All posts by emilydietetics

Photovoice Part 2

IMG_6866McDonald’s Nutritional Fact PamphletJack in the box

Jack in the Box Nutrition Fact PamphletIMG_6867
Taco Bell Nutrition Fact Pamphlet

Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?

In short, the answer is yes, however, if you want to find out the information needed to make a healthy choice, you need to work for it. I went into three different fast food chains: McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Taco Bell. In the fast food restaurants, I asked for the nutritional pamphlet and recorded how long it took for the employee to give it to me. McDonald’s took 2 minutes and 17 seconds, Jack in the Box took 1 minute and 39 seconds, and Taco Bell did not have anyone present who knew where they were, but they offered to let me use one of their phones to look it up on the internet, in all I waited 2 minutes and 5 seconds before I was given an answer. McDonald’s was only able to give me a 54-page book that I could take pictures of but could not keep. This book was very extensive with its information and listed all the information that is generally required on normal packaged foods, however, I did not see an ingredient list, which was slightly concerning. Jack in the Box also listed all required information excluding the ingredients list, however, I could not find anything online that was nearly as extensive as McDonald’s in that I do not believe that it listed all things on the menu. Taco Bell was the same as the last two in that it listed the required information but no ingredients, and while it was not a 54-page booklet, it did seem to list all items on the menu. So yes, I was given the information that I need to make the healthiest choice possible at these fast food restaurants, but I had to wait for it, and one place was not able to provide me an in-person copy, which was disappointing.

 How healthy is it?

The answer to this question was by no means surprising, the food at any of the fast food chains is not typically on the healthy side, and many of the items on the menu either fulfill or come close to fulfilling a daily value. For instance, the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito-Steak from Taco Bell has 40 g of protein and 2100 mg of sodium and 840 calories. This is over half a daily value of protein, almost all of a daily value of sodium, and almost half the daily recommended calories, in one burrito. McDonald’s and Jack in the Box have similar nutrition information provided for items on their menu as well. All in all, the food at these restaurants is not healthy, there may be an item here or there that could provide high protein and low sodium, but that would be a rarity and less likely to be ordered as the restaurants are known for their salty, greasy, and quickly served food.

 Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?

It is so difficult to be healthy as a college student with access to these fast food restaurants because of the prices and location. As shown on the receipts, this food was very inexpensive, I did not pay more than $4.00 for anything ordered, and many of these places offer “meals” which allow the customer to buy a main dish, a side, and a drink for a discounted price. Also, these restaurants were located on the main road to get on the freeway to head to the western side of Washington, where many of Central Washington University students live. It is very easy to stop in and buy food for the road at any of these locations, especially as they all have drive-throughs.


Going around to these locations and asking for the Nutritional pamphlet was not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. The employees were all very nice and understanding and did their best to get me the information as quickly as possible. This tells me that food service workers do want to let the consumer know exactly what it is that they are getting, even if the large corporations do not always want that. A concept from 209 class that inspired me is that consumers are not always given all the information before they make a choice, and I wanted to see if that information was available. If someone had never been exposed to consumer health issues, they may benefit from doing something like this. In doing this I found out exactly how much sodium, protein, and carbs are in the food offered at various fast food locations. The only problem is that an everyday consumer may not know what these values mean as there is nothing to compare them to, for instance, they may not know that the daily recommended value for sodium is 2300 mg or below. My project provides nutritional information for three large corporation fast food chain restaurants, and information on how to obtain the nutritional information. It also provides a few prices to tell the consumer what the price of fast food generally is, and shows real pictures of fast food, rather than the advertised pictures. Lastly, it provides the public with the idea that they do not know everything that is in their food, or all the nutritional information about their food, and puts an idea in their head, that maybe this is something they should know.               Fillet-o-Fish                   Pumpkin Spice Shake        Frito Burrito

(McDonald’s)                        Jack in the Box                 Taco Bell

Peer Reviewed Comment

For the peer reviewed comment, I have chosen to review the post “Family Planning & Misconceptions” written by hannaheileenc on October 22, 2017. I have posted the contribution below my peer reviewed comment. The main part of this contribution can be found in the last sentence, which reads, “Generally: things that make money aren’t the best to be done, but because people are uninformed, predatory organizations may take advantage of this”. This sentence summed up the contribution in an efficient way. From reading this contribution, I learned that there are many medical practices and advertised products that are expensive but may not be as helpful as described. For instance, in paragraph two, the author states the Lambskin condoms “are essentially worthless” as they do not protect against STD’s. They are also billed as a luxury item, despite the fact that they do not do the same job as regular or latex-free condoms.

