Oct 24, 2009
As the winter approaches, I'd like to give you a smoothie recipe that you'll enjoy. It's easy to prepare and is nutritious since it has got greens in it! You know especially women should take calcium daily. I believe it's always better to take it from natural sources...
1 1/2 cups kale (lettuce or spinach)
1 stalk celery
Instructions: Dice the fruit or cut in big chunks. Blend all ingredients together with about half a cup (up to one full cup) of water.
Oct 17, 2009
En me couchant comme la cendre sous la flamme
Non je dors et malgré le pouvoir de la nuit
J'apprends comme un enfant que je vais m'éveiller
Oct 10, 2009
I’d like to share with you few things from a book in French I’ve read recently. The authors are Claudine Herzlich and Philippe Adam and the book’s name is Sociologie de la maladie et de la médecine, Armand Colin, 2007.
In the book the chapter which is about cultural and social interpretations of health and illness took my interest the most. It says basically that our cultural code influence our response to illnesses and pain. The first researches made on this topic were from Mark Zborowski in the late 50’s. He studied three ethnical groups in the United States on the experience of pain: Jewish Americans, Italian Americans and protestant Americans who were settled in the US for a long time. Jew and Italian Americans reacted to pain very emotionally whereas native born protestant Americans were more tend to minimize the pain than the others. Zborowski analized significance related to the pain in these different groups. For exemple, experience of pain for Italians had especially an immediate meaning, their complaints were very strong but as soon as the pain went off they too appeased and this left very little memory on this people. On the other hand, the preoccupations of Jewish Americans were more concerned for long term consequences of the pain. Their anxiety was directed towards future and it didn’t get erased when the pain disappeared. When it comes to protestant Americans, their worry was centered on the future and their attitude was very pragmatical: They accepted hospitilization better than the members of the other two groups and believed they should cooperate with the staff.
A research made by Irving Zola too has shown that different ethnical groups in the United States described the same illness’ symptoms in different ways. Zola studied Italian Americans and Irish Americans. According to this study, Irish indicated precise localizations for their symptoms, described a limited dysfunction and could minimize the suffering. Italians were plaintive of more symptoms and these were more vague; they emphasized the pain they felt and stressed out that their mood and relationship with others are perturbed. Thus, for example, for the same visual trouble, an Irish American would answer to the question “what do you suffer from?” as “I can’t see to thread a needle nor can I read a newspaper” while an Italian would say: “I have a perpetual headache, eyes which shed tears and become red”.
After reading this I’ve thought of my own responses to symptoms. I’ve realised that I’ve got a headache when I sit or stay in the middle of drafts. (Actually one of the words we use in Turkish for draft is “courant d’air” which is the same word in French). It’s quite common between women in Istanbul here that we should protect ourselves from it. I remember my mother always warned us to keep away from drafts or it would cause many disturbances. At those times when I was a teenager -or even later- that didn’t make much sense to me. I think we didn’t know how to listen to our bodies at that age or understand its signals. I don’t know if this requires some wisdom but in my experience this came with the age. This is one of the many factors I like about aging! And if you ask me how do I respond to a headache, to be honest I feel pretty hopeless about the situation and I take a pain killer (I would prefer to take a homeopathic medicine but until now in Istanbul, I’ve heard of two people who practice this as a doctor and they are really expensive!) and try to disappear from the world and everyone. I didn’t read any studies on how Turks respond to pain but I believe the differences in one’s character too play an important role on our approach to illnesses. Well, I guess, best of all is to avoid the pain comes in the first hand and take the necessary preventions by being aware of our bodies’ signals and be friend with them so that they don’t make fool of us...
 M. Zborowski, “Cultural Components in Responses to Pain”, Journal of Social Issues, 1952, no 8, pp. 16-30.
 I.K. Zola, “Culture and Symptoms. An Analysis of Patients’ Presenting Complaints”. American Sociological Review, 1966, vol. XXXI, pp. 615-630.
