Fathering a Korean-American girl, two years in

I wanted to be a father.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I had to be a father, to realize a subconscious image of myself: the vital Dad, in the midst of his loving and active family.

But my mind was near capacity, with little room for fatherhood duties. I spent more time preparing for job interviews than I spent deliberately preparing for fatherhood. Still, I felt pretty sure that fatherhood — like marriage — is what you do, if you’re an upstanding gentleman. And I sure wanted to be one.

I decided we would have two kids, for two reasons: One, I was raised in a two-kid family, which was — in retrospect — a not-too-chaotic family unit. And Two, from an Earth-stewardship perspective, replacing myself and my wife with two equally-fantastic specimens was an attractive plan. A pathway to a kind of conservation of cosmic energy. Soon after my daughter was born, a third reason to stop at two kids revealed itself: childcare is exhausting.

On the spectrum of fatherhood, I gravitated towards a more-involved Dad image. “Naturally I’ll be better at it than my Dad was,” I thought smugly. I don’t know what led me to believe this, as my Dad was already ahead of his time in the 1970s. His résumé included fathering two kids, a stint as a widower, and then a second stint as Dad, fathering two more beautiful kids. He also helped to found a children’s puppet company in the 1980s, a fact that instantly differentiated him from the other dads.

My own kids would come, I figured, but I wasn’t in a hurry to initiate the process, content instead to enjoy the freewheeling DINK lifestyle (Double Income, No Kids) with my wife. She wasn’t anxious to start popping out kids either. She was smart, driven, and determined to bring home income — fast. The end of graduate school and her entry into the workforce brought a welcome spike in that regard.

My specs for the Dad role looked good on paper: married, MIT graduate, healthy (at least physically). But I had zero years of experience. I spent zero time visualizing the real nature of the work: sleepless nights, long days hanging around the house, and frequent bouts of in-law exposure.

Before my daughter was born, I didn’t appreciate the many ways a father can provide for his kids. A counselor once told me — in a manner clearly unperturbed by political correctness — that a man’s role in the family is threefold: leader, provider, and protector. “So old-fashioned,” I thought as the counselor tried to drill those three words into me. Try as I might, I couldn’t dismiss them outright.

My wife and I were active DINKs, and her pregnancy barely impacted our social schedule. Some days she didn’t feel great. Other days she had oddly-specific cravings, like the day we went to the farmer’s market and she spotted a big, expensive jar of pickled purple cabbage that she had to have.

The B.C. era (Before Child) continued regardless: domestic and international trips, fooling around now and then, and eating out at top-rated restaurants exhaustively researched on Yelp. Sex during pregnancy was awkward (though not much more so than usual). Maternity clothes hid her belly most of the time, but it wasn’t all that big to begin with. She seemed to expand in all the normal places.

I was nervous around my in-laws from the beginning, for reasons perhaps only a student of Korean culture can fully appreciate. I became infatuated with Korean culture and my wife around the same time. But as years passed, my gaze settled on certain imperfections in the culture. One was the honorific form of speech used by younger Koreans to address their elders. It was a product of the hierarchical Neo-Confucianism that dominated Korean thought throughout the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Honorific Korean was designed to create distance between people. My rudimentary understanding of the language only made the perceived distance between me and my in-laws greater. When the right words didn’t come, I tensed up. I didn’t hear their jokes half of the time, and the rest of the time I didn’t get the humor. I was stuck in a cultural limbo. So when my in-laws arrived to help out three weeks before the baby’s due date, a new layer of anxiety descended onto my already-thin skin.

I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. Cover to cover. My wife read just the most relevant sections (did I mention that she’s smart?). I also spent undue time attending classes and reading parenting blogs — time I wish I could get back. To pass the time in waiting rooms, I started creating new titles for “What to Expect”, like:

“Well, It Could Happen…”
or
“Developing Your Pregnancy-related Anxiety for Dummies”

If you feel your life is lacking in anxiety, I recommend that book.

I enrolled us in a couples’ program called Centering Pregnancy at Kaiser Permanente hospital, because I thought it might be fun to experience pregnancy in community with other couples. Each Centering session started with quick individual check-ups with the OB/GYN in a private cubicle, followed by an interactive class and forum for the couples to ask questions. It was fun, for the most part, to commiserate and laugh with some new faces instead of doing all the doctor’s visits just the two of us. The excruciating part was listening to endless pregnancy-related hearsay from the other couples.

The classes ended and our daughter was born, and then a weird thing happened: I became obsessed. The build-up to labor and conversations with friends and family had convinced me (at least intellectually) that it would be a life-changing event. But I was unprepared for how much I loved my slimy frog-of-a baby, and I wanted to protect her. At times I even felt an urge to protect her from her own mother. (Mother bears have been known to consume their young, FYI.) I became defensive about every little thing grandma and grandpa — or, in Korean, Hammi and Abua — wanted to do for the baby. Hammi wanted to co-sleep with her every night, and I resented being ousted from the protective role. When the umbilical cord fell off, my wife and Hammi wanted to wash the little pink nub every day. I just kept my mouth shut.

I couldn’t get used to the sound of my baby crying. It stressed me out beyond belief, a dull heartache lingering after every crying session.

