Daily Archives: November 12, 2017

food! it’s simple. (not really.)

Food – it’s important. It’s relatively straightforward, typically, the way we discuss food and nutrition, but it’s even more interesting to see the underlying systems that dictate what is labeled as ‘nutritional’, and what certain agendas of food manufacturers have. For background on my particular diet and I know, for me, I try to make guided choices on what I eat – for environmental sustainability, primarily. For example, I avoid dairy if I can and don’t eat pork or beef. I practice weekly ‘vegan days’ (referred to as a meatless Monday by many, but the day floats in my case) where I make a conscious effort to stick plant-based for the day. Though, for most of my days, I stick to chicken or turkey and eggs as the animal products I consume – I don’t practice an incredibly healthful diet, either, but I do think it’s better than the typical ‘American diet’. I limit myself to one non-water beverage on most days, I snack on vegetables or fruit if given the chance, and if I do have dessert, I don’t make it a regular thing. I have a package of birthday cake oreos, and if I’m really craving something, one of those does the trick.

So, when looking at the resources, there’s a lot of emphasis being put on the addictive qualities that additional sugar can create – sugar is something our bodies naturally crave, so by artificially adding sugar to things that may not need it, it’s creating a dependency on that, or risk a crash or dissatisfaction with the next meal. Seeing as the average US citizen eats 66 pounds of additional, refined sugar is kind of terrifying – in no world is it acceptable to sit down and just eat tablespoons of sugar, but according to the foods we eat, it seems to be a relatively accepted practice that people have become complacent in. Simply, people are not informed about food choices and don’t have the knowledge that this is happening – I have family members, for example, who seem to think that there’s nutritional value in consuming, ice cream, because it constitutes “calcium” – but seem to overlook the added sugar and general unhealthiness of what they’re consuming. Rose tinted glasses or just making excuses for eating habits? We won’t know. (Disclaimer: I love ice cream as a treat. I’m not putting it down, I promise, just know it’s not nutritionally good for you in the slightest.)

Many of the articles really reflect one thing about the current state of the food industry – it is truly about making money. Whether it refers to the whiskey boom (thankful I’m not a whiskey drinker – wouldn’t want to feel ripped off by these companies – and my distaste for fireball is making a lot of sense now, it DID always give off a ‘this should not be anywhere near me’ vibe) and how they’re not as artesian as they may claim to be, or to the ability to make everything snack-able (I know for sure that when I’m snacking through the day, I eat far more than any other situation.) This, effectively, makes money for these companies – you need to eat, of course, but food companies have a vested interest in making sure that you eat more than you may need.

And while food blogs such as Vani Hari’s Food Babe may seem to help remedy the solution, she has some idea of how things work and she generally encourages food producers to be more transparent about their tactics, she’s also not a trained doctor or dietician. This worries me, as people may start to adopt tactics that mirror hers and may be unhealthy for them in the end – those with certain dietary restrictions or lifestyles may not be able to do the things she does. While I may agree about certain aspects of things with her (for example, labeling GMO’s – I consume products that are genetically modified and don’t have a problem with it, especially in the context of ensuring people in developing countries can eat, but consumers should at least know what they’re consuming, due to pesticides such as round up being used on crops that are typically genetically modified – from an ecological and somewhat (ish) health perspective), I think her rhetoric may stick to people and eventually drive into unhealthy relationships with food, especially for those who are prone to eating disorders.

Overall, I think food is multifaceted and there’s no one right answer – it takes a village to recognize that there’s profit incentive behind everything an that not everything is black and white. There’s many shades of grey.

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Food Prompt 2

I’m just going to come right out and say that my eating habits are probably considered really unhealthy. However, after reading Why “Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Work, I was definitely more aware of the food i was putting in my body. Quite often, I am short on time and grab something quick and cheap on the go. I normally don’t even keep track of what foods I eat at all, meaning some weeks I will cook all week and others I won’t cook at all. It just depends on the day and what my plans are. After taking this class and reading this article specifically, I have learned that my unhealthy eating habits can not be justified by moderation anymore. Because I am young, I don’t really think about the effects that eating unhealthy can have on my body. Most CVD don’t develop until older ages so I have always just eaten whatever I want. This article really opened my eyes to my eating habits and how these things can really take a toll on your body If I were to start taking my eating habits seriously I think my first step would be to eliminate all sugary drinks from my diet. Soda and juice contain so much sugar and other “super villains” in such small amounts. After that I would probably cut out snacks and add more veggies to my diet. The article stated that you need far more “ordinary” food to cancel out the super villain food, so incorporating more veggies and nutrients in general would be a great start to changing my diet.

Food Prompt 2

After reading the short article about moderation, my eyes were really opened. The information did not surprise me, but rather packaged it into a view that was easily understandable. I definitely practice meaningless moderation and often eat without moderation at all. Our society and culture has perpetuated this idea about rewarding ourselves through food. This ideology has allowed us to believe we are appeasing either ourselves or those around us who may be judging our dietary choices. The reality is, diet and health choices do not make someone a morally good or bad person. If someone is overweight or eats junk food everyday, does that mean they are not a caring and responsible person? We constantly judge those who do not follow health trends or exercise regularly, especially in my own generation. My course of action is to eat healthily for my own longevity and health, not to make myself feel better or have others to view me as a “better” person because I am on top of my nutrition.

