Browncast Episode 28: Obesity, Lifestyle, Fat and more..

By Omar Ali 7 Comments

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…). Would appreciate more positive reviews.

In this episode Razib and Omar move away from politics and culture to talk about the science (and non-science) of nutrition, lifestyle, obesity and fatness, especially as it relates to South Asians.  As some readers may know, I am an endocrinologist with a research interest in obesity and insulin resistance and Razib is a geneticist with a personal interest in health, nutrition and lifestyle, so I hope listeners will find it useful. Comments welcome.

PS: a couple of people have asked what my recommendations are for treating obesity. I hope to do a longer post some day, but here is the brief outline of what I advise my (pediatric) patients:

-Increased physical activity (1 hour of moderate to vigorous daily activity that gets your heart rate up; minimum of 30 minutes per day). This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk or using a treadmill or going up and down the stairs or dancing in front of a video or playing activity games on a game console.
-Try to adopt a lifestyle in which most meals are home-cooked and consist primarily of fresh ingredients rather than processed foods. Try to limit overall caloric intake and I especially recommend limiting the intake of carbs (smaller helpings of pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, more of fresh veggies and meats that are not heavily breaded or fried; for significantly obese patients I recommend limiting carbs to 2 servings per meal (30 grams of carbs) and no carbs in snacks). That said, each person can find a lower calorie, lower sugar diet that they are most comfortable with. As long as it is helping them lose weight, it’s good.
-Eat fruit rather than drink fruit juice. Increase your intake of fresh vegetables and eat whole grains rather than highly refined ones. This may not have much impact on weight per se, but will improve cholesterol, cure constipation and may have other health benefits.
-Avoid all chips, Cheetos and other high-calorie snacks. Stop buying these snacks, stop eating them except on rare occasions. 
-Limit foods made with added sugar (cookies, brownies, donuts, cakes, pastries, candy, etc.) to small helpings on special occasions. Limit fast food intake to occasional outings.
-Stop the regular use of soda, gatorade, powerade, iced tea and juice, try to drink more water at meals.
-Avoid all foods that contain trans fats (read labels).
-Most studies indicate that dairy is good for you and drinking 1-2 cups of milk daily is strongly recommended for all children and adolescents. Yogurt is good for you, and cheese (in moderation) is also beneficial rather than harmful. There is evidence that whole fat dairy products may be healthier than low-fat alternatives for most people.
-Nuts, avocados and lentils appear to be healthier than equivalent amounts of other foods and eating them in moderation may have long term health benefits in addition to helping with weight loss.

-Limit screen time. (the official advice is <2 hours daily, but the fact is that most students spend more than that on just work, but limit as much as possible, set up “phone-free time” for physical activity and other social interactions.  

Finally, do NOT make a constant struggle over dieting and weight control the dominant feature of your child’s life. A healthy lifestyle for the whole family is the aim, rather than obsessive control of one child’s food intake.
-Do not be discouraged if weight loss is slow. Your body will always resist weight loss; the aim is to stick to an overall healthier lifestyle (more exercise, less processed foods, few snack items, more fresh foods)


BrownCast Podcast episode 27: Zach on why he’s an Islamophobe and why he hates PewDiePie

By Razib Khan 53 Comments

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes, Spotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…). Would appreciate more positive reviews.

Today Zach and I talk about his evolution in relation to Islam. In particular, why Zach has become vocally and unapologetically Islamophobic recently, and what the difference between Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice is. I also ask Zach what his problem white people, and in particular PewDiePie, is.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

– Genesis 16:12


BrownCast Podcast episode 26: Surya Yalamanchili, all-American desi on politics, India, and culture

By Razib Khan 9 Comments

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes, Spotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…). Would appreciate more positive reviews.

Today we talk to Surya Yalamanchili, the author of Decoding The Donald: Trump’s Apprenticeship in Politics, a contestant on The Apprentice, 2010 Democratic candidate for Congress, and a successful entrepreneur. We talk about Indian politics, American politics, colorism in the South Asian community, as well as growing up in the 70s to 90s as a brown Amerian.

We try to explore in detail the polarized political landscape of the USA today, he from the center-Left, and me from the center-Right.


How the Baha’is lost out on Khushwant Singh-

By Xerxes the Magian 2 Comments

I’m just shocked to read this, how idiotic of the Baha’is to lose out on the body of one of India’s greatest authors!

Typical Persian arrogance; I’m actually upset since this would have been such a Kudos to the Faith in Asia. Khushwant Singh was an incredible intellectual and one of the literary Lions of the Punjab.

It’s deeply insulting to have insisted on burying him in a row when common decency would have been to reserve him a distinguished honour. As I was telling V this is the silent racism endemic to the Baha’i community. The largest believers in the world are in India but the UHJ (Universal House of Justice) has only one Desi out of 9.

The Persians and the Persianate believers (lots of Desis become Persianised) owe an explanation for this; utter stupidity because of callous racism and fanaticism.

