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Category : Vegetarianism

UAE Veganuary: Is veganism healthy for kids and babies? – Gulf News

Is it safe to raise kids as vegans? Image Credit: Shutterstock

After the excesses of the festive season and the sluggishness of a locked-down year, January brings with it the chance to reflect and start afresh in a shiny new year. It also ushers in Veganuary an initiative that encourages people all over the world to try out veganism for the first month of the year. But, although veganism is often seen as a healthy lifestyle choice, critics claim that it can be harmful for some, especially for babies and young children.

What is veganism?

A vegan diet is one that cuts out all animal products and animal-derived products - it goes beyond vegetarianism and means cutting out eggs and dairy as well as meat and fish. However, veganism is not only a diet but a lifestyle choice that avoids consuming, using, or exploiting animals as much as realistically possible. For some vegans this can even include eschewing plant products that use animals in their production such as honey (bees), figs (wasps) and even avocado (bees involved in their production), as well as avoiding clothes, cosmetics and toiletries that contain animal-based or animal-derived materials. In modern times, veganism tends to involve an awareness of environmental issues too.

How is it different from vegetarianism?

Vegetarians cut out meat and fish, but still eat animal-derived products such as eggs and dairy. Veganism cuts out anything derived from animals or animal exploitation, including animal milks, eggs, butter and so on. Vegans will often also not use anything that has involved an animal in any way, including products that have been tested on animals.

Whats the difference between a vegan and a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet means eating a lot of plant-based foods, but does not necessarily preclude eating meat or animal-derived products. Plant-based also only refers to a diet, whereas veganism is more of a holistic lifestyle movement involving animal welfare and environmental concerns too.

Why is veganism such a big deal right now?

Veganism has never been more on trend. Once seen as an obscure and restrictive form of dieting, the lifestyle, health and environmental movement has skyrocketed in recent years and is now here to stay 2020 Google Trends data suggests that interest in veganism has doubled since 2015, long since surpassing online-search interest in vegetarianism, while the number of new vegan products available on the market has mushroomed by 250% since 2010 to keep up with the burgeoning demand. Now you can find vegan products in most supermarkets, while big companies such as Ikea and McDonalds have even started to introduce vegan options.

How has the pandemic affected interest in veganism?

Proponents of veganism believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increased interest in veganism as the disruption of travel and normal services around the world has made people increasingly conscious of the vulnerabilities of the food supply chain, and plant-based, vegan foods are seen as more sustainable options than some resource-intensive animal-based products. Veganisms reputation as a healthy lifestyle choice has also made it popular for people who have become more health-conscious during the pandemic.

What is Veganuary?

Veganuary is an initiative started up in the UK that encourages people worldwide to try to eating vegan for January and beyond. Throughout the year, Veganuary encourages and supports people to move to a plant-based diet as a way of protecting the environmen andpromoting animal welfare.

How safe is a vegan diet for children and babies?

While there are some conflicting views on the appropriateness of a vegan diet for children with some high-profile cases of parents being accused of malnourishing their kids with a vegan diet medical bodies generally agree that its possible to raise healthy children on a vegan diet, so long as close attention is paid to the nutrients they are receiving and supplements are given for any key minerals that it may be difficult for children to get without animal products. But this is not always easy to do without professional help. Here, Jordana Smith, a nutritionist at Genesis Clinic in Dubai, shares her views on the safety of a vegan diet for children.

Should parents raise their children on a vegan diet?

The common issues with veganism include a deficiency in iron, vitamin B12, calcium and zinc. However if balanced appropriately then it can be done and requirements can be met. However generally speaking, vegan diets tend to be carb heavy and protein light making it more difficult to meet these requirements. We do also need to consider how we are combining foods, for example when eating plant based iron rich foods with foods containing calcium or even teas, we decrease the availability of that iron and so don't meet requirements.

Generally speaking I wouldn't recommend a vegan diet for a baby or young child. They are going through a rapid growth period, particularly in the first year of life and iron is an essential nutrient, probably the most important nutrient, during this stage to ensure growth physically and mentally. It becomes incredibly difficult to meet the necessary requirements without using animal products.

For babies, there is absolutely no safe plant-based alternative breast milk substitute or formula. Giving a plant-based milk to an infant is dangerous and has been shown to lead to malnutrition. Whether you classify breast milk as vegan, only a mother can decide, but according to vegan society breastfeeding is considered vegan.

In terms of an age where I am more cautious, this is generally in the teen age group. Quite often teens will use veganism as a tool to hide an eating disorder or the early stages of an eating disorder.

What are the health concerns with regards to children eating a solely vegan diet and what can be done to address them?

The biggest concerns are that due to the high nutrient requirements, it is common for there to be a deficiency in calcium, iron, iodine as well as protein and total energy. However that being said, if we supplement appropriately we can meet requirements. Using foods such a nutritional yeast, chia seeds and flaxseeds, as well as dark leafy greens, will help our children meet their requirements. I would always recommend that you work with a healthcare professional to ensure your food combinations are allowing for optimal absorption.

How easy is it to feed children a solely vegan diet?

