Archive | January, 2013

Weekly Food Blog

26 Jan

This past week I have found myself not being able to make it to the Cafeteria or Benny’s to have a ‘proper’ meal. Rather I have been eating cereal for basically all my meals give or take a few here or there. As I sit here examining the labels of my stash of cereals and granola bars I have found things that are worth noting that I probably wouldn’t have looked at outside this course. My Honey Bunches of Oats came all the way from Missouri, and that is just the processing plant. Who knows where the actually ingredients were grow or bought from. Since we have been talking about corn lately I wanted to note that corn is the first ingredient. My Kashi Go Lean cereal says it was distributed from California but again who is tracking where the actually food comes from. I have wanting to look into The Kashi Company and do my personal investigation on whether or not their motto is actually up held or just for advertising purposes. Their commercials are pretty convincing and look like a fun time especially when they have people zip lining through exotic forests. Anyway I will let you know when I get around to actually doing that. My almonds are manufactured in my own home state of New Jersey but as said before the actually almonds aren’t coming from there. Finally I just wanted to note that my rice milk I use with my cereal (not for any health reasons, but rather because I am a college student and it will last longer without going bad) is distributed from Elizabeth, New Jersey. I volunteer at soup kitchens in Elizabeth and let me tell you it is not the nicest place on earth, actually the exact opposite. But I still am going to continue using my milk and ignore all the mental images that come to my head when I think of Elizabeth New Jersey.

The last comment I wanted to note on this food log is I have friends who are from New England and they are used to having seafood that is fresh and out here in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania that is obviously not the case. Yet this week in the Cafeteria they were serving fish and one of my New Englander friends (cough Danielle cough) decided to go against her gut feeling and give Pennsylvania seafood a taste. Needless to say I go a full report on how the seafood was probably constructed in a factory and it should not even be considered seafood. Or even food. I was glad I stuck to eating my nice processed cereal that evening.

Thought that just popped into my head: if real milk comes from milking cows, how is rice milk made? hmmm. 

Obesity and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

26 Jan

 Recent and growing scientific studies in relation to our nation’s obesity epidemic suggest that eating Twinkies and sitting on the couch all weekend are not the only factors that play into America’s enlarging stomach. Scientists are now looking at the effect that endocrine-disrupting chemicals have on people especially to prenatal women and new born babies. I had never heard the term endocrine-disrupting chemicals until I read Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times article “Warnings From a Flabby Mouse”. These new studies suggest that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals leads to the formation of larger and more fat cells in an animal or in this case people. These chemicals are said to be found in a variety of different things like plastic, shampoo, canned goods, foam cushioning, pesticides, and the list continues.

            After recent discussion in class about how society’s views on food policies bounces back and forth throughout history, leaves me to questions the validity of this information and the intentions behind it. Now I’m not saying that the scientific evidence provided in this article is wrong, I am rather suggesting that the conclusions made in these studies are more so sought after rather than truly discovered due to alternate or even unconscious intentions. Kristof uses Bruce Blumberg as a reliable resource to quote for evidence about the new studies relating to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. While this seems to be a trustworthy source I think it’s also important to note that Dr. Blumberg is a developmental biologist and “is a pioneer of the field”. He obviously is going to be his own best advocate for his work and recommend that people limit their exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. If he didn’t his job would suffer and there would be no demand for his field. Whether his intentions stem from pure passion and actually believing in the righteousness of his field versus just trying to make profit is beyond my knowledge.

            In class we looked into the turnover from baking homemade bread to allowing all bread to be industrially processed by machinery. This turnover happened due to convincing advertising that was backed by what turned out to be false scientific evidence about micro bacteria, and a social stigma where if you didn’t buy into the idea that factory bread was better you were seen as being of lower class.

            I do agree with Kristof that the best way to go about these new studies is to look into them more and boost research before creating safety acts and going through congress for regulation. More correlation studies need to be done and tested before the blame of the obesity epidemic can be lifted from our cultures shoulders and dropped onto chemical exposure.  

Weekly Food Log

19 Jan

Food Log:

The perks of having Sociology of Food right before lunch makes it easier to relate the material we learn about relate to my everyday life. This week I noticed myself wondering where the food at school comes from. Even for breakfast I usually eat a granola bar and I found myself wondering where the food has been and what am I actually eating. Cause let’s face it, more than half the food I eat I would not be able to make myself so I don’t know what goes into preparing it. One night in the cafeteria the only good thing they were serving was turkey burgers and usually I would eat them but all I could think about is all the different birds and parts of birds that are in one patty. It was a major turn off.

In class I enjoyed the conversation we had on farmer income and small farms versus large farming companies. I never knew a lot of the information that was covered “An Essay on Farm Income” by Richard A. Levins. I personally have lived on an organic farm and after reading this I want to talk to the owners of that farm and get their intake on the subject. I know that they only farm for themselves and don’t sell their crops for income but just to get their perspective would be interesting to hear. This also made me think about where my family buys groceries from. I am from New Jersey so we shop at mas supermarkets like ShopRite where you have no clue where they are getting their products from. I wonder if it would be more beneficial to shop at stores like Trader Joes instead.  I really liked the idea about looking into how the Amish farm and whether or not they run into the same problems with competition between farmers and the technological treadmill.    

The American Paradox

19 Jan

It is hard to believe that in this day and age food companies are still allowed to blatantly lie to consumers for the sake of marketing their products. After reading Marion Nestle’s article Coca-Cola fights obesity? Oh, please. on her blog Food Politics I was reminded of Micheael Pollan’s beginning argument in his book Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan talks about how America has a national eating disorder do to our culture not having deeply rooted traditions surrounding food and allowing our nation’s dietary goals to be constructed by our need for an ideal body. This leaves room for companies to deceive us with catchy phrases like ‘fat free’ or ‘all natural’ and keep us as consumers buying into their lies.

Another concept Pollan brings up is the American paradox which he describes as “A notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily” (Pollan, 3). This is why Coca-Cola has been able to make billions off all their new lines of ‘lower calories’ and ‘less sugar’ products. These products might be less harmful than their original products, but that still doesn’t make them healthy. Yet through marketing and a culture blinded by what they are pouring into their bodies, Coca-Cola is able to get away with it. Marion Nestle posted this video in her article and I found it to be very interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHhCP5ad-zM&feature=youtu.be this video puts the ‘real’ narrative story to a recent Coca-Cola commercial that claimed to be helping America fight obesity. The idea of the video focuses on the fact that Coca-Cola launched their fighting obesity campaign to improve marketing profits because Americans stopped drinking soft drinks. Nestle points this out in one of her other articles that includes this chart http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/New-Picture6.bmp that compares the US consumption rate to other countries consumption rates of soft drinks.