My wife pumped and breastfed and pumped again. It was brutal. In the maternity ward, our daughter’s postnatal weight had dropped by more than the allowable ten percent, so we met a lactation consultant. She stressed the urgency of getting our daughter to feed at the teat. Ah, the lactation consultant. A midwife, with a very particular set of nipple-related skills. When I was born, a solitary midwife helped my mom to deliver me in our own apartment. At Kaiser hospital, there was a baby-measuring nurse, a bathing nurse, a lactation nurse, and a nurse named Wilma, to hold mom’s right leg in the stirrups.

When we first came home from the hospital, I had watched with Hammi and Abua, fascinated by the sight of my wife and daughter wrestling each other. Two weeks after breastfeeding began, I was 99% desensitized to the sight of my wife’s breasts. We stopped fooling around, but I didn’t mind for the first two months. I wanted to care for the baby.

So I learned how.
It was mostly about being present and committing certain movements to muscle memory. I learned to change diapers. First, the disposable Pampers at the hospital, and later, the cloth tri-folds we bought to reduce the guilt of watching disposable diapers pile up in the trash can. Rather than admitting when I was ignorant, I felt obliged to stand on a pedestal and criticize. (After all, I read “What to Expect” cover to cover). It seemed important to confidently proclaim a hodgepodge of facts acquired from the pregnancy books and blogs, because that’s what our other childless friends were doing.

I wanted to protect my daughter from harm, and also from stupid parenting trends. To that end, I prepared diatribes on various topics, but most them proved useless as the Koreans seemed to have studied from a different parenting manual entirely. Some of their methods struck me as odd and I watched disapprovingly, occasionally summoning the courage to voice my concerns. For instance, Hammi believed that after childbirth, my wife should eat miyeokguk (Korean seaweed soup) at every single meal — including breakfast — for approximately two months straight. When my wife’s breast started hurting, the baton passed to my father-in-law — and then to me — to administer a vigorous breast massage, the assumption being that a clogged milk duct was causing the inflammation, and massaging it would clear the blockage. I grabbed the flesh reluctantly and started to mash it between my hands, administering the cruel and unusual punishment like a lowly soldier ordered to torture an innocent civilian.

My family came for a short visit, and I relished the chance to relax and reconnect with them. The baby’s routine relaxed in kind.

Our simple rancher house, chosen to optimize cost, comfort, and commutes, was transformed into a Worry Zone, its air polluted with excess anxiety. I inhaled too much perhaps, and soon found myself plagued by health issues. Morning vertigo episodes floored me for a couple of hours at a stretch, until the room finally stopped spinning. I entertained the romantic notion that I might be suffering from Couvade syndrome, also known as “sympathetic pregnancy”. But in reality there was no “sym” and the pregnancy was over, which left… “pathetic”. I began sleeping on a single mattress pad on the floor, because I couldn’t handle the stress of waking up every time my wife awoke to breastfeed with her mother in the other room.
I know what you’re thinking. Poor you.

One night, I awoke around 3am and puked into a trash can beside my bed. I hadn’t been drinking since before my wife got pregnant. Quitting drinking was a good solidarity move, and in my early thirties alcohol had stopped agreeing with me anyways. My wife and her parents began to worry about me almost as much as they worried about the baby. “Take a rest” became their mantra during the first few months. They didn’t intend to ostracize me, and yet I stewed on the sidelines, looking for outlets for my blame. The language barrier had seemed a minor hurdle, but it suddenly transformed into a high-jump bar. I could barely express my desires for my daughter’s care in English, let alone Korean.

Before the baby was born, I had asked my boss what to expect, since he was Dad to two grown kids. He said he remembered driving people around a lot. Sure enough, I took charge of carting everyone to Korean stores (and American ones) to buy ingredients, medicines, and other infant-related gear. My father-in-law went to the gym regularly in Korea, so I got us both memberships at 24 Hour Fitness during his stay in the U.S. Despite his kind disposition, my father-in-law still gave me agita, a feeling that diminished only slightly when he came to the U.S.

Five months after our daughter was born, the grandparents returned to Korea and I took over daytime childcare duties. Airborne anxiety levels decreased measurably at home. Still, the in-laws’ childcare style left an indelible impression. My wife and I exhausted ourselves for the first week after they left, trying to maintain the same standards. Then we gave up, and cleanliness at the dinner table — and pretty much everywhere else — dropped a few pegs. The nervous feeling of invisible Korean laser beams on the back of my neck lingered, because we still spoke with the grandparents daily on Facetime. As we fed the baby her dinner, the grandparents watched, chiming in in Korean. “Give her some water, please.” “What’s that on her chin… Can you wipe it?” I had inculcated in myself a Korean-style absolute filial piety, and yet I had to pause sometimes, allowing my individual will to surface for air. My backbone — not particularly stiff to begin with — seemed as soft and malleable as the baby’s.

I spent a lot of time watching my baby girl. The nice part about watching her all day — besides the angelic moments — was discovering (and learning to accept) my parenting style. Some dads are content to work for the boss, I think, while others are more entrepreneurial. Watching the baby on my own, I observed the following differences:

Quicker house entries and exits.
More time outside at the park randomly exploring, blissfully unhindered by contingencies.
More naps.

Our daughter didn’t sleep as much when the grandparents were around, perhaps because they were light sleepers themselves. But during full days with Daddy, we napped. Hard. I needed the naps to relieve that first-time-parent tension caused by the problematic pair: inexperience and overambition.

