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BusinessDay 15 April 2018

C002D5556 Sunday

C002D5556 Sunday 15 April 2018 32BDSUNDAY SundayBusiness Food & Beverages With Ayo Oyoze Baje Long before Hippocrates (460 BC - 370 BC), the popular Greek known as the father of medicine came up with the quote: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” theHoly Bible had made references to the medicinal properties of foods and herbs. They represent health and longevity from Almighty God. Therefore, the importance of diet and of preparing and eating food was oftentimes seen as a spiritual act. The focus in those days were on fresh, natural foods called the field plants or “plants of the field”.These consist of herbs, roots and green, leafy vegetables such as tomatoes, corn and beans. According to the book of Leviticus, clean meat is Power of the healing foods defined as the meat of every animal that has the hoof cloven in two and chews the cud. Examples of clean meat include the ox (cattle), buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, antelope and mountain sheep. As for seafood, everything with fins and scales are allowed, but whatever doesn’t have fins such as shellfish is prohibited. For birds, everything is allowed except eagles, vultures, kites, ravens, ostriches, seagulls and owls. Unfortunately, modern lifestyle has veered towards processed foods much of which are fried, fatty, canned, with additives such as sweeteners, flours and food preservatives some of which have serious side effects. Efforts are on by nutritionists and food scientists to promote foods that are healing and healthy. Emphasis is therefore, shifting to healing foods such as apples, bananas, oranges, pineapple, tomatoes and lemon (all fruits). Others include beans, cashew nuts, carrots, cocoa, olive oil, coconut oil and cod liver oil. Plant materials such as herbal tea and green tea are also highly recommended. As for sources of healthy foods from animals, raw goat milk, turkey meat and one egg per day are all recommended. In fact, so important are healing foods that one Dr. Axe Fans has come up with the Healing Foods diet. He boasts that it is not just a diet but a tool that will launch you into a total health transformation. This diet was designed to help anyone triumph over diseases like: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, autism, digestive disorders, fatigue, depression, hormone imbalance, and cancer prevention. So, what are the scientific explanations for their efficacy and functions? The first is that they decrease Inflammation. According to Fans most diseases today are due to inflammation. Inflammation damages your cells and arterials walls and causes High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Arthritis, and digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease to name a few. By reducing inflammation your body is better able to heal from any disease. Secondly, they alkalise the body. Your body should have an average pH of 7.36. A can of soda literally has a pH of 2.5 and it would take approximately 30 glasses of water just to balance things out. Green vegetable juices like wheat grass and spinach help restore the body’s proper pH. All diseases including infections, osteoporosis and cancerthrive in an acidic environment. By alkalizing your body your cells can heal and regenerate at the highest level. Thirdly, they lower blood glucose .One of the primary causes of diabetes and weight gain are burnt out and insulin receptors. By lowering blood glucose levels, insulin receptors can heal and your body can begin to produce normal amounts of insulin to heal diabetes and leptin for weight loss. Another powerful reason is that they eliminate toxins. Toxicity has become epidemic in our society today and is a major cause of our increase in hormonal imbalance and autoimmune diseases. The diet helps problems like female disorders, infertility, hypothyroidism and headaches by balancing hormones and helps in reversal of autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, alzheimer’s, and autism. So good also that they optimize nutrients. Many of today’s illnesses are due to nutritional deficiencies. Most of the foods we eat today are processed and stripped of all vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and enzymes. This diet slows the aging process, improves mental capacity, and increases energy levels. The Healing Foods Diet consists of eating equal amounts (33% each) of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables. The steps to take include removing the bad fats and replace them with good fats.Bad fats such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic fatigue, and neurotoxic syndrome. Bad fats create chronic inflammation throughout the body inducing disease. Good fats are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain development, weight loss, cellular healing, and anti-inflammation. The next step is to change the meats that you eat.There are hundreds of studies that link commercial meats with cancer and heart disease. The grain fed to animals that were created to eat grass changes fatty acid ratios (too much omega-6, not enough omega-3) and denatures good fats, leading to modern day disease. Dr. Fans insists that the bioaccumulation of commercial pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones in meats are causing a toxic onslaught, which leads to many cancers, neurological disorders and chronic illness. Grass fed and free range meats offer many fatty acids missing in the Standard American Diet (SAD) such as: aracodonic acid, congegated linoleic acid, and Omega- 3 fatty acids. Also, consciously remove all refined sugars and grains from your diet. These include white rice, white pasta, and white bread. 