Post 11 – Part 2

On my search for blog topic posts I found something interesting on food politics. Marion Nestle shared some information on the White House and childhood obesity. She explains some ways that food and beverage companies have been controling the policies being made.

One of the topics was that pizza has been declared a vegetable to be kept on school lunch menus. Hmmm.. Well, I wouldn’t be too upset with that if the pizza was a healthy pizza. I’m sure most of it is frozen, covered in yucky sauce, and cheese. Ok so there is tomatoes in the sauce…. how about putting a couple more on top of the pizza? Probably not..

The effort of 24 states to have a soda tax have all been forgotten. I’m not sure how I feel about the tax, but I’m pointing it out just to show how the food industry seems to be calling all of the shots.

Congress also stopped a plan by four federal agencies to reduce sugar, salt and fat in food marketed to children. Michelle Obama may be all about trying to help children fight obesity and learn about being healthy, but I guess Congress doesn’t care.

Reading things like this is frustrating. Why can’t companies make money by selling healthy things? Not all healthy things are disgusting. I don’t find every sugary treat gross, so why don’t we just try it. If the food industry would fight half as hard for healthy food as they do against it, we would be in far better shape. Literally.

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Post 11 – Part 1

Last full week of classes!!

 

Since this week I enjoyed hearing about everyones progress on their projects. It seems like a lot of people have similar ideas. I am very happy that my presentation is over with and I can just sit back and listen to everyone elses.

Since there isn’t much for me to talk about I think I will share a lot of short opinions.

My topic is interesting to me because I love hearing people talk about what foods they are eating or not eating because they are trying to eat healthy or lose weight. There is so much input coming from TV, magazines, people, food labels and so much more that it is hard to tell what you’re really eating or should be eating to meet your goals.

The big debate on the cafe doesn’t really interest me. At first it was just because I don’t live on campus, but then because no one else in the class really wants to put effort into it so it’s annoying to hear about constantly. Personally, I don’t think the food is that bad. I lived on campus last year and ate it. Susquehanna provides a lot more options than other schools that I went to on my college search.

I really enjoyed Ashala’s project because I hear children nagging their parents all the time and I was once one of those nagging children.

Post 10 – Part 2 Follow Up..

My last post discussed how the FDA would finally be addressing the use of antibiotics. I stumbled upon the outcome of the decision on Food Politics. After reading what  Marion Nestle had to say, I decided to see how Mark Bittman was handling the news. To read more on the topic I followed a link to the New York Times. Here is what I found: The F.D.A. has decided that industries should not be able to give antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster. The F.D.A. does support the use when it is needed by a sick animal.  This would require a prescription by a veterinarian. The F.D.A. is allowing this to be voluntary, probably to avoid too much trouble from the industries. The F.D.A. is claiming that they will produce regulations if the rule isn’t followed.

Before I start ranting, I would like to say that I am happy to hear the F.D.A. say that the use is not in the best interest for humans and antibiotics should not be used for the growth of animals. While it is probably just a quick fix to shut up people protesting the use, it makes me feel like I can count on the FDA to be on my side even when big industries are not.

Problem one: Who is jugding “sick” animals? I’m sure that big companies can find veterinarians to pay off. Suddenly a lot of animals are going to be “sick”.

Problem two: Voluntary. I do think that the shame and accountability will cause some companies to reduce or eliminate the use of the antibiotics. The FDA said it’s bad so now they can’t hide behind the says who argument, but some companies won’t care. This isn’t a law.  No one will go to jail and no one will be fined.

In my opinion the FDA did what it could to make both sides happy. A full ban would have opened up a can of legal worms. The FDA would have to have air tight regulations. This can’t happen over night, but they can’t ignore the harm from antibiotics. It’s a start.. It’s going to cost a company a lot of money to pay off vets, hide what they are doing, and lose sales. It will happen, but as long as consumers stick to wanting and only buying antibiotic free meats I think there is hope. I’ll try to be optimistic.

Post 10 – Part 1

Reading Starving For Science by Robert Paarlberg has kind of made me feel stupid for being against GMOs. Learning about GMOs throughout this course has caused me to offer them no sympathy, until now.

