Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blog 9: Response To the Work of a Classmate

I decided to respond to Alissa's Blog which deals with the topic of the United States' current drinking age. I agree that something needs to be changed. The drinking age is currently set at 21 years of age, and should be set back to 18 years of age. Alissa states that "this MLDA 21 is not helping, it's actually hurting" the initial job of protecting the youth from alcohol's effects. The drinking age tends to have the effect of creating a feeling of rebellion for many teenagers. Some teens feel that drinking is cool because it is illegal, and that is why they take part in it. Changing the drinking age to 18 years of age would eliminate this rebellious feeling for many teen drinkers. In the end, it would most likely lower the amount of teens who actually drink.
I also agree with Alissa that the drinking age seems to generate more teens who binge drink. Since teens aren't allowed to drink, when they can drink, they consume large quantities and, many times, drink themselves until they are not functional. If the drinking age were brought back to 18yrs the binge drinking would drop off because drinking wouldn't have to be such a "private/once in a blue moon" activity.
Lastly the drinking age has an opposite effect when it comes to protecting teens for drinking and driving. It is the worst thing anyone can do, get in a car after drinking and try to drive home. Yet many teens today are doing it. Michaela Ails says, "I have witnessed many underage people drive home after a night of drinking in order to hide it from their parents. If the drinking age was lowered young adults would feel less pressure to notify their parents that they have been drinking." In the end this law was put in place for the safety of everybody, but it doesn't seem to be creating very much safety. A change in the drinking age could eliminate this problem.
With all of the drawbacks from a drinking age of 21 years, I agree with Alissa that the law needs to be changed. Bringing back the drinking age to 18 years of age would bring protection and responsibility to our teens. It could create a safer outcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blog 8: Become and Organ Donor Today

My persuasive speech was about the change from the traditional donor system towards a new system of a free market for human organs. I explained in the end of my speech that this change towards a new system will not be happening anytime soon, but people still need organs. Nearly 19,000 people are on the, fast growing, national waiting list in hopes that they will be able to receive an organ. So what can we do to help this cause?
Once again, as I explained in the end of my speech, the only thing that we can really do, besides petitioning for a change, is become a donor ourselves. It is a simple process which can be completed very easily. One must either get a donor form online, which can be found at the state DMV website, or simply go to the DMV. For those who reside in Wisconsin you can click on the following to take you to the DMV website: WiscDMV. It will take you through the steps to becoming a donor. Any person can become a donor and it can be done by filling out the donor forms and turning it in at the local DMV. The online form for Wisconsin residents can be found by clicking on the following: DonorForm. All of this is free and by your simple actions you could save a life. After officially becoming a donor on the drivers license the next step is for a person to speak about their wishes to their family members.
So remember that 19,000 people are out there hoping that they will get a new organ. If something were to ever happen to you, why not give the gift of life to someone else? Become a donor today.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog 7: The Manly Pantyhose Endorsement

Some of the most popular endorsements we see today are those involving athletes or famous people. An athletic endorsement consists of a company paying an athlete to use and/or advertise a product. For the endorsement to be official the athlete must actually use the brand of product opposed to other brands in real life.
An old athletic endorsement which I found quite disturbing and contradicting to the rules of an athletic endorsement was a pantyhose advertisement by Joe Namath. He was an accomplished NFL quarterback from the 1960's and 1970's and never really fit the picture to the endorsment. The advertisement is quite comical and is almost unrealistic because Joe Namath didn't ever actually use the pantyhose on a regular day to day basis. The advertisement began filming from the bottom of a pair of legs. They appear to be the legs of a women with pantyhose and as the camera keeps moving up wards you begin to realize that it is actually the legs of Joe Namath. The idea of the advertisement is to show that if the pantyhose can make Joe Namath's legs look good, then the pantyhose will be able to make any woman legs look excellent.
Clearly Joe Namath is not an appropriate endorser for the product of pantyhose. The product is developed for the opposing sex, and as the endorser Joe would never actually be using the product himself. Although the commercial is funny and clearly grabs the attention of the viewer it doesn't seem that it would get to the the products direct audience of women.

