Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hsieh Forbes OpEd: Big Brother Has A New Face, And It's Your Boss

By Paul Hsieh

Forbes has just published my latest OpEd, "Big Brother Has A New Face, And It's Your Boss".

I discuss how government policies linking employment to health insurance create a powerful incentive for your boss to control his costs by controlling your lifestyle.

My takehome point:

...[I]t’s wrong for the government to use economic carrots and sticks to induce private employers to become enforcers of healthy behavior. This is just a subtler form of “nanny state” controls, such as NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg outlawing soft drinks he considers unhealthy.
And once employers start monitoring employee behavior on the grounds of “health costs,” there’s no end to the potential meddling. Who will be the next politically disfavored group after smokers or the obese? Do we want bosses discouraging their employees from owning guns or enjoying mountain biking on the weekends? This is a dangerous road.
(Read the full text of "Big Brother Has A New Face, And It's Your Boss".)

Read more...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action

By Diana Hsieh

Every Saturday, I post the news of the week from my primary work, Philosophy in Action, where I apply rational principles to the challenges of real life. Here's this week's update.

Upcoming Radio Shows


Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Below are the episodes upcoming this week. I hope that you join us! More upcoming episodes can be found here: Episodes on Tap.

Sunday Morning, 28 April 2013: Q&A on Marriage, Religious Ceremonies, Space Travel, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 28 April 2013.
  • Question 1: Self-Interest in Marriage: Can marriage be self-interested? Most people describe marriage as requiring compromise, sacrifice, and concession. Is that right? Is a happy and fulfilling marriage possible where each person pursues his or her own values, without such compromise, sacrifice, or concession? Is some different approach to marriage required?
  • Question 2: Attending Religious Ceremonies: Is it wrong for an atheist to refuse to attend a sibling's religious ceremony? I've decided not to attend the religious ceremony of my younger sister's upcoming Bat Mitzvah. I'm an atheist, and while I don't think attending would be immoral, I don't want to support any kind of religiosity or connection to religion. Other family members have criticized me for that decision, saying that I should support my sister and not pressure her into agreeing with my own views. Should I attend? If not, how should I handle the family dynamics?
  • Question 3: Multigenerational Space Travel: Is multigenerational space travel immoral? According to a panel at SETICon 2012, the designs for multi-generational space ships are already in the works. Are there ethical problems with people bearing children who will never see Earth, and likely never set foot on a planet? Would they be robbed of any ability to determine their own fate? Or is it a moot point since had the circumstances been different, they might not have ever been born at all?
  • Question 4: Drugs as Treatment for Mental Illness: Is taking antidepressants and other prescribed drugs for mental problems a form of evasion? I'm new to the philosophy of Objectivism, and I've seen that it's rapidly helping cure the last parts of a depression I went through last year. I started taking Adderal about 8 months ago, and it has helped extensively. But I wonder: Is taking these drugs or other antidepressants conflicting with the principle that a person should never evade reality?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 28 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 1 May 2013: Jim Manley on "Concealed Carry on Campus"

I'll interview gun rights litigator Jim Manley about "Concealed Carry on Campus" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 1 May 2013.

Many people assume that college campuses are – and should be – gun free zones. Jim Manley will explain why concealed carry permit holders should be permitted to carry on campus.

Jim Manley is a Staff Attorney at Mountain States Legal Foundation. He received his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School, where he served as an Associate Editor of the Law Review and President of the Federalist Society. Jim was the lead attorney on the many Mountain States Legal Foundation cases concerning firearms, including Students for Concealed Carry on Campus v. Regents of the University of Colorado, which was a state court challenge to the University's ban on licensed concealed carry on campus.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 1 May 2013. The podcast will be posted later that evening. For more details, check out the episode page.


Recent Podcasts


The podcasts of last week's radio shows are now available. Check out the full collection of past radio shows in the archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

21 April 2013: Q&A on Mental Illness, Abused Children, Resisting Police, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

Is mental illness nothing more than a myth? What should the state's role be in dealing with abused children? When is it moral to resist police action?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

Recent Blog Posts


Here are last week's posts to Philosophy in Action's blog NoodleFood, ordered from oldest to newest. Don't miss a post: subscribe to NoodleFood's RSS Feed.

If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Paleo Rodeo #159

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Kris Gunnars presents 10 Things Dietitians Say About Low-Carb Diets That Don’t Make Sense posted at Authority Nutrition, saying, "There are many myths out there about low-carb diets, even among health professionals. Here are 10 things dietitians say about low-carb diets that are false."

Neely Quinn presents Bad News, Guys: Coffee Can Look Like Gluten to Your Body posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Thought your coffee was above all scrutiny? Just consider this for a moment."

Paul Austin presents How to Deal With Gluten Intolerance While On The Road posted at Travel 'n' Wellness, saying, "Do you have celiac disease or are you intolerant to gluten? If you travel at all, this post is a must-read for you!"