It would be informative for anyone who is a new parent or planning to become a parent to read this contribution as it debunks some myths around expensive medical treatments for infants and new mothers.

The strongest part of this contribution is paragraph three. This paragraph gives a real-life example of how a patient who was uninformed about the impacts of a medical practice may impact her and her child. The patient is described as being cautious about her caffeine intake during pregnancy as to not agitate the infant’s heart, yet she was given a C-Section without being informed that this may lead to a quick fetal heartbeat. The weakest part of this contribution is paragraph two. In this paragraph the author gives their personal opinion, which while interesting and makes the contribution more relatable, is not very helpful when looking for factual information. There were a few parts that I had to read more than once to understand, but that was only due to grammatical errors as listed below.

I found 2 spelling errors and five grammatical errors. The spelling errors are as follows. Second paragraph second sentence the word “there’s” is spelled “theres”. Fifth paragraph first sentence the word “women’s” is spelled “womens”.  The grammatical errors are as follows. First paragraph second sentence “certain parts reproductive healthcare” should read “certain parts of reproductive healthcare”. First paragraph second sentence “pre-and-postpartum” should read “pre- and post-partum”. First paragraph third sentence “if someone if planning” should read “is someone is planning”. Second paragraph fourth sentence “-luxury” should read “-a luxury”. Third paragraph third sentence says “heartbeat then that happens” should read “heartbeat when that happens”.

One part that made me want to read more on this topic is the fourth paragraph where the author states that women are more likely to be refused surgery to prevent future pregnancies such as a hysterectomy. I do believe that this is because most vasectomies for men are reversible, however, a hysterectomy is not.

On a scale of 1 to 4 with 1 being the lowest, I rate this contribution a 3 overall because it was very informative and got me thinking about the topic, however, it was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

Original Post:

Family Planning & Misconceptions by hannaheileenc on October 22, 2017

I know that, for sure, there’s misconceptions within the realm of family planning. Even if we disregard the fact that certain parts reproductive healthcare is stigmatized by one of the major US parties, as well as many religious institutions, even in medical spaces there’s rapid debate about what to do pre-and-postpartum when it comes to reproductive consensus. When should a mother go back on birth control after having a child if someone if planning on waiting to have another? What birth control is right for someone who doesn’t plan on having children at any point? Are there luxury products that may not be the best for reproductive health? Should a person be able to elect to have a C-Section?

Lambskin condoms are one thing, for example, that are essentially worthless (in my humble opinion). Billed as a luxury product, for monogamous couples and as birth control. Great – good to know theres something on the market for that. But it still is just that – luxury. Even for those who have latex allergies, non-latex condoms are an option. And with many monogamous couples, they just aren’t cost effective – I found them online, priced at about 3 USD per condom. Not to mention they’re made of an intestinal membrane, which is pretty disgusting.

And here’s another “boo” to a medical industry so driven by high cost: episiotomy is still high, and was even higher in the near past. C-Sections that may not be deemed necessary are still performed. I know I was an induced labor, and didn’t know that there’s a higher risk of quick fetal heartbeat then that happens – and my Mom, someone who refused to eat chocolate during her pregnancy due to worries that it’d mess with caffeine levels, may not have chosen to be induced if she was informed on that.

Much of reproductive care, as well, is handled by those who may exhibit bias on certain regards – generally, doctors will not perform vasectomies or tubal litigation on those who are young and have not had children, even if they are sure they wouldn’t want to any time in their future. This is typically more common for women, to be refused a procedure.

Aside from that: the myth that womens eggs “begin to die” in their 30’s, leading to fertility clinic profits from performing women in their 20’s.

Generally: things that make money aren’t the best to be done, but because people are uninformed, predatory organizations may take advantage of this.

Greenwashing Self Prompt

Prompt: What is greenwashing? What is sustainability and how does it impact us as consumers? How does sustainability contribute to our self-identity?

Greenwashing is buying or doing something marketed as “green” to offset other products or habits that are not as environmentally friendly. Sustainability is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brassington & Pettit, 2005, p.12, as cited by (Schielke & Altobelli, 2012). So, people buy things labeled as “green” in order to create a more sustainable lifestyle for them and the future generations. However, the bad news is that almost every product that is bought has at least some impact on the environment. To give an example, almost everything in a store is packaged in some way, and many of these ways negatively impact the environment, most of the packaging isn’t decomposable. This idea of sustainability contributes to our self-identity due to perceived moral obligation. Moral obligation is what we think we should do and self-identity is how we view or want to view ourselves. Consumers feel a moral obligation to help provide a sustainable environment for future generations. This helps consumers improve their self-identity. Yet again, almost every single product does negatively impact the environment in some way, leading to the question “is our current lifestyle sustainable?”

