Archive | February, 2013

weekly food log

25 Feb

                In relation to this week’s class discussion about organic, local and small farms I have been thinking about how I choose what I eat and how I want to start choosing my food. Honestly I have never thought about my food in terms of being organic and the health benefits that arise from organic options. But after learning about the amount of antibiotics and chemicals that go into main stream food I am literally scared for what I am putting in my body. It is hard for me to fully grasp that with all of our advances in technology and resources we as humans choose to produce food the way we do. The fact that even products that are labeled as being organic aren’t traditionally organic and are just labeled for the image so corporations can make money. This all just comes back to how we live in a means end rationalized society and it makes me ill that all these systems we have in place have lead us to this point. Thinking about this gets me so worked up which makes me want to keep my moral distance and continue living in ignorance. To be honest I just don’t have the time to devote to consciously thinking about my food and going out of my way to make sure it is all prepared ‘rightfully’ and in humane conditions. Our culture does not make food a priority which in turn has affected the way I prioritize my food. Think about it we have fast food chains everywhere and people wanting to get in and out of the grocery store as fast as possible and get everything in one stop. The message we get from this is that food is supposed to be quick and easy. Going against that and making time to put effort into one’s food is seen as having too much time. I would like to try and better prioritize what I eat but this week that is just not going to happen. I will continue in my ways and routines and when I am confronted with these issues I will feel guilty for the time being but then go right back to my habits. That is all.  

Advertisements

Antibiotic resistance crisis

25 Feb

Scientists have released new studies that show the high use of antibiotics on Chinese pig farms are creating antibiotic-resistant genes that pose as a danger to human kind. Recently in class we have touched upon the use of antibiotics for animals and the potential risk we run by doing so. This New York Times article by Didi Tatlow clearly outlines that these potential risks are being reality and it is in our best interest to do put an end to using such high doses of antibiotics before it’s too late. Researchers analyzed the manure from three commercial pig farms in China and found 149 new antibiotic resistant genes, which is three times more than the controlled samples. This problem does not only affect China but rather the entire world due to foreign trade and mass traveling. The use of antibiotics in animals needs to be addressed on a world wide scale because we are creating a problem that can eventually wipeout mass amounts of the human population. I don’t know how concerned China is about this issue but from the fact that Marion Nestle’s blog Food Politics is blocked in China due to some of its ‘threat potential’ content leads me to believe that the average person in china doesn’t even know about this. If China does not take any actions to combat the emerging antibiotic-resistant genes they are mass producing then I think it is up to the US and the European Union to put pressure on China and force the change.  

Weekly food log

16 Feb

I would like to take this time to complain about the quality of food on our campus. This week I have been trying to actually eat legit meals instead of grabbing a granola bar and calling it a day. That being said I have been paying close attention to the food I have been ingesting from the Caf and Benny’s and I am anything but pleased. Thirty seven miles away from here I lived on an organic farm a couple summers back and the food there was some of the best quality food I have ever been exposed to. Everything was so fresh and flavorful especially the fruits and vegetables. In fact one of the hardest parts about adapting back into my ‘real life’ was not having the same quality of food. Coming to Susquehanna I was under the impression that the food would be similar due the location being in the same vicinity but boy was I mistaken. Trying to get a decent piece of fruit around here is like asking for a miracle. I can’t even bring myself to finishing an entire apple. In fact I don’t even try eating the apples here anymore because they always turn out tasting like chalk. My diet has come down to eating those prepackaged apple slices down in Benny’s and it is embarrassing to admit that. Any parent who buys those for their kids needs to go rethink their life because they are willing to pour extra preservatives into their kids rather than take the two seconds to cut up a real apple themselves. The other day I was feeling adventurous and decided to try an orange from Benny’s but after pealing it I found dirt all inside of it. like really? How does that even happen? Nonetheless I was once again disappointed. It’s sad that fresh and better food literally surrounds us (prime example: my camp) yet our school continues to feed us crappy low quality food. For the amount of money that students pay to go here they deserve better quality food. It is the schools ethical responsibility to provide nutrition and quite frankly I don’t think this responsibility is being met. 

Too much sugar for our own good

16 Feb

It is pretty evident that almost all doctors, scientists, health professionals and other notable sources are constantly pressing Americans to lower their daily sugar intake and they are certainly not advocating for additive sugars to be increased. Yet the American diet is continuously upping the amount of added sugar being consumed and it is hard to just sit back and not question what is going on and what logic (if any) is being used.

                A side note before I continue on this rant: My senior research project in high school involved analyzing the daily sugar intake of high school students and basically equivocating additive sugars to drugs. I personally believe that added sugars should be considered a drug and they should not be overflowing our diets. This is a topic that many people disagree with me on but none the less it is disturbing how much sugar is in our diets and the negative effects it has on our bodies. The fact that we have the knowledge and research to show this yet nationwide our daily sugar intake continues to rise is pure ignorance and plain disgusting.

                Americans have lost the view of food being a necessity to survive due to the fact it is readily available. Instead of wanting to nourish our bodies we focus more on taste and the luxurious aspects of food. While it’s nice to be able to have the technological advances to do this, it has also caused the health aspect of food to diminish and in turn the average American is well uneducated about their food. I strongly propose that this needs to change not only for the sack of individual’s health but also for the health of the human race as a whole.

