The Friday Feedback Forum

December 5th, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Oi , and ‘ello out there! It’s the weekend once more, and of course it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

So let’s have it! What do you want to see. What are you missing? What would you want to read about? What are YOU interested in?!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!

For those who are interested, I’ve added another round of belly pics and another batch of midwife visit pics.

Now get out there and have a great weekend! But be careful, it’s cold and flu season!!!


  • Minna

    Happy weekend! No flu season for me here in Australia (: Except for the vicious air conditioner…

    Although there isn’t much I am missing here on BA…, there still is *something* I would love to read more about. That would be your scientific points of view. Being a vegan. A guide to good vegan nutrition. Facts. You know? Fatty acids, calcium, vitamins etc. Daily essentials. I know that not everybody is a vegan here, there are a lot of omnivorous or vegetarian readers, but yeah.. If you *really* want to know what I am interested in, then that’s that.

    All the best!

  • Allison

    I had a thought come up this week. You give some great ideas for using baking soda and vinegar for everything under the sun, but where do baking soda and vinegar come from? Can you make them yourself? Are they made in environmentally friendly ways? Are some companies better than others?


  • Shelby

    Were you vegan in college? If you were, did you have trouble opting out of dissecting in your classes? I’ve been avoiding Bio because I know animal dissection is a main requirement-have you picked up some strategies you could share?

  • Jackie

    I’ve been waiting for the FFF to be posted so I can tell you that I just sent out the evite for my 2nd Annual Clothing Swap and I am soooo excited and just wanted to share because I figured that type of event is right up your alley. That is all. :)

  • Sayward

    @ Minna – You know, I’ve wanted to write articles like that but have held off for a variety of reasons. It’s good to hear that others are interested. Maybe I’ll do a series this winter!

    @ Allison – Those are great questions! I do know that you can make vinegar yourself. I’m sure I will try it some day, and when I do I’ll definitely write about it. As far as baking soda, the Wiki page goes into some depth regarding the mining and harvesting process. I don’t know about different brands – I think Arm & Hammer pretty much has the market cornered. But I will look into it!

    @ Shelby – I was not vegan in college. In fact, I was a biology major and my research was in parasites, and I did a lot of animal testing/dissection. It’s been a long journey from there! You can read my whole story, if you’re interested. =)

    As for you, are you required to take a bio lab course? (most students are) If so, this will most likely involve dissection. But, you have options. I would spend some time the semester before you enroll, making appointments with the professors and discussing your situation. I had a similar issue to deal with in college (a diagnosed phobia of public speaking which prevented me from doing a lot of reports/projects that would normally be required), and I found that professors were very often willing to work with my needs.

    Are you okay with witnessing a dissection or being in the presence of a dissected animal? If so, you cold make an arrangement where you may sit in as a partner to somebody, but not have to do any of the killing or cutting yourself. If not, it will be more difficult, I’m not going to lie. There are computer simulations for some dissections but most of them are higher vertebrates, and most of what you dissect in general bio are lower inverts. So if you’re not comfortable looking at a dead animal, you may be out of luck there.

    Not that I’m trying to discourage you! I very much believe that you should stick by and stand up for your morals. If there are no classes that are an option for you, and no professors willing to work with you, than you need to go to the administration. They can’t require you to do something you are deeply morally opposed to in order to graduate.

    Please keep in touch and let me know how this plays out. It’s an issue that I’m very curious about. I’d love to know that you were able to find a solution that worked for you. Luck!

    @ Jackie – I love Frock Swaps! I’ve hosted my own in the past, so fun! Good for you (and I’m jealous!) =D

  • Shelby

    Yup, bio labs are a co-requisite to the classes. I’m not required to take them in my major, but I’m a science nerd and animal freak. I’ll have a look-see into those programs and see if I can’t arrange something for fall (I’d very much prefer to avoid being around the actual dead bodies). Thanks for the tips, what a story you have!

  • Minna

    I’m sure a lot of people would be interested in reading such articles! You are a scientist, that’s (among other wonderful things) what makes Bonzai Aphrodite so interesting. You have unique approaches.

    And of course it’s probably the most difficult thing to actually write articles like that.. but there’s no rush :)

    (And wow… A whole series sounds something to look forward to!)

  • Nathan

    I, myself, am a truly sickening carnivore of the bone-cracking, marrow sucking variety, but I’m interested in the science behind healthy veganism, too. Must we be interested only in matters that apply directly to ourselves? It seems to me that it’s only by stepping outside what we ourselves do and think and feel and.. are… that we gain perspective, and it’s also the only way we discover anything new and improved that we might choose to do and think and feel and be in the future.