Blog 6: Ban Public Smoking

The issue of government controlled smoking bans has become a largely discussed controversy. An article from msnbc, written by the associated press, reviews the importance of smoking bans, and gives numerous reasons on why the bans should be put into action. Currently only seventeen out of fifty states in the United States have smoking restrictions and more states are looking to join in on these new laws. The laws are proven to decrease the negatives affects of second hand smoking and keep a large amount of the non-smoking public satisfied, but what about the smokers' opinions?
It's not a new surprise that smokers are against the government smoking bans. Many smokers feel the bans are a violation of freedom and civil rights. Thomas Lambert writes with an opposing view on the smoking bans in his article "The Case Against Smoking Bans." He discusses many reasons on why the bans are unreasonable. It can drive away smoking customers from businesses and can bring upon larger complications. He feels that the alternative route to solving the controversy is provide a laissez-faire option. He states, "a laissez-faire policy that would permit private business owners to tailor their own smoking policies according to the demands of their patrons is most likely to maximize social welfare by providing an optimal allocation of both smoking and smoke-free establishments." I feel that this would be the greatest way to satisfy the wants of all members of society, smokers or non-smokers. After all, who really owns the air?
Previously to reading the two articles above I was completely in favor of smoking bans, but after reading Lambert's article I feel that my opinions are drifting towards the side which opposes the government smoking ban. Besides the health reasons supporting the bans, I felt that there was much more evidence to support the side opposing the smoking bans, and I agree with Lambert's alternatives to solving the controversy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Class Blog Review: post 5

The article which I chose to analyze was the "Availability of fresh food, exercise linked to healthy living." It tells about a small, poverty stricken town in Minnesota and how a new supermarket was brought to the area. The people and children who were malnourished could finally have a place to get good, healthy foods. Some places in Minnesota have also been trying to get small farmer markets organized to provide a more healthy variety of fresh foods. The article generally states that if a person lives in a healthy surrounding with healthy options available then that person will be healthy. It also works the other way too; a person in a poor, unhealthy environment will most likely be an unhealthy person. I agree with the article and the idea that "When it comes right down to it, a city is like a human being -- to be healthy, all its parts have to work together" (Hemphill 2009). The city also states that more exercise facilities need to be available to the public. What if exercise was available to the public for free? This could surely make a society more healthy. I found an article that shows that free exercise will work. It provides an example of a brazilian city that gave free exercise, and it discusses the great success's and outcomes of this idea. This could easily be implemented into american societies and could solve the problem of a lack in exercise. I agree with both of the articles and feel that by changing and adding simple things to a society can make it more healthy. So in the end, if the city has healthy food and exercise available then it will be a healthy city.

Debunking Health Claims

The product that I chose, which producers make questionable health claims about, is the McDonalds Premium Salad. If you know anything about McDonalds then you may know that they are constantly coming up with new ways to fend themselves from being considered the most unhealthy food on the market. A few years back McDonalds introduced their line of "healthy" Premium Salads. They claim that eating their salads is healthy and nutritious while still being a fast alternative for eating.
Many people feel that they are becoming more healthy by eating the premium salad in place of the traditional burger or infamous Big Mac. It is the exact mentality that McDonalds was trying to get its consumers to fall for. Unfortunately for McDonalds, the experts think otherwise. The "healthy" premium salad is actually equally bad or worse for you than a Big Mac. An article about food myths states that the "Big Mac has 540calories and 1,040mg of salt; one premium southwest salad with crispy chicken and dressing has 530calories and 1,260mg of salt. The Mac is healthier." The nutritional value can be see all over online and even on the nutrition charts in McDonalds restaurants. Experts say that the salads are not very nutritional, so why do people still eat them with the hope to be leading a healthier diet? In the article "Undressing the McDonald's Salad" a simple answer to this question is given. The answer is that most people really don't know what are in the salads. If most people don't know what they are eating than most people won't know what is healthy and what isn't.
Overall the McDonalds premium salad is a phony. It is not, at all, more healthy for a person than the other items on the menu. In my own opinion I will never be eat the premium salad. I would rather get the same low nutritional value from a burger opposed to a "phony" salad. If you are looking for something healthy to eat then go to your local grocery store and get some real lettuce; make your own salad.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How To Make Ice Cream In a Bag