At home it is relatively easy, however it does become difficult when eating out or socialising with other families. Sometimes children can be stigmatised or singled out for the way they eat. An easy swap for example would be to use a vegan cheese as a simple toastie for school. Unfortunately nuts and seeds (quite often used in vegan diets) are allowed in schools (nuts more so) due to the allergy risk so it does limit choice of foods for school lunches.

Is it possible to give yourself or your child an intolerance or even allergy to dairy or eggs by experimenting with a vegan diet?

We know that early introduction of the common allergenic foods, such as eggs, has been shown to decrease the likelihood of our children developing an allergy to these foods. So if we exclude completely and never introduce, I do believe that we may be putting them at risk of an allergy later on in life and that we may never know until they one day decide to eat those foods.

My daughter converted me to veganism two years ago and weve never looked back

Alison Rego, an Indian expat mum of 7-year-old Kristen and blogger at @Pinksmyink, went vegan with her daughter in 2018.

My daughter Kristen and I first turned vegan together in September 2018 . It was initiated by her; I clicked on a video that popped up on my feed on Facebook and she viewed it with me, and afterwards she announced she would not eat animals any longer. I thought it was just a passing fad, but she insisted and I was willing to give it a try. Although it was her idea at first, I am now fully converted to the ideology.

I wasnt really worried about trying out veganism as I thought we would just learn along the way, and two and a half years later we have had no problems so far.

I researched why a plant-based diet is a healthier option - all the boxes it ticks from health to environment; compassion to all living beings and scientifically how fear and slaughter are interlinked.

As Indians, our diet is predominantly a vegetarian diet that includes lentils , vegetables , protein and carbs daily. Going vegan was thus easy as we replaced the dairy and protein with alternatives

Sometimes it can be more challenging to maintain strict veganism; my daughter has sometimes eaten a nugget or an ice cream when around other kids; but by and large children absorb and learn from the environment they are exposed to and hence it is fairly easy for her I would think being around a mum who offers and stocks only plan- based foods.

Eating out vegan can be more of a challenge the UAE has caught up largely but it would truly be nice to have restaurants incorporate a kids vegetarian / vegan meal on their menus.

It has now become our way of life. We are what we consume; gut health more and more is being linked to mental health - I believe this has changed me in many positive ways and I can't see myself changing this new way of life.

I would 100% recommend going vegan to any family. Incorporating a plant based diet in one life will bring a healthier life to your family. Dairy intolerances are on the rise as much simply because of the process animals go through to continually produce, which include steroids and hormones.

When I thought about what I was consuming and feeding my daughter - this was a no brainer for me.

I would say begin by trying veganism 1 or 2 days a week and buy plant based alternatives to the usual food you consume. These are the best two ways to begin.

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UAE Veganuary: Is veganism healthy for kids and babies? - Gulf News

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In maps: Indias vulnerable children are paying the price of upper-caste prejudice with their bodies –

In her haunting short story Shishu (Little Ones), writer Mahashweta Devi depicts the cruelty of shrunk bodies deformed by acute hunger and starvation in Adivasi hamlets, due to chronic administrative apathy.

Reminiscent of this dystopian parable, the recently released National Family Health Survey 2019-20, for the first time since the turn of the millennium records that child stunting has worsened in 13 of 22 states.

At least one of every three pre-school children in India is too short for their age. This declining trend in child heights was measured with the gnawing impact of demonetisation and economic slowdown, before the lockdown.

After the pandemic, with schools closed and rations running thin, the situation becomes so grave that multiple news reports during the lockdown found children forced to work, sell scrap and survive on very little good.

Instead, children should be consuming nutritious eggs, which even during the lockdown could have easily been home delivered from educational institutions as Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have ably demonstrated. But influenced by conservative vegetarian lobbies, most BJP-ruled states refuse to serve eggs in school and Anganwadi menus.

Worse, only a few BJP-ruled states provide milk or fruits as substitutes. In Uttar Pradesh, last year a video even surfaced of school children being served one litre of milk mixed with a bucket of water.

Maps based on the latest National Family Health Survey data also showcase that these states, largely in the northern and western heartland, invariably also have the highest levels of child malnutrition. The previous NFHS reports have also consistently shown a distinctly regressive trend of graded inequality Adivasi, Dalit and Other Backward Class children are more likely to be stunted than the rest.

On the other hand, due to traditional upper-caste prejudices in India, eggs are often erroneously derided as non-vegetarian. In 2019, a BJP politician in Madhya Pradesh, a state which has explicitly banned eggs in Anganwadis, with a straight face, told a slew of reporters that, If children eat meat, they may grow up to be cannibals.

Based on this irrational reasoning, the planet should abound with potential anthropophagi. Four of every five people worldwide eat animal meat. Japanese, Chinese and Mexicans consume the most eggs. But by any stretch of the imagination, sterilised eggs are not flesh foods.

The myth of widespread vegetarianism in India is also a misconception. Employing different methodologies, four different nationwide surveys concur that 63% to 76% of Indias population regularly consume non-vegetarian foods. Even more, include eggs in their diet.

The main handicap, however, is the affordability of eggs and meat in household diets. The 2019 Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey found that children from poorer families are less likely to consume eggs, fish or meat. Women and girls who usually eat last in most homes are also invariably the most deprived.