Pharmaceutical Prompt One

Before reading this, I had no idea what DTC adds were. I am aware of the ads on television about certain medications but I had no idea what they were called and never really paid any attention to these ads. After reading these slides I have come up with some points to summarize this advertising practice and why this practice may need a change.

Firstly, the FDA does not require companies to provide an exhaustive and detailed list of side effects in their infomercials. This leaves out certain side effects that may be harmful to the consumer depending on their present medical status and their way of living. Hopefully, if these medications are prescription only medications, then the prescribing doctor would look at the patients’ medical history before prescribing a drug that may have harmful side effects. However, the patient may be resistant to go on other drugs that they have not heard of due to fear of the unknown, so they may only want to take a drug that they have seen in an infomercial. The FDA also reports in a survey that many physicians felt pressure to prescribe a DTC ad drug when a patient brought it up. Secondly, a change for the DTC advertising took place in 2008, when the pharmaceutical industry pledged to not allow actors to play doctors and to make sure that anyone endorsing their product had actually used their product. This does pose a slight problem in that just because someone is endorsing a product does not mean that it worked for them. They are required to have had to try the product, but their opinion on it may be swayed by the amount of money offered to endorse the product. Lastly, DTC ads are putting more prescription drugs and companies under criticism. DTC has reportedly increased demand, but it has also made companies and their products open to criticism that they are trying to maximize profits rather than actually help consumers. This poses a problem when law firms put on commercials stating that a certain prescription drug may cause a serious illness and that the consumer should sue the prescribing doctor and the company who produced the drug. These kinds of ads make consumers wary of companies and drugs and may deter them from getting the help that they need. While one kind of drug may not have worked for one person, it may work for a different person.

An acceptable public health solution is to require companies to provide and exhaustive and detailed list of the side effects to consumers and to only allow endorsements from patients with which the drug has succeeded in doing its job. For providing a list of side effects, the FDA needs to change its requirement back to that of the 1980’s when DTC was first legalized. As for real endorsements, that is slightly trickier as patient confidentiality and HIPPA laws come into play. Patients would have to reach out to pharmaceutical companies themselves to tell the companies if the product worked for them, and from there on the company could ask the patient to publicly endorse their drug.

PhotoVoice Part One

For my PhotoVoice project I will be attempting to answer the questions “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?”, “How healthy is it?”, and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?”. An idea that I had for this was to go around to three fast food companies and ask to see their nutritional facts menu. I am planning to go to McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Taco Bell. I will be able to see how readily available the nutritional facts are and how many nutritional facts are provided for what items on the menu. This should allow me to find out if I know all the information that I need to make a healthy choice and to find out how healthy different fast food actually is. Also, based on how readily available this nutritional information is I will be able to judge why it is so difficult to be healthy as a college kid on a budget. I will post pictures of the nutritional fact sheets and possibly short videos timing how long it took the fast food chain to get me these sheets. Then I plan to post pictures of some of the healthiest and unhealthiest foods on the menu to get a sense of what they look like and how looks of food can be deceiving.

Glossary Building 5

The glossary post for this week is about illness and morality and how these are treated or enhanced. First, the article, “How Many Die from Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?” talks about how many patients have died from medical mistakes. This article was interesting in the fact that not only was the number much higher than anticipated, but also because “There’s never been an actual count of how many patients experience preventable harm. So, we’re left with approximations, which are imperfect in part because of inaccuracies in medical records and the reluctance of some providers to report mistakes,” (Allen, 2013). To show an example of possible medical negligence, the next article is called “Geography is Destiny in Deaths from Kidney Failure, Study Shows”. This article talks about how depending on what region someone with end-stage kidney disease lives in, they have a better or worse chance of survival. It then goes on to discuss which kind of dialysis is better for kidney patients and frighteningly states that “Dialysis with an AV fistula is superior to other methods and offers a dramatic survival advantage… the fact that fewer than one in five people start dialysis with a fistula is a real public health concern” (John Hopkins Medicine, 2015). It then goes on to explain that those living in New England and the Pacific Northwest have the greatest chance (1 in 5) of going on dialysis with a fistula, whereas Texas and Southern California have the lowest chance (1 in 9). This is perhaps because the New England and Pacific Northwest regions pay doctors more than the Southern United States.