GMOs sound scary and unnatural.  My conscience tells me that change like this is bad. Why would we genetically change a plant to grow some where that it wasn’t meant to? That has to be terrible for our bodies, right? Not so much. I agree that consuming a plant that is genetically modified to kill an insect or weed isn’t healthy. Filling our bodies with poison isn’t something to ignore. That trait is one that I wouldn’t support. Changing plants to kill things isn’t the only way to modify a plant though. I’m not an expert, but how can a plant having a gene that allows it to survive in a drought harm me? Just because a pepper needs half the amount of water than it normally would doesn’t mean it is going to poison my body and ruin the environment.

While some of it can be damaging and exploited by companies that doesn’t mean that it should be ruled out completely. Not an countries experience a food surplus like the US. If a country can’t produce all of the food that it needs or afford to import them that doesn’t mean that they should starve. GMOs would allow poorer countries to produce more food for themselves and exports.

I haven’t made my decision yet, but I have an open mind.

Post 9 – Part 2 It’s only been over thirty years, but better late than never.

This his article Mark Bittman addresses the court ruling forcing the F.D.A. to finally announce it’s stance on if feeding antibiotics to livestock has a negative effect on humans. I followed a link to learn some more info.

I’ve learned that in the 1950s the FDA gave the go-ahead to give antibiotics to animals. In 1977 there was (details not mentioned) findings that the antibiotics may be dangerous to humans. So like the good FDA that they are, they started the motions to withdraw the approval. So what happened? It’s not a surprise. The big bad drug industry, members of congress, and some agricultural businesses began to pressure the FDA to reconsider. These groups fight for the right to fight disease in animals that people are eating. If only that’s all it was for. Promoting growth and scaring off infections from mistreatment is some other benefits.

The use of antibiotics in animals has increased from 17.8 million pounds per year in 1999 to 29.8 million pounds in 2009. Either there is more animal colds going around or there are some other motives. I’m surprised that the pro-antibiotics do not promote binge eating meat to uninsured people in order to rid themselves of an infection and avoid a visit to the doctor.

Bittman thinks that the FDA will just cave to the meat industry. It’s hard to disagree. It took a court, thirty-five years later, to force them to do the research and decide. The companies have a chance to fight for their side as well, but if the FDA decides that antibiotics are harmful then they are banned. I’m just going to continue in my nieve world and tell myself that the FDA wouldn’t let me eat anything that could harm me.

Post 9 – Part 1

This week has really highlighted all of the conscious and unconscious tools that people use to decide what is better to eat. After everyone shared their parents’ responses to what healthy food is, it was obvious that there is no one definition. I enjoyed this week so much because it relates to the project I am doing for class.

It’s interesting the “rule of thumbs” that everyone has. From diet labels only to color preferences. It’s kind of humorous actually, to hear people talk about what “healthy” is or what is the best diet trick. “My doctor said….” or “I read some where once….” is normally the start of the replies. This may sound a bit negative, but I think our country’s constant waist line increase shows that we aren’t the experts that we think we are. Or is it that we know and we just don’t care or lack the will power to avoid the junk? Probably a bit of both.

I know it’s a bit out dated, but we’ve all seen this in our life time. I swear I had a point when I googled this picture, but now I  can’t seem to ignore the muffin on the bottom and milkshake in the milk group… I don’t think we should use pastries and milkshakes as a way of nutrition. Thank goodness they don’t have french fries as a vegetable!!

Post 8 – Part 2 Ok, maybe for some people.. but mine is natural.

An article provided by Mark Bittman has suggested that eating more fruits and vegetables makes you more attractive. Coming to our aid in defense against pollution and UV rays are carotenoids. Carotenoids are red-yellow pigments found in fruits and veggies. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more red and yellow pigments in your skin.  As participants consumed more servings (2.9 more) they were voted to look healthier. The study does not explain what the person was eating to start with to now be consuming 2.9 more portions. Adding an extra 3.3 portions resulted in the person being rated more attractive. They have not explored if this is something that is true for all races or just white and Asian.
If this is not a motivator to eat more fruits and vegetables, I’m not sure what is. This study doesn’t touch on weight loss, but I imagine that a person would consume less of other varieties of foods in exchange for these filling portions.
Although it sounds wonderful, I just don’t believe it’s that easy. The study also does not mention what happens if you would add an extra 15 portions to your daily item. When it mentions that carotenoids guard from UV rays and pollution it does not mention that it reverses any damage. The participants were ages 18-25, so the damage could not have been severe.
Fruits and vegetables are a healthier options than sugary or fatty snacks. Although, I believe the claim that this study makes puts them on the same level as “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”. It’s just not that simple..