However, there are distinct regional patterns in food consumption. Tony Joseph in the book Early Indians, emphasises that due to the gene mutation 13910T which shows a distinct north-west to south-east declining pattern geographically, only a fifth of Indians can digest milk in adulthood.

Therefore South and East Indians are more likely to substitute milk with animal protein. However, this does not genetically preclude populations in any state from consuming eggs or meat. In schools, however, as inclusive public policy children must always, of course, be provided vegetarian alternatives too.

Ninety-two per cent of Indian villages have an Anganwadi centre. However, even in regular times, their functioning is patchy, with caste an invisible barrier. In 2015-16, only 48% of children under six years received any food from these centres, with the proportion ranging from 14% in Delhi to 75% in Odisha. On the other hand, a 2015 study by the Human Resource Development Ministry showcased that introduction of eggs in the menu helped improve attendance across schools in two states.

Eggs as nutrient-dense superfoods also contain a veritable mix of necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals. Promisingly, the 2020 New Education Plan also mentions that breakfasts will also be introduced in schools. This opens an additional opportunity to substantially boost childrens nutrition.

In another iconic childrens fable, Our Non-Vegetarian Cow, Mahashweta Devi hilarious recounts how the family pet Nyadosh develops an unusual taste for fried fish and country liquor. Fortunately, all Indian cows do not similarly run riot. But India is perhaps the only country where cows milk is considered to be vegetarian, but sterilised chicken eggs are mistaken to be non-vegetarian.

Indian children are literally paying the price with their physique for this fictitious nutritional prejudice.

Swati Narayan is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Development.

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Study Reveals What Ancient Indians Ate Free Press of Jacksonville – Jacksonville Free Press

A recent study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Dec 9, 2020, has revealed the food habits of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization. Traces of the meat of animals like sheep, cattle, pigs, goat and buffalo along with dairy products were found on ancient ceramic vessels at Indus Valley sites in the present-day states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in India.

The Indus Valley Civilization was South Asias first urban civilization with archeological sites spread across Pakistan, and northwest and west India. Though much is known about its modern architecture and drainage system, not many are aware of the food habits of its people.

The study was led by Dr Akshyeta Suryanarayan, a post-doctoral researcher at CEPAM (Cultures et Environnements. Prhistoire, Antiquit, Moyen ge), CNRS (Centre National de la Recherch Scientifique), Nice, France. It specifically looked at vessels that dated to the urban Mature Harappan period (c. 2600/2500-1900 BC) and the post-urban Late Harappan period (c.1900-1300 BC).

This is the first systematic study that looks at what was cooked or stored in ancient vessels from multiple sites in the Indus Civilization, said Suryanarayan. The study provides chemical evidence of milk products, meat, and possible mixtures of products and/or plant consumption in pottery vessels, Suryanarayan told Zenger News.

This study used a technique known as ceramic lipid analysis to extract and identify fats, waxes and resins absorbed in ancient pottery vessels, she said talking about the process behind the findings. Another complementary technique called GC-C-IRMS enabled the identification of carcass (meat) and milk fat (products like cheese, butter, ghee, yogurt).

Suryanarayan mentioned that the technique of ceramic lipid analysis has been used for over 20 years in different archeological contexts of the world, but had seen limited application in South Asian archeology.

This is partly because of the challenges related to the poor preservation of organic remains in the region. However, because of the developments in the field, it is now possible to extract lipids from pottery found in regions even with poor organic preservation.

I think this study opens up a new way to examine the eating habits and culinary practices of the Indus civilization as it focuses on vessel usage and highlights that pottery can be used to explore questions about everyday life and not just used as a cultural and chronological marker, as is often done in South Asian archeology.

The findings question the perception of India being a historically vegetarian society, which the BJP and the RSS (both right-wing Hindu nationalist organizations) advocate repeatedly.

Ever since it came to power, there have been several attempts by the BJP to vilify meat-eating. In April 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare tweeted a photo about choosing a healthier diet. It contained caricatures of two women, one overweight, and the other slim. It advocated that the thin one ate only fruits and vegetables while the fat one consumed meat, eggs, sausages, and fries. Facing criticism, the Ministry soon removed the picture from its Twitter feed.

Many archeologists specializing in animal bones have reported the presence of different types of animal bones at Indus sites, which include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, wild deer and fish. Many of these bones have butchery marks on them which indicate they were used for meat, said Suryanarayan.

Dr Vasant Shinde, fellow researcher and archeologist from Deccan College, Pune, corroborated the claim.

Excavations did yield animal bones with cut marks which led to us guess that meat was a part of the diet. This was later verified by scientific methodologies, he said. However, it is wrong to say the Harappans (the people of the Indus Valley Civilization) were predominantly meat-eaters. Their staple diet also included wheat, barley, rice and vegetables. Also, it is not clear whether all people consumed animal food or only a certain section of the population did.

The idea that vegetarianism was the predominant dietary practice in India is popular in the west as well. While public government surveys claim that 23-37 percent of Indians are vegetarian, research by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob indicates that these are miscalculated estimations.

Due to the existing political and cultural milieu, people under-report eating meat (particularly beef) and over-report eating vegetarian food. They conclude that in reality, approximately 15 percent of Indians (about 180 million people) eat beef, which questions the government surveys claim of 7 percent.