After reviewing my demonstration speech I learned that I have a lot of things to improve upon. I gave my speech on "how to make homemade ice cream." I feel that my speech was done pretty well but that it could have used a bit more organization.
To start my speech I introduced myself and gave a fast review of the content of which I would be covering. I introduced the five steps in which I would be making the ice cream. After watching the video I feel that there were a few things that I needed to do differently. I should have taken a bit more time in explaining the steps with my actual visual aids (the ingredients). As I began to make the ice cream I feel that I had taken too much time with no talking while I was mixing/pouring ingredients. I should have had more of my steps pre-mixed/made. It would have allowed me to focus more on the audience. The last thing that I would have tried to do differently was involving the three helpers to make the extra amount of ice cream. If I did the speech again I would eliminate having others helping in front of the class. I feel that it took away from the speech. It was loud and took a bit longer then I had prepared for. Next time I would just pre-make the ice cream on my own. After making the ice cream I handed it out to be tested by my audience. I then concluded by repeating the original five steps on how to make the ice cream.
In the end, I feel that my speech was a success. I feel that I had good poise and stood up in front with relatively good body language. I never really stalled to much in the speech and always continued on. The pace seemed good and my volume was consistent throughout the speech, I felt that the audience seemed engaged with the speech and that it served great relevance to them. Anyone can make ice cream and it is easy to do in the comfort of a dorm...that is why I did this speech for my audience. I also thought the speech was effective. The ice cream turned out quite tasty and the audience enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Preparing My Meal

Planning meals for me is a regular, everyday, exercise. I usually eat three to four times a day and go through some of the same process' almost every time. Now that I am at school this process has been slightly transformed.

I no longer have to constantly make a meal from scratch. Sometimes I can just go to the cafeteria and pick out a meal that has already been, or will be, prepared for me. I will be discussing the steps that I went through the other night towards making some macaroni and cheese.

The first thing that I did was decide how hungry I was. After figuring that I was in need of a scrumptious meal, I went and looked at my small variety of food in my dorm. I found a box of "Valveeta Macaroni and Cheese" and decided that it would be my meal. I got out my electric hot pot and began to boil some water. While waiting for the water to boil I was anxious and began imagining the deliciousness of the upcoming food. Once the water was boiling I put in the noodles and let them boil. After that I strained them and mixed in the creamy cheese. Finally I could relax and enjoy the food. Each of these steps in the process of making my meal was important to the experience of eating. The experience is always full of anxiety and hunger, but leads to satisfaction after you eat. Who knew eating could be so epic?

After reading part 7 in Pollan’s book I agree with his claims. People have become accustomed to the “damaging innovations” of our society today. We all accept processed foods because nearly everyone eats them. After my meal I realized that I, myself, can be support to my agreement with Pollan. The website http://www.calories-nutrition.buddyslim.com/kraft-velveeta-shells-cheese/ gives the exact nutritional value of the velveeta meal, and reflects its lack in nutrition. This macaroni and cheese if proof to my support of Pollans ideas. I, too, have become accustomed to the "damaging innovations" of food.

Real vs. Fake

The food that I have chosen to discuss is popcorn. In the past I would always make my own popcorn from the kernel. I would melt my own butter, and the popcorn was the “real stuff.” I recently have changed my “popcorn eating” habits. I have moved to eating popcorn out of the microwavable bags. The two types are different and both have their pros and cons.

As I changed from the real to fake popcorn, I noticed a few main differences. The fake popcorn smelled much better, it had an aroma that filled the whole house after cooking it. It tasted very good, and had much more flavoring. The real popcorn had almost no smell (unless burned) and it had much less taste. The textures were also slightly different, the real popcorn was much dryer and more crunchy.

The fake popcorn provides no more nutritional value than the real popcorn. It is actually much worse for you. Microwaveable popcorn contains the chemical diacetyl in its butter. This chemical creates fumes that can kill you if you breathe too much of it. Many times the effects (effects one’s eyes, respiratory system, skin) can be seen in popcorn factory workers. Online at “Medical News Today” an article discusses the effects of diacetyl and explains how a popcorn company stopped the use of the chemical for flavoring. It is clear that in real popcorn these chemicals are not found, so the real popcorn is much more beneficial to your health.