                The ever so popular soda Mountain Dew just released their newest most brilliant beverage called Kickstart. It is basically an energy drink that is being advertised for people to drink in the morning in place of coffee, tea or juice. I would love to meet the individuals who are actually buying this because there is no way they are consuming this for its taste so they must be under some false pretention that this drink is actually good for them. This concentrated liquid sugar on steroids should not even be considered a food or beverage. Seriously. In fact I would have loved to of witness the group of people sitting around a table in some corporate building coming up with this idea and thinking it was remotely good. It is products like this that make me question humanity. Something has to change and soon.

Sources:

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2013/02/petition-to-fda-its-time-to-put-added-sugars-on-food-labels/

http://grist.org/list/mountain-dews-kickstarter-wants-your-day-to-start-off-disgusting/

“Is butter a carb?”

13 Feb

After reading different articles this week about the government and FDA needing to implement more rules and regulations for food product labeling, I find myself questioning where the responsibility for the obesity epidemic in America falls. I can’t deny that the fact that it would be nice to have policies in place so food corporations can’t lie about what is in their products. But a part of me keeps questioning the fact that our obesity problem is rooted deeper into our culture and any set of rules won’t stop people from consuming what they already eat. In Marion Nestle’s article Soda-size cap is a public health issue she talks about making the default soda choice 16oz because it is the healthier choice. In an ideal world this rule might work but in America this will certainly not be the case. Soda companies are so focused on making profits that they would never abide by this and Marion even mentions that soda companies say themselves that they will go to any lengths to protect their profits.

The way I see it, change needs to come from within our culture. Healthy eating is a part of a healthy lifestyle and if people were more interested in living out a healthy lifestyle then industries would shape themselves accordingly. Right now kids and young adults aren’t educated about how to eat which allows big corporations to take advantage of them and persuade their eating habits. The best example I have for this is from the movie Mean Girls when Regina asks “Is butter a carb?” to Cady. Trying to make Regina gain weight, Cady answers yes and Regina then piles butter onto her meal. The point is that Regina, like many other youths, was willing to believe anything she is told and food industries play off this in order to profit. So instead of trying to go through our legal system to implement laws, we should be going through our schools and trying to educate the public to make the healthier choice what people actually want. In another one of Marion’s blog posts titled Rumor: the White House is holding out for weak calorie labeling, she even talks about how there are no laws that require places to have food labels where selling food is the primary business, but plenty of these places still do because of the demand for it.  This proves that our focus should not be on implementing more laws and restraints to big corporations but rather educating citizens to live a healthier lifestyle. 

Weekly Food Log

11 Feb

As I look back on my week I notice a common theme of me not having time to eat and just grabbing whatever is readily available to me. This usually consists of a granola bar or if I’m lucky a bowl of cereal. I never put much time into thinking about what I am going to eat which is probably why the amount of processed food I eat at college is really gross. I know if I really wanted to, I could make time to plan my meals out and eat healthier but honestly this is not a priority to me. I eat when my stomach starts growling at me and by that point all I want to do is get food in me not so much caring about what I actually am eating. For example, this last Friday I woke up in a rush to get to class so I stole one of my roommates cheese sticks, I guess you could call that breakfast. I made the conscious decision to skip lunch and finish up an application instead. Luckily I have amazing friends and one of them surprised me with a giant cookie from Benny’s which turned into my lunch. By the time I was able to make my way to the cafeteria for dinner I was literally about to keel over which is probably why I don’t remember what I ended up eating. The point is most of my days end up being like this and I want to change it. Even now I am sitting at work and my stomach is growling to the point where my boss even commented on it. This week I am going to try and make going to meals a higher priority so I can focus on what I am actually putting in my body. 

Weekly Food Log

4 Feb

I will have to admit that this week in class I found myself being disgusted with our society and wanting to prepare all my food from here on out. Especially the day we watched those wonderful videos of slaughterhouses and pigs being violently tortured beyond what I can fathom. When I left that class I immediately cancelled my lunch plans so I could avoid seeing meat and go back to my room to eat a non-abused bowl of cereal. The imagines of those pigs kept replaying in my mind along with the one worker’s twisted justification of the pigs being bouncy making her actions okay. Looking back on this situation, I realize that me retreating to my dorm and trying to distance myself from food is not very far off from the worker’s justification for smashing baby pigs against the ground. These are both ways that people try to morally distance themselves from the cruelties that exist in our modern food system.

I realize that whether or not that one worker continues to do her job has no effect on the food system itself because she is just a cog in the machine and can easily be replaced. Likewise, me going back to my room and feeling bad about how slaughterhouses operate does not to change anything either. And let’s be honest, watching those videos only closed my gap of moral from my food for a short period of time because I had a buffalo  chicken wrap later that day. The excerpt from Every Twelve Seconds by Pachirat where he goes into detail about his first hand experiences with the different levels of work inside the slaughterhouse makes it evident that the problems we identify in our modern food system are much more complex than we assume them to be. It is not the workers who are the problems but rather the system and our culture in general. As long as our culture values cheap and fast production, I have no hope for any changes being made in our food system.