Dr Ravindra Nath Singh, a fellow researcher in Suryanarayans study and a professor of archaeology at Banaras Hindu University contends that the abundance of grains encountered in the excavations clearly suggest and confirm that the Harappans were predominantly a vegetarian society. According to him, the consumption of non-vegetarian food was certainly there but to a limited extent.

Many bone tools have also been reported from our excavations. Bones were first boiled in order to make tools that could function better. Hence, evidence of lipid (fat) in the vessels may not be an indicator that bones were cooked for eating purposes only, claims Dr Singh.

(Edited by Anindita Ghosh and Uttaran Dasgupta)

Study Reveals What Ancient Indians Ate Free Press of Jacksonville - Jacksonville Free Press

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Seeing India, Pak history through the lens of caste – The Indian Express

We see caste as a problem, not as an analytical category. It is the object of analysis but never its subject. Scholarship on Indias history includes caste as one element, with class and community comprising other categories. What would the history of India look like if seen through the lens of caste?

Ambedkar made this argument for ancient India, seeing the struggle between Brahminism and Buddhism, interrupted by Muslim invasions that destroyed the latter and included the former within a new order. Hinduism emerged from this conquest by adopting Buddhist practices of vegetarianism, temples, floral offerings and non-violence. Buddhists, meanwhile, converted to Islam from the low castes to which they had been reduced.

Whatever its accuracy, Ambedkars history repudiated the dualistic narrative of Hindu-Muslim conflict by including caste within it. Ambedkar claimed that by launching the movement for Pakistan, the Muslim League abandoned its history of alliances between caste and religious minorities. It came instead to an agreement with the Congress as one high-caste party with another to divide the spoils of Independence.

I want to offer a parallel account of how caste permits us to understand modern Indian history. Consider how the Bania tells us a different story about this past. The first time this caste transformed modern India was in the 18th Century, when traders supported the East India Company to make colonialism possible. They did so by switching allegiance from Kshatriya rulers, whether Hindu or Muslim.

The second time Banias changed Indias modern history was with the development of the Congress as a mass organisation under Gandhi. The Kshatriyas displaced by colonialism had by then been replaced in politics by Brahmin lawyers and administrators. The first Bania to take power from the Brahmins who dominated the party, Gandhi gained for it the support of Indias traders.

The national and religious culture promoted by Gandhi was also Bania in character, defined by bhakti, ahimsa and popular Vaishnavism. His rival Jinnah performed a similar feat in the Muslim League, which had been run by an administrative class equivalent to the Brahmins, alongside remnants of the old Kshatriya elite.

Jinnah was from the Khoja caste of traders and, like Gandhi, the first Bania to gain control of his party while bringing Muslim capitalists to support it. Khoja are mostly converts of Hindu Lohana caste. Jinnah boasted of his ability to talk to Gandhi as a Khoja would to a Bania.

If Gandhis rise to power signalled the emergence of a new national culture for Hindus, Jinnahs rise accomplished the same for Muslims. The culture of learning and honour that had characterised the Leagues Brahmin and Kshatriya elite was replaced by a Bania focus on contractual politics.

With Independence, Banias in both countries had to take a back seat. In India they were restricted by a Brahmin bureaucracy and in Pakistan excluded by a new Kshatriya elite. With Brahmins disempowered by the loss of their bases in north India, power soon came to be exercised directly by Kshatriyas through the military.

The multiplicity of power centres in post-colonial India led to a variety of alliances, in which the numerical dominance of Shudras has been divided, joined or mediated by other castes. Pakistan was dominated by a Kshatriya-Shudra grouping in the west and a Shudra-Dalit-Adivasi one in the east, with Brahmin administrators and Bania capitalists of little account in either wing.

In India, Banias played a major role for a third time during the countrys economic liberalisation in the early 1990s, which freed them to adopt a new political identity in Hindutvas Brahmin-Bania combine. Their religiosity is not the austere kind valued by Brahmin ideologues like Savarkar, however, but continues to be focused on bhakti.

In Pakistan, meanwhile, the Kshatriya-Shudra grouping became an absolute majority with the separation of Bangladesh. Even a traders party like that of Nawaz Sharif must adopt Kshatriya ideals to survive. As for Brahmins, their declining status has allowed them to emerge as ideological brokers for groups making claims to power in the name of Islam.

Religion has come to define national culture in both countries, allowing different castes to identify with each other by excluding minorities. While Hinduism provides a home for many sectarian cultures in India, Islam in Pakistan is exclusive.

Why does Islam as a national ideology have to find its enemies within the Muslim community in Pakistan, whether among Ahmadis or Shias, Deobandis or Barelvis? Because the emergence of Bangladesh eliminated Hindus as a substantial minority, with Christians, Sikhs and Parsis also too insignificant.

While Christians and Hindus are discriminated against and even persecuted in Pakistan, as Muslims and Christians sometimes are in India, they are not seen to represent any serious threat to Islam. This means that Islam comes to dominate politics in such a way as to obscure both caste and religious difference.

If the suspect religious minority in Pakistan is to be found within Islam, non-Muslim groups come to represent not religious but caste difference. A Muslim community dominated by Kshatriyas and Shudras thus attacks Christians in Punjab as Dalits, while discriminating against Hindus in Sind as Dalits, Banias and Adivasis.

