The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room: Bioethical Concerns in Human Milk Banking ISBN: 9781532371875, Cove International Publishers, e-book by September Williams & Mother’s Milk Bank, San Jose.

The book opens with a forward explaining that human milk banking has a century of history built on the mission of saving infants. However, badly needed development has only recently begun as the result of “the sheer passion of women seeking to help mothers and babies”. The idea is to develop milk banks as an altruistic culture of milk donation, its collection, processing and distribution based on scientific knowledge. Finally in 1985 the Human Milk Banking Association of North America was formed to provide and advance all pertinent information with a basis of the operation “to support the mother’s journey to successfully breastfeed her own infant.” The specifics of the program and relevant features are set forth here under six major headings: I, A Request for Consultation; II, Should we let Babies Starve? Bioethics, Cases & Stories; III, Clinical Medical Ethical Decision Making: the Box Method; IV, The Elephant in the Room: Infant Mortality, Premature Birth and Health Disparities; V, Famine in the Midst of Plenty; VI, Conclusions. There also is an Appendix, an interesting description “About Mother’s Bank San Jose”, which is a ‘working Milk Bank’, and a brief “About the Author”. Each of the almost incredible number of pertinent factors associated with these major headings is presented at some length. Randomly selected are the subjects of the cost of breast milk as a tissue versus as a corporate product; introduction of payment vs altruistic giving of milk and the many ramifications, including a pertinent case involving Cambodian women; a history of commodification of human beings and their parts; numerous cases of horrendous usage of individuals and/or their bodies/tissues without their permission; disclosure as well as existing barriers to it; changing fate of premature babies and increased need of an increasing milk supply and almost countless more factors requiring consideration. Each section is followed by an impressive list of references.

Discussion: The author has made a most interesting case for the establishment of “Milk Banks”, a subject seldom entering the minds of the everyday citizen. Further she has provided a highly detailed and quite all-encompassing discussion of the factors of importance in accomplishing this mission. And she has presented her material in a most readable form in spite of simultaneously fortifying her compelling arguments in a quite scholarly fashion bolstered with 176 supporting references. The only somewhat deterrent feature is the absence of judicious editing of the repetition/redundancy that occurs throughout the book.

4* 5* Subject rating; -1* as explained.

Bubble Belly

Bubble Belly, Passerport Productions, a children’s e-book copyright and written by Chris Tian.

This very short, illustrated book is the simple story of Junco who wants only a big juicy hamburger. His mother tells him no, to eat all the fruit he wants for breakfast. At lunch she tells him to eat all the vegetables he wants for lunch. The same message for snack time. – all the snacks he wants. However, for dinner he gets his hamburger but is so full of everything else he has eaten all day that he must rush to get rid of all of the food plus the big juicy hamburger.

According to the other reviewers, the reaction of small children of their acquaintance to this book was a joyfully reception. This seems to be in accord with serious studies performed a number of years ago by educators who had become concerned with the tremendous drop in the amount of reading done by children. They discovered that books with a violent theme and/or bathroom humor were by far the best received. The reaction reported by the reviewers here appear to support the findings of the educational studies in the past. So from this reviewer’s perception, if the parent, friend or other acquaintance of these young children wish to provide books with such content, this book definitely seems ideal. If instead they would prefer to present more appropriate reading material to aid the child’s progression, any number of well-written/illustrated books are available. Obviously, this is the buyer’s decision.

3* 4* to 1* dependent upon the giver’s desired level of motivational provision.

Eating Yourself Sick

Eating Yourself SICK ISBN: 9781599329147, Advantage Media Group, an e-book copyright and written by Joseph S. Galati. MD.

