S U S T A I N A B L Y
Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people, and ask for brief answers in return. Usually, I can describe the guests in a phrase or two, but with Pamela Peeke, today’s guest, I barely know where to begin: She’s a doctor, and I start there only because she did. But she’s also an assistant clinical professor in medicine at the University of Maryland, was a Pew Foundation scholar in nutrition and metabolism during a post-doc fellowship, and the first physician to be a senior research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. That oughta be enough, but she’s also WebMD’s lifestyle expert, and chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV, and a New York Times best-selling author whose latest book is "The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction.” Dr. Peeke is also senior science advisor to Elements Behavioral Health, the nation's largest residential addiction treatment network, where she has developed their first residential program to treat food and addiction. Her work was recently seen on the "Today Show" profiling her work with the Promises Malibu Vista center. I should also mention, although It’s barely a hill among all these mountains, that Dr. Peeke has blogged about me and my book, “Fat Boy Thin Man," a couple of times, and we had dinner together with other friends after the recent food-addiction conference sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
After that long list of credentials, I have to ask: Don’t you ever get tired? " They say that if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s me.”
Born when and where "The when will never be disclosed, but I’m a Senior Olympian triathlete, so I have to be over 50. And I was born in San Francisco, California."
Resides now Bethesda, Maryland
Family circumstance "Married, Mark is my handsome hubby. He comes from the land of law enforcement. He was SWAT, executive protection, and crimes systems analyst like the guys on CSI. We’re known as cop and doc.
What did you want to be when you grew up? "It already happened. Is that 10 words or less?"
A news event from childhood that left an impression "JFK’s assassination. I remember exactly where I was, singing in the choir at St. Brendan’s. As young as I was, I cried too, because JFK was a very important icon in our family.
"Your first paying job "That would be with my parents. They owned their own companies, and I actually got a little something for working for them. I helped keep the books. ‘Zero Equals Zero’ was my middle name."
Wisdom you retain from that job "The value of work. I was never given anything. I never felt entitled. I felt it was important to be able to show effort and be rewarded for that effort.
Someone outside your family who was a strong influence "Dr. Henrik Blum at the University of California at Berkeley. He was one of the great names in the school of public health. I met him early on, and became kind of his quasi daughter. He helped guide me as an undergraduate. When I became a graduate student with him, where I got my master’s in public health, he was an incredibly important mentor and I suppose a father figure as well."
I had to laugh about this exchange at foodnavigator-usa, titled with the industry-friendly headline, “Whether yogurt is a health food or junk food depends on who is talking.” (No, it’s not just he-said-she-said.)
I hope you've noticed that Dr. Pamela Peeke and I collaborated on an interview, posted just below this one on the blog. There'll be another one, too, when I'm done transcribing and editing the chat for a print version. The following isn't going to be in the edited version, for editor's reasons, but I neither did I want to let it slide completely from notice, also for obvious reason. We were talking about the good and bad things about being an author when she said,
Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. Today’s guest is vice president for business and social purpose at the PR behemoth Edelman, but has written for GreenBiz, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal on CSR and sustainability issues for years. Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it on the fly.
Name Aman Singh
Born when, where New Delhi, India, Sept. 15.
The year? "Earlier in the decade of the gas leak in Bhopal."
Anything notable about the circumstances? "At that time, parents did not find out the sex of their child. My parents wanted a boy, had a boy’s name picked out, but they had a girl and stuck with the name."
How's that working for you? "I think it empowered me. My name in Punjabi, which is my native language, means peace. I’m quite the contrarian, but they had the right thought in mind."
Where do you live? "New Jersey."
Family circumstance "I’m happily married to a car geek, also from my hometown Delhi, and we have a 14-month-old son."
When did you move to the US? "2003."
An early influence outside your immediate family "A TV journalist in india, Barkha Dutt. She was one of the first women journalists to really emerge on the broadcast scene and report on hard issues like war."
First paying job "A small website in New Delhi focused on investigative journalism. I was just out of high school, waiting to hear back from my college choices, and I knew I wanted to do journalism but wasn’t really sure what that would involve. I was their first beat reporter, covering one the many political parties in New Delhi."
My committedly curmudgeonly friend Alex Beam used to have an evergreen column about people with the same names. I was always disappointed that when he wrote of the Doug Browns, he didn't include my pal Doug, of the ESPN Browns. (I seem to recall I may not be recalling this anecdote precisely, but I can count on Alex to correct me.)
Coming up at 11 a.m. Eastern Thursday.
Among the tidbits learned in our conversation: The only hint she'll give to her age, how to become a New York Times best-seller, and the unexpected wisdom culled from her many TV appearances.
Coming soon: an edited-text version of the interview.
Scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. eastern today.
Aman and I had a great conversation, running about 27 minutes, about her and about her work as a stalwart in the fields of CSR and sustainability. She's been CSRwire's editorial director; written for the Wall Street Journal, Greenbiz, Forbes, and others; and is now a veep at the PR firm Edelman. In a week or so, I'll also publish an edited-text version of the interview as well.
I’ve been reading the excellent report, “Kids Unbranded,” created by the Center for the New American Dream, and hope you will too. It does a wonderful job both stating the problems created by commercial exploitation of children and offering tactics that individuals can use to fight that exploitation.
Did you know that the first three characters ever typed on the Internet were L-O-L?
No, this is not a joke. It’s a tiny bit of knowledge identified as interesting by someone who does that all the time: Ira Flatow (right), founder and principle voice of the public radio show Science Friday.
On Oct. 24, he was interviewing Charlie Kline, who entered those (and other) letters on Oct. 29, 1969, but had never himself realized that that was kinda funny. Kline was telling the story of the first test of ARPANET, which became the Internet: He was at UCLA, and as a test run, tried to log into a computer at Stanford Research Center in Palo Alto. There were no names and passwords; to log into this computer, one typed, L-O-G-I-N. Kline said that when he typed L, it appeared on the screen in Palo Alto. Same when he typed O. But then the SRI computer crashed.