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Farah Kudrath, MD, MPH

Dr. Kudrath is a writer and physician living in Houston, Texas that blogs about health care, Islam, motherhood, and more. Please submit writing inquiries via the Contact page.

My husband and I are still enjoying his family reunion here in Canada. Yesterday, we went to Toronto’s Center Island by ferry and it was absolutely gorgeous. The Toronto skyline and the breeze off Lake Ontario was unbelievably refreshing for this Houstonian who would have been wringing sweat out of her bra while waiting in traffic this time of year. After maneuvering the baby stroller off the ferry, we noticed that there was a crowd of people in their teens and twenties standing around and looking at their cellphones. It’s not uncommon for summer events to take place at Queen’s Quay or Harbourfront Centre, but I didn’t hear live music or see any tents or even a concession stand. As we walked back to our car, Ib noticed that every single screen was displaying Pokémon GO, the augmented-reality game that was released this month and is free to download on Apple and Android devices. Players must physically go to randomly generated areas to catch different Pokémon, which then can be used to battle other players.

I’m in Brampton, Ontario right now for my husband’s family reunion. We flew up from Houston, his aunt drove in from Jersey, and his uncle drove in from Texas. My husband’s uncle, Wazir--but we call him Skippy, has a 4,000 square foot house in Brampton. I’ve already claimed the basement for Ib, Ali, and I. The rest of the family from the US is claiming other parts of the house.

We’re Muslims living in America--for now. With the election tied at around 40% each, our future is uncertain. Though we jokingly make plans for setting up American refugee camps in Canada and Mexico, this bizarre political climate makes me uneasy about my son’s future in my own country.

Every few months a new “superfood” emerges targeting American consumers who are unusually susceptible to food marketing. Acai, quinoa, gluten-free, and kale are just a few fads to take over grocery stores over the past few years, with sometimes dubious claims to better health. Putting aside the hype and million-dollar marketing, do we know what foods are actually healthy? Do we know what “healthy” truly means, or are we drinking the bitter kale Kool-Aid?

According to a New York Times and Morning Consult poll, yes and no. The poll asked a group Americans whether certain foods were healthy or not, and then compared their answers to a group of nutritionists. Some foods (like soda, french fries, and ice cream) were correctly identified by the survey group as not healthy, but other foods that the public considered to be healthy were deemed not healthy by the experts.

After the last unannounced album drop from Supreme Leader Beyoncé, a funny thing happened.

I, along with the rest of the Beyhive, dutifully watched the second visual album, Lemonade, immediately upon its release and were once again completely blown away by the absolute artistic genius carried into our ears atop the waves of pop music. We were all further inspired by the infusion of social commentary on race relations in the United States, the internal struggle of Black American men and how that colors their family relationships, and the celebration of the strength and beauty of Black American women. Given the impact of Queen B’s previous album and it’s meticulously created visual accompaniment, the fact that Lemonade consumed the world for the first few days after its release is not a surprise.

The funny thing that happened after Lemonade was released was the unfortunate case of mistaken identity and the resulting swarm that descended upon an innocent woman named Rachael Ray.

The older I get, the more I need Ramadan. There are multiple checkpoints for self-reflection and reinvention as a kid--every new school year and every new friend provides an opportunity for trying on new and different personalities to see which one fits best. However, there is a misconception that beyond this dress rehearsal in childhood there is some definitive identity that will carry us through adult life. For me, and I suspect for a lot of people at some point in their adult life, this identity turned out to be no more than a costume.