Nell Stephenson presents A Paleo Revolution posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "Paleoista Nell Stephenson thanks her readers and supporters for all their positive feedback the Dr. Oz show on April 22, 2013 where she was featured with Dr Loren Cordain, PhD as a Paleo Expert and wonders if it could mean the start of a Paleo Revolution."

Kevin Geary presents Are Crossfit Workouts a Good Choice for Reaching Weight Loss Goals? posted at The Rebooted Body, saying, "Crossfit is gaining in popularity; stay at home moms, CEO dads, and everyone in between are flocking to it in droves for exercise and weight loss. But is it a good strategy for everyday people, or is it a potential nightmare?"

Danny J Albers presents Yes, you can be spiritual AND Paleo! posted at Primal North, saying, "A post on the absurdity of dismissing a person's nutritional thoughts due to their spiritual belief system. We could also call this 'In Defence of Jimmy Moore."."

Eileen Laird presents Beef Heart with Chimichurri Sauce posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "If you can get over the shock factor, beef heart has a taste and texture similar to steak, but with much more nutrition. In this article, I walk you through the steps, to a delicious finished meal."

Eileen Laird presents My Body is NOT My Enemy posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "When we have health problems, we often feel betrayed by our bodies, and conventional medicine definitely promotes this view. I offer an alternative perspective, that our bodies need (and deserve) our love, instead."

Amy Kubal presents Veggie Burgers, Meatless Chicken And Paleo Bread posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "Crossing the lines - are we pushing the limits of paleo??"

Rebekah Reddy presents Real Food Pregnancy posted at Half Indian Cook, saying, "My real food journey has changed tremendously through my three pregnancies (the last one still in progress!). Read about how my eating habits have evolved over the last seven years to become more nutrient-dense and nourishing for both baby and me."

Rebekah Reddy presents FAQ: How do I modify the 21DSD if I am pregnant or breastfeeding? posted at The 21-Day Sugar Detox, saying, "Pregnancy and the postpartum period are filled with many changes to women’s bodies, and they are both times when moms may reevaluate their diets and lifestyles to provide the best nutrition for their own bodies and those of their growing babies. This post details the modifications that pregnant and breastfeeding women need to make in order to successfully complete the 21-Day Sugar Detox."

Diane Sanfilippo presents Podcast Episode #84: Guest Kendall Kendrick of Primal-Balance.com posted at Balanced Bites, saying, "This week on the podcast, Diane and Liz talk with Kendall Kendrick of Primal-Balance.com about local food policy, urban homesteading, and her upcoming poster presentation at AHS 2013."

Chris Hiestand presents Who's in charge here? The 7-Day Take Charge Challenge posted at PrimalPal, saying, "Are you taking charge of your health and fitness? Why or why not? If you could use a little help take this 7-Day Take Charge Challenge."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents "I eat whatever I want" posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "At Paleo FX, one of the highlights was when Sarah Fragoso explained, 'I eat whatever I want." The key to her inspiring talk was learning what you really want."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents Everything Affects Everything posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "The most important part of paleo/primal eating is taking control of your life by learning what really works for you, foodwise. And the most important realization along the way is that everything you do – sleep, food, exercise – affects everything else."

Peggy Emch presents Traveling With a Baby and a Kid posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "Have you traveled with your kids? If you've been afraid to get out there with little ones, don't be. It's an experience to remember!"
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action

By Diana Hsieh

Every Saturday, I post the news of the week from my primary work, Philosophy in Action, where I apply rational principles to the challenges of real life. Here's this week's update.

Upcoming Radio Shows


Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Below are the episodes upcoming this week. I hope that you join us! More upcoming episodes can be found here: Episodes on Tap.

Sunday Morning, 21 April 2013: Q&A on Mental Illness, Abused Children, Resisting Police, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 21 April 2013.
  • Question 1: The Reality of Mental Illness: Is mental illness nothing more than a myth? It seems that many members of the free-market movement are enthused about the theory, promulgated by the likes of Thomas Szasz and Jeffrey A. Schaler, that there is no such thing as mental illness. They say that if one cannot pinpoint a direct physiological cause for behavior considered "mentally ill," there are no grounds for referring to that behavior as a symptom of some "illness." Furthermore, they argue that the concept of "mental illness" is simply a term that the social establishment uses to stigmatize nonconformist behavior of which it does not approve. Is there anything to these claims? If not, what's the proper understanding of the basic nature of mental illness?
  • Question 2: The State's Role with Abused Children: What should the state's role be in dealing with abused children? The state needs to remove children from homes where they're being abused--where their rights are being violated. But what should it then do with them? Should the state care for them until it can find a new home for them? How should it provide that care? If it cannot find a new home for a child, what happens to that child? Should the State raise the child to adulthood?
  • Question 3: Resisting Illegitimate Police Action: When is it moral to resist police action? Last year, the governor of Indiana signed a bill into law granting protection to citizens that resist the unlawful actions of a public servant. If a police officer enters your home without your knowledge or consent – legally or illegally – and you have no way of knowing whether he is an unlawful intruder, are you morally justified in taking violent action against him? When is it moral to forcibly resist police actions?
  • Question 4: Attending Religious Ceremonies: Is it wrong for an atheist to refuse to attend a sibling's religious ceremony? I've decided not to attend the religious ceremony of my younger sister's upcoming Bat Mitzvah. I'm an atheist, and while I don't think attending would be immoral, I don't want to support any kind of religiosity or connection to religion. Other family members have criticized me for that decision, saying that I should support my sister and not pressure her into agreeing with my own views. Should I attend? If not, how should I handle the family dynamics?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 21 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Note: Philosophy in Action Radio will not broadcast on Wednesday, 24 April 2013.


Recent Podcasts


The podcasts of last week's radio shows are now available. Check out the full collection of past radio shows in the archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

14 April 2013: Q&A on Obesity, Parental Consent, Negative Terms, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Should minor girls be required by law to obtain parental consent for an abortion? Should people define themselves using the negative term "atheist"? Should a life-loving person always wish to live longer?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

17 April 2013: Eric Barnhill on "Cognition, Movement, and Music"

I interviewed pianist and graduate student in medical physics Eric Barnhill about "Cognition, Movement, and Music" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"How does cognition connect to physical movement, tone, and rhythm? Can moving to music help the development of cognitive skills and capacities, particularly in children?" Eric Barnhill is a Juilliard-trained concert pianist and the creator of Cognitive Eurhythmics music movement therapy. He is pursuing a Ph.D in medical physics at the University of Edinburgh, where he studies brain-muscle interaction using magnetic resonance physics.

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more.

Recent Blog Posts


Here are last week's posts to Philosophy in Action's blog NoodleFood, ordered from oldest to newest. Don't miss a post: subscribe to NoodleFood's RSS Feed.

If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

Read more...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Paleo Rodeo #158

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Kris Gunnars presents 7 Healthy Low-Carb Meals in Under 10 Minutes posted at Authority Nutrition, saying, "These 7 meals are healthy, delicious and very low in carbs. They are made with simple ingredients, taste good and can be prepared in under 10 minutes."

Danny J Albers presents Life without plants - Lessons from the Inuit and today's zero carbers posted at Primal North, saying, "What can we learn from those who do not eat plants? Lessons from the practical application of life without plants in this attempt to sort out some facts from dogma."

Sabine presents Whole 30 Tips posted at CrossFit CatCave, saying, "Tips and guidelines to help the Whole30 Journey on it's way!"

Nell Stephenson presents Still Drinking Milk as a Calcium Source? posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "Paleo expert Nell Stephenson writes about the misconception that dairy is a good way to get one's calcium."

Neely Quinn presents The Art of Losing Weight without Exercise posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "A couple things you should keep in mind if you can't exercise for some reason and you're trying to lose weight."

Wendy Schwartz presents Corporate Greed Prevents Sound Nutrition Advice posted at Go Paleo!, saying, "Pharmaceutical companies and major food manufacturers often fund studies and pay experts in order to slant the research results to their favor despite the actual outcome of studies. This article takes a look at how corporate greed influences science."

Kevin Geary presents Quiet the Resistance: Overcome The Voice of Fear and Failure While Rebooting Your Body posted at The Rebooted Body, saying, "Conquer the fear and inner voice of failure that consumes so many during weight loss, health, and fitness transformation."

Louise Yang presents Why Aren't Potatoes Paleo? posted at Ancestral Chef, saying, "Why aren't potatoes paleo but sweet potatoes are? This post compares their nutrition profiles and looks at GIs and saponins."

Patrick Clark presents Paleo Sleep Challenge Interview with Patrick Clark posted at Paleo All the Way, saying, "Interview with paleo Sleep Expert Patrick Clark, who spent two months taking Paleo Diet and LIfestyle to the ultimate test, living in a tipi in mid winter with no heat, testing sleep/metabolism factors like sleeping on a hard surface, circadian rhythms, grounding, and Cold Thermogenesis. Results were amazing!"

Danny J Albers presents 5 Simple Workouts You Will Never Outgrow posted at Primal North, saying, "5 simple workouts that only get harder as you get fitter."

Melissa,a.k.a. Cavechic presents Paleo Bridal Boot Camp posted at Paleo Connections, saying, "You don't have to be getting ready to walk down the aisle to give yourself a paleo booster. Need to tighten up your eating plan or workouts? This is the place to come. This is 'old school' paleo. mostly fats and meats kind of eating. If you start now, by the end of May, you could look even more amazing!"

Melissa,a.k.a. Cavechic presents Paleo friendly and nightsahde free avocado dip posted at Paleo Connections, saying, "A tasty avocado dip/spread that will not aggravate your joints and is paleo all the way."

Diana Hsieh presents Never Too Rich or Too Thin? posted at NoodleFood, saying, "Why you might want to take some care before complementing someone on weight loss..."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents A little clarity amidst the coffee and awesomeness.... posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "Fasting all morning, fueled by coffee, can be a great fat burner and great for mental clarity, but you can't combine that with an early a.m. workout.. The two just don't work together."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents "Shouldn't" versus "Don't" posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "How you think about non-paleo food may determine how much of a struggle it is to stay away from it. Here's an idea...."

Eileen Laird presents My Body is NOT My Enemy posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "A reflection on the power of words in the healing process."

Eileen Laird presents Beef Heart with Chimichurri Sauce posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "We all know we should eat organ meats. My goal is to show they can be as delicious as they are nutritious. Heart meat actually tastes a lot like steak."

Rebekah Reddy presents Grain-free, Sweetener-free Pumpkin Pie Muffinettes posted at Half Indian Cook, saying, "These 'muffinettes" look like cookies, but taste like pumpkin pie muffins! They are sweetener-free and great for breakfast or snacks. And they're 21DSD-friendly!"

Diane Sanfilippo presents Podcast Episode #83: All about digestion: bloating, constipation, IBS and more posted at Balanced Bites, saying, "This week's Balanced Bites podcast focuses on digestive issues including bloating, constipation, IBS, and more."

Rebekah Reddy presents Recipe Roundup from Fellow Sugar Slayers posted at The 21-Day Sugar Detox, saying, "We’ve recently added a recipe index to the 21-Day Sugar Detox blog, but there are some Sugar Slayers who have been developing and posting recipes that are 21DSD-compliant (and they look delicious, too!). Take a look for some new recipe ideas."

Chris presents The Simple 3-Step Process to Achieving Your Health and Fitness Goals posted at PrimalPal, saying, "Achieving your health and fitness goals doesn't have to be difficult. Use this easy three step process to achieve any health and fitness goal you have."

Jess presents Crunchy Kale posted at The Paleo Professional, saying, "A little inspiration and a time saving tip for your homemade kale chips."

The Cavegirls presents Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins posted at Northwest Cavegirls.

Sabine presents Vegetarian to Carnivore posted at CrossFit CatCave, saying, "How to switch from being a vegetarian into a Paleo carnivore. My rekindled relationship with meat after 15+ years!"

Peggy Emch presents Starch, Carbs, and Paleo posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "According to Dr. Ron Rosedale, starch breaks down into glucose and glucose is toxic... As Dr. Kresser explained last year at AHS, the evidence against starch doesn’t add up... Paul Jaminet, who popularized the term “safe starches,” advocates moderate starch intake on a Paleo diet as opposed to the low carb approach that so many others favor. I am with him on this. Since learning to navigate the restrictions of fructose malabsorption, I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yes, You Can Be Too Thin

By Diana Hsieh

Last week, I stumbled on this blog post -- Think Twice Before You Praise Someone For Losing Weight. It piqued my interest because I often ponder questions about weight, health, and body image. Also, it seemed relevant to the question I would answer on moral judgments of obese people on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio.

The blog post begins:

It's really the most natural reaction: when we see a friend, colleague, family member, or acquaintance who has visibly lost weight, we love to say to them, "You've lost weight! You look great!"

These statements are usually made with the best of intentions. We are genuinely happy for them, we want to show them that their hard work and sacrifices are being noticed and deserve to be acknowledged. But I want to say something that may seem controversial: we should all think twice before acknowledging or praising someone's visible weight loss.

Why?

First, we don't always know how or why that person lost the weight for which we are commending them.

For example, my friend Anna has Lupus, and at one point, she rapidly lost 30 pounds in a couple months. She was constantly getting positive affirmations about how great she looked and to keep up the good work. For a number of reasons, Anna chose to keep her diagnosis confidential (to most people). So, she was caught between two worlds: one in which she had to reveal why she was losing weight, and another where she just had to grin and bear it.

Anna said, "Every time I heard those words, it was like a punch in the stomach. It not only made me feel disgusted about my body, but it also put me in a position where I wanted to share my diagnosis with people, just to shut them up."

My cousin's professor faced a similar dilemma when she returned to the university from summer break, having lost a visible amount of weight. She was greeted with the same seemingly positive affirmations. What no one realized was, her mother had died weeks before. Her weight loss was a result of stress.

The smiles and the effusive praise offered to these two women were in direct opposition to the pain that caused the weight loss to begin with.

And even when someone isn't dealing with an uncontrollable circumstance, like a death in the family, or a terminal disease, we don't know how someone arrives at his/her weight loss.

It's a good article, and I definitely recommend reading the rest of it: Think Twice Before You Praise Someone For Losing Weight. (It goes on to discuss some other cases, as well as make some important qualifications.)

