Viva La Causa

I chose to watch the documentary Viva La Causa. This documentary was about the grape strike and NFWA (National Farm Workes Association) against the grape growers led by Ceser Chavez in the 1960’s.  Watching this gave me hope and also reinforced the notion that if you want something to change, you can make it happen. The power of people fighting for something together without using violence is possible. When I think of advocating for something, this is what comes to mind.  These farm worker were not covered by state or federal laws. All of the power was held by the growers and the working conditions were immoral.

It was eye opening to learn about how the strike started.  The documentary discussed how Cesar Chavez started off knocking and doors and how they would go to the farms, and picket outside and urge the workers to join them and fight for better conditions. They got sprayed down with dust and foremans/growers would put loud music on to drown out the protesters. Overall this was not an easy battle and went on for years before any sort of change could happen. This is something important to keep in mind. Cesar Chavez went on a fast for 25 days which was his way of voicing that violence was not the answer to get things to change.  I think this is so important for advocating for anything.  You need to fight for what you want, and if everyone comes together and commits to making a change, then you can make a difference.  It wasn’t until 1970, that the growers finally surrendered and the workers got the first farm labor contracts.The main message I got out of this is that it takes people working together and spreading the story about what you are fighting for to really create change and make a difference.

Also when reading A Moveable Feast: The UFW Grape Boycott and Farm Worker Justice, I kept thinking back to the guest speaker we had who talked about how hard her parents fought to get Suzy’s law passed. She kept stressing how important it is when advocating to share your issue/story with others, to inform them, also as the article discusses, the strike wasn’t enough. The boycott of buying CA grapes and not shopping at grocery stores really helped the change to come about. By reaching out to consumers to not buy CA grapes and don’t shop at these stores helped the number of people increase dramatically. The video states that in 1970, 17 mill people stopped buying grapes and that the growers lost an estimated 25 mill.$! That is not something that happens overnight. It took a lot of time, and tireless effort to get people to boycott the growers.


Synaptic Pruning

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As the brain matures, synapsis occurs, strengthening frequently used neural pathways and discarding those deemed unnecessary.  Areas of the brain become less, not more, dense as they mature after age five thanks to the “pruning” nature of synapsis.


Modern Malnutrition

Malnutrition not only affects the developing brain but compromises the child’s immune system, increasing the frequency of illness while also elongating the effects.  Causes of malnutrition vary greatly

Acute malnutrition is characterized by the loss of body fat and wasting of skeletal muscle.  Acute malnutrition is typically caused by a sudden period of food shortage while Chronic Malnutrition refers to a prolonged period of insufficient access to both macro- and micro- nutrients.  Chronic malnutrition may have devastating lifelong impacts on the body including mental functions, physical mobility and the acquisition of social skills.

Malnutrition during early life influences a child’s metabolism, inhibiting the natural progression of physiological growth and development patterns.  Children who are malnourished are at increased risk for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, developing diabetes later in life.  Malnutrition is also now considered a risk factor obesity and metabolic syndrome, characterized by the inability to properly process glucose.

Furmaga-Jablonska, W. et. al. (2014).  Malnutrition in the 21st century.  Nutrition, 30, 242-243.  Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10/1016/j.nut.2014.05.001


Malnourished Relationships

Alive & Thrive published a report in January of 2012 suggesting that malnutrition affects brain development not just directly, but also indirectly as the conditions work to  shape the child’s experiences.  While nutrient deficiencies physically affect the development of the brain, the child’s daily experience may be altered by subsequent behavioral manifestations.  Alive & Thrive asserts that undernourished children may exhibit characteristics, such as frequent illness, irritability and withdrawing that could lead caregivers to react more negatively toward them.  Essentially, behaviors caused by malnutrition may be undermining the establishment of securely attached relationships that have become indicative of strong socio-emotional skills later in life.

Alive & Thrive estimates that there are 200 million children globally failing to reach their developmental potential partially due to undernutrition.  While many studies of malnutrition focus on the extreme end of the spectrum, it is important to remember that proper nutrition is a balancing act every individual must learn how to manage.

The chart below illustrates how “interventions aimed at either the child or the caregiver may have cumulative and cascading effects over time” (p. 3).  The critical nature of the dyadic relationship between child and caregiver makes the potential interruption of attachment devastating.

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Reference

Prado, E. & Dewey, K. (2012).  Insight: Nutrition and brain development in early life (A&T Technical Brief Issue 4).  Retrieved from http://www.aliveandthrive.org/sites/default/files/file-attachments/Technical%20Brief%204-%20Nutrition%20and%20brain%20development%20in%20early%20life.pdf.


The [SAD] Standard American Diet

Mark Hyman, M.D. discusses how the standard American diet has grown too energy dense but nutrient poor, rich in empty calories.  Generally, Hyman has found American’s are typically deficient in Magnesium, Vitamin C, D, E and A along with omega-3 fatty acids.

The American diet has shifted dramatically to include more processed foods stuffed with high fructose corn syrup and other refined ingredients while meats are laced with nitrates to preserve “freshness.”  Data from the USDA archives suggest that soils nutrients are becoming depleted from industrial farming.  Comparisons of 43 fruits and veggies from 1950 and 1999 show calcium down 16%, iron 15% and vitamin C 20%.  Larger, less nutritious portions have become less expensive than the food our grandparents once grocery shopped for.

Hyman, M. M.D. (2012 March 8).  How malnutrition causes obesity [Blog Post].  Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/malnutrition-obesity_b_1324760.html.