Christians and Hindus also serve as repositories for the caste identities of Muslims, who escape their status by displacing it onto them. While caste differences in India are also displaced onto a religious minority, in Pakistan this displacement locates the minority within and caste outside Islam. Caste really does allow us to see history anew.

Faisal Devji is Professor of Indian History at the University of Oxford

Suraj Yengde, author of Caste Matters, curates the fortnightly Dalitality column

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A new poetry collection about a Cambridge women unjustly hanged as a witch, and new National Endowment for the Humanities grants for local writers -…

Verses of the accused

In Cambridge in 1650, a woman was wrongly accused and hanged for bewitching her friends child to death. Shortly after her hanging, it came to light that the child froze to death because his nurse left him in the cold woods during a lovers tryst. Such are the facts that drive Cambridge poet Denise Bergmans taut and propulsive book-length poem The Shape of the Keyhole (Black Lawrence). The poem unfolds over seven days, from the accusation to the farce of the trial to the public hanging and the too-late truth. Nightmare and silence are powerful forces on the scene, and Bergmans examinations of the different wavelengths of fear of the woman accused, her accusers, her husband, the assorted members of the town, butcher, baker, preacher, farmer, blacksmith is deeply perceptive: Fear like smokehouse fire fills her loins. Its as physically raw as it is psychologically astute: grape-purple eyelids / lips too cracked / to cry. She uses slant echoing words get repeated, altered, reformed giving the feeling of trying to make sense of something thats happening too fast. Her demons / have outgrown their skins. There is something of Edgar Lee Masterss Spoon River Anthology here, and the powerful act of giving voice to those beyond the grave. Bergman will read and discuss the book at a virtual event on Wednesday, January 6, at 7 pm through Porter Square Books. Visit for more information and to register.

Grants for humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $32 million in grants to humanities projects, with over $3.1 million going to individuals and organizations in New England. In Massachusetts, projects funded range from Melissa Muellers book on Homers reception in the work of Sappho ($60k); to Traci Parkers book on Black love as an expression of Black freedom movement ideology ($60k); to Benjamin Leemings translation into English of a collection of Nahuatl-language Christian sermons from the 1540s ($60k); to Elizabeth Fosters book on West African political and religious conflicts ($55k); to Kerry Sonias book about ancient Israel childbirth practices ($60k); to Annette Lienaus book on Arabic as a transregional language; to Owen Stanwoods book on failed French settlements in 16th century Florida ($50k); to Olivia Weissers book on sex and disease in 17th- and 18th century London ($60k), among others. In Maine, Ann Kibbies book on medical treatment of pregnant woman in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries was funded ($40k). For a full list, visit

Night shift novel

Ellen Cooneys wise and warm latest novel, One Night Two Souls Went Walking (Coffee House) follows an unnamed 36-year-old chaplain on the night shift at a hospital. It is a book about soul, the thing that doesnt have words, the realest thing in all of us that we struggle to name, but that comes flickering, shining, blazing to life. Cooney, a native of Massachusetts who now lives in midcoast Maine, asks the big questions as her narrator sits bedside to people in the deepest crux moments of their lives. What to say when there are no words? Her narrator has doubts, feels lonely in her family, sometimes her brain turns traitor and floods her with gruesome, tragic moments from her work; in other words, she is human, which makes it easier for the people she tends to, and us, to trust her. This is a quiet book, steady, gentle, present, one that grapples with the matter-of-fact here and now, and wades, with bravery and wonder, into the mysteries that make us human.

Coming Out

Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World by Kevin Dutton (FSG)

My Grandmothers Braid by Alina Bronsky, translated from the German by Tim Mohr (Europa)

I Just Wanted To Save My Family by Stphan Plissier, translated from the French by Adriana Hunter (Other Press)

Pick of the Week

Abby Velasco at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street in Boston recommends Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses (Scribner): I expected the message to be heavy-handedly, Dont eat meat. It is bad. Well, this book pleasantly shattered my expectations. This is set in a world where a virus has diseased all animal flesh, and to fill the demand for meat, humans have resorted to consuming each other. Rather than a promotion for vegetarianism, I read this novel as gruesome commentary on justified, insane selfishness in society. Really, how far are we willing to go to get what we want? Not need. Want.

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren. She can be reached at

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A new poetry collection about a Cambridge women unjustly hanged as a witch, and new National Endowment for the Humanities grants for local writers -...

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Mirtha Legrand gave Juana Viale a fun bill pass: This is a confession. – Inspired Traveler

The TV Diva Mirtha Legrand shared a very special table with his granddaughter Juana Viale and made a confession about the actresss vegetarianism.

With lunch with Mirtha Legrand: Juana Viale surprised with a colorful tunic dress and almost accidentally

You always have your garden, said Mirtha. Yes, thats tomatoes are about to explode, Juana replied. Whenever I go to Juanas house, I get everything from the garden, and I go with a hunger, because I ate everything green, everything green. Im not like that, I eat compact. And when I go in the car, I say Im hungry. I said I always carry some cookies, the diva confessed to her granddaughters laughter. The chocolates, added Juana. This is a confession, Mirtha concluded.