Obesity is undoubtedly very common in our culture, and as people have packed on the pounds, the view that low body weight means good health seems to have taken hold in a very strong way. Yes, that's been a change in the culture, as these 1950s weight gain ads for women show.

Yet the fact is that being underweight is often a sign of health problems -- or it's a risk factor for death if a person becomes ill, because their body lacks reserves (muscle or fat) for survival. I'm not making that up, as various studies (such as this one) show that being underweight is associated with increased mortality.

My point here is not to extol obesity or anything, since that comes with its own practical difficulties and health concerns. Rather, my point is that we (me included) need to reject the now-standard assumption in our culture that a thinner person is a better person -- healthier, sexier, happier, whatever. Often, weight loss is for the best... but not always!

As for the question about moral judgments of obese people that I answered on Sunday's Radio Show... the question was:

Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Obviously, obese and morbidly obese people have made mistakes in their lives. Are they morally culpable for those mistakes? How should other people judge their characters? If I see an obese person on the street, should I infer that he is lazy and unmotivated? Should I refuse to hire an obese person because I suspect he won't work as hard as a non-obese person? Is obesity a moral failing – or are there other considerations?

My Answer, In Brief: Given that weight is not a good metric for health and that obesity has many causes, for a person to assume that obese people must be morally or psychologically weak is empirically false and morally unjust. If you notice that in yourself, fight it!

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:
Via Vital Objectives, our own Christian Wernstedt shared the link to the podcast on Facebook, with the following remarks, which I agree with wholeheartedly:
This audio clip has has a good discussion on what one should keep in mind when judging weight problems in both oneself and in other people. As a coach/practitioner I would add that helping people getting rid of excess fat is one of the most difficult issues to deal with because it takes time and effort to achieve in a *sustainable* and *healthful* way, but is very simple to do in a shortsighted and harmful way. You want to lose fat and pose for before and after pictures? Tape worms, starvation or HCG would do the trick! But...the body stores fat for reasons which often add up to the life serving option versus the alternatives. Therefore, simplistically and narrowly targeting the fat storage process (my fancy way of saying "fad diet" or "60 day detox"), and you might, for instance, each time you do this, functionally age your hormonal profile and ultimately end up buying the loss of 10 pounds today for being awarded the body comp of an ostrich later.

Alas, I've lived that. The main reason why my thyroid gave up the ghost, I think, was that I was fasting too often for too long in an effort to lose a few more pounds. The result was months of mental and physical disability, followed by years of health problems, plus 30 pounds of weight gain. Lesson learned.

Read more...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action

By Diana Hsieh

Every Saturday, I post the news of the week from my primary work, Philosophy in Action, where I apply rational principles to the challenges of real life. Here's this week's update.

Upcoming Radio Shows


Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Below are the episodes upcoming this week. I hope that you join us! More upcoming episodes can be found here: Episodes on Tap.

Sunday Morning, 14 April 2013: Q&A on Obesity, Parental Consent, Negative Terms, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 14 April 2013.
  • Question 1: Moral Judgments of Obese People: Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Obviously, obese and morbidly obese people have made mistakes in their lives. Are they morally culpable for those mistakes? How should other people judge their characters? If I see an obese person on the street, should I infer that he is lazy and unmotivated? Should I refuse to hire an obese person because I suspect he won't work as hard as a non-obese person? Is obesity a moral failing – or are there other considerations?
  • Question 2: Parental Consent for Abortion: Should minor girls be required by law to obtain parental consent for an abortion? Normally, parents are legally empowered to make medical decisions for their minor children, and minors cannot obtain medical procedures without parental consent. How should that apply in the case of pregnancy? Should pregnancy and abortion be treated differently from other medical conditions? Should parents be allowed by law to force a daughter under 18 to carry a pregnancy to term or to abort against her will? Should minor teenagers be granted more power over their medical decisions? Should the law grant exemptions in cases of potential abuse or neglect if the pregnancy or abortion were discovered?
  • Question 3: Atheist as a Negative Term: Should people define themselves using the negative term "atheist"? To me, a rational person sells himself short when he calls himself an "atheist": he's only saying what he doesn't stand for, not what he does stand for. Plus, to use the term "atheist" seems to be accepting the religious frame of reference. A rational person values individual healthy human life, and everything else he believes follows from that, such as respect for reality, reason, and rights. When a person defines himself in those positive terms, what he's against follows. So, can a person be more clear and persuasive when he focuses on what he's for rather than what he's against? If so, what terms might he use to describe himself?
  • Question 4: Living Longer: Should a life-loving person always wish to live longer? Suppose that a person was offered some medical therapy that would extend his life by 10 or 20 years, while preserving or even improving health. Would a life-loving person always choose to do that, assuming that he could afford it? Would refusing that therapy constitute a kind of passive suicide, perhaps even on par with that of a drug addict? In other words, assuming good health but no personal tragedies, might a life-living person not wish to live any longer?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 14 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 17 April 2013: Eric Barnhill on "Cognition, Movement, and Music"

I'll interview pianist and graduate student in medical physics Eric Barnhill about "Cognition, Movement, and Music" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 17 April 2013.

