Tag: health

Fleas, Fleas, Fleas

In September, I turned on Democracy Now! and came into a story about the mass extinction of a third of the world’s parasites. Although I made sure that my response to the story included the morally and ethically correct alarm and horror, I must admit my initial response was relief. After all, parasites are, um,… Read more →

Me, Me, Me: Millennials, Midwives, and the Ongoing History of Female Self-Care

Several articles from reputable sources such as NPR and The Guardian have recently focused on the millennial generation’s supposed obsession with self-care. On the surface, this trend seems to fit nicely with the stereotypes that millennials are entitled and narcissistic. Looking closer, however, reveals that instead of seeing self-care as a generational issue, we should… Read more →

Metaphors and Malignancy in Senator McCain’s Cancer Diagnosis

When my grandmother died from a mucosal melanoma (a form of skin cancer) in 2015, I sat around with my mother and my aunts talking through the wording of the email we were going to send round to her friends and colleagues to inform them of her death. We rejected the obvious line, “She died… Read more →

The “Right” and “Wrong” Kind of Addict: Iatrogenic Opioid Addiction in Historical Context

Last year, Kelly McEvers of NPR’s Embedded podcast introduced us to Joy. Something about Joy seems so ordinary, even familiar. She’s a certified hospital nurse, a mother of three kids, and a former Girl Scouts leader. She’s from Indiana, America’s heartland. She’s even close with her parents. And like many of us, she suffers from… Read more →

A Quiet Inquisition

When Delma Rosa Gómez was 27 years old, she was diagnosed with advanced stages of metastatic cancer. When she told her physician she was pregnant, they replied that they couldn’t start chemotherapy. “They said any treatment could provoke an abortion. And they couldn’t give me an abortion because it was penalized by law. They said… Read more →

Itinerant Tacos: A Brief History of Tortilla Factories

The squeaky wheels, the baking corn masa, and the silver behemoth carrying golden circles on a metal conveyor — the sights, sounds, and smells of tortillerías invoke memories of childhood visits to Mexico. However, tortillerías, or tortilla factories, increasingly dot the United States, illustrating a lingering cultural tie to the region south of the border…. Read more →

A Healthy Dose of Skepticism

The FDA is on a mission to redefine healthy, and they “want to get it right.” This undertaking stems in part from ongoing criticism of the FDA’s nearly twenty-year-old, fat-phobic labeling regulations, in which absurdities abound. For instance, low-fat toaster pastries — comprised predominately of unpronounceable ingredients from a chemistry exam, often meet requirements for… Read more →

The Pre-History of the Paleo Diet

Dr. Loren Cordain describes himself as the “world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease” and as “one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors.” He is the self-proclaimed founder of the Paleo Diet Movement and champions a way of eating that mimics that… Read more →

For the Love of Data: Science, Protest, and Power at Love Canal

For many environmental activists and scientists, the phrase “Love Canal” remains indelibly marked in the imagination. A toxic waste site that pitted scientists and citizens against the government, it is heralded as one of the first successes of the environmental movement in holding the state accountable for the public health of its residents. In 1896,… Read more →

Milk: A History of Tasting What Cows Eat

Everybody since the dawn of time has had to eat — for once, that’s a sentence construction that no professor or teaching assistant can take umbrage with. Today we are pleased to bring you the first essay in our new series Bites of History. From diets meant to treat medical issues to the founding of… Read more →