My image of dadhood was relaxing in the living room, laughing, singing, and playing games together. That came much later, around the time our daughter turned two. Before two, it went something like this: Find the nearest wet wipe and clean baby’s nose. Change baby’s diaper. Change baby’s clothes. Prepare baby’s food. Prepare a contingency bag. Struggle to put baby into the car seat. Hover around baby at the park to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself. Coax baby into leaving the park before she gets too tired and starts wailing. Put baby to sleep, without putting yourself to sleep in the process. Forget the idea of working while baby sleeps, and pass out next to her. Take pictures and document everything for your spouse and extended families. Deal with the guilt of missed picture opportunities. A benefit to staying at home with my daughter was having some additional time to observe and master my guilt. Now I take pictures when I want to.

After tending to our daughter all day and making dinner on my assigned Daddy-dinner nights, I was too tired to devote much energy to my wife. Many nights we watched one short TV show and then slept, or caught up on chores.

It’s said that women begin to nest after giving birth, and in our house the twigs and leaves (i.e. hand-me-down toys and clothes) piled up rather quickly. In an unexpected twist, the owners of the house we were renting decided to sell it, offering it to us directly a few months before our lease was set to expire. After much deliberation, we bought the house from them before our daughter’s first birthday. In less than a year, I went from freewheeling DINK to frightened dad with an adorable little creature to protect and a big, ugly structure to maintain. My wife would probably be happiest in a brand-new house, airlifted straight from the factory to an empty plot of land on our move-in date. But instead we got an old, post-WWII rancher that scores high on location and “character” — and I love it.

My wife and I have different priorities about what needs to be fixed. My wife: “The sink is not draining fast enough.” Me: “I think we need a tree house.” Don’t get me wrong, I like fixing stuff when I’m able. It’s the satisfying part of an otherwise thankless job.

My wife’s the primary breadwinner in the family, but I still believe that fatherhood is basically a leadership position, as that counselor hammered home to me years ago. I am starting to get the hang of the leadership part. I’ve also started to accept that my daughter is a reflection of me. She’s a sponge and she learns everything by example, so caring for her and caring for me are inseparable tasks. In those moments when vertigo put me out of commission I missed out, but so did she. Other times, I relaxed, laughed, and connected with her at a deeper level, and she fed off of my energy. There are many ways to provide for your child. She needs food, sure. But she also needs energy. She needs Fun. Smiles. Confidence. Direction. Clearly-articulated Positions. All things that I — the Dad — can provide.

SOCIAL REMIT — AIRDROP ROUND 3–4/5 RATING — Platform for Financial Tools

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SOCIALREMIT — Quick Guide to Airdrop.

SocialRemit is a new platform designed to provide emerging projects with financial and technological tools based on blockchain and impact in a positive way on society through the collaborative economy that aims to build decentralized autonomous platforms of high efficiency, betting that the participating community gets involved in the projects it finances, which will also serve to establish a structure for social marketing and promotion, where each project can be spread in the media, to take advantage over the competition between the highlighted projects and obtain financing from other users.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Visit the SocialRemit website and click on Airdrop.
  2. Register and verify your mail.
  3. Join their Telegram group and rest of social activities.
  4. Submit and save all your social media links to your profile.
  5. Talk to the Telegram Bot for even more CSR Tokens.
  6. Earn CSR tokens for each referral.

~Please Clap 50 times if You like our articles, Like our Facebook Page, follow us on Reddit and Telegram

Requirements:

  • Telegram
  • Twitter
  • E-Mail
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Information:

  • Token — SRT
  • Country — UK
  • Accepting — ETH, BTC, LTC, NEO, LTC, Fiat
  • Tokens for Sale — 300 000 000
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Rating:
IcoBench — 4/5

National News Roundup: Week 47 (December 10–16)

By Randall McNair (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The theme of this past week’s news was largely “brace yourself for raining shoes” — and several boots and a sandal have yet to drop as I write this. This week, keep your eyes peeled for Mueller mayhem, final votes on tax reform, and personnel changes on Capitol Hill. But in the meantime, here’s some info on what has happened already.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not an FBI agent! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

This week was pretty quiet on the Russia Collusion Investigation front, in part because rumors started circulating that Mueller was about to be fired — but here’s what has happened:

  • Mueller Email Adventures. Over the weekend, the Trump administration accused Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of emails from them because he went through the third-party General Services Administration. But as several legal experts note, public email accounts have no expectation of privacy, and it would be prosecutorial misconduct not to request the records. These claims fuel concern that the President is looking for an excuse to fire Mueller, despite his lack of authority to do so (and his claims to the contrary).
  • The Latest in Harassment Personnel Changes. With last week’s sweeping resignations come new seat-holders, and boy howdy is some of the process looking weird! I think I touched upon this last week, but the governor of Michigan has announced they won’t hold a special election at all, opting to leave John Conyer’s former seat open for an entire year and simply having ordinary elections in 2018. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s governor has appointed Lt Governor Tina Smith to take Al Franken’s seat, but it’s unclear when Franken plans to leave (and her appointment has created chaos in the state’s politics). And it’s completely unclear who is favored to replace Trent Franks, despite a primary election happening in only two months. So it’s been a bit of a wild ride all around.
  • Tax Reform Remix. The tax reform roller coaster appears to be nearing a stop this week, but that’s not a good thing, as it’s currently slowing down right near a gilded circle of hell. Mnuchin released a one-page report this week, which Forbes (rightfully) says he should be ashamed of releasing; among other things, the report confirms that the tax cuts are so expensive that they cannot pay for themselves, and “welfare reform” (i.e. Medicaid and Medicare cuts) will be necessary to pay for it all. That, unfortunately, did not stop Bob Corker and Mark Rubio from eventually hopping aboard for the final version of the bill, leaving the GOP so confident they had the votes that they let McCain take the week off. Though the final version of the tax reform bill does soften a lot of the House version’s harshest edges, it still includes a repeal of the health insurance mandate, and it’s very likely to widen wealth inequality in the country. The Washington Post put out a good comprehensive summary of the final version, which is definitely worth a read (or at least a skim) if you get a chance. But the short version is: If you aren’t rich, it isn’t gonna be great.
  • Federal Judge Withdrawals. Several deeply embarrassing federal judge nominations went the way of the dinosaurs this week! The first to go were Brett “Does it count if my wife practiced law?” Talley and Jeff “I Literally Told You I Illegally Discriminate” Mateer, who were both unceremoniously screened out by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. But after another nominee, Matthew Spenser Peterson, couldn’t answer extremely basic questions about legal procedure — like “I don’t know what a motion in limine is” level of basic — he withdrew his nomination today. Hallelujah, it’s raining turkeys!