How does cognition connect to physical movement, tone, and rhythm? Can moving to music help the development of cognitive skills or capacities?

Eric Barnhill is a Juilliard-trained concert pianist and the creator of Cognitive Eurhythmics music movement therapy. He is pursuing a Ph.D in medical physics at the University of Edinburgh, where he studies brain-muscle interaction using magnetic resonance physics.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that evening. For more details, check out the episode page.


Recent Podcasts


The podcasts of last week's radio shows are now available. Check out the full collection of past radio shows in the archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

7 April 2013: Q&A on Gay Marriage, Is-Ought Gap, Political Disagreements, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

Is "gay marriage" a valid form of marriage? What is the solution to the is-ought problem? What's the proper response to the dissolution of a friendship within a social group? Can people with divergent political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

10 April 2013: John P. McCaskey on "Libertarianism's Moral Shift"

I interviewed professor John P. McCaskey about "Libertarianism's Moral Shift" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"As the libertarian movement has become more mainstream in recent decades, its justification for liberty has changed. How so – and is that change for the better? Is the libertarian movement today capable of offering a vigorous and compelling defense of liberty?" Dr. John P. McCaskey is an historian of philosophy who spent twenty years in the computer industry before returning to academia. He has been teaching at Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and most recently in the Political Science department at Brown University.

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more.

Recent Blog Posts


Here are last week's posts to Philosophy in Action's blog NoodleFood, ordered from oldest to newest. Don't miss a post: subscribe to NoodleFood's RSS Feed.

If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

Read more...

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Paleo Rodeo #157

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Kris Gunnars presents 7 Reasons Why Butter is Good For You posted at Authority Nutrition, saying, "Butter is rich in fat soluble vitamins and unique fatty acids with powerful health benefits. It has recently been making a comeback as a 'health food."."

Ute presents How to stay away from sugar posted at Grokette's Primal Musings, saying, " It’s easy to stay away from gluten filled foods. I know they’re bad, and I know they don’t fill me. But how do you stay away from all the other sugary treats? The chocolate and gummy bears, the m&ms and ice cream?"

Mary Catherine presents Sweet and Savory Sardine Salad posted at Nourish Paleo Foods, saying, "A recipe for a simple sardine salad, giving you one more way to easily enjoy these paleo wonder fishies."

Nell Stephenson presents Seasonal Allergies Getting to You? posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "Paleo expert Nell Stephenson discusses what Paleo really is, and how it can benefit those who suffer from allergies."

Neely Quinn presents Hungry All Day? Snacking A Lot? Let's Fix That. posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Some tips for you to keep away the hungries."

Sean Coonce presents Blood Orange Mango Margarita posted at FreeRange Human, saying, "Summer is almost here so this is a great twist to the classic NorCal Margarita. Same principles but blood orange and mango is added."

Wendy Schwartz presents Go Paleo! Product Watch: Juice, Deodorant and T-Shirts posted at Go Paleo!, saying, "The Go Paleo! Product Watch highlights products that are the market and critiques them. In this edition, Wendy Schwartz discusses a great new deodorant called Primal Pit Paste, an awful 'unjuice" called Tropicana Farmstand and reveals the new Go Paleo! t-shirts...Read on."

Julie Campbell presents root vegetable chicken soup posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "say your goodbyes to winter with this hearty home made chicken soup full of root veggies."

Eileen Laird presents Wahls Veggie Protocl: Q&A posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "Dr. Terry Wahls reversed her MS through the paleo diet combined with 9 cups of vegetables daily. Learn more about her protocol: which veggies, how to prepare them, and how to fit them into your day."

Eileen Laird presents The Power of an Internet-Free Day posted at Phoenix Helix, saying, "Good health is about lifestyle as much as diet, and taking a day off the internet can be powerfully renewing to the body and spirit. Learn how."

Max Ungar presents 6 Tips to Slowing Down The College Lifestyle posted at Caveman College, saying, "If you live a busy life, read this post."

Diana Hsieh presents Cavebaby Cora Eats Ribs posted at NoodleFood, saying, "In case you need your daily dose of cute...in this video, baby Cora eats ribs... and NOM NOM NOM, they're so delicious!"

Tarah presents Chipotle Citrus Turkey Burgers posted at What I Gather, saying, "Flavorful turkey burgers spiked with mandarin orange juice and zest and a hint of chipotle!"

Amy Kubal presents Why Am I Still Broken? posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "Does it seem like you're the only one that's not seeing miraculous results and transformations living a Paleo lifestyle? What's wrong with you anyway and are you alone?"

The Cavegirls presents Paleo 7 lb Itch posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "Cavegirl Kate bares all (well, some) on the first day of her challenge to lose 7 lbs (or half a stone since she's a Brit) by being more conscious of portion sizes, and fruit and nut consumption."

