Food Log Five

25 Feb

So this week was also Lent, which I am in no way religious, but I decided to give up sweets and meat…the meat part is easier, because I haven’t had any type of meat, poultry or fish in about three weeks. But the sweets is another story. And this got me thinking about today’s class discussion about comfort foods, and what is in our own personal “diets.” Normally, I am trying to stick with healthier choices like salads, fruits, and whole grain products, but there is the occasional slice of pizza and pint of ice cream here and there. And after I eat those I regret it, because I know I could have made healthier choices. But I have gotten into a routine schedule of diet and exercise that makes it okay for me to eat my comfort foods every now and again. I guess that is acceptable, right?

Oh, and to answer the question asked earlier in class about why people watch the food network channel: personally,  I watch it because it is like “food porn,” and I just can’t get enough of it. There is something about the way these chefs can make food not only out of sometimes bizarre ingredients, but making cooking and baking into an art. My weakness lies in the show “Cupcake Wars,” and I will admit on here, and not in person of course, that after watching an episode of that show, it makes me want to go and bake DOZENS of cupcakes and shove them all in my face. But the way the chefs make food into an art fascinates me, because we as a society normally stereotype art as something people sculpt, carve, paint, etc., but to chefs and people on the food network channel, cooking is their form of art, their form of expression.

If I had access to a stove, and other various appliances, food, and equipment then I would probably try and cook more healthy options, but for now I am stuck at the caf, or at Benny’s, Clyde’s and Periodic Table.

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Food Log Four

13 Feb

So I know I am posting this early, considering we just started our topics for this week, but today really inspired me and made me question if sustainable farms will ever become more popular in the future? We saw today in the video that farmers markets can house some of these organic, naturally, and locally grown foods, but what if we know for a fact that our town and the towns around us don’t house farmers markets? I mean sure I live close enough outside of Philly that I could go in one day and go to a farmer’s market, but it would be more convenient for my family and I to have farmers markets in our hometown. I am really considering stressing to the borough about having more farmers markets available, and seeing if there was any local restaurants that only get their produce and meats from local farms. A question that I have been wondering though is how do we consider and define the word local…what I mean is the word locally grown within a certain mile radius from where the buyers live or what? Just like with the word organic, the word local is loosely defined as well. However, I am super excited to be going home this weekend, because my family and I are going to this new restaurant called Harvest, and all of its menu items are from local farms, and they only serve foods that are “in season.” I am really interested to see if there will be a difference in taste from the normal foods that I eat compared to the locally grown, organic, chemical free foods that I will be eating. Who knows, maybe this will help me start a new life filled with only locally grown, organic, fresh produce and such.

Weekly Response Three

12 Feb

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/02/weight-loss-key-to-fighting-type-2-diabetes/

“Weight loss key to fighting type 2 diabetes,” a blog written Marion Nestle on foodpolitics.com, discusses the Paula Deen cookbook, and Paula Deen herself, who was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Nestle states that the first step to take to fight type 2 diabetes, is losing weight. Nestle states, “The disease comes in two forms – type 1 and type 2 – but type 2 accounts for 95 percent of cases. In both, levels of blood sugar are too high as a result of problems with insulin, a hormone that enables the body to use blood sugar for energy.” So what is the connection between Paula Deen’s cookbook and type 2 diabetes? Well, Deen’s recipes normally consist of large amounts of sugars, which is a leading factor that causes diabetes. However, Deen’s recipes aren’t the only reason why many Americans are being diagnosed with diabetes. Fast food restaurant chains as well as sugary soft drinks can be blamed for the increase in diabetes. Both children and adults who regularly consumer fast food and soft drinks often are more susceptible to diabetes. So, Nestle claims that if these individuals who are avid fast food eaters cut back their intake of the fatty foods, and participate in physical activities, they will not only reduce their risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, but lose weight as well. And those who are already diagnosed with diabetes, cutting back on these foods will help them lose weight and be in control of their disease. Diabetes is a serious disease, and can be controlled, and prevented in some cases. People just have to be willing to stop consuming so much sugar, and take control of their food intake and physical activities.

This blog relates to our class discussions, because we constantly have discussions related to processed foods, and how our food system is the thing that  is causing the most problems…well diabetes is a factor of those problems. Health problems are occurring from our food system, yet the government does not seem to be doing anything about it. We as a nation need to make decisions that are in society’s best interests. If we don’t, then soon enough, the United States population all will be suffering from some type of disease, diabetes being one of them.

 

On a more personal note, my dad was currently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and has cut back his sugar intake and has become more physically active…I can see a positive change in his health. He no longer consumes fast food, and watches what he eats…it is such a nice relief to see him finally take steps towards taking better care of his health as well as himself. I sense a new found confidence in him that I have never seen in him  before.