George Cruikshank, published by G. Humphrey, 27 St. James's St., February 12, 1819. George Cruikshank satirizes the abuse that women experienced by being held hostage to the fashions of the day in this entertaining print entitled, “The Cholic.” Colic is a medical term for severe abdominal pain, represented in the caricature by the tightening of a rope around the woman's waist. The irony is that her agony is self-imposed and not caused by a preexisting medical condition. The woman is a victim to the popular practice of wearing tight-laced corsets.
(picture taken from http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/artifacts/caricatures/en6-fashion.cfm)
Picture 1 (adv. seen from the ferry)
Anyway, if we leave aside what I feel, we know that even 1G or 2G cell phones have negative effects on human health and the environment. An English brain surgeon, professor Vini Khurana says that the waves cell phones emanate are far more harmful than smoking or asbestos. Prof. Khurana adds that the percentage to get brain cancer for those who use the cell phone for more than 10 years is double than those who don’t use it. And it’s actually takes 10 years for a brain cancer to get developed. He says that in the next 10 years it’s expected an increase in brain cancer cases around the world.
If we go back to what’s going on in Turkey, I recently read that in Tuzla (suburbs of Istanbul) a cell phone company wanted to build a base station for 3G phones. The local people are against it and they literally closed the ditches that were digged. They say it’s not fair not to ask the opinion of those who live in that area. They went both to municipality and to government places but no one seemed to know that a company were to build there a base station. At the end, the local people sued the company. Isn’t that amazing? I mean I found it so, because in Istanbul in places where many “intellectuals” live it’s rare to see this solidarity.
Another professor from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Selim Seker says that instead of 1 base station there will be 9. In England for instance, with the coming of 3G phones between 50.000 and 70.000 more base station had been built. And this means, more radiation, more magnetical pollution! They did some researches about the UMTS system (which is found in 3G phones) in Sweden and found out very damaging results on human health. In Germany, they say there are more and more obese and allergic children.
It is also proven by scientific researches that children who play within 300 m. distance to a base station carry % 500 more risks to get cancer compared to other kids. I don’t know about what is the situation in Europe or the US (Please tell me if you know anything on this) but in Turkey we see them nearby the hospitals, schools and parks. I saw one recently in front of a quite famous private hospital called Florence Nightingale – see in the picture below.
Picture 2 and 3 - Pay attention to the two circular pieces on the streetlamp.
Do people buy these because it’s trendy and “cool” or is there a psychological illness we are face to face: “impulse control disorder” and we are “born to buy”. I’m not a psychologist but what I see in people is that it’s not easy to control this! And marketers know it quite well! I actually feel behind the message they want to deliver, there is that “we are enough smart and willing to learn to want to be curious” as though this curiosity will take us to one of our most basic needs. In my view, the main vulnerable targeted ones are youngsters and women. Young people want love and attention and the mobile phone is the concrete object for this love. As the capitalism develops day by day we started to think our value is measured by how much we consume. Do we, women- buy products we need or are we forced to be in need to the products we buy? Shouldn’t we be cautious what adverts want us to believe: “a woman who purchases many things is the happiest one”. If we don’t buy things there is the feeling of failure. We feel failure that we don’t possess the cool hybrid car (as it looks more “environmental” this way), we feel deprived from a “dream” we are asked to be part in... As Annie Leonard asks us in her amazing short film called The Story of Stuff, “guess what percentage of total materials flow through this system is still in product or use six months after the date of sale in North America?” The answer is only % 1! It means that “% 99 of the stuff we run, we harvest, mine, process, transport in this system is trashed within six months”.
Finally, products do not love us back and I believe what is important is to instill the feelings of self-confidence that we are beautiful with what we have internally. I read that there are statistical findings on the negative power of consumer involvement. For instance people who are more envious of others, worry more about how much they have, have stronger desires to acquire money and possessions, and are more likely to be depressed and anxious. It’s interesting that materialism is corralated with depression and anxiety as well as lower self-esteem. Though I have hopes... We can think well enough before we buy anything, we can use our imagination to transform materials and we can still learn from our grandma/an elderly woman in the family or in our community about being resourceful.
 I recommend you to read Juliet Schor’s book: “Born to buy”, Scribner, 2004.