Angie presents The Northwest Cavegirls Bake posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "The Cavegirls have gotten requests for a book compiling our recipes into an easy to search format; so, we've put together the first of hopefully many such eBooks. This eBook, The Northwest Cavegirls Bake, features 34 cookie, cupcake, muffin, scone and pie recipes, many of which have never before been published and are exclusive to this eBook. We've included many colorful photographs of these tasty treats as well."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents "Is this paleo?" A.k.a., fooling yourself with paleo things posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "Some paleo/ancestral eaters seem to be striving for technical compliance with a set of rules/ingredients instead of just eating real food."

Steve, the Paleo Drummer presents "Tales of Paleo Disasters" – the world's shortest book? posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "I feel like I read a new hit piece on paleo every few weeks, but never one that – scientifically, or even anecdotally – focuses on a paleo person (or persons) who have been harmed by paleo/ancestral eating. All I ever hear are success stories, with good reason I suspect."

Chris presents Dangerously Delicious Chocolate and Banana Stuffed Crepes posted at PrimalPal, saying, "These delicious grain-free crepes are perfect for Saturday brunch. We stuffed them with a paleo chocolate spread and sliced bananas for a sweet treat."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action

By Diana Hsieh

Every Saturday, I post the news of the week from my primary work, Philosophy in Action, where I apply rational principles to the challenges of real life. Here's this week's update.

Upcoming Radio Shows


Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Below are the episodes upcoming this week. I hope that you join us! More upcoming episodes can be found here: Episodes on Tap.

Sunday Morning, 7 April 2013: Q&A on Civil Unions, Is-Ought Gap, Political Disagreements, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 7 April 2013.
  • Question 1: Gay Marriage Versus Civil Unions: Is "gay marriage" really a kind of marriage? Many people support civil unions for gays, but they think that such unions shouldn't be called marriage. Usually, they claim that marriage is essentially religious, that procreation is central to marriage, or that marriage concerns a man and a woman. Should gay unions be considered a valid form of marriage, legally or socially? Would civil unions be an acceptable alternative?
  • Question 2: The Is-Ought Gap: What is the solution to the is-ought problem? David Hume famously claimed that statements about what ought to be cannot be derived from statements about what is the case. Does that mean that ethics is impossible? Can the gap be bridged, and if so, how?
  • Question 3: The Destruction of a Friendship: What's the proper response to the dissolution of a friendship within a social group? I loved your your May 6th, 2012 discussion of "unforgivable acts," and I have a follow-up question. Now – after cutting my losses with a best friend, after years of giving second chances, talking with him repeatedly, and determining that there's no more basis for a friendship – how do I judge mutual friends of ours? Some of them think that my actions weren't justified. Some resent me for breaking up a group of friends. Many want me to either make up with this person or tolerate him at gatherings. Is this reaction by these mutual friends fair? How should I respond to them?
  • Question 4: Mixing Politics and Romance: Can people with divergent political views enjoy a good romantic relationship? Some of my liberal friends won't date conservatives, and some of my conservative friends are horrified at the thought of dating a liberal. Is that reasonable? Since I'm in favor of free markets, should I only date other advocates of free markets? Can people with very different political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 7 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 10 April 2013: John McCaskey on "Libertarianism's Moral Shift"

I'll interview historian of science John McCaskey about "Libertarianism's Moral Shift" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 10 April 2013.

"As the libertarian movement has become more mainstream in recent decades, its justification for liberty has changed. How so – and is that change for the better?"

Dr. McCaskey is an historian of philosophy of science who spent twenty years in the computer industry before returning to academia. He has been teaching at Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and most recently in the Political Science department at Brown University.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 10 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that evening. For more details, check out the episode page.


Recent Podcasts


The podcasts of last week's radio shows are now available. Check out the full collection of past radio shows in the archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

31 March 2013: Q&A on Protecting Privacy, Gay Marriage, Chinese Goods, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

How should a person respond when pressured to reveal private information? How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? How can a person deal with overzealous ideologues? Is it moral to buy products from Chinese companies?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

31 March 2013: Q&A on Protecting Privacy, Gay Marriage, Chinese Goods, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

How should a person respond when pressured to reveal private information? How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? How can a person deal with overzealous ideologues? Is it moral to buy products from Chinese companies?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

Recent Blog Posts


Here are last week's posts to Philosophy in Action's blog NoodleFood, ordered from oldest to newest. Don't miss a post: subscribe to NoodleFood's RSS Feed.

If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

Read more...

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Paleo Rodeo #156

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Kris Gunnars presents Top 10 Nutrition Facts That Everyone Agrees on posted at Authority Nutrition, saying, "A list of the top 10 nutrition facts that almost everyone agrees on. Despite all the controversy in nutrition, there are a few widely accepted truths."