Next, as many Baby Boomers are getting older and may soon be at the point of needing assisted living or to live in some kind of aging community, the next article called “Aging in Community: The Communitarian Alternative to Aging in Place, Alone” talks about aging communities. Aging in community is not a new concept, many people grew up in a neighborhood, inherited the house from their parents and died there. However, with new medical procedures used to expand the lifespan, people are living longer and not necessarily better. This leads to the invention of assisted living facilities, but these facilities can be costly, and many Baby Boomers have not saved enough money or lost money in the recession of 2007. So communities have started banding together to provide better options for those in need of assisted living. For instance, as nearly 1 in 5 women over age 55 live in poverty, one community has established “house-sharing” for these women. Allowing them to live in a house without paying the full rent. This leads to a more understanding, helpful, and less expensive environment that a long-term care facility.

  • Patient Safety: Very limited as evidenced by reports of hospital negligence and the number of medical mistakes contributing to patient deaths.
  • Equal Treatment of Patients: Unable to exist in this country due to geographical and socioeconomic differences.
  • Aging in Community: Communities banding together to help the older generations with general living requirements while costing significantly less that an assisted living facility.


Allen, M. (2013, September 20). How Many Die from Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

Blanchard, J. (2014, April 2). Aging in Community: The Communitarian Alternative to Aging in Place, Alone. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Geography is destiny in deaths from kidney failure, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2015.

Illness and Morality Prompt One

As I plan to live in Washington State when I am of the age that this information will be pertinent to me, I have decided to look at the provided Washington agency’s website. Looking at this with the eyes of an uninformed consumer was difficult as I do believe that most consumers would do extensive research before committing their loved ones to a long-term care facility. However, if this was the first place the consumer started looking, I could see how this could be both helpful and confusing.

Somethings that were immediately helpful were the statement that Adult Protective Services will be checking for signs of abuse as there have been many stories reporting abuse of the elderly in long-term care facilities. Another helpful thing was that there was a section for the deaf and hard of hearing. Many elderly people have a hearing problem, and many of them would need additional assistance in everyday life, it is good to know that that is an option. Some less helpful things were the lack of a listed cost, if there was a minimum amount of time that someone had to stay in the facility, and what the guidelines and rules are as far as visitation goes. However, this is more a lack of information rather than provided confusing information. I would suggest that consumers look elsewhere for more information. For instance, sometimes other consumers can be extremely helpful, so looking somewhere like Yelp for some reviews would be possibly be helpful in answering some questions. Consumers should also call any long-term care facility they are considering for their loved ones and ask any lingering questions, and visit any facility that they are seriously considering. Doing this would allow the consumer to make a better-informed decision and allow their loved ones to live a happier life in an assisted living community.

Food Matters Prompt One

The three resources that I found most enlightening from the Food Matters page were “The Whiskey Boom’s Dirty Little Secret”, “Healthy Eating Index”, and “The Snackification of Everything”. From the first article, something new to me is that most whiskey companies do not make what they bottle. If the label says “bottled by [name of company]” or “produced by [name of company]” then the company put the whiskey in the bottle after the whiskey was produced elsewhere. Most likely, the whiskey was “actually made at a massive plant in southern Indiana, where each barrel holds about 63 gallons of aging bourbon,” (Reid, 2014). New information that I learned from the second article is that not all people have access to the same foods. For instance, a person living in Nebraska may not have as much access to fresh fish or sushi as a person living in Seattle. This is mainly due to socioeconomic factors and living location. In order to apply this to real life, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) came up with a scoring system called “The Healthy Eating Index” to rank foods and meals. Something new I learned from the third article listed above is the newfound prevalence of snacking. The article says that “only 10% of Americans snacked three or more times a day in the late 1970’s, the figure had risen to 56% in 2010” (Akst, 2014). As I am currently in several Nutrition classes, I am very aware of the poor eating habits of Americans, however, I was not aware that many of these habits can be linked to snacking. This article goes on to say that snacking perhaps became so popular because the public likes the idea of a noncommittal relationship with food the way that they like the idea of a noncommittal relationship in other aspects of life.