1/3 sugar comes from soft drinks, 2/3 from hidden sources including: lunch meats, pizza, sauces, breads, soups, crackers, fruit drinks, canned foods, yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise. High glycemic or refined sugars cause elevated glucose, which elevates insulin leading to premature aging and degenerative diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease (inflammation of the arteries), and cancer. Sugar is an anti-nutrient offering insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals and robbing your body of precious nutrient stores. Baje is Nigerian first Food Technologist in the media Ideas Nwaodu Lawrence Chukwuemeka IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. email - nwaodu. Cell: 07066375847. What’s more, work and leisure are becoming increasingly difficult to disentangle. A study conducted at the Harvard Business School has shown that, thanks to modern technology, managers and professionals in Europe, Asia, and North America now spend 80–90 hours per week “either working, or ‘monitoring’ work and remaining accessible.” And according to British research, the smartphone has the average employee working 460 more hours per year – nearly three weeks. It’s safe to say the predictions of the great minds didn’t exactly come true. We are long past due for Keynes’ prophecy. Around the year 2000, countries like France, the Netherlands, and the United States were already five times as wealthy as in 1930. Yet as we hurtle into the 21st century, our biggest challenges are not leisure and boredom, but stress and uncertainty. Is there anything that working less does not solve? (2) …Working less, the solution to just about everything The solution to (almost) everything Recently, a friend asked me: What does working less actually solve? I had rather turn the question around: Is there anything that working less does not solve? Stress? Countless studies have shown that people who work less are more satisfied with their lives. In a recent poll conducted among working women, German researchers even quantified the “perfect day.” The largest share of minutes (106) would go toward “intimate relationships.” At the bottom of the list were “work” (36), and “commuting” (33). The researchers dryly noted that, “in order to maximize well-being it is likely that working and consuming (which increases GDP) might play a smaller role in people’s daily activities compared to now.” Accidents? Overtime is deadly. Long workdays lead to more errors: Tired surgeons are more prone to slip-ups, and soldiers who get too little shuteye are more prone to miss targets. From Chernobyl to the Space Shuttle Challenger, overworked managers often prove to have played a fatal role in disasters. It’s no coincidence that the financial sector, which triggered the biggest disaster of the last decade, is absolutely drowning in overtime. Climate change? A worldwide shift to a shorter workweek could cut the CO2 emitted this century by half. Countries with a shorter workweek have a smaller ecological footprint. Consuming less starts with working less – or, better yet – with consuming our prosperity in the form of leisure. Unemployment? Obviously, you can’t simply chop a job up into smaller pieces. The labor market isn’t a game of musical chairs in which anyone can fit into any seat and all we need to do is dole out places. Nevertheless, researchers at the International Labour Organization have concluded that work sharing – in which two part-time employees share a workload traditionally assigned to one full-time worker – went a long way toward resolving the last crisis. Particularly in times of recession with spiking unemployment and production exceeding demand, sharing jobs can help to soften the blow. Emancipation of women? Countries with short workweeks consistently top gender equality rankings. The central issue is achieving a more equitable distribution of work. Not until men do their fair share of cooking, cleaning, and other domestic labor will women be free to fully participate in the broader economy. In other words, the emancipation of women is a men’s issue. These changes, however, are not only dependent on the choices of individual men; legislation has an important role to play. Nowhere is the time gap between men and women smaller than in Sweden, a country with a truly decent system in place for childcare and paternity leave. Aging population? An increasing share of the older population wants to continue working even after hitting retirement age. But where thirty somethings are drowning in work, family responsibilities, and mortgages, seniors struggle to get hired, even though working is excellent for their health. So, besides distributing jobs more equally between the sexes, we also have to share them across the generations. Young workers who are just now entering the labor market may well continue working into their eighties. In exchange, they could put in not 40 hours, but perhaps 30 or even 20 per week. “In the 20th century we had a redistribution of wealth,” one leading demographer has observed. “In this century, the great redistribution will be in terms of working hours.” Inequality? The countries with the biggest disparities in wealth are precisely those with the longest workweeks. While the poor are working longer and longer hours just to get by, the rich are finding it ever more “expensive” to take time off as their hourly rates rise. In the 19th century, it was typical for wealthy people to flatly refuse to roll up their sleeves. Work was for peasants. The more someone worked, the poorer they were. Since then, social mores have flipped. Nowadays, excessive work and pressure are status symbols. Moaning about too much work is often just a veiled attempt to come across as important and interesting. Time to oneself is sooner equated with unemployment and laziness, certainly in countries where the wealth gap has widened. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the ability to cut a big chunk off our working week. Not only would it make all of society a whole lot healthier, it would also put an end to untold piles of pointless and even downright harmful tasks (a recent poll found that as many as 37% of British workers think they have a “bullshit job”). A universal basic income would be the best way to give everyone the opportunity to do more unpaid but incredibly important work, such as caring for children and the elderly. The good life When I told people, in the course of writing, that I was addressing the biggest challenge of the century, their interest was immediately piqued. Was I writing on terrorism? Climate change? World War III? Their disappointment was palpable when I launched into the subject of leisure. “Wouldn’t everybody just be glued to the TV all the time?” I was reminded of the dour priests and salesmen of the 19th century who believed that the plebs wouldn’t be able to handle getting the vote, or a decent wage, or, least of all, leisure, and who backed the 70-hour workweek as an efficacious instrument in the fight against liquor. But the irony is that it was precisely in overworked, industrialized cities that more and more people sought refuge in the bottle. Now we are living in a different era, but the story is the same: In overworked countries like Japan, Turkey, and, of course, the United States, people watch an absurd amount of television. Up to five hours a day in the U.S., which adds up to nine years over a lifetime.

Sunday 15 April 2018 C002D5556 33 SundayBusiness World Consumer Rights Day 2018: Making online marketplaces safer for consumers SOLA SALAKO-AJULO Salako-Ajulo, consumer rights and protection advocate, is president/founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON). As the world celebrated another World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) on March 15, 2018, global focus was on the fast evolving, ubiquitous marketplace enabled by the internet. The theme set for the 2018 celebration by Consumers International (CI), the global consumer protection watchdog, was “Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer” in recognition of the growing challenges of protecting consumers in a new market that transcends physical borders, ignores geographical boundaries and confirms the ageold maxim that the world has truly become a global village. In less than twenty years, the conventional definition of markets has evolved from physically defined and geographically identified spaces of commercial activity to multiple intangible, boundless and real time e-locations enabled by the internet. Whereas subsisting consumer protection laws and guidelines attempt to protect consumers within physical locations and the sovereignty of national policies, research shows that up to 12 percent of all global commercial transactions now take place on the internet; intra and inter countries, between multiple currencies and with little or no physical contact between the seller or service provider on the one hand and the consumer at the receiving end. E-commerce, enabled by electronic financial instruments, has thus become our progressive reality. According to Babatunde Irukera, director general, Consumer Protection Council, in a Facebook post, a recent research by the Council show 67 percent of consumers between ages 18-40 now shop online; showing how important online markets are to commercial activity in Nigeria. As to be expected, the issues of exploitation, unfair trade practices and sub-standard products and services, which gave rise to the need for government to protect consumers in conventional markets, now occur at breathtakingly alarming rates online. Consumer protection regulators appear to be playing catch-up as the issues transcend the capacity of existing laws and regulations. More so, the challenges consumers face in the new marketplaces online are sometimes new, thus existing laws are inapplicable to check the excesses of most merchants in this nascent frontier. Consumers daily fall victim to issues like lack of redress, misleading advertisement, outright frauds and scams and poor customer care with little or no regulation or intervention from regulatory agencies. Though a few of the organized formal merchants online have shown initiative by establishing their own consumer protection structures to build confidence in their store, they are not directly supervised by any particular agency of government. The first issue raised by the global watchdog is the lack of fair access to the internet for millions of consumers around the world. Whereas the internet is fast becoming an essential commodity in developed countries, nations like Nigeria are still struggling to make the internet adequately available for the majority of consumers. Even when consumers pay for data access, they rarely get value for money, thus they are unable to maximize the full benefits of the online marketplace, and the few who do pay dearly for the privilege. This challenge of access becomes even more critical as essential services like governance, utilities and financial services are now being digitized globally. Consumers now need the internet to apply for a driver’s licence or national identity card, pay their taxes and access banking and other financial services. E-marketplaces must therefore be made more accessible, affordable and safe for every consumer in Nigeria. Another critical issue is the menace of fraudulent transactions at e-marketplaces. The fact that businesses take place without any physical contact between the seller and the consumer creates a cover of anonymity which unscrupulous merchants