And that’s basically the news that was fit to email this week — some good, some bad, most unfinished. It’s like the Big Dig of news weeks! And speaking of unfinished, the next few weeks are going to be a bit wonky here at Roundup Center, because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday. The tentative plan is to issue the Christmas roundup on December 26, and I’ll check in from there on how to handle New Year’s. Until we meet again, happy holidays!

Resist ornament sewn by Benn Kessler

Experiment with Typefaces


Least Favorite

Times (New Roman) is the standard font we use for writing papers or formal circumstances. The pro of it is that all the words are very legible so that people can understand the word right away. However, when we want to emphasize on a word, or to make a headline, Times (New Roman) is very flat and dull. For the word “rebellion”, it doesn’t add any weight on the meaning of this word.

Let’s try another typeface: PT Banana Split. The name of the typeface is very cute, and the typeface itself matches the name pretty well. Here, although we’ve added weight on the word “rebellion”, the typeface actually weaken the meaning of “rebellion” and turns it into “cute”. So this is an example of misusing typeface.

This time the typeface is better than the last one. The edginess of the word “rebellion” is emphasized by pixel-like typeface. And it reminds of typefaces used in video game as well. However, all the letters are the same sizes, the bottom and the top of the letters are lined up, and the kernings between each two letters are equal. This is not “rebellious” enough.

What about this one? The name of this typeface is pretty “rebellious” and it turns out to match the feature of the word “rebellion” pretty well. The dripping of the letters makes it look like a Graffiti, as if some rebellious teenage kid’s protest for school or family. The kerning between each two letters are different, and each letter looks very rough, unpolished. These features bring out the meaning of the word even more.

Favorite

The name of this typeface is not quite accurate. Here, the first letter “R” is bigger than any other following letters, which grabs people attention even more. The typeface makes the word look like as if they are angrily written with a marker. The different kernings between each two letters creates a sense of handwriting instead of typeface, and that adds more emotion into the word. Overall, this typeface brings out the edginess and spirit of the word “rebellion”.

Our Way Back When — A Slide Show

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

That’s a slide — for anyone who doesn’t know, hasn’t seen.

I feel sorry for you.

You have missed an ultimate human experience: the compulsory viewing of someone else’s major life event complete with droning monologue, barks of laughter, and unending stories about people you never met and now hope you never will.

The viewing was held in a room made twilight by pulling down shades and drawing the curtains closed. Light would leak around the edges and create an uncommitted dark. Seating would be close, the room made stuffy by the slide projector and the noisy, breathing humans crowded on not enough comfortable furniture. Children sat on the floor.

Cameras and film were expensive — as was the major life event — and viewing countless slides was an essential activity. You role was to pay attention and follow along in the unfolding story. Don’t hog the potato chips and stop picking on your brother.

Slower than you would think possible, the slide projector would advance, one slide at a time dropping into the slot where a bright light would bring it to life. The projector would hum high and loud with a whishing sound. That was the fan blowing out the hot air to deliver the whooshing, stuffy experience.

It was not uncommon for people to fall asleep. If you were very lucky, you slept through most of the viewing. All you had to do to ensure the satisfaction of the host was to compliment the pictures and thank him for the joy of the slide show.

Most slide shows included an array of blurry vacation pictures marred by fingers, scowling children, and unidentifiable venues.

“Where was that, sweetheart?” The view master would ask his wife occupied with breaking up fights and offering snacks to the guests.

She would squinch her eyes at the screen. Most of the time, she had been at the great event, but these were random shots or stiff arrangements that didn’t look like what she remembered.

With great difficulty, the wife or others might persuade the view master to continue his excellent show. Keep him moving was the guiding principle.

After too long, the show would be over. Lights would be turned back on. The windows would be opened. The audience would stand, stretch, and say nice things while they escaped stuffy, tight confines.

That’s if you were lucky.

If you were family or a close friend, you might be subjected to multiple viewings.

A skeptical look at popular diets: The lowdown on low carb

In the seventh post in the series A Skeptical Look at Popular Diets, physician Randall Stafford examines down the pros and cons of a low-carb diet.

By Randall Stafford

As the name implies, this diet reduces dietary carbohydrates, including many common foods that contain sugars and/or starches. To make up for this reduction, the intake of protein and fat can increase. Frequently, however, low-carb dieters do not fully replace the calories from reducing carbs and they lose weight as a result.