None of this information is particularly concerning health wise other than the information on snacking. Mostly, these articles were very informative and made me feel as though I could make better decisions in the future. I would gladly tell me friends not to buy the more expensive whiskey and bourbon as it is basically the same as the cheaper stuff, and perhaps I would enjoy a debate over the idea of snacking and its relation to my generations favoritism of brevity over longevity. However, as I have just turned 20, I do not see myself having kids for a while, once I do I am sure I will find the Healthy Eating Index helpful. The one policy decision impacting people’s choices and health outcomes is the Healthy Eating Index. I am interested in Nutrition, and the fact that there is a way to measure the nutritional value of the foods that kids are ingesting is very important especially with the number of obese children on the rise. If people were less informed than me about these topics, they may be surprised. Some of my friends who enjoy expensive whiskey and bourbon may feel cheated as they have been paying more for the same quality of their favorite alcohol. Those with kids, especially overweight kids, may feel the need to research more on the Healthy Eating Index to best help their child. And those who are prone to snacking or to replacing meals with snack food may be interested in the snacking culture and may enjoy reading how it applies to American culture now.


Akst, D. (2014, December 19). The Snackification of Everything. Retrieved November 07, 2017, from

NCCOR. (n.d.). Retrieved November 07, 2017, from

Reid, C. (2014, December 31). The Whiskey Boom’s Dirty Little Secret. Retrieved November 07, 2017, from

Glossary Building 4

This Glossary Building assignment is based on 3 articles from the Food readings. First, the article “Poll Says Majority of Americans Support Menu Labeling” claims that about half of the American’s surveyed say that they would approve of calorie information on the menus at restaurants, sit down diners, grocery stores, and so on. However, it then goes on to claim that the majority of Americans feel as though they already know enough about nutrition to make an informed choice. This implies that Americans are really not informed as to what they are eating, and need to know the caloric value of foods in order to make at least a partially informed decision. Either that or Americans are in denial of how bad some foods can be, as they would prefer to focus on taste. That way, if the calories are not posted next to the food when they are out to eat or shopping, they can pretend that it is not as bad for them.

Next, we move on to vegetables. According to “Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep” vegetables are not healthy in the way that they are being consumed. This article claims that due to undesirable taste, many Americans cooks their vegetables in ways that add fat and salt, negating the health benefits. When eaten fresh and raw, vegetables can be a great weight loss option, however, they are typically salted or sautéed. Lastly, we talk about healthy eating. Healthy eating is thought of as eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, less red meat, and more protein. However, it should be noted that not everyone in the United States has access to all of these things. Depending on socioeconomic status and living area, some people may only have access to processed foods. The article “Healthy Eating Index” by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is actively working to provide these healthy options to people who do not yet have them.

  • Informed Americans: Americans who claim to know enough about nutrition, yet still want to see caloric values of the foods they are eating.
  • Vegetables: A plant or part of a plant used as food that is typically highly salted and cooked before being eaten.
  • Healthy Eating: Eating more natural and less processed foods when available.


Guthrie, J. (2014, May 5). Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep. Retrieved November 2, 2017, from

NCCOR. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

Poll says majority of Americans support menu labeling. (2014, December 31). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

Glossary Building Post 3

The pregnancy industry has many faults both before, after, and during a pregnancy, one that stuck me the most was the cord blood controversy. Cord blood is blood from the umbilical cord that many families choose to have frozen in case their child has a genetic deformity or falls ill with a chronic disease. The problem with this is that if either of these things happen to the child, the defect or disease is likely to be in the cord blood, rendering the stem cells in it useless. Luckily, umbilical cords and their blood can be donated to public institutions where families will have access to them for free which may be a better and less expensive option.

The next topic is one very close to me, and I am sure many of my peers: student loans. About 70 percent of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree end up in debt, the average debt being around $28,000. This is a lot of money to be paid back for someone who is just starting their career. Therefore, former President Obama put into law a student reform that requires affordable loan payments every year, capping these payments at 10 percent of the borrower’s income. This is good for many borrowers as this gives them time to get together more money, however, it may take a longer time to pay off. The good news is that if the borrower goes into federal work, they may have their student loans forgiven by Public Service Loan Forgiveness that mandates that after ten years of qualifying payments, those working in government, nonprofit, and other public service jobs may have their remaining debt forgiven.

  • Cord blood: Blood from the umbilical cord that remains in the placenta that can be frozen for the future if the child has a disease, but will most likely be ultimately unhelpful as the child’s disease will also be in the cord blood.
  • Affordable Loan Payments: 10 percent of the borrower’s income according to Former President Obama’s student reform.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Those who work in a federal program may have their remaining student debt forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments.