The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain

4th April 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain, by Dr. Steven R Gundry M.D. We stumbled across this book several weeks ago, when we were reading some of the other books on neuronutrition. That this is a “most read” book on Amazon, with over 2,000 mostly 5-star reviews, gave us the idea that there might be something interesting going on.  And was there ever! As it turns out, there are highly toxic, plant-based proteins called lectins that are found (as the book description notes) “not only in grains like wheat but also in the ‘gluten-free’ foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions.” The Plant Paradox is well worth reading, not least because it also explains why genetically modified foods are not necessarily as innocuous as they might seem.  (The Europeans may be quite right to look at American food products with a jaundiced eye.) We were also surprised to learn why Spanish, French,  and Italian milk and cheese don’t seem to provoke the same allergic reaction as their American equivalents—something Barb has frequently observed in her visits to Europe.  Truly a provocative thesis and book.

Introduction to Steven Cooke, the New Lead Mentor for the English Language LHTL

We have a very special community here in Learning How to Learn.  The record-breaking popularity of the course requires a large volunteer support commitment from many different people as Mentors.  As volunteers we know that it is a love for the topic and a joy for learning and helping others to learn better that keeps them all involved.  Similarly, it means that there is a constant movement of Mentors for various personal and professional reasons. Our Mentors guide students to a better understanding of the course, and they in turn receive guidance and support from both the Teaching Staff and the Lead Mentors.

Current changes in some situations have prompted a “Changing of the Guard” of the Lead Mentor for our English language version of the course.  I’d like to introduce you to a long-time LHTL Mentor and avid continuous learner, Steven Cooke. Steven first took LHTL in 2014 – he joined us as a mentor in 2015.  Steven’s background helps lend insight to his responses on the forums: he is the Founder and Principal of Process Systems Consulting, a small, hard-working consulting firm now based in the Philippines. Steven has an extraordinary 40 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, including risk assessment, quality management, process design, analytical specifications, process analysis and control, and gas purification.  He is also an online chemistry instructor for Thomas Edison State College (Trenton, NJ).

He has an extensive background in many different volunteer organizations, both professional and charitable.  His key interest is in enabling others to do better – whether clients, students, or in his local community. I hope that you will all join me in welcoming him to this new assignment, and support him with your involvement in the Forums and Course Discussions as he will be communicating with you through those venues.  Keep an eye out for Steven’s friendly, informative posts on the forums!

Updates on Barb’s Upcoming Talks in Australia and New Zealand

  • University of Auckland, 6:00 pm May 1, (co-sponsored by the New Zealand Initiative). Register here.
  • Macquarie University, Sydney, May 6th, information to come.
  • University of Technology Sydney, 1:30-3:00, May 7th.  Further information here.  
  • University of Western Australia in Perth, May 12th, a series of private talks for university instructors, administrators, and staff. 
  • Queensland Secondary School Principal’s Association Conference on May 24 in Brisbane.

(And she’ll also be in Alice Springs and Cairns, but mostly just dilly-dallying and having fun!)

A study of whether the use of the MOOC Learning How to Learn affects students’ learning

Here is the abstract of a phenomenally interesting (from our perspective!) study by Beate Luo at Feng Chia University in Taichung, Taiwan. Beate’s paper, “The influence of teaching learning techniques on students’ long-term learning behavior,” in the journal Computer Assisted Language Learning, shows the significant influence of using the MOOC Learning How to Learn, coupled with face-to-face interventions, in improving student behavior with regards learning.   Analyses of students’ questionnaires before the intervention and at the end of the second semester, observations of students’ study behavior during the second semester, and students’ academic performances during the two semesters were collected. At the end of the study period, students of the experimental group reported cramming less, using more learning techniques, redoing exercises with answers covered, and spacing repetitions more often instead of massing. Students’ online study behavior verified their answers to the questionnaire and showed a more efficient use of the learning platforms. Students also benefited from this intervention by scoring higher in the final [language] proficiency test of the second semester.”

We strongly encourage more study involving the effectiveness of Learning How to Learn to enhance the study of various subjects.

Навчитися вчитися: Барбара Оклі про хорошу прокрастинацію та улюблену навчальну методику

Here is an in-depth interview with Barb in Detoks Zhyttya in Ukrainian: Навчитися вчитися.

Barbara Oakley: “Los niños no sólo deben hacer aquello que les resulte más fácil”

And here’s another interview with Barb, this one in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Updates on OpenClassrooms

Barb was lucky enough to visit and speak at OpenClassrooms in Paris several months ago, and she’s been observing them with keen interest ever since. Several days ago, OpenClassrooms announced a new strategic partnership with Microsoft. They are launching an online master’s program on AI, to train 1,000+ AI engineers worldwide.  Recently, OpenClassrooms has grown their team to encompass 170 staff and 1,000+ mentors/coaches, with students in 140+ countries, placing 50 to 100 students in the workforce every week.

OpenClassroom’s online apprenticeship programs now involve hundreds of employers, including Uber, Deliveroo, Capgemini, BNP and others. OpenClassrooms is also involved in governmentally sponsored reskilling programs to train and place jobseekers. For example, they have launched a partnership with Andela in Africa, and a large program called LevelUp with Google, Uber and other platforms to train gig workers on digital and business skills.

Last but not least, OpenClassrooms is working on degree accreditation. As a fully-accredited academic institution with degree-awarding powers in France, they are replicating this in the US and UK. Much excitement is afoot when it comes to OpenClassrooms!

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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