This diet has several favorable features, but a high intake of animal-based saturated fats can offset the benefits. One version, the Atkins Diet, was promoted to facilitate weight loss. A problem with interpreting “low carbohydrate” is that there is no consensus on how low is “low.”

Health rationale slogan: Restricting carbs helps you lose weight and solves many metabolic problems.

Analysis: Depending on how low carb you go, a lower carb diet potentially restricts multiple common foods including grains, legumes, fruits, breads, desserts, pastas, and starchy vegetables. Particularly off-limits: processed foods made with flour and added sugars. Food sources higher in protein and fat take their place, such as meats, eggs and nuts.

The diet’s potential benefits are many, including helping reverse insulin resistance, an early stage in the development of type 2 diabetes. It does this by restoring normal carbohydrate processing. By restricting carb intake, the body no longer has to cope with a large, sudden influx of sugar into the bloodstream. In addition, people following this diet may experience less hunger when they restrict calories, which facilitates weight loss (at least in the short term).

Stanford nutrition scientist Christopher Gardner, PhD, studied longer term weight loss and demonstrated similar favorable benefits from a lower carb vs. a lower fat diet when both approaches focused on healthy choices.

The food sources that are low carb range widely in healthfulness. For example, meat has no carbohydrates, but if meat intake is increased to replace carbohydrates, this can boost unfavorable saturated fats. Interestingly, in Gardner’s weight loss study, the group that followed a healthy low-carb diet had no adverse metabolic effects. This group decreased overall calories almost solely by restricting carbohydrate-rich foods, without substantially increasing protein or saturated fat intake.

If the carbohydrate restriction goes beyond added sugars and refined grains, to the point of restricting vegetables, whole grains and beans/legumes, this can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. And, if carb intake is low enough, ketosis can occur with its accompanying nausea, headache, physical and mental effects, and bad breath. Additionally, carbohydrate-rich foods are the primary sources of fiber, and low-fiber diets increase the risk of colon cancer and may have adverse effects on the gut microbiome.

Easy to follow?: Depending on how severe the carbohydrate restriction, this diet can be difficult to follow because it can dramatically restrict the intake of most of the major food groups, including fruits, beans/legumes, grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy.

Dominant source of protein: Animal proteins such as meat and eggs, which don’t contain carbs (unlike protein-rich legumes and grains).

Most common fats: Oils and saturated fats from meat.

What about carbs?: Limited carbs, but some variations of this diet can include potentially good carbs found in fibrous vegetables and beans/legumes.

When it goes wrong: Emphasizing meat consumption can lead to problems. High intake of the saturated fats found in meat may increase the risk of future heart disease and cancer. This harm would be greatest from emphasizing fatty red meats (steak, bacon, etc.) or processed meats, as opposed to leaner meats, such as poultry.

To make it healthier: The potential health benefits of lower carb diet can be maximized by focusing primarily on eliminating added sugars and refined grains, and emphasizing sources of fat from plant sources (e.g., olive oil, nuts, avocados), from fatty fish (e.g., salmon), or from lean meats.

Variations: The Atkins diet emphasizes restricting carbs, but allows as much fats and protein as desired. If carbohydrates are severely restricted, a low-carb diet becomes a ketogenic diet.

If you’re going to cheat: Including beans/legumes may make sense because their more complex starches and fiber differ from the simple starches in processed grains and starchy vegetables. Eating these foods provides a much greater range of possible foods, making the diet easier to follow.

Conclusion: A lower carb diet can offer weight loss and metabolic improvements. In its extreme forms where all starchy vegetables, bean/legume, fruit, and grain intake is restricted, it is difficult to follow and has the drawback of high saturated fat and low fiber intake.

Nonetheless, this diet could be a good starting place for initiating weight loss when the focus is on minimizing added sugars and refined grains, and maintaining or even increasing fibrous vegetables.

This is the seventh post in a series called A Skeptical Look at Popular Diets. The series will review the eight currently most prominent diets in America. The next blog post will discuss low-fat diets.

Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine at Stanford. He practices primary care internal medicine and studies strategies for preventing chronic disease. Stanford professor and nutrition scientist Christopher Gardner, PhD, examines the impact of diet on health and disease. Min Joo Kim provided research assistance.

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak

Unalome Chronicles: Mattie Larson, Former US National Team Gymnast & Sexual Assault Prevention Activist

Mattie Larson was a consistent star in the world of gymnastics over the course of her athletic career, qualifying and competing for the most prestigious teams around the world at the highest levels. In 2018, along with 156 other women, Mattie courageously testified against Larry Nassar, her former US National Team Gymnastics doctor and serial sexual assaulter. As a result of this trial, which was one of the largest sexual assault investigations in US history, Nassar was sent to prison on account of hundreds of sex crimes. After the trial, Mattie went on to pass and amend bills with the US Congress in Washington, DC, to increase the protections of children from sexual assault. Testifying face-to-face with her abuser in court was one of the most difficult things Mattie has had to face, however, speaking her truth re-instilled her sense of self-worth and confidence that had been lacking for so long.