The book opens with the author expressing his gratitude toward his family and numerous others who had taught him about three basic needs for survival in life – the 3 F’s, Family, Faith and Food. The introduction ends: “This book is the culmination of thirty years of Medicine, tens of thousands of interviews with patients and their families, and lifelong learning in the kitchen and at the dining table. I’m going to share with you what my mother instilled in me, and the lessons I have learned since, about healthy eating and the benefits of cooking for yourself and your family.” He then proceeds with ten chapters and a Conclusion examining in detail each facet of this important but too often neglected part of life that literally is killing individuals before their time. He first provides material for an overall understanding of obesity-related disease; follows with the important role played by family, food and lifestyle; then explains the ugly truth of fatty liver disease and its interrelationship with other conditions; next a simple explanation of how the body works; followed by the need for each individual to take control of his/her health; explains the difference between Man (processed and similar) Food and Earth Food, explaining in detail tricks played by the food industry and its purveyors; the importance of reviving an understanding of the kitchen and family participation; along with a chapter providing “A few Cooking Basics” with actual descriptions of basic ‘tools’; before explaining the importance of exercise routines. The last two provide his suggestions that arise from his identical activity and a conclusion that there are “No Excuses – “You gotta’ Wanna’ Do It”. The book ends with an enumeration of the author’s impressive credits and a list of seventy references.

Discussion: This book is one of the more complete books I have read on the subject of obesity, its causes, effects and what must be done to erase it. The statistics substantiating the facts set forth are too impressive to be ignored and the presentation by a very knowledgeable individual has been in a simple manner that readers of any level of education easily may comprehend. The author has produced a book this reviewer most highly recommends not only for individuals with an obesity problem, but also for any reader caught up in today’s more usual, rather frenetic way of life.

5* Highly recommended for anyone participating in today’s frenetic lifestyle.

2 Parts: Food Art and Literature

2 Parts: Food Art and Literature ISBN: 9781545189016, an e-book by Oladayo A. Sanusi, MD, FACP, FASN.

As explained in a Forward by W. R. Young, this book is a collection of poetry and recitation created by Dr. Sanusi and divided into two parts. “Part 1, Food Art is a series of recitations and poetry combined, all gracefully illustrated by Donna Kirby” while Part 2, Literature, contains many previously published, but rewritten poems. The whole, covers many topics and many points of view ranging from memories of the author’s days as a young man in Africa right up to the year 2016 in America, and he “Bares both heart and soul and all the emotions involved with love, respect and trust, family and friendship, loss and grieving, pain and sorrow, passion and compassion, success and fame.” Many are pure reminiscence, while others will initiate your own recollections, but the total “will most assuredly become one of your prized possessions.” Following this Forward, the author’s Dedication: “To all those who seek the food of knowledge. And to educators, for providing the art of learning”. Next are heartfelt words of gratitude for and to his wife and family and a thoughtful tribute to the artist Donna Kirby. Part 1, Food Art, begins with Family Cooking where “Working with children bring out the best in them and in you. It is a glory and honor that lasts forever” and in a “Happy Kitchen, A family that cooks together stays together. And forever they shall work together.” The selection of poems then are grouped under Breakfast Medley I – XII, Confetti I – IV and on to a final thought for children that begins simply “Yummy is the word when humans are ready to fill their tummy…” Part 2 follows with Notes: “SAILING FROM THE DUNGEONS: Through the Eyes of the Sun of Africa” and is replete with numerous poems covering almost every conceivable emotion.

Discussion: This is a most unique offering by a man who had been a successful Entrepreneur and recognized poet in Africa before deciding to obtain his Medical Degree and immigrate to the United States where he once again embarked upon bringing a degree of cultural fulfilment to an area long hungering for such activity. Much of the book’s unique character lies in the fact that the author has the distinct advantage of spending his early years even into maturity in Nigeria before arriving in the United States. This basic culture has provided him with an awareness of the similarities and differences between the two. It also places him in a better position to equate with children as well as understand the complex human frailties so prevalent in adults. Part 1 reflects much of this understanding. The poetry mostly is a Free-flowing style and offers a good ‘cook book’ with respect to selection/preparation of foods, much of which can be enjoyed by children BUT simultaneously, it alludes to the interpersonal activities necessary to establish/maintain a healthful mental/physical family relationship. For example: “The Old and the New Medley of African and New American Soul, all spirited to blend a soup for the body.” And from The Works I Plenty of Love. Harmony nothing is perfect Make it the way you want it Blend it like life Toe the grey lines with skillful balance Don’t be too athletic about it It’s not the grey line that will fetch the Olympic Medal For Silver I have none Bronze I have none Gold I have none  Love I got plenty  Straight from the heart of my toaster  Carefully served mild, moderate and well done For a well-deserved for my heart is all yours” Part 2 is preceded by two reviews of an earlier compilation of poems by the author and provide the reader with an excellent overview of what can be expected to follow. Briefly, they consist of a compilation of frequently complex thoughts, interpretation of which often is somewhat difficult. This the author freely admits and provides helpful explanatory comments at the end of most and certainly of the more intricate.