Mirtha received several surprises on the air after being absent from television for nine months because of the coronavirus pandemic. From greetings from friends to the unexpected presence of her daughter Marcela Tinayre and her great-granddaughter Amber.

He also gave his opinion on how he sees the current situation in the country: This pandemic is very hard. It hit us very hard, financially, very difficult. With regard to Argentina, a lot of poverty. What terrifies me most is unemployment, lack of work, he confessed.

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Mirtha Legrand gave Juana Viale a fun bill pass: This is a confession. - Inspired Traveler

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Navigating the future workplace: What lessons can we take from 2020 to prepare for future HR challenges – Lexology

After a challenging year for the UK economy, it has never been more important for HR to be on top of the rapidly changing legal landscape. As 2020 draws to a close, we look at what themes and trends have emerged from employment law in 2020, upcoming changes in 2021 and what impact events in 2020 are likely to have on the future of work.

Lessons learned?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected and be flexible. Who could have predicted last year that 'furlough' would be a topic of daily conversation? There's more to 2020 than just the furlough scheme, though. Key themes and trends, such as the use of transparency to drive social change or conscience, an arguably widening scope of discrimination protection, rising numbers of whistleblowing complaints and continuing conundrums in employment status and holiday pay have all been evident throughout 2020 and look set to continue in 2021.

Transparency: Employers can expect to see transparency continuing to be used as a subtle, yet effective, tool for change in 2021 and beyond. In 2020, employers have been encouraged to publicly repay 400 million in furlough grants, publish online health and safety risk assessments for employees and customers and accept that HMRC will publish the names and details of those using the furlough scheme from 1 December 2020.

Elsewhere, the #BLM movement is also driving greater transparency. Employers are being encouraged to sign up to Business in the Community's Race at Work Charter to commit to ensuring that ethnic minority employees are represented at all levels within their organisations and the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (set to report before the end of the year), is rumoured to be looking again at ethnicity pay gap reporting after the consultation closed in January 2019.

Gender pay gap reporting, which was postponed in 2020, will resume in April 2021, when it is likely to be under increased scrutiny to assess the impact of the pandemic, where women have reportedly been disproportionately impacted.

Widening discrimination protection: Testing the boundaries of discrimination also looks set to continue into 2021 and beyond. 2020 saw the first successful gender fluidity case in Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, where a Tribunal took a pragmatic approach in concluding that Ms Taylor, who identifies as gender fluid/non-binary, was covered by the protected characteristic of gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010 (which requires someone to be "proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process or part of a process for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex") and awarded 180,000 in costs.

The question of what amounts to a 'philosophical belief' under the Equality Act 2010 has also continued throughout 2020, with Tribunals finding that beliefs in ethical veganism, stoicism and that sex and gender are set at birth are capable of falling within the protected characteristic of religion and belief but that vegetarianism and other beliefs that individuals cannot change their biological sex or gender are not (although one case is on appeal to the EAT).

Employment status and holiday pay: Challenges to employment status and calculation of holiday remain firmly on the agenda for employers in 2021. In 2020, whilst CitySprint couriers and foster carers successfully established worker status, DPD couriers did not (owing to the presence of a substitution clause), although they have now appealed to the EAT. Crucially, we are still awaiting the Supreme Court's decision from June 2020 as to whether Uber drivers are workers or independent contractors, which is expected imminently.

2021 looks set to be a bumper year for holiday pay developments. In June, the long-standing question of whether voluntary overtime should be construed as 'normal pay' and included in holiday pay will be heard (and hopefully put to rest!) by the Supreme Court in Flowers v East of England, followed the next day by Chief Constable of Northern Ireland v Agnew, where the same court will determine whether a 3-month gap in a series of unlawful deductions breaks a series of deductions. In November, we hope to receive final confirmation of how holiday pay should be calculated for part-year workers when the Supreme Court hears the case of The Harpur Trust v Brazel.

Other areas of focus for HR in 2021 will be the changes to the UK's immigration rules and IR35 reform.

The biggest change to the UK's immigration rules in the last 40 years took effect from 1 December 2020. Employers who wish to employ non-British and non-Irish people to work in the UK require a sponsor licence, which enables businesses to sponsor the worker's visa. From 2021, visas are needed for non-EEA, EEA and Swiss migrants (except Irish nationals) who are coming to the UK to work. Businesses wishing to employ non-British and non-Irish workers will require a sponsor licence to sponsor new migrant workers who arrive in the UK to work from 1 January 2021.

Businesses who engage contractors through personal service companies will need to agree a new approach once the IR35 changes come into effect on 6 April 2021 - which effectively push the tax liability risk onto the end-user. Will your business want to engage all workers as employees (with the additional tax costs and employment rights), use agencies or umbrella companies, or simply refuse to engage personal service companies altogether? Many businesses will have prepared for these changes last year, but those who haven't can start by identifying any arrangements that are potentially affected, start talking to existing contractors about it and establish new internal protocols/policies to assess and record status and cascade information down the chain.

2020 - a lasting legacy?