Facts & Backstory…

Mattie’s Gymnastics Career History:
In 2006, at age 14, Mattie qualified for the Junior International Elite Team, and in 2007 she became a member the US National Team, where she would remain competing through 2011. At the international elite competition, she made a name for herself as she won the gold in the Vault exercise and bronze in the All-Around (all four exercises combined). In 2007, she also competed on the international stage at the Pan American Games, where she won gold on the Floor exercise, with a show-stopping performance, as well as won the gold in the All-Around. After this competition, she was named the United States Olympic Committee Athlete of the Month. In 2008, still on the National Team, Mattie joined the US Olympic training squad, but due to a severe leg injury, she could not join the team. Competing with a double-sprained ankle at the Gymnix World Cup in 2009, Mattie still took home gold medals on both the Floor and Beam exercises. In 2009, Mattie had to sit out the World Championships due to injuries, but came back in 2010 to win the all-around title at the Cover Girl Classic, still competing on the National Team. That same year, she won the gold on Floor, the bronze on the Uneven Bars and the silver in the All-Around at the US National Championships and was selected to be a member of the US Team for the World Championships. In 2012, Mattie joined the UCLA gymnastics team where she competed through 2014 and received her BA degree in Psychology.

Sexual Assault Case & Bills Passed in Washington, DC: 
On January 24th, 2018, Larry Nassar, the former physician for the US National Gymnastics Team, was sentenced to 40–175 years in prison for hundreds of sex crimes that he committed with impunity over the course of decades. 156 brave women, including Mattie Larson, testified against the serial child molester for the sexual assault crimes committed against them. After the trial, Mattie went on to speak publicly about her experience, being interviewed on Good Morning America, Vice News, Megyn Kelly NBC News, CNN with Michaela Pereira, and Sports Illustrated. Mattie also, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, passed a new bill in Washington DC, with Senator Dianne Feinstein, called “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017” and amended the “Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act,” further protecting young athletes from sexual abuse.

Let’s hear from Mattie about speaking her truth…

It took an incredible amount of courage and strength to speak your truth about your sexual assault story and to confront your assaulter face-to-face in court. Describe your journey coming to this place within yourself to be able to accomplish something so courageous, not just for yourself, but for the other victims.
It’s been a very windy journey. Growing up, I was a kid who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. However, as I started spending more time in the gym than anywhere else, I started to lose my sense of voice. I was often verbally punished by my coaches and was often not believed if I had a serious physical injury. Gymnastics is a sport where the average peak point for athletes is pretty young, especially for females — most female gymnasts retire between the ages of 18 and 21. I first starting competing at the age of 5 and at 10, I was leaving school early to train. In middle school, I was spending more time with my coaches than with my parents, so they inevitably had a huge influence on my character at that time. Unfortunately, this influence was a negative one. It wasn’t until I left for college at 19 that I realized how quiet and closed off I had become, as a result of being silenced by my coaches for so many years. Testifying against my abuser in court and talking about my past to people who make positive changes in the world, has really made me feel like I have my power back. I am no longer that little girl who’s afraid to ask my coaches to even use the restroom. I thought that if I could find the courage within myself to speak up for what is right, it may inspire others to do the same for themselves.

How has speaking your truth changed you internally?
Testifying a year ago was the first time I was proud of myself in a reeeeally long time. Being a professional athlete my whole life, I have always based my self-worth on my outward achievements — I was proud of myself if I learned a new gymnastics skill or if I won a competition. When I stopped competing about five years ago, that sense of self-worth was stripped away. Testifying in front of my abuser was one of the first times since I retired from gymnastics that I was genuinely so proud of myself and it had nothing to do with winning a medal. That was huge for me.

Talk about what speaking your truth has accomplished on a larger scale and about the bill you were instrumental in passing in Washington?
Around January of 2017 I, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, met with Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, DC. We shared our sexual assault stories with her and about two months later, a group of fifteen Senators introduced a bipartisan bill after hearing our stories. The bill was passed and requires amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department. (It’s insane how that wasn’t already a law, right?!) The bill also amends the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse, and also mandates oversight of member gymnasiums, to ensure that strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. For example, USA Gymnastics would implement and enforce policies to ensure hired coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention. It was a really incredible feeling to not only be listened to and believed, but to work with people in a position of power make concrete changes to prevent what happened to me, happening to other young athletes.

What can a girl who has suffered similar trauma do to feel more empowered and in control of her future?
Everyone’s experience with trauma and sexual assault is different and I can only speak from my own experience. In my case, I felt dirty, disposable, and less-than after my traumas. I started to heal slowly by setting small goals for myself, working alongside a therapist that I trusted. And when I say I started out slowly, I mean it! Things such as simply leaving my apartment, turning to healthier outlets such as exercise or art instead of booze when I felt down, and the biggest one for me…reaching out for help when I needed it. I had to get out of the mindset that I was a burden to my friends and family if I reached out for help. That’s why our loved ones are here for us — to be with us through the good and bad. Sometimes I think, “Shit, if I made it through those traumatic experiences, I can make it through (insert challenge at hand).” I remind myself that however horrific those experiences were, I have had and will continue to have so many more positive experiences in my life. We can always find small ways to empower ourselves every day. Although I felt so much stronger after confronting my abuser in court, it doesn’t have to take something that big to make you feel powerful. Unalome hit the nail on the head…authentic self-expression really IS a superpower. I think it’s important for women to share stories of their tribulations and accomplishments because I know from my own experience, other women’s stories have inspired me to keep pushing forward. I love how Unalome inspires female artisans and entrepreneurs to work with one another to create something beautiful. After all, us gals gotta stick together! 🙂

Connect with Mattie: @MATTLARZ

Photos 1 by @CAMBRIA_FODEN

March 7, 2019

(Original article from UNALOME)

Eu seria melhor se fosse uma mulher

Eu na minha insignificância tento escrever um texto de impacto para homenagear as mulheres. Eu que descubro a cada dia o tanto que elas me ensinam e, que de fato, nós homens não sabemos nada e, pior, achamos que somos superiores. O quanto ignorantes nós somos? Sem as mulheres, simplesmente, não existiríamos. Mas mesmo assim, acreditamos que somos melhores.