Summary: Dr. Sanusi, no doubt with significant aid from his most helpful multicultural background, has provided a most thought-provoking book for individuals to consider and especially if involved, or contemplating involvement in, a family relationship.

5* A most unique presentation of a thoughtful individual’s ruminations.

Breakfast for Alligators

Breakfast for Alligators, Tilted Hat Press, in e-book format is a compilation of: ”Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas” with a couple additions from Canada, specifically Quebec and one from New York, and New Orleans by Darrin Duford.

The author is well-known for his stories of travel and knowledge of gastronomical delights. Here he provides reports on 32 encounters and/or recipes obtained from his journeys in mostly little known portions of 14 countries over a period of 7 years beginning in 2004. A number previously have been published singly. The stories begin in Guyana, the only basically English speaking country in South America and the most interesting description of an automobile built not in a factory but purchased and assembled piece by piece by people in their home/yard. From here the reader is introduced to sauces made from the deadly juice extracted from the cassava after its detoxification to provide a dark, bittersweet liquid and to a rich meat from a cat-sized rat; life in the smaller towns of Uruguay and the establishment of bands of candombe drummers; another town that is not ON the border but rather IS the border between Uruguay and Brazil with unusual attendant features; joys (?) of public transportation on an Andean Bus; food specialties in the little town of Pucallpa and from Lake Titicaca, Peru; a Saturday downtown park experience in Ecuador; and more.

Discussion: This book presents informative, often amusing and sometimes amazing accounts of some most unusual travel experiences and gastronomical indulgences by an individual who obviously also is distinctly unusual. It also speaks reams about an individual who has little regard for his most fortunately well- and hard-working immune system. Persons not subjected on a more regular basis to many of the insults to which his has been subjected could not be as fortunate. The book is a fascinating read for anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough to travel to these fascinating countries. Some of the author’s quite detailed descriptions of the rural areas/people/customs seldom visited by the usual traveler, unfortunately and regrettably at least from this reader’s interpretation, seem to be subtly tinged with a sense of superiority so often evident in Americans as they travel. This reader has spent considerable time in South America from Venezuela at the top to the Tierra Del Fuego and Ushuaia (pronounced oo shoo AYE ah), the town at South America’s very southern tip and has found that the harsh conditions described by the author in the smaller settlements, as well as larger cities may be a result of the time at which his visit had been made. For example, the description of Guayaquil was quite accurate in 2004 as a result of internal unrest. However, in the ensuing years it has been restored to its earlier splendor with the Malécon once again the place to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverfront which unfortunately as with the Mississippi, is not always a pleasant stream as this reader can attest from personally navigating it during spring floods. Additionally, using local public transportation in Ecuador for a journey to a rural village some distance from the capitol city of Quito, is similar to like activity in India, China, Korea, the Philippines, or even some of the rural sections of Mississippi in the United States. It is an activity largely designed to provide whimsical or otherwise entertaining tales to future listeners/readers. If my interpretation is incorrect, I most humbly apologize, but some of the passages appear to be quite disparaging of our neighbors to the south. It is true that often much yet needs to be accomplished, but when one considers what has occurred in Detroit alone, the thought comes to mind for travelling Americans about being careful about ‘throwing out the first stone’.

Conclusion: A well-written, often amusing, always interesting collection but occasionally exhibiting a tinge of ‘ugly Americanism’ with a most humble apology if this reviewer’s interpretation of the latter is incorrect.

3* 5* for most readers; 3* for this reviewer as explained below.