If that wasn't enough, HR professionals will also be preoccupied by some of the bigger questions thrown up by the past nine months, which have fundamentally challenged our ideas of how and where we work. According to the headlines, it is now fairly established that employees dont want to go back to the office full time and companies are re-thinking this through too. Do businesses still need a big head office or something else? We know that people want to come back to the office but not all the time and not for everything. How might a blended or hybrid approach to working work in practice? Will offices become places where we go for social or team work only?

It certainly seems like the employee life cycle is being fundamentally disrupted, which is likely to continue in the longer term if we keep up an element of homeworking. HR will need to adapt and change accordingly. Now is a good time to listen to people within the business, look to sort the technology for the longer term and start rethinking HR practices (such as performance management, homeworking, employee engagement), before drawing up a plan for now (and the next 6 months) as well as a longer-term strategy for the future.

This article was first published in HR Review in December 2020.

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Navigating the future workplace: What lessons can we take from 2020 to prepare for future HR challenges - Lexology

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Mirtha Legrand made a funny bill pass to Juana Viale: This is a confession – Inspired Traveler

The television diva Mirtha Legrand, shared a very special table with his granddaughter Juana Viale and took the opportunity to make a confession in relation to the vegetarianism of the actress.

You always have your garden, said Mirtha. Yes, that is the tomatoes are about to explode, replied Juana. Whenever I go to Juanas house they give me everything from the garden, and Im leaving hungry, because I ate everything green, everything green. Im not like that, I eat compact. And when I go in the car I say Im hungry. I said that I always carry a cookie, the diva confessed to her granddaughters laughter. Chocolates, Juana added. This is a confession, Mirtha concluded.

Mirtha received several surprises on the air after being absent from television for nine months because of the coronavirus pandemic. From greetings from friends to the unexpected presence of your daughter Marcela tinayre and his great-granddaughter Amber.

He also gave his opinion on how he sees the current situation in the country: This pandemic is very hard. It has hit us very hard, economically, very difficult. With respect to Argentina, a lot of poverty. What terrifies me the most is unemployment, lack of work, he confessed.


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Mirtha Legrand made a funny bill pass to Juana Viale: This is a confession - Inspired Traveler

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Celebrities rooting for Veganuary in UK to combat new rise in meat sales – The Guardian

A host of musicians, actors and sports stars have joined up with businesses and environmental groups in what they hope will be a successful push to get more people to ditch meat, fish and dairy in the new year.

Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Sir Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Lily Cole and Alan Cumming have all signed a letter calling for people to change their diet for Veganuary next month. We cannot tackle climate change while we farm and eat animals on an industrial scale, the open letter written by the Veganuary association says.

Other signatories include Chris Packham, the environmental campaigner and TV presenter, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, cricketer Jason Gillespie, businesswoman Deborah Meaden and comedians John Bishop, Sara Pascoe and Jon Richardson.

Packham said there was a clear link between the climate crisis, large-scale meat-eating and coronavirus. This virus leapt from animals into us as Sars, Ebola and HIV did all because we were abusing the natural environment and the animals that live there, he told the Observer. So nature has taught us a very harsh and cold lesson. If we dont start understanding that we are all connected implicitly to nature, and that what we eat impacts on nature, were in deep trouble. Thats why the environmental aspect of veganism or vegetarianism or anyone changing their diet has come to the forefront.

Veganuarys organisers hope to persuade 500,000 people to try veganism in January. Some 350,000 took part last year.

Global meat sales had begun to decline in 2019, after rising from around 71 million tonnes a year in 1961 to 340 million tonnes in 2018, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In the UK, sales of beef, lamb and pork dropped by up to 4% last Christmas, and supermarkets cater for rising numbers of flexitarians those who cut back on meat.

However, lockdown has fuelled a boom in meat consumption. According to researcher Kantar, sales of turkeys were up 36% on last year, and sales of red meat and poultry grew by more than 10% each month until September.

The Veganuary letter sets out the environmental arguments against meat. Animal agriculture is responsible for an estimated 14.5% of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, it says. In recent years, more than 80% of deforestation in Brazil was to graze farmed animals, and still more forests are destroyed to grow crops to feed animals on farms around the world. Deforestation is serious for lots of reasons. It pushes wild species to extinction. It displaces indigenous peoples. It drives climate change. And it brings us in ever closer contact with wild animals and any viruses they may harbour, raising the risk of another pandemic.

Packham said there was evidence that soya produced in felled Brazilian rainforest had been used to feed chickens sold in UK supermarkets and fast-food outlets: If you put that chicken in your mouth, youre connecting yourself very directly with deforestation in South America.

But ethical eating was difficult even for vegans, he added. Palm oil has led to the deforestation of Indonesia and Malaysia, and its in biscuits, shampoo its frankly everywhere. We each of us consume 8kg to 9kg every year.

He said the solution was not for the whole population to turn vegan. The people I call ultra-vegans just want to stop all meat consumption overnight. But that would be no good for meat farmers. It would be no good for our landscapes, where low-intensity, good-quality animal husbandry and livestock farming are actually good for biodiversity. What we need is a transition where we eat less meat and pay more for it so we can put the profit in the farmers pocket.

Toni Vernelli of Veganuary said that while 2020 had brought hardship and heartbreak, it had also brought an opportunity to change and build a better future.

Our united message is one of hope, but we must all act now.

