry-out places have basically the same offerings: fried chicken, fried fish, fried "Chinese" food,and some version of cheese steak sandwiches or Italian subs. If you live in a state of food insecurity, these are about the cheapest source of protein, fat, and salt that you can get all in one package, and, bolstered up with some starchy sides, make a feeling of satiety that satisfies not only the nutritional need but the pressure of the insecurity--till you get hungry again, that is. Obviously we can't and shouldn't wish people back to the days when they had to walk for miles carrying water on their heads and so on, and there was no doubt still hunger among the very poor.

    Promoting better choices also means creating the conditions in which better choices are feasible in terms of cost, time, availability of ingredients, taste, and, of course, sustainability.

    Enormous dietary changes have occurred in the US just over the past 30 years, much of this driven by an expansion of the palette, of what people consider to be good food, as well as by a concern for health. The people who contributed to this transformation of the American diet were chefs and food critics, who made the quest for interesting new flavors interesting. Moreover that transformation was accelerated by consumers' social aspirations and disposable income. Some credit for it is also owed to the counterculture movement. This was a pretty major cultural shift in food terms. Caribbean cooking could certainly benefit from similar kinds of exploration adn the time to do it has never probably been better, now that there is so much wider exposure to media there. But the availability and cost of ingredients are constraints. When you live in the Caribbean and try to cook from, say, some healthy Mediterranean or Asian recipes, many are just basically out of the question. And all this of course presupposes people having enough leisure (and spare cash) to experiment on their families with new flavors. Nor are the people selling chicken on the street in a position to do try things out on their customers at the risk of their slim profit margins.

    Eating more fish would be healthy but I'm not sure it is sustainable. Fish stocks in the Caribbean are already severely depleted, so unless there's some vision of maybe tilapia farming to go with the recommendation to eat more fish even the current level of consumption there is basically unsustainable.

    I'm assuming that there, as here, the healthy and environmentally sound thing to do would be to grow a wider repertoire of vegetables and fruit locally rather than import them. People want to do it but for many reasons (praedial larceny, for example) have found it very difficult. Farming is a hard living anyway--which is why people move into the cities. But it would be great to solve this.

    One interesting development in the Caribbean is the emergence of I-Tal food, which is like the Caribbean version of vegan food. . It is tasty and healthy (the flavors are not an extreme departure from the customary (English-speaking) Caribbean palette--and people there tend to be rather conservative about their food) and really deserves wider recognition in the region as an effective indigenous approach to nutritious and healthy cooking.