I used to be keen on a burial because with a burial you give back to the earth what you have taken. Now, it will be the electric crematorium. I had requested the management of the Bahai faith if I could be buried. Initially, they had agreed, but then they came up with all sorts of conditions and rules. I had wanted to be buried in one corner with just a peepal tree next to my grave. After okaying this, the management later said that that wouldn’t be possible and that my grave would be in the middle of a row and not in a corner. I wasn’t okay with that—even though I know that once you are dead it makes no difference. But I was keen to be buried in one corner. They also told me later that they would chant some prayers, which again I couldn’t agree with, because I don’t believe in religion or in religious rituals of any kind.

How To Live & Die


Podcasts incoming!!!

By Razib Khan 3 Comments

I just want to remind readers that if you are a patron of the podcast, I post them early on Patreon. Two podcasts were posted today, and two will be posted tomorrow. I’ll probably roll out the podcasts over the next week. I assume when I post the posts you get notifications, but usually, I post that I posted them early on the “open thread” if you are using an email you don’t usually check.

On one of the podcasts I posted Zach describes Pakistan as the Republic of Gilead!

Tomorrow I’m going to talk to Zaid Jilani of the Extremely Offline podcast. When I went to the iTunes page for his podcast, I noticed that Brown Pundits is one of the podcasts that subscribers to Extremely Offline also listen too!

It’s been a while, so I want to exhort those of you who listen through something like iTunes or Stitcher to LEAVE A POSITIVE REVIEW. I mean only a single Stitcher review, seriously?


Azad(?) Kashmir

By Xerxes the Magian 14 Comments

I did a mini-gasp on social media when I saw Drew check in “Azad Kashmir.” Surely he would have been aware of the hyper-political language.

I would like to call him a Coloniser but since I’m in Turanian, rather than Tharoorian, phase at the moment; he’s one of the good guys.

PewDiePie on the other is a racist low-class wannabe Coloniser..

Also (related but not really):


Many types of India prepare to Vote

By Xerxes the Magian 8 Comments

My friend MJ has an interesting piece on Why we need National Continuity.

I was also reading an article about the lack of a “national party in India” (Modi versus 20 states) but I found the comment to the post excerpted below to be very interesting and well-written.

A paen to a very different type of India. As in all things the labels Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan are very muddled because they are ultimately foreign labels. But that is not the point of the post or the comment below but rather that there are many many types of Indias not just Modi’s Bharat.

I was a bit surprised that Telangana is divided up between Rao and Reddy, to India’s credit it has funnelled the caste divides into a democratic framework (casteocracy can work). In some forms of culture South Asia is probably the most conservative region on earth since culture is essentially distributed into each caste and clan. The family networks haven’t nuclearised yet and without atomisation, Westernisation is somewhat harder to achieve.

Mr Gupta’s articulation is absolutely in line with what India is. I only hope he believes in the India that is and articulates more strongly and more often about this India. Not the India that is being projected to us by ‘pretending to be independent’ darbari (but really sarkari channels and papers) channels but who depend on the government for advertisement money. 

We are a country where the language/dialect varies by district in many cases. If we try distinguishing regions based on multiple factors, India is a combination of few hundred states. We have multiple new years. Some of us revolve our lives around the sun and others around the moon. That itself tell us, how diverse we are. We have common festivals but they are celebrated for different reasons – sometimes very different reasons. How can then our politics be led by one fellow, who thinks of himself no less than God or who is positioned by the darbaris as the reincarnation of God. Given that the God has created us to be different, what business does a self-serving politician or the darbaris have to tell us how to live our life? We are largely independent thinking and that is why no effort at assimilation in the past has succeeded. What does it tell us about who we are? Not to mention that our geography is that of a continent and our economic opportunities vary significantly. 

Not everyone can or has to become one kind of citizen – thinking the same way.  Continue reading “Many types of India prepare to Vote”


India Election 2019 Thread

By Shafiq R 62 Comments

Lately, we have been talking a lot of things about South Asia but not much on what is supposed to be the biggest event in the calendar for 2019, India General Elections 2019 scheduled to start 11th April and continue till May. Looking at the Opinion Polls it seems that BJP’s election fortune has become much brighter since the dustup with Pakistan. Although foreign issues do not dominate Indian elections that much. Domestically, general Indian people still seem to regard Modi as a better steward for the Indian economy than Rahul or any other alternatives. I have no opinion on the probable results as I have little knowledge and expertise. Let those who are more informed opine here freely on the elections. Not just probable outcomes but also about social, economic and political directions that this elections may bring about.


19th March : ” Times Now and VMR survey is back with yet another batch of poll-related data and analysis. In the current survey, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is predicted to grab 283 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats, UPA – 135 and Others – 125.

In the last survey, the Times Now-VMR poll had shown that the NDA would have been 21 seats short of the half-way mark had 2019 Lok Sabha Elections been held in January.”