Showing posts with label Thinking aloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thinking aloud. Show all posts

Friday, January 15, 2010

What are we feeding our kids?

I recently watched the documentary Food, Inc and was shocked at how ignorant I had been about the food choices I have been making. I have never been too fussy about food in the way that if it looks fresh and is priced reasonably, I will usually buy it. This documentary changed this for me and make me think twice when I did my grocery shopping the past week.

Did you know that most of the chicken that you get from regular supermarkets these days are probably from a chicken that has been grown in cages too small for them to move? These chickens are usually kept in perpetual darkness to make them sleep more and fight less. They are fattened with cheap feed and growth hormones so fast that they cannot even stand up and walk.

And in all likelihood, the beef that we get from regular supermarket these days (and even at expensive restaurants) most probably came from a cow that spent much of its life standing in manure. Similarly, these cows are also fattened with cheap feed and hormones that they cannot even walk themselves to the slaughterhouse when the time comes.

If you have not watched this informative documentary, I would strongly urge you to as any summary I can give here will not do the documentary any true justice. If you would like to have an overview of the issues, see here.

Watching Food, Inc made me think really hard about my food choices for the family and how I should be more responsible in choosing food that is not only safe and healthy, but is also responsibly produced, priced and sold. Here are some useful quotes from the documentary.

“There is this deliberate veil, this curtain that’s drawn between us and where our food is coming from. The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.”

"When you add up the environmental costs, societal costs, health costs, the industrial food is not honest food. It's not priced honestly. It's not produced honestly. There's nothing honest about that food."

“Cows are not designed by evolution to eat corn. They’re designed by evolution to eat grass. And the only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly … The industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency. But each new step in efficiency leads to problems. If you take feedlot cattle off their corn diet, give them grass for five days, they will shed eighty percent of the E. coli in their gut.”

You may think that we as individuals are at the mercy of what is sold to us. In fact, the exact opposite is true. If we choose not to buy food that is not fit for our families to eat, this will send a clear signal to the food producers out there to clean up their act. If you are convinced, like me, that the way our food is prepared and sold to us should be changed , here are 10 simple things you can do to start.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More pro-family incentives needed in Singapore

I am waiting, with bated breath, the new pro-family incentive anticipated to be announced at the upcoming National Day Rally. Does anyone know when this is?? Here is my wish list (in no particular order):

1. Longer Maternity Leave. I am not asking for 1 year (like Swedish moms enjoy) since I know this is not going to be possible. I am asking for a realistic 6 months, so that more moms can be left in peace to breastfeed their babies full-time for at least this duration of time before semi-solids are introduced.

2. More childcare leave to spend time with your kids throughout the year. Currently, most companies only allow parents to take 2 more days off per year to spend with their kids. 2 days??? Are you kidding me or what???

3. Designated resting rooms in offices for pregnant and nursing moms to rest and express milk when necessary. The rooms should be quiet and designed to allow for privacy. Perhaps we need a design code for this, looking at how some nursing and changing rooms are designed in shopping malls here.

4. More quality childcare centre near work places. This will allow moms to transition comfortably back to work. The last time I checked at a childcare centre near my old work place, the waiting period for a place in the nearby childcare centre was 6 months! 6 months!!!! I am thankful that I opted for 1 year no pay leave instead to take care of my own kid. But I realise that not many families can survive without both parents working full time.

5. Higher childcare subsidies. Not everyone can afford $600-800 paying for childcare each month. If you have more than 2-3 children, all that an average income earner gets each month will probably all go to these childcare centres.

6. Filing for discrimination at work. Expectant moms should have easy access to a representative body (I am not sure the Ministry of Manpower is good enough) which they can go to if they feel they are discriminated at work or laid off. Not all moms are vocal or brave enough to stand up to their bosses when they are being bullied or made to come to work even when they are not feeling well.

7. Flexi-time. Work places in Singapore especially should stop thinking that physical presence or longer hours in the office = more work done. Based on my own experience, it is usually the contrary. Haven't they heard of the 80-20 rule? It makes more sense to measure each employee's contribution by the actual work he has produced at the end of the day. Allow working parents more flexibility with their work schedule may actually increase productivity as workers try to manage their time more effectively and feel grateful (and are hence more loyal) to their employers for trusting them with how they spend their time.

8. More financial help given to low and even middle income families. With the rising ERPs and cost of living in Singapore, it is really tough to raise a child unless you are earning a lot!

I know that I can think of more than what I have listed above but I will leave it for now...