Enquanto utilizamos a força bruta, elas utilizam a força interior.

Enquanto estamos esgotados, elas tiram energia, sabe-se lá de onde, para prosseguir.

Enquanto simplesmente desistimos, elas encontram maneiras de quebrar as barreiras.

Enquanto somos insensíveis e egoístas, elas sempre enxergam o todo e buscam sempre se manter equilibradas.

Enquanto achamos que sabemos o que é o amor, elas nos provam que há várias formas de amar.

Enquanto temos medo das nossas fraquezas, elas têm a coragem de enfrentar e suportar a mudança.

Enquanto não saímos do lugar, elas seguem em frente.

Não adianta força, se não há compreensão.

Não adianta nos matarmos dia após dia, se não tivermos compaixão com o próximo.

Se desistimos de evoluir, sempre repetiremos os mesmos erros.

Se acharmos que sabemos tudo, desperdiçaremos a sabor da descoberta.

Se não enfrentarmos nossas fraquezas, nunca saberemos até onde podemos ir.

Se ficarmos parados, a vida passa e retornaremos a estaca zero.

Infelizmente, nós homens estamos estagnados, não buscamos e não queremos a evolução. Temos medo e queremos, na base da ignorância, falta de humanidade e do puro egoísmo, nos sentir maiores e mais poderosos E, por isso, choro:

A cada mulher incompreendida.

A cada mulher que apanha.

A cada mulher estuprada.

A cada mulher que se desdobra em quatro, cinco para dar conta da casa.

A cada mulher que recebe menos que o homem.

A cada mulher assediada.

A cada “brincadeira inofensiva” ou, melhor a cada comentário machista e ofensivo.

A cada mulher que é impedida de sonhar.

A cada mulher que, mesmo sem saber, já nasce em desvantagem nesse mundo, predominantemente, machista.

Por outro lado, me comovo e estou junto com as mulheres na sua luta incansável. Vibro e comemora com cada conquista alcançada. Sei como é difícil conquistar o seu espaço e o reconhecimento. Vocês merecem tudo isso, mas tenha certeza, vocês são bem melhores que nós! E, para aqueles que não acreditam, mas têm fé em alguma coisa saibam que, a mulher é a melhor parte de um homem.

Viva seu dia, todos os dias!

Alibaba Cloud Machine Learning Platform for AI: Image Classification by Caffe

Join us at the Alibaba Cloud ACtivate Online Conference on March 5–6 to challenge assumptions, exchange ideas, and explore what is possible through digital transformation.

By Garvin Li

The Image classification by Tensorflow section introduces how to use the TensorFlow framework of deep learning to classify CIFAR-10 images. This section introduces another deep learning framework: Caffe. With Caffe, you can complete image classification model training by editing configuration files.

Make sure that you have already read the Deep Learning section and activated deep learning in Alibaba Cloud Machine Learning Platform for AI (PAI).

Datasets

This experiment uses a CIFAR-10 open-source dataset, containing 60,000 images with pixel dimensions 32 x 32. These images are classified into 10 categories: airplanes, automobiles, birds, cats, deer. dogs, frogs, horses, ships, and trucks. The following figure shows the dataset.

The dataset has already been stored in the public dataset in Alibaba Cloud Machine Learning Platform for AI in JPG format. Machine learning users can directly enter the following paths in the Data Source Path field of deep learning components:

  • Testing data: oss://dl-images.oss-cn-shanghai-internal.aliyuncs.com/cifar10/caffe/images/cifar10_test_image_list.txt
  • Training data: oss://dl-images.oss-cn-shanghai-internal.aliyuncs.com/cifar10/caffe/images/cifar10_train_image_list.txt

Enter the path, as shown in the following figure:

Format Conversion

The Caffe framework of deep learning currently only supports certain formats. Therefore, you must first use the format conversion component to convert the JPG images.

  • OSS Path Storing Images and Table Files: set this parameter to the path of the public dataset predefined in Alibaba Cloud Machine Learning Platform for AI.
  • Output OSS Path: user-defined OSS path.

After format conversion, the following files are generated in the output OSS path, including a piece of training data and a piece of testing data.

Record the corresponding paths for editing the Net file. The following is an example of the data paths:

  • Training data data_file_list.txt: bucket/cifar/train/data_file_list.txt
  • Training data: data_mean.binaryproto:bucket/cifar/train/data_mean.binaryproto
  • Testing data data_file_list.txt: bucket/cifar/test/data_file_list.txt
  • Testing data: data_mean.binaryproto:bucket/cifar/test/data_mean.binaryproto

Caffe Configuration Files

Enter the preceding paths in the Net file, as follows:

Edit the Solver file:

Run the Experiment

  1. Upload the Solver and Net files to OSS, drag and drop the Caffe component to the canvas, and connect the component to the data source.
  2. Set the parameters in the Caffe component, as shown in the following figure. Set the Solver OSS Path to the OSS path of the uploaded Solver file and then click Run.
  3. View the generated image classification model file in the model storage path on OSS. You can use the following models to classify images.