Food Log Three

12 Feb

Okay, so I feel as though I am becoming a full on vegetarian, because I have rarely had chicken, beef, pork, or any type of meat within the past few weeks…or ever since we started this class. Not saying anything is wrong with being a vegetarian, it’s just sometimes I miss eating my chicken wraps from Benny’s. But, every time I go to order a grilled chicken wrap now, I wonder where this chicken came from, and whether or not the meat has been processed. As much as I don’t want to think about it, and splurge on my wrap, I always wind up just buying a fruit cup or salad instead. Not complaining though, because they are in fact healthier choices. I just notice myself wondering where my food comes from a lot more lately. I think I may have turned my mom into a vegetarian, or at least have made her become more aware of where our meat and dairy products come from, because she has been going to organically grown, and local food markets nowadays rather than the grocery store. I am certainly not going to argue with her about purchasing locally grown food though, because it seems to be the healthier option…at least that’s what we make it seem like in class. But I was thinking, after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, is there a lot of safe food for us available? The book was stating that even labels that say organic doesn’t necessarily mean the food is organically grown, and the animals in which it came from are living in good conditions. We as a society really don’t know where our food comes from, unless we only purchase it from locally grown places…but even that can be a pain in the butt! If we were to purchase foods locally grown, then we would have to wait to eat some food since certain foods are seasonally grown. Oh the dilemma!!!

Weekly Response Two

27 Jan

Marion Nestle, the author of Food Politics blogs, posted this article http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/01/cheers-for-usdas-new-nutrition-standards/ positing new nutritional standards for meals. We all know the food pyramid, and the amount of servings consumers are recommended to have for each food group, but  recently The First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, created new standards for nutrition in school meals. These new standards include: more fruits and vegetables, a greater range of vegetables, a requirement for whole grains, all milk to be 1% or less, and only non-fat milk is permitted to be flavored. According to Nestle, this is a major step for the USDA. However, schools have to make the decision to follow through with these new nutritional standard meals, because the USDA cannot force schools to choose this option. The USDA’s goal is to promote new foods to children, and get them to try new, healthier foods. One thing that I found hilarious after reading this blog, because pizza is now considered a vegetable. I thought this blog was interesting, because we learned about the process of meat, and how animals are treated inhumane at slaughter houses and farms. Not that this blog directly relates to our discussion in class today, but no where on the new nutritional standard for meals did it say more or less meat consumption. This made me question whether or not America consumes the standard amount of meat, or if we consume more or less meat? We certainly package enough meat in grocery stores and supermarkets, but some of the meat winds up going to waste…so should there be a change to the nutritional standards about meat?

Food Log Two

27 Jan

This week, we learned about slaughterhouses, and what is put into our meat, and how our meat is processed and makes its way to the shelves in our super markets. Today, in particular, really influenced the way I look at the meat that I eat, and changed my feelings on certain meats now. The fact that these animals are treated inhumane, kicked around, injected with medications and pesticides, and living in poor conditions makes me rethink eating meat and poultry all together. I mean, I do love my chicken, so I think it will be difficult to give up, but I definitely am no longer attracted to pork or beef. However, I have never been that interested in meats such as pork and beef; if I had to choose between a hamburger or turkey burger, I would automatically choose the turkey burger…no specific reason why though. I know I should be completely turned off by meats now, because of the videos we watched today, but I know that there will be times when I crave chicken or turkey or something of that sort, and that is because I have been brought up eating meats…it’s a hard habit to kick when you have been eating it for so long. However, I have noticed a change in my eating habits recently. I have tried to eat more greens and vegetables (salads) and fruits…and when I go to Benny’s I order grilled vegetable sandwiches on whole grain breads and leave out the meat and cheeses. I guess the fruits and veggies are more me trying to be healthier, but now when I go to Benny’s and want to order a chicken sandwich, I will rethink my decision and think about the chicken that gave its life and what it much have gone through.

Weekly Response One

20 Jan

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/01/food-industry-opposes-epa-limits-on-dioxins/

 

Going off of what I said in my weekly food log, I found a blog related to chemicals and food. Thought it was interesting.

 

In class this past week, Prof. Epstein talked about how the food industries are becoming more industrial and there is now a “food system,” that is replacing freshly grown farm goods, and making processed foods. These foods are not only being made in bulk, but they contain dioxins, which are normally found in volcanoes and forest fires. So, you can imagine just how “healthy” these dioxins are for consumers bodies…NOT. These dioxins mainly enter the food chain as by-products of industrial processes, and they are known as a contamination to both land and sea. This meaning that these dioxins are mostly found in the meat, seafood, and dairy sections of our local supermarket. Today, according to this blog posted above, about 90% of dioxins come from foods, particularly food that have high animal fat. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to decrease the amount of dioxins used in the foods old to consumers, because we are already taking in too many dioxins as it is. Of course, the food and chemical industries that are mass producing these processed foods disagree with the EPA; however, less is better according to the EPA. Dioxins are toxic, and the fact that Americans typically consume 1 to 4 picograms of dioxin per kilogram per day is troubling. The recommended intake of dioxins that should be consumed per day is 0.7 picograms per kilogram…and that is depending on the individual’s body weight. To clarify for everyone, a picogram is one trillionth of a gram…I n’t know what it was either until I read about it. Thankfully thoug within the last thirty years, America has seen a decrease in the amount of dioxins used in foods, because man-made sources ae nig reduced. But, the best way to avoid these toxic dioxins is to cut out the amount of high-fat meats, seafood, and dairy products that we eat.