Neely Quinn presents Primal Life Kit: 30 Products for $39! posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Paleo Plan is putting on a week-long sale to allow people to get all the most popular Paleo and Primal products for just $39! It includes ebooks, meal plans, magazine subscriptions, fitness programs, plus 8 discount codes on popular products."

Wendy Schwartz presents Debunking an Anti-Paleo TED Presentation posted at Go Paleo!, saying, "In this article, Wendy Schwartz, Paleo Expert, takes a look at anthropologist Christina Warriner's TED presentation called Debunking the Paleo Diet. She breaks down some of the inaccuracies that are presented to dispel the confusion and help those in the Paleo community get clarity."

Steve presents Some Thoughts on Paleo FX 2013 posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "Paleo FX was an educational experience that reaffirmed my commitment to paleo living. Here are some more specific thoughts and memories from a great few days in Austin."

Steve presents A Hurdle Made of ... Beer? posted at The Paleo Drummer, saying, "At Paleo FX 2013, one of the speakers told us that far more women than men are living a paleo lifestyle. Here are some obvious, and maybe not-so-obvious thoughts on why."

Emily Whitish presents ACT4Health: A New Approach to Cheating (on your diet) posted at Up Close and Edible, saying, "Using a mindfulness approach, this post challenges the assumptions of dietary cheating. Learn how you can free yourself from the tyranny of your thoughts and feelings and eat in a wise and healthy manner every day without ever feeling the need to 'cheat."."

Emily Whitish presents Roasted Radishes With Poached Duck Egg and Tarragon Butter posted at Up Close and Edible, saying, "Tarragon with eggs is pure heaven. And if you've never roasted radishes before, you need to start NOW! A beautiful dish for your Spring table."

Tarah presents Paleo Pen Pals Roundup - March 2013 posted at What I Gather, saying, "A roundup of the tasty recipes from this month's group of Paleo Pen Pals...even a Paleo girl scout cookie recipe!"

Melissa,a.k.a. Cavechic presents Organic dog treats! posted at Paleo Connections, saying, "Looking for dog treats that will make your dog happy and not compromise his health? Come see what my friend did."

Diana Hsieh presents Functional Fitness? Bah! posted at NoodleFood, saying, "SuperSlow passes yet another test of fitness with flying colors!"

Diane Sanfilippo presents Mini Mexi-Meatloaves posted at Balanced Bites, saying, "Meatloaf is a great way to take your basic ground meat and turn it into something delicious. After completing the recipes for Practical Paleo, I was almost shocked to look back and realize I didn’t include a meatloaf recipe, so this one will be featured in my next book, The 21-Day Sugar Detox (due out October 2013)."

Rebekah Reddy presents The Search for Soy-Free Chocolate posted at Half Indian Cook, saying, "Soy-free chocolate may be hard to find, but it is not impossible! In this post I discuss why we want to avoid soy, especially in our favorite chocolatey treats."

Julie Campbell presents celery root salad posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "based off an American colonial recipe, this is a great way to use up any remaining celery roots you might have stored in your cellar."

Annika McCann presents Paleo Mud Mug Cake posted at Pretty Good Paleo, saying, "April Fool's post - there are lots of recipes for 'paleo" mug cakes floating around. Well, here is a recipe for Paleo Mud Mug Cake using dirt as the main ingredient! Definitely more paleo than all those other mug cakes."

Ute presents On Chia and Quinoa posted at Grokette's Primal Musings, saying, "My take on chia seeds and quinoa. Why I eat one and avoid the other."

Ute presents The subject of sugar addiciton posted at Grokette's Primal Musings, saying, "“Eating sugar in front of a sugar addict is like doing tequila shots in front of an alcoholic.” This is what a friend of mine said today. “Sugar is a drug. It makes me think, there is crack in the house and I want it.”."

Jess presents Slow Cooked Beef and Lamb Stew posted at The Paleo Professional, saying, "Spring is here but it's still sooo cold! Healing soup is definitely still on the menu in my house. This is truly the easiest stew I've ever made and its 21-Day Sugar Detox appropriate too. A little grass fed meat, a little gelatin et voila!"

Nell Stephenson presents For One Week Only: The Primal Life Kit posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "Paleo expert Nell Stephenson writes about the Paleo Bundle Sale happening for one week only, where customers can get over $450 worth of Paleo or Primal products for $39, including a code to download any of her 6 week plans for free."

Paul Austin presents My Personal "Must-Have" Packing List for Travel (No Clothes Included!) posted at Travel 'N' Wellness, saying, "Discover 5 items every Paleo follower must pack on his or her next trip!"

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Paleo Finds At WalMart posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "One way our family affords buying grassfed beef and pastured pork in bulk from local farmers is by saving elsewhere. For some of our other grocery needs, we rely WalMart, which consistently saves us 10-50% on certain items compared with other grocers in our town. Here I list some of the our family's most commonly bought items that our WalMart carries, with price points and noting which items are specifically labeled as gluten free."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

Read more...

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