This article was amended on 20 December 2020 because changes made during the editing process led an earlier version to say that Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth wrote the letter. Those organisations were among the letters signatories, however, the letter itself was written by the Veganuary association.

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Celebrities rooting for Veganuary in UK to combat new rise in meat sales - The Guardian

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Vegetarianism used to be lonely. Now, it’s a family affair. – Grist

Its been a helluva year so rather than just reflecting on all that went down in 2020, were going back a bit further and seeking comfort via nostalgia. But while revisiting simpler times may feel like temporary escapes from current disasters like climate change, a pandemic, and attempted coups, they also remind us of how we got here. Welcome to Grists Nostalgia Week.

The start to my 12-year stint as a vegetarian was not a particularly auspicious one. I was standing over my parents kitchen sink, eyes full of tears as I choked down one mouthful after another of cold, cotton-dry chicken breast. At the same time, I engaged in a fiery staring contest with my dad, who had taken it upon himself to enforce his long-promised threat of You are going to sit here until you finally clean your dinner plate, young lady.

My stand against meat lasted from age 10 to my early 20s. During that time, my family continued to eat meat, though they never again forced me to join them. Instead, my parents let me forage in the pantry and fumble on the stovetop for my own dinner. My elementary cooking skills meant that I relied on a lot of frozen veg staples Gardenburger patties, MorningStar Farms Chikn nuggets, DiGiorno cheese pizza.

The early 1990s, well before the advent of plant-based diets, were a different time for meatless eating. Meat alternatives have been around for thousands of years, but youd never have known that shopping for vegetarian entree options in the conventional American grocery stores near my parents Southern California home at the time. My choices were generally limited to Oriental flavored Ramen packets and boxed macaroni and cheese. Going out to eat usually meant ordering some form of spaghetti with red sauce. Even when I tried to explain to my Chinese relatives that I was no longer eating meat for taste reasons, they awkwardly continued to offer me plates of beef tendon until my grandmother lied and told them I had become a Buddhist.

The holidays were especially rough. My family went all-out for Thanksgiving with a mix of American and Chinese delicacies turkey, gravy, giblet stuffing, chicken gyoza, pork buns, the works. Id look at that lovingly handmade fare and then down to my own plate: plain mashed potatoes, salad, and a dinner roll. It was still delicious, but not exactly special. I didnt miss the taste of turkey, but I longed to join in on the tradition of it all.

As I got older, the gentle ribbing about my dietary choices faded on the family front and instead started coming from my peers. While I knew a few other young vegetarian converts, we were seen as oddities, assumed to be either die-hard animal rights zealots or body-conscious health nuts. Our motivations, in fact, varied; mine was more a mix of texture aversion and a strong desire to shirk my parents control. But we were united by our isolation: While our friends gathered around party-sized plates of buffalo wings, we grazed in the corner on cold baby carrots and ranch dressing. We were seldom invited on lunchtime fast food runs a kind of SoCal teen Olympic sport in which five hungry high schoolers cram into a 2-seater truck and tried to make it to the local taco shop and back in 20 minutes or less.

By the time I graduated college, my tastes had changed and I was tired of so much pasta, black bean patties, and veggie platters. A chance encounter with a particularly aromatic and tender piece of barbecued chicken thigh put an end to my meatless streak.

Sixteen years ago, going from vegetarian to flexitarian, or meat-light, felt like a revelation. I could sit down with my family and enjoy my moms slow-cooked borscht! I no longer had to microwave my Thanksgiving dinner! No restaurant menu section was off limits! I could actually trade entree bites with a date! Until that point, I hadnt noticed one constant seasoning of my meat-free diet.

It was loneliness.

The world has obviously changed a lot since then, but food remains as important as ever, especially during times of uncertainty. We can derive thrill from attempting a new recipe or comfort revisiting a favorite childhood meal. Our diets are the realm in which we can exert a small (but non-negligible) degree of control within a generally out-of-control world.

Despite being almost 20 years out of the vegetarian game, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, I threw a couple of boxes of MorningStar breakfast patties in my grocery cart for old times sake. Looking down the rest of the meat alternatives aisle, it was clear just how much time had passed since my DiGiorno-for-one days. The shelves were packed with family-size options for vegetarian meal ideas: Beyond Beef in family-style packs, cashew cheese pizzas, coconut milk ice cream.

According to a post-pandemic report, parents of young children are one of the biggest consumer demographic groups for plant-based products. The idea of parents driving their kids vegetarianism feels like a bittersweet twist on my childhood. I imagine my mom showing a younger version of myself how to properly press the moisture out of tofu, shape a Beyond Beef meatball, or marinate tempeh. My parents loved me and never complained about buying me the meat substitutes I asked for. But to have had the bonding experience of actually preparing it and enjoying it together? There is no substitute.

The morning after my impulse Morningstar purchase, I woke up and threw a pair of the patties into the microwave. As the smell of savory plant protein filled my kitchen, memories came rushing back: the weekday breakfast rush, stolen glances at my brother and sister divvying up strips of bacon from the stovetop. As I slid the warm, brown circles onto a plate, my four-year-old daughter came over and plunked into my lap. We sat and ate them together.

The taste was the same as I remembered. Almost.

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Vegetarianism used to be lonely. Now, it's a family affair. - Grist

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