  1. To view the corresponding log, refer to Logview in Image classification by TensorFlow.

Reference:https://www.alibabacloud.com/blog/alibaba-cloud-machine-learning-platform-for-ai-image-classification-by-caffe_594519?spm=a2c65.12602511.0.0

Stop Procrastinating and Get Started in just 10 Minutes

Procrastinating is really all about being afraid to begin. Follow these quick exercises to work out why you are scared and how to move through it.

Via Pixabay

Procrastination isn’t a sign of laziness, it is a sign of fear. It isn’t about not wanting to do the work, it is about being too overwhelmed to start.

There is a lot of pressure around the start of a project. It feels like a commitment, we are deciding to work on one thing and not another, and so there are doubts around that decision and the stress of taking a decision at all. We also often overestimate the importance of the work done at the beginning, as though it will determine the outcome of the project. That isn’t true. You can do basically anything at the beginning of a project, it should be the most fun part, the part which involves throwing ideas around, the part where you are the least hemmed in. And yet instead it is the part which we fill with the most apprehension. The work you do at the beginning isn’t like the foundations of a house, it doesn't have to be perfect or else the entire edifice will collapse. The work you do at the beginning is the warm-up. It is a training session. It can be totally invisible in the final product.

The important thing at the beginning is not to get off to the perfect start, it is just to take action, any form of action, and chase away the fears that are making you procrastinate.

In just ten minutes, you can conquer those fears.

Spend two minutes identifying what is driving your fear.

There are four main reasons you might be afraid to get started:

  • You have too many ideas and are afraid to commit to one
  • Your mind is suddenly blank and you have no inspiration at all
  • You feel like you’re going to make a mess of things and are putting a lot of pressure on yourself
  • You have no idea where to start

Examine your emotions, write down on a piece of paper the things that worry you about the project you are about to get started on and see which category they fit into the best.

Spend eight minutes doing the corresponding exercise

  • Too many ideas?

This can mean having too many ideas of projects and not being able to get started on any single one, or it can mean having too many ideas about how to tackle your particular project and not being sure which to pick.

Begin by making a list of all the angles or projects that are trotting around your brain. Reread it. See which stand out, which your instinct tells you is right. That is your shortlist.

In the case of choosing a project, ask yourself if any of them are time-sensitive — for instance, an article linked to a certain upcoming event. If so, start with that project. If not, sometimes it is best just to let the universe decide. Draw one idea out of a hat. Schedule the others for the coming days or weeks.

If you are choosing an angle on a piece of work you are already sure of, begin by seeing if any of them can be joined together. Maybe one angle could really just be a paragraph in a piece with a different focus. If not, open a word document, type out all the different ideas. Those will be the things you follow up on, do more research until your instinct tells you which to follow. And if that never happens, pick one angle out of a hat.

The next step: conduct research into each of the ideas left on your shortlist.

  • Lack of inspiration?

Put a timer on for eight minutes, and write down every thought that comes into your mind. Even if they have nothing to do with the project. Just let the words flow. Analyse every element of the topic — what exactly is the brief? What does that mean? This “brain drop” will give your imagination free space to roam. Ideally, you should do this in a place without any distractions, a place where your imagination generally feels stimulated. For me, it works best in a park or anywhere outdoors, but you might prefer home, in a warm bath or in a café.

Next step: do something boring, like washing up or ironing or walking around the block. Don’t take a phone, don’t listen to music. Ideas will continue to pop into your mind.

  • Fear of failure?

This fear can be harder to identify, because it often just makes you feel nervous or blank. The problem is usually a lack of self-confidence, or the fact that you are putting too much pressure on yourself, thinking of this project as the make-or-break event of your career. The problem here isn’t in the work at all, but in your mind.

Take a sheet of paper and answer three questions:

  • What is the worst thing that could happen?
  • How could I bounce back from that?
  • What past projects have made me proud, what have they taught me about my own abilities?

If you are into rituals and hippiedom, like me, you can make a ritual out of this. Light a candle or some incense. Put on some relaxing music and put yourself in an environment which makes you relax. Breath deeply.

Once you have finished, keep this list visible on your desk or working space and reread it whenever you feel scared or lost.

Next step: write a to-do list broken down into small, non-threatening steps (see below).

  • No idea where to start?

Take a sheet of paper and separate it into categories according to the different kinds of activities go into doing a project. For writing, I usually make the categories Contact, Research and Write. In Contact I write the names or professions of anyone I would like to talk to, Research can be books to read or facts and figures to pull up, and in Write I jot down any sections I know I will write, or any ideas concerning the final piece. Do a six-minute brain drop where you write down any task that comes to mind in the corresponding section. Then reread what you have done, highlight priorities and order your tasks into a to-do list. For big tasks, break them down into sections. You should end up with a list of small, clearly defined steps.

Next step: just do number one on the list!

Whatever category you are in, it is important to stick to the ten minutes. Your mind needs to know, going in, that it will just be working for ten minutes, and then it can stop. Then take a break. If you are on a short deadline, make it a short break and then start work again for half an hour to an hour.

I do these short exercises whenever I catch myself procrastinating. I hope they can be useful for you, too, and if you have your own tricks and tips I would love to hear about them in the comments section!