hide under to exploit consumers through misleading advertisements, fake products or services, scams and poor after sales support. Due to this, most consumers find it difficult to trust e-transactions or their providers. CI research shows 49 percent of internet users in Nigeria claim they are wary of e-transactions because of the trust issue. Consumer distrust of e-markets arises from the apparent lack of regulation or adequate legislation to police marketplaces online. Government seems to be taking its time to catch up with the digital economy, as it appears to lack the capacity to fully regulate and monitor the digital marketplace. One of the challenges to regulation is the ubiquitous nature of the platform and the multiple sectors involved. While a comprehensive legislation might take years to materialize, government needs to explore options that can immediately improve the standard and safety of online transactions for consumers. Some options regulators could consider include increased consumer education to empower the consumer with better information on the risks of e-transactions, how to identify scams and frauds and how to insist on redress if their rights are violated. Government can also work with sectors to encourage peer-topeer checks or self-regulation. When online markets agree to sign up to a code of conduct relevant to a specific sector on standards and consumer protection principles, digital markets in such a sector become safer for the consumer which builds trust and improves Consumers now need the internet to apply for a driver’s licence or national identity card, pay their taxes and access banking and other financial services. E-marketplaces must therefore be made more accessible, affordable and safe for every consumer in Nigeria consumer patronage. A good example of sector self-regulation is the Smart Campaign, a global effort to unite microfinance institutions around the goal to protect customers as a driving force in that industry. The Smart Campaign has developed a series of Client Protection Principles which participating microfinance institutions can implement to build strong, lasting relationships based on trust. Once an institution subscribes to these principles, the Smart Campaign compliance team will visit to inspect and verify its compliance before issuing such an institution a certificate. Consumers can then look out for that certification as proof of the institution’s ethical and consumer protection credentials thus safe for business. The Smart Campaign Principles include appropriate product design; prevention of over-indebtedness; transparency; responsible pricing; fair and respectful treatment of customers; privacy of customer data and a mechanism for complaint resolution. The Smart Campaign Principles could be adopted by financial digital marketplaces, as there has been a significant rise in online microfinance merchants who offer consumers alternative banking and microfinance services on the internet. While their platforms provide much-needed choice options to conventional banking, most consumers are wary to patronize their services because of a lack of trust. If such microfinance service providers strive to earn a Smart Campaign certification, for instance, consumer confidence will improve because of the perceived regulation, which in turn should increase patronage. Government needs to encourage independent and credible sector self-regulating institutions like the Smart Campaign to improve consumer confidence in digital marketplaces. Imagine if one of such is established for online stores to guide acceptable practices for e-transactions! Consumer confidence will soar which will directly impact patronage on those digital marketplaces, improving the economy. Another aspect of digital marketplace is the informal platforms of personalized selling. Many individuals offer goods and services for sale on person-to-person platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and so on. This form of e-commerce is more challenging to regulate because it is a private transaction between two individuals, yet the rate of fraud and scams is higher in these instances. Consumer protection in this situation must focus on consumer enlightenment and education so the consumer can make informed choices on whether to take the risk of buying goods and services from individuals without means of tracking. Government could also explore the possibility of putting checks and balances on the payment platforms for these transactions, which are mostly internet-based. A regulation that empowers a bank to take action if an account is used for online selling fraud could help to monitor these person-to-person transactions in order to shut them down once they are proven to be fraudulent or a scam. While these issues are definitely not exhaustive, they show the enormity of action required to keep consumers safe as they conduct commercial transactions on digital platforms. There are issues of protecting consumer personal data from abuse, ensuring redress in cases of consumer dissatisfaction and peculiar challenges that a dynamic economic platform would face as it evolves into a mainstream accepted marketplace in Nigeria’s economy. As Irukera of CPC rightly pointed out, distrust of digital marketplaces is not just about consumer protection, it has implications for national survival as it stifles economic growth. Nigeria must thus take bold steps to deepen the conversation on making digital marketplaces safer beyond the World Consumer Rights Day celebrations as the digital marketplace holds more promise for employment and economic emancipation for the Nigerian youth population, apart from being a vital key to the globalization of local products and services.

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