Is Sarah Wilson anti-vaccination?

Posted on March 26th, 2015

The short answer is NO. So is the longer one.

Consider this An Open Letter to Journalists Who Find Themselves A Little Confused. I’ll do this little “cheat sheet” in bullets because, frankly, I don’t have the patience for pleasantries. And I figure I need to get to the point clearly. It seems many journalists are very confused.

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Photograph by Sheena Jibson

1. I have never said I’m anti-vaccination. Dozens of journalists have claimed that I am, regurgitating each others’ incorrect stories. None have bothered to contact me for comment. Or bothered to Google the topic. If they did, they’d find this.

2. I am pro-vaccination. And have written as such.

3. This is something journalists need to know:

When journalists claim I’m anti-vax they are “creating” a poster girl for the movement.

This is incredibly irresponsible and gives power to the very movement they’re railing against.

4. I have had enough of being put up as that poster girl and will be taking action to have stories corrected when it does happen. I have requested the Herald Sun pull down their latest effort by Susie O’Brien (who also, curiously, refers to “raw milk-drinking vegans”). For instance.

5. Context is king. References to me voicing the anti-vax argument were made in the context of having being asked on Sunrise back in early 2013 to explain the reasons that parents from a wealthy suburb in Sydney were giving for not vaccinating their children. I explained what their reasoning was, drawing on the news link in question, as well as Read more

Solastalgia, a new type of unease

Posted on March 25th, 2015

My interest in words that sum up melancholia or human yearning (in a way that standard English just can’t) continues. A Twitter friend (Dr Daz) sent me this read about “solastalgia”, a word invented by (retired) Murdoch University professor of sustainability and environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht.

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At home outdoors

Solastalgia describes “the homesickness you have when you are still at home”.

By the late 1990s open-cut coal mining had drastically changed the landscape of the Upper Hunter region of NSW – for the worse. As a result, the people of the region were suffering from a form of chronic distress that saw their previously positive sense of place (“topophilia”) and love of their home and landscape, turn bad. Albrecht realised that there was no concept in the English language that adequately described this distressed state. And so he invented the term to describe the existential melancholia experienced with the negative transformation (desolation) of a loved home environment.

But it soon took off around the world as A Word that summed up succinctly A Thing we’re collectively feeling about the planet. That is, bad stuff is happening and we feel ill-at-ease about it.

Says Albrecht:

“One of the reasons for international interest in the concept of solastalgia is that we are in the middle of a pandemic of earth-related distress that will only get worse. Everything that was once familiar and trusted in our environment will be Read more

The Ayurvedic reason you might be craving sugar

Posted on March 24th, 2015

I’ve shared on oodles of occasions how Ayurvedic healing is, in my opinion, the most grounded wellness approach around. You can catch up on my previous posts here and find out which dosha you are here. And if you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know my dosha is, yeah, vata. I’m a poster child for the category!

If you’re not vata yourself read on anyway, because vata energy actually controls all the doshas - if your vata is out of whack, all the doshas become unbalanced.

Photo by Ceppas Photography

Photo by Ceppas Photography

The thing is, Vatas need “sweet” foods

Vata energy actually needs sweetness to balance and pacify. This is because the energy in vata comes in bursts, so calls for energy stabilisation after a burst. Which is why vata types crave sugar. Because it’s sweet, yes, but also because it’s a stimulant. And for vata types – which sees energy move through our bodies and minds like wind through a tunnel – we feel we need those stimulants to replace the lost energy.

Where does this leave things? We need “sweet” foods, but sugar is surely an issue? I asked Ayurvedic consultant Nadia Marshall to share some of her tips and tricks on the topic. Nadia is director of The Mudita Institute near Byron Bay. She lives and breathes this stuff. 

So what does Ayurveda have to say about sugar?

Nadia deals it straight: From an Ayurvedic perspective, refined sugars are considered both stale and over-stimulating. They are difficult to digest so can create disturbance and waste in the body (known as “Ama” in Ayurveda and considered to be the root cause of all disease). Refined sugars actually aggravate vata but also kapha, leading to fluid retention, weight gain, mental agitation or dullness (or both… swinging between the two) and physical exhaustion. They also weaken the pancreas and the liver, which in turn can aggravate pitta in the body.

Sugars produce the disease-causing agents in the body and mind, simultaneously weakening the immune system.

So what to eat to pacify vata if you don’t eat sugar?

Set us straight Nadia:

1. Go for warm and slightly oily foods. Eating foods cooked with warming spices (turmeric, Read more