Weekly Food Log:

Since it’s midterm week I’ve basically made the excuse and given myself a free pass to eat whatever I want. Although I probably won’t take full advantage of this free pass it’s nice to be able to let loose. I’m excited to go home on spring break. On the first day of class I remember most people stated that they ate healthier when they were at school and I was one of the very few that thought the opposite. I don’t eat meals regularly at school, I wasn’t eating healthy food or portion sized up until this semester, and sometimes there are days when I’m so busy I forget to eat completely until very late at night. Going home means that I will be eating a lot better and I’m excited for that. I usually eat a lot of grilled chicken and vegetables. One thing from the semester so far that I will take home with me on break and share with my family is what I learned by reading Agrarian Dreams. My mom is a huge advocate for organic food and it’s something that I never hear the end of. Hearing the paradox of organic farming presented by Julie Guthman really surprised me. It will be nice to share the other side that was presented about organic farming with my family. I want to talk about how alot of organic food in California is grown by conventional farmers just to make more money.  I was really surprised that organic crops are often only a small part of their operation. I always pictured organic farms and large portions of land that were strictly growing all organic crops. I don’t think I’m the only person that pictured it this way so it will be nice to share what I’ve learned so far. 

Weekly Response:

This week when I was reading Marion Nestle’s Food Politics blog I stumbled upon, Rumor: the White House is holding out for weak calorie labeling. I have to agree with Nestle when she states, “I hope the rumors I’m hearing aren’t true.” The rumors that she is referring to are, “…White House has decided not to allow the FDA to require calorie labels in movie theaters or anywhere else where selling food is not the primary business.” I think that would be a major setback for health in our country. I personally always look at the calorie information posted on the food that I eat. It helps me keep track of what I’m eating and my intake every day. It’s good to be aware of the amount of calories needed every day to maintain the weight you are at or to lose weight. That kind of information should be without a question available to everyone. Everyone knows that in movie theaters the portion sizes are more than just supersized. A small popcorn could last me a week. Since the portions are so large, it would make sense that theaters do not want to have to post calorie information. It would make them look terrible and I’m sure there would be a complete uproar about them cutting back on their portion sizes. Menu labeling in movie theaters as well as fast food restaurants across the country could shock people into making healthier eating choices and changing the unhealthy habits that they’ve developed in the past. 

Weekly Response:
When I turned on my TV this afternoon CNN was on and they were talking about the horsemeat scandal. Then, when I searched for Food Politics online there was a blog post titled, the horsemeat scandal–an object lesson in food politics. Most Americans would never under almost all circumstances even consider touching horse meat let alone ingesting it. They can’t imagine living in a country where horses are grown, slaughtered, and eaten. “Since Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006, roughly 140,000 horses a year have been transported to Canada and Mexico to be killed” (Nestle). This scandal started early last month. Samples were taken from 10 of 27 products sourced from three processing plants had tested positive for horse DNA. One of the samples contained 29 percent horse. What surprised me so much about this blog was the fact that it is nearly impossible to determine where this horsemeat came from. The supply chain is so twisted and complicated that by the time the DNA is discovered, there is no way to trace it. This comes back with my fascination of how Americans have nearly no idea where their food comes from. This blog and the articles supporting it encouraged me even more to learn about my food, where it comes from, and to care about what I’m putting in my body.

Weekly Food Log:

Learning about the locavore movement that started to occur a few years ago in the United States had me thinking more about farmers markets this week. My area at home has a lot of farmers markets and at times my family buys from them. Up until this point in the course I have thought that I would prefer to walk into Wegmans and grab everything on my grocery list as opposed to going all over the place to grab different items. However, talking more about farmers markets has given me more positive insight and ideas about them. I might go to one around my house during spring break and see what it is like. Also this week I’ve noticed that my diet has really changed since this course started. Instead of snacking on cookies at night or chips I have been eating a lot of celery. I’ve started to make healthier choices and hopefully will get into a habit of this and continue to do so. At the beginning of this course I stated that I eat a lot of pizza. It was definitely something that I ordered all the time, probably not my best decision. I’m really happy that this semester that hasn’t been the case. I feel like I’ve gained more energy throughout the day from eating healthier and I’ve been a lot less tired. I used to nap almost every day if possible last semester and this semester I haven’t had to do that as much. 