I ended up switching to the microwavable popcorn because it is much easier to make. There is minimal cleanup, and minimal effort to make the popcorn. As in many other foods, people switch from “real” to “fake” because of convenience. I made the switch during my junior year in high school, I was too lazy to make my own “real” popcorn.

I feel that I will return to eating the real version of popcorn. Due to my living conditions, and lack of appliances, I won’t be making the return to the real food until the school year is over. After that I will be able to mix it up a bit and return to the “real popcorn” whenever I would like.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

“The American Diet, the American Paradox” (E.C.)

The event opened with the school chancellor speaking about Michael Pollan and providing a bit of backround information. She spoke of his accomplishments and explained how the University got him to come and speak. Eventually Michael got on stage and began his comical and engaging speech.

Pollan said “We all get fat on our low fat campaigns.” He is completely accurate, and makes a good point. In today’s society everyone is trying to eat healthier and eliminate all negatives from our bodies. Pollan states that in theory this would work for losing weight, but it doesn’t. When all of the negatives are taken out of ones diet so are many of the positives. He says to eat “real food”...well what is real food? According to Pollan it is anything that your great grandmother would recognize(un-processed foods).

In the speech Pollan points the blame for an unhealthy america towards marketing. He even went as far as to inform the audience to simply not buy food that you have seen advertised on television. Could the food we see on television really be this bad? Michael thinks so, he said that 94% of the food we see advertised on television is processed. I feel that he is right about the mainstream food advertisements being made up of almost all unhealthy and processed foods, but he takes his suggestions a bit far.

“Use common sense when eating” these are the words of Pollan; he is projecting to eat “real food.” He states in his book to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” It is just more evidence that eating should not be as challenging as we are making it.

Pollan brought up the point that some of the main reasons to eating have been forgotten. He explained that eating was commonly much more than feeding our hunger. Eating used to be a gathering time to socialize and a time to relax and enjoy the pleasurable tastes of a meal. Food was much more than just food, but that has changed in today’s age. People are always looking for something fast. A meal has fallen back on our priorities. We want food fast and we want it healthy. People no longer eat to enjoy food. I agree with Pollan that this change in the way we look at food has had a dramatic negative effect on our diets. If society is looking for a way to fix their nutritional habits we need to slowly drift back towards the old reasons to eat food.

The presentation was very interesting to hear directly from Michael Pollan. It was nice to get an authentic feeling about his thoughts on nutrition. He was a comical man who kept the audience’s attention. As he began he seemed a bit nervous but gained confidence as he moved along through the presentation. I found this interesting because seeing him nervous in front of roughly 7000 people let me see him as a “normal/average” person. Anyone who wouldn’t be nervous would not be considered average under my standards. In the end I enjoyed the presentation and found it very informational.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Falsehood of Our Food

Michael Pollan is bringing something to light that every American should thrive upon. He is trying to answer the question of, “what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy” (Pollan 1). He argues that the food that we consume is sometimes lethal, and he attempts to declare what must be changed.

The book gives many examples of how science, specifically food science, is working against our benefits for one of the first times. Food science is actually hurting our health in many ways. Through the production of hydrogenated vegetables, artificial ingredients, and false nutrients we, as humans, our not truly getting the fuel our bodies need.

I agree with Pollan on his stance that all we need to do as humans is eat “whole fresh foods rather than processed food products” (1). It is somewhat common sense; a box of Captain Crunch is going to be much less beneficial towards your health than a apple or banana. Although, is this what the food industry is portraying to us? They say that ‘ “ Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound “whole-grain goodness” out to the public ’ (40).

The food that we consume has changed over the years. Pollan speaks of his grandmothers cooking and how “she was doing so much of it from scratch” (5). In the end whole fresh foods are much better for the body. I found an article that coincides with this subject. It is written by a website called the “Healthy Apple, Your Guide to Clean Eating.”

It is explaining how parents are ridding their children’s lunch boxes of refined sugars(processed foods). It is proof that many people believe, the neglected truth, that whole food is the best of foods to put in the body. I agree with Michael Pollan on the points he arises in this book and found many of them as helpful.