Post 8 – Part 1 Finally. A diet I can follow.

This week was probably the most entertaining week yet for me. I enjoy the disgust that I feel when I see people eating enough food for six people. Watching the video clips of crazy eaters this week caused me to completely loose my appetite. Eating three slices of pizza makes me feel like a pig, so I have no idea what emotions I would be feeling if I ate three whole pizzas. I admit, moving directly next to an ice cream shop hasn’t exactly helped me shed any pounds, but compared to this weeks video clips of The Heart Attack Grill, I’m a champion dieter.

With all of the smart comments out of my system, for now, I do wonder what’s behind the craziness. It’s like the spokespeople for the restaurant were in a slaughtering line. They got to see the person behaving in the same way die right in front of them. Instead of taking the opportunity to run, fast walk, whatever their ability it… to get out of there, they just stayed. Celebrated their fame.

It’s easy to believe that something will never happen to you. The thing is, I’m sure these people own mirrors, scales, and go to a physician. All three of those options are very honest with you about your weight. Your boyfriend or girlfriend might sugarcoat those ten or fifteen pounds for you, but they won’t. Sure, I guess “everybody dies from something”, but I’ll pass on this one.

Post 7 – Part 2 – I was really starting to miss Mark Bittman

So I discovered an article that Bittman shared that caught my attention instantly. thanks to this class I will never be able to look at corn the same way again. One of my favorite summer time sides is being taken off the cob and used in.. well.. everything.
A company in the U.S., Monsanto, produces genetically modified seeds for corn. A recent study, not explained in the article, suggests that these GM seeds pose significant risks for the environment. Because of this finding France is unhappy. They have asked that the European Commission ban the use of these.  If the commission does not follow France’s requests they are prepared to restrict the sales of them independently.
Reading this sparked me to wonder why other places haven’t banned them as well. Our country acts in a way that suggests that people won’t willingly eat the corn. It’s hidden in foods and added to animal feed. The genetically modified crops require a lot of pesticide. So why push it? Well, not everyone is. My google search offered up plenty of disproving sites, including one straight-to-the-point called bangmfood.org.
Promoters suggest that this is the solution to feeding hungry people. Crops do not just pop up over night, ready to feed the world. We need fast, high yielding crops so that everyone can eat.
It’s hard to not feel like I have been living under a rock. Where have all of these changes come from? I drive past corn fields all the time. I would have never thought that what I was looking at was a part of such controversy.

Post 7 – Part 1

The reading for Friday this week was very interesting to me. I was aware that statistics show that lower income families are more likely to be eating cheap, unhealthy food from fast food restaurants than fresh, health foods from grocery stores or health food stores. I never really understood why though. Produce is very cheap and much tastier than greasy french fries, so why not save your money, enjoy delicious food, and nutrition?
I live in a town with two grocery stores, five convenient stores, and a number of fast food restaurants. Every weekend there is a small market with produce and a butcher located in the downtown. The population is 9,810 people as of 2009. The average household income is  29,506 dollars. Compared to areas with low income in Washington DC where there is one grocery store for every 70,000 people and higher income areas having 1 store per 11,881 people, my small town of Sunbury, Pennsylvania has a lot of stores for a lower income area. This may be why learning that some areas do not have grocery stores was such a shock to me.
The reading offered some ideas about why this happens to areas and what is being done to correct it, but why is Sunbury different? I see a lot of people eating unhealthy Burger King food multiple times a day. Their easy access to grocery stores and food markets doesn’t seem to increase their reliance on them.  Maybe it’s just the convenience and the price because it’s certainly not the taste and nutrition.