    Following that line of thought, I love Sayward’s idea of getting a lab partner to do the dissection while remaining an observer if you morally object to harming animals for human gain. Or even if you just think that “extra” knowledge outside the requirements of your field is insufficient justification to do so.
    However, if it’s just that you’re “uncomfortable”… I’d say you should probably plunge in and do the dissection yourself, and certainly at least observe. Otherwise, you’re letting squeemishness deny you experiences and knowledge that you’ll probably only have a couple opportunities to pursue in your entire life.
    Of course, I’m not advocating anyone betray their morals, but I do think that we MUST violate our own preferences from time to time to keep ourselves honest. In order to avoid personal stagnation, we have to police our preferences to insure that they’re well-considered and that we’re not living our lives out of fear or habit.

    I know no one asked for MY input on those points, but Sayward is always stressing the community here… so it’s offered in that spirit.

  • Sayward

    @ Shelby – I hope it works out for you. Keep us updated. =)

    @ Minna – What would you be most interested in? Like, articles on different micronutrients? Calcium? Vitamin D? B12? Which ones do you think would be most interesting/pertinent?

    @ Nathan – Though I do think that ‘uncomfortable’ in this case meant something more along the lines of morally troubled, as opposed to squeamish, I do agree with all you’ve said. We must always be pushing ourselves towards our boundaries to avoid stagnation. The key is learning how to do so while remaining true to our core and most fundamental principals.

  • Minna

    I’ve done a great deal of research on the internet, of course, and found many interesting articles. /Although one can find a lot of bulls**t googling for health articles./ Yeah, for example about the benefits and cautions of consuming soy, is cow’s milk really that bad, how B12 fortified products (like soy milk) are not good sources of vitamin B12, etc. A lot of health researchers and nutritionists (and scientists) still claim that yoghurt and honey are very good for you, how lean meat is healthy or for example the low-GI-theory which recommends eating at least one boiled egg every morning (because the cholesterol isn’t that bad after all!). Etc etc.

    So one day it really got me thinking… How can it be that science, something that should be such an adequate source of information, something where all of the tests can be repeated and proven again and again so that there really is just one correct answer, be so chaotic? It can either be good *or* bad, right? So how is it possible that there are that many controversial opinions?

    That’s what got me thinking. I’ve never been good at maths, physics or chemistry, so I find some things really difficult to understand, reading scientifical articles requires a lot of energy and concentration. Although I’ve really started to understand (the older I get) how everything is closely related and guess what? Chemistry isn’t boring at all! :) …But since it’s so confusing for me, all of it, I would love your opinions about topics like that, things that *should* either be true or false. Either cow’s milk is worth drinking or it’s not. Leaving aside the ethical part, just concentrating on the science and health.

    Or is there no such thing as true or false?

    It’s a bit difficult to explain it all in English but I hope you understand, more or less.

    I would be most interested in articles on anything. Definitely B12, soy, fatty acids, why eating fish can be dangerous (or cat it? If it comes from unpolluted waters?), would it be better to eat imported fruit full of pesticides or local organic fish? (If we just concentrate on the health side, the latter sounds better, doesn’t it?) Stuff like that.

    Also, thank you for considering my suggestions. I sometimes just tend to rush into things, not having the most rational and reasonable ideas, so that means a lot :D Haha.

  • Sayward

    @ Minna – Well, it’s a really difficult parse out nutritional information. Even though scientific method is applied, the problem with nutrition is that there are too many unknowns. For example studying a large group of people, they’re not all eating the exact same things, or leading the same sort of lifestyle (do they drink? smoke? exercise? access to health care?).

    As well, nutrition as a science is really good at focusing on minute components of whole foods, instead of on the whole food itself. So a study may come out that milk has a bunch of calcium, and calcium is great for us, so the obvious conclusion is that milk is great for us, right? Well not necessarily, because we’re only looking at one component, the calcium. And then another study comes out showing that this one hormone in milk is linked to breast cancer, and so the conclusion of that study is that milk is bad for us, right? Both of these studies would ignore the ‘whole food’ in favor of focusing on a single isolated component. But food doesn’t work like that! It is a cohesive unit, a little energetic machine that is actually much greater than the sum of its parts. That is why you get so much confusion in nutritional information. It’s hard to apply scientific technique to something so insanely complicated.

    So all this is to say that I will be more than happy to write nutrition articles. I will present the facts as I’ve found them and I base all of my decisions on respected literature, the most recent biochemical research as well as the time-tested wisdom of anthropology. But all my conclusions will, fundamentally, just be my opinions. There is simply not a ‘black or white’ answer in nutrition science these days.

    I’m looking forward to writing these, actually. Thanks for the inspiration!