The Marriage Myth

A fascinating article in the Washington Post. People in marriages that last aren’t necessarily better matched than people in marriages that end. The big difference is in how couples manage their differences. The article goes on about how marriage education…….NOT THERAPY, might be saving marriages. These classes teach people techniques for managing disagreements that will not go away. At the root of it is letting the other person know that you listened, letting the other person know that you cared and not being toxic during the disagreement.

What Markman, Gottman and the others were finding undermined the basic principle driving romantic relationships in America: “That it’s about finding the right person. That if you find your soulmate, everything will be fine,” Sollee says. “That’s the big myth.”

It’s important to choose a spouse wisely, these scientists would say, but it’s equally important to be skilled in the convoluted art of conducting a marriage.

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More than 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for second marriages is above 60 percent, and it’s higher than 70 percent for folks making their third walk down the aisle.

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A few years later, in 1989, she sat at a conference listening to Gottman talk about the results of a decades-long study of couples at his “Love Lab” in Seattle. Gottman found that all couples — those who are happily married into their rocking-chair years and those who divorce before they hit their fifth anniversary — disagree more or less the same amount. He found that they all argue about the same subjects — money, kids, time and sex chief among them — and that for the average couple, 69 percent of those disagreements will be irreconcilable. A morning bird and a night owl won’t ever fully eliminate their differences; nor will a spendthrift and a penny pincher. What distinguished satisfied couples from the miserable ones, he found, was how creatively and constructively they managed those differences.

Full Article

Raw Milk: Sickening Fashion

I remember as a child, my mother, an ex-fashionista, telling my older sister, a budding fashionista that what is old will be new again and that the fashions of yesterday would return to be the fashions of today.

The same thing seems to be true with diet fads.

The low carb diet, an obnoxious and unhealthy way to lose weight has been going in and out of style since it was invented by a 19th century undertaker.

Also recently revived from the 19th century, is an enthusiasm for drinking raw, unpasteurized milk. A significant health hazard.

Slate.com has an interesting article about the latest cycle of enthusiasm for drinking raw unpasteurized cow’s milk.

It was actually a German chemist, Franz von Soxhlet (who never seems to get any public credit or, of course, blame), who, in 1886, first proposed using the technique to reduce bacteria in bottled milk.* In the United States, public health advocates began urging dairy farmers to begin using pasteurization as a means of breaking down a near tidal wave of child mortality. Raw-milk followers, including our friend the irate physician, fought the move.

It wasn’t until 1914—compelled by a typhoid epidemic linked to unpasteurized milk—that New York City finally enforced a pasteurization rule. Seven years later, the city’s infant death rate, which had hovered at an appalling 240 of every 1,000 live births, had dropped to 71 deaths per 1,000, a victory many credited to pasteurization.

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Today, just about 0.5 percent of all the milk consumed in this country is unpasteurized. Yet from 1998 to 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received reports of 85 infectious disease outbreaks linked to raw milk. In the past few months, physicians have treated salmonella in Utah, brucellosis in Delaware, campylobacter in Colorado and Pennsylvania, and an ugly outbreak of E. coli O157-H7 in Minnesota, which sickened eight people in June. Epidemiologists not only identified a rare strain of the bacteria but matched its DNA to those stricken, the cows on the farm that supplied them with raw milk, and manure smearing the milking equipment and even the animals themselves. When regulators shut down the dairy farm, supporters promptly charged them with belonging to a government conspiracy to smear the reputation of a hallowed food.

Some, like Wisconsin raw-milk champion Max Kane, dismiss infectious disease altogether: “The bacteria theory’s a total myth,” Kane told one interviewer. “It allows us to have an enemy to go after similar to how it is with terrorism. It’s food terrorism.”

After a dairy in Washington state was linked to an E. coli outbreak last December, the farmer himself put it like this in an interview with the Seattle Times. Scientists were wrong to malign his milk because “everything God designed is good for you.”

It seems an odd conclusion to draw from an outbreak of Escherichia Coli O157:H7, an organism dangerous enough to kill people by causing complete renal failure. I wish someone would explain the logic that leads to the conclusion that this apparently divine infection is actually “good for you.”

Full Article

Red Bull

I decided to indulge a whim and I had my first can of Red Bull the other day.

I was not impressed. I got a very tiny can for my $2.50. Inside was something that tasted like a melted carbonated lollipop.

The first ingredients ( the most voluminous ) after water were several kinds of sweetener. Then caffiene. Then a ridiculously tiny amount of B vitamins and an amino acid. The tiny can, about the size of the cans of apple juice served at continental breakfasts in hotels, weighed in at about 100 calories for 80 mg of caffiene.

You can get as much caffiene from a strong cup of regular coffee, an average cup of espresso or a few cups of homemade iced tea. All of which are far cheaper, better tasting and at least have some redeeming health value. Particularly if you make a large thermos of iced green tea on your own.