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Monday, February 28, 2011

Can you believe how many foods have MSG added?

In the 1980”s and 90’s “No Added MSG” became a common claim on many different food products after the flavour enhancer was linked to a number of side effects including increased heart rate, skin rashes and hyperactivity. Even I was surprised last week after checking a few labels of popular snack foods and sauces to find that many of them are once again using various flavour enhancers. While it may be “safe” for many of us to consume these additives, a broader nutritional issue is that the more of these rich flavours we consume, the more we tend to want which may be the very reason that many of us can polish off an entire packet of richly flavoured potato chips or cheese snacks. From this perspective, the less we have of these “flavour enhancers”, the better.

Food Additives What is it?
Red Rock Deli Chips HoneySoy 621, 627, 631 MSG, Disodium guanylate
Fantastic Noodles 627, 631 Disodium inosinate
Fantastic Delites Crackers 621, 635 MSG, Disodium ribonucleotides
Twisties, Burger Rings 621 MSG
Indo Mie Noodles 621, 631, 627 MSG
Fantastic Rice Crackers 627, 631 Disodium inosinate
Maggi Super Noodles 621 MSG
Maggi 2 Minutes Noodles 621, 635 MSG

Monday, February 21, 2011

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour

A few weeks back after I wrote on “When people do not respond the way that you want them to”, I got a lot of feedback. It seems that such interactions were familiar to a number of us as we interact with others on a daily basis.

Following on from that discussion is learning to identify the personal attributes of others that warrant our love and attention – the core personality traits that we all covet but perhaps far fewer achieve – generosity, loyalty, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, humour and hope among others, as opposed to the less attractive qualities of insincerity, dishonesty, selfishness, self absorption, unreliability, aggressiveness and intolerance. Of course at different times, on any given day we can all possess these qualities BUT it is their ongoing presence that tends to pose an issue in our regular interactions.

One thing to consider if you find yourself in a rather toxic interaction is that when it really comes down to it, the people involved will often demonstrate their undesirable traits early in the interaction. Deeply entrenched personality characteristics, will often be noticeable at some level in both personal and professional interactions. The trick for most of us to be observant to these traits, and make a conscious decision early on, before we let new people into our inner sanctum, as to the level at which we want these people to be involved in our lives. When it comes to interactions we cannot avoid, at work for example, isolating the undesirable characteristic if the person in question will help manage your response to it., again potentially limiting the contact you have with these people.

If you time and time again find yourself in less than ideal relationships, it may be time to ask yourself how good your people radar is and who are the types of people you want to spend your time with? If it is kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity you claim to prefer, perhaps it is time to start seeking it and ridding yourself of the traits dragging you down, especially in our precious, personal down time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jersey number or life role?

For some time now I have been trying to find some meaning in the work I do with football teams. Working with large numbers of ego driven sportsmen and their entourage may sound appealing but the work is tough at the best of times. The best way I can think to describe it is using the words of the Cold Play song, Talk, "And I feel like they are talking in a language I don't speak, and they are talking it to me".

And now, many years after I was told by the coach of the first team I ever worked with at the innocent age of 20, "Why the f**k do you want to do this?", and as I contemplate my future as a sports dietitian, all of a sudden things have become crystal clear for me. Male team sport is simple a metaphor for the way men work and behave in life, all you need to know is what position they played. The information I have gathered from hundreds of players, coaches and support staff has actually given me all the information on men I will need for the rest of my life.

See if any of these descriptions sounds familiar to you-

Fullbacks (1 or 15) - often a humble type. Has the opportunity to display pure athletic brilliance but also f**ks it up completely on occasions which tends to keep him nice and grounded.

Wingers (2,5, 13, 11) - spends plenty of time on another planet. Often not part of the core "male team" as visiting another world. Born quick so has not needed to spend any time developing other core skills and hence fairly non committal at the best of times.

Centres (12,14, 3,4) - has the rare opportunity to be both big and buffed and for this reason, rule the roost, particularly with younger players. Have successfully managed to do as little as they may like on the field while still scoring plenty of tries. Popular with the ladies and frequently spotted shirtless. Parade around the club and in life in general, always getting what they want. Suit self employment or modelling.

5/8 (10, 6) - a unique individual. Success depends on his halfback and hence is often a shy type, with amazing skills that are only fully exposed once you know them. The quiet achiever and extremely trustworthy. Makes a good captain, team leader or boss.

Half (9,7) - a self absorbed type. Never makes a good captain as too worried about how his own game will fare. Often become coaches in his other life to achieve the goals he never made in rugby himself. Intense, absent and focused. Works best alone.

Flanker (6/7) - likes to think he is different from the pack, especially as his position does not even exist in league. A nice match between brains and brawn although this should never be mentioned as this type is confident enough without compliments.

Lock (8) - any man who chooses to go it alone at the back rather than stick it out with the boys is a cult leader. His confidence demands respect from both men and swooning women which can be sickening if left unmanaged. Best for coaches to tone this one down before you lose control of him forever.

2nd row (4,5, 12, 11) - the shy insecure type, which is surprising given their size. They prefer to stick together with their mates rather than go it alone so never try and rely on this one in an emergency, they will always let you down. The gentle giants.

Hooker (2,9) - the clown of the group and always up for a laugh. Nothing is taken seriously but a true team man. Anyone who is going to put their head where he does is surely a brave man and the one we would all pick if a war was looming- yes?

Front row (1,3, 8, 10) -these boys like it kept extremely simple-"go hard and straight" is their motto. Are disinterested in complex situations that require thinking and much prefer instant gratification to any long term investments. Are prepared to risk everything for the boys and this is their mantra for life in general.

So next time you are with a rugby player; ex or current, the only thing you need to ask him is; "What position did you play?", because it will tell you everything you need to know.

**Please note, any likeness to real players is coincidental only

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When people do not respond the way we want them to

Sharing particular facets of information with those closest and most important to us, whether it is announcing a new relationship or pregnancy, outlining a disappointment, planning a break up, or discussing personal achievement or career aspiration creates a special, intimate point in time between two people. In an ideal scenario, the receiver of “news”, and both good and bad, will share in their mate’s emotional state, acknowledging, celebrating or empathising where appropriate. Here, each participant in the interaction has responded or behaved in the right way, leaving both parties sure of where they currently stand in the relationship.

In a less than ideal situation, our friend or confidante fails to give us the emotional support we were looking for. They could be disinterested, annoyed, perhaps not so happy for us or simply fail to acknowledge the enormity of the situation for the other person.

When such a situation arises we could spend the rest of our lives wondering and trying to understand why they reacted the way they did; “I thought we were friends”, “How could she not be happy for me”, “he didn’t seem to even care that I had just lost my mother”….the examples are endless. The truth is though that nothing is achieved by wondering why someone has not responded the way we had hoped that they would. The actual issue is that we had expectations of a person that they were unable, at that particular time point to stand up to.

Now, indeed this may be a one off random occurrence for this person, or it may be a more regular one where someone who you trust and look to for support is unable, for whatever reason to give it. And here, it becomes more apparent that perhaps it is us who need to be more careful in choosing those who we trust with our hearts and our souls for those who are worthy will not let us down, where as those who are not supposed to be playing the roles we have defined for them, tend to falter.