Food Prompt 1

The most concerning new information to me as a consumer was just how misconstrued food labels can be. With almost one hundred different names for added sugars that are used on food labels, it is almost impossible for consumers to be aware of what they are buying. The government and FDA have implemented several policies in recent years in an attempt to make ingredients and sugar content more clear. However, food companies have found ways around these regulations in order to cater towards current shopping trends and continue to make money. Groups in America have made strides towards encouraging a healthy eating trend with people turning to more nutritious foods and diets. Manufacturers have picked up on this and put products on the shelf that are marketed as healthy, but have large amounts of hidden sugar. Truly the only way to avoid this misconception would be buying solely raw ingredients and avoiding anything packaged. To combat this, the FDA may begin to require a section on food labels to state how much added sugar is in a product. Most foods have naturally occurring sugars and are made worse by manufacturers adding refined sugars, syrups, etc. As studies have revealed, it is likely that our consumption of these hidden sugars may be what is causing the skyrocketing rates of diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Action I will take for myself, and those around me that will listen to my stance, is to attempt a more wholesome lifestyle by buying large amounts of produce and meats, reducing the number of cardboard boxes in my home containing refined sugar. For those who have not made themselves informed on this issue, I suspect some would not listen to what I have to say; but I feel most would be horrified to know what they have been consuming. Especially consumers with families to feed, this data should be very concerning.

Resources used from Food Matters page:

http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.WgkHk8anHIX

https://consuminghealthmatters.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/added-sugar-subtracted-sciencecsducsreport.pdf

https://consuminghealthmatters.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/healthconcernsleadtolabelclaims.pdf

Glossary Building #1

Food is probably one of my favorite topics to write about because I love food! You can’t go wrong with food, and everything in moderation is good.  Or so I thought. Moderation meaning a person eat an unhealthy item or meal once or twice a week, or even a month. This is moderation because it’s not happening every single day! Reading an article written by Jonathan Ross goes on to discuss that this idea of food moderation is essentially bogus. Which after reading, I am coming to agree with. Living a balanced lifestyle is much more than cutting back the donuts to once or twice. Living a balanced lifestyle is eating healthy more often than not. In the sense of, maybe once a month a person is eating a cheat meal. Balanced is an important way to live because leaning toward one way or another really drastically changes the way a person feels, acts, and the habits they have. Developing good healthy habits is choosing the food that is good for you because you want to fuel your body, choosing to hit the gym because you know your body will thank you more than sitting at home. Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Eating food in moderation, already created the habit of bad choices, thus leading to the path of an unbalanced lifestyle.

  • Moderation: “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression :observing reasonable limits”
  • Balance: “a means of judging or deciding
  • Lifestyle: “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture
  • Habit: “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior

Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: Americas most-trusted online dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/

Popova, M. (2016, July 08). How Long It Takes to Form a New Habit. Retrieved November 12, 2017, from https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/02/how-long-it-takes-to-form-a-new-habit

Ross , J. (2016, January 09). Why “Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Work. Retrieved November 12, 2017.

Food Prompt 2

Reading this article about moderation made me realize the lack of nutritional understanding. I very much see myself in the example from the article about moderation. But not because I treat myself everyday, which I don’t but in the way that I would see that as moderation, except for the wine night because I rarely drink. But I am also someone that grew up constantly put on diets by my parents. The summer between fifth and sixth grade I was sent to fitness camps. That’s just a nice way of saying fat camp. I have always had to be so careful about what I choose to eat and how that what I choose affects my body but right now in my life I have so many more important things than worrying about restricting myself when someone brings something to the office or my roommate makes cookies. I’ve spent 75% of my life living that way and it sucks to be honest. It really does. But that doesn’t mean I only eat unhealthy foods, in reality I love to cook fresh vegetables, proteins, and keep my carb intake low. To me, that is moderation. Moderation is portion sizes and not always having a sweet snack on hand at home or at work. But everyone sees moderation differently which is where we hit the nutritional understanding snag. Not everyone sees or understands moderation the same way and as people working in public health, judging those who do not know or understand it the way we do is the opposite of our job.

Food Prompt #2

Well, after reading this, my reaction is, I absolutely do this. Without any doubt, I am one of those people who say “if I eat good this week, I can eat the cupcakes at the party this weekend”. My other reaction is, I couldn’t agree more with him. I have no idea where this idea of “I ate salad for lunch, I can eat the cookies with dinner” in any way makes up for eating the salad. Regardless, because it is an expectation for our bodies, that salad should be eaten. So, yes, I am practicing meaningless moderation. Honestly, after reading this and according to Jonathan Ross, I am not practicing any form of moderation. Simple indulgence. A few lines in this article really stood out to me. “Healthy food should be our normal. It’s not super; it is what is expected.” This really stood out to me because I have fallen for that also. This idea that I am eating superfoods and I am so healthy for doing it and yay me! But he is absolutely right. Yes, some foods are going to hold more nutritional value than others, but regardless, it is still food that your body expects to consume because of the way our babies are created. Another line that stood out to me was “If you -eat a healthful food, you are getting more healthful – you are neither a good nor bad person”. I loved this one also, because more than not people have this idea of “I’ve been good, just one bite of” whatever it is. I too do this. Realizing and understanding that this is actually pretty common doesn’t make me feel so bad and the next step I would be taking would be education, education, education! Open more doors to knowledge so I can learn about the foods around me and the concepts that cause people like me to think that food is a reward, more than a source of body health. With my knowledge I can live that way and then teach those around me of my findings and hopefully people close to me would follow my example and live the same way. This creates smarter and healthier consumers, which is exactly what the world needs.