April 3rd, 2009


An interesting connection...

Project Peanut Butter is a project run by Dr. Mark Manary, who is doing his best to eradicate malnutrition in Malawi and Sierra Leone.

Dr. Manary was the first to conduct clinical trials of RUTF in the region, which offers a 95% recovery rate for severely malnourished children and is administered in the home. This represents a vast improvement over the milk-based formulas of the recent past that offered dismal recovery rates of 25% - 40% and required hospitalization

So, what is an RUTF? Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food. And the most effective RUTF, hands down, is Plumpy'Nut... which is basically peanut butter, powdered milk, and powdered sugar, fortified with a special mix of nutrients. Fat, protein, and nutrient- rich junkfood for the 3rd world.

Peanut butter is an ideal food, under the circumstances. It keeps for up to two years, and the energy and nutrients from peanut butter are very dense -- perfect for those who can hardly eat due to starvation. The nutrients in peanut butter are absorbed at a better rate than other foods. In fact, because people in Africa with HIV/AIDS oftentimes have similar problems, essentially wasting away, a special formula of Plumpy'Nut is being tested on them as well. 

There are several franchises around the world that produce Plumpy'Nut, locally producing the product to proper specifications. There are twenty million severely malnurished children around the world... five million of which die every year. Plumpy'Nut currently reaches about 3% of these kids, but is expanding rapidly.

So basically, peanut butter + added nutrients might wipe out childhood malnutrition as we know it.

Which perhaps is another way of saying that the invention of a former slave might soon eradicate childhood starvation and literally save millions of people per year in Africa and everywhere else in the world... and it will help restore the local soil at the same time.

Kinda cool, I think.


On the road to SCal...

...on the way to Anatolian Festival, home to 99 delicacies... sure hope they have samplers, 'cause that's too much to do more than a spoonful each over two days. Stopped for gas near Harris Ranch in the middle of the Central Valley... Coalinga. Opened the car door, only to be assaulted by the completely pervasive smell of cow dung. Couldn't smell anything else... and its not even summer yet. Horrid town. I've smelled better whino camps.