Weekly Response:

China: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Found in Pig Manure by News Desk caught my eye as soon as I scrolled down the internet page. We’ve recently read about what is in the meat that we eat every day and how for one, we don’t really know what’s in it and two, that you can find bacteria in many different types of animals that are then lead to slaughterhouses. “The study, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, found there is a risk of antibiotic resistance moving into the bacteria that infect humans and make the resulting diseases more difficult to treat.” When I read this in particular I knew that I had made the right decision to at least sustain from eating meat for the remainder of the spring semester here. If this is happening in China, we can be certain that it is happening in the US, and if it hasn’t; it could very possibly start soon. The worst part about these diseases that are found are that they are antibiotic resistant. That means that giving the animals antibiotics is not going to treat them, and they could easily infect humans which would cause an epidemic. We’re not positive how these diseases would affect humans which is a very scary thought.

Weekly Food Log:

This week on Monday I ate meat for the first time in four weeks. That’s probably the longest I’ve gone without eating it, and I have to say I felt pretty gross afterwards. That could most likely be due to the fact that it was a burger from Wendy’s not a well-prepared steak. Since I felt a little sick after I decided that it would be best to be a little stricter and see if I could go the entire semester without eating meat. As the halfway point of the semester is approaching, Sociology of Food has me thinking more and more about the food that I’m putting into my body. I’m constantly wondering where the food came from, and I’m also grossed out that there’s almost absolutely no way that I could ever find out. The fact that I’ve most likely never met a person connected to where my food has come from is also appalling. I’ve also found myself snacking on hummus and carrots for snacks lately which is a healthy alternative to the granola bars that my diet revolved around in the past. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made so far and I’m glad to be becoming educated about the food system and how it works. I want to continue on the path to a healthier lifestyle and care more about my daily nutrition and food intake.

Weekly Response:

This week Marion Nestle’s post on the Food Politics blog caught my attention right away. The title of this blog was, “USDA proposes rules for ‘competitive’ snack foods.” This means that the USDA announced that they have released proposed rules to help govern the nutritional content and aspect of snacks, beverages, and meals that are sold in schools as competition to the provided school breakfast and lunch. This applies to food sold in vending machines throughout the school and on carts in register lines in cafeterias.  For example, schools will be required to provide potable water without charging students, foods with at least 10% daily value in vitamins, snacks with far less sodium in them, and drinks with 50 calories or less per 8-ounce serving. This made me think back to my high school cafeteria. I had to think hard to remember what it was like because it has sadly been a while since I’ve been in high school. However, I can remember the vending machines all over our cafeteria featuring multiple different types of soda and vitamin waters. There were also snack vending machines not just in the cafeteria but all over the school. Where you would purchase breakfast and lunch was filled with all types of unhealthy food especially in the line to pay. Candy, brownies, and French fries were the easiest things to pick up when you were on the go. My school did try and promote healthy diets but I know there are hundreds of schools throughout the nation that don’t attempt to promote this. It is gross looking back and thinking about what I used to eat for lunch on a daily basis. I think these new rules are a huge improvement, and I hope they gain the support that they deserve.

Weekly Food Log:

From what I can remember, I don’t think I’ve eaten any beef or pork in the past three weeks especially after watching the slaughterhouse video’s last week in class. After reading the chapter in Every Twelve Seconds by Pachirat this week I’ve thought a lot about slaughterhouses. First I think it’s absolutely disgusting that I don’t know where the meat I eat comes from. Second, it’s repulsive to think about what’s in it or on it. In the past I’ve had tunnel vision about slaughterhouses in America and only chose to see the horror for the animals that enter them. However, after reading this my tunnel vision shifted. I became more interested in the employees working in the slaughterhouses than the animals there. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before but that job must be a horrific environment to work in. I questioned the sanitation and working conditions. Slaughterhouses are an extremely dangerous place where there are injuries in numbers unimaginable to those of us who don’t even know where the closest slaughterhouse is to us. Not only is the job dangerous but I can imagine it is exhausting and tedious as well. An employee only has on specific task which gets redundant day after day. It’s almost as if the employees are robots, performing over and over, and those who are in charge treat them like just that. They don’t get paid nearly as much as they should for doing their jobs. Reading this chapter made me so happy that I’ve chosen try my hardest to avoid meat for the start of this semester, and it really made me think about what I’ve been putting into my body for nourishment in the past.

Weekly Response:
The article, Guacamole Sunday: A better name for the Super Bowl, or a crappy marketing campaign? by Susie Cagle caught my eye immediately as the website opened on my computer screen. This caught my eye for one because it talked about the Super Bowl. I’m a big football fan and although my team will not be winning two Super Bowl championships in a row this year, I know I will be watching and cheering just as loud. Second, this caught my eye because lately I’ve been thinking about Super Bowl food. As I find myself browsing online and especially on Pinterest looking at “food porn,” Super Bowl treats and recipes are all over the place this week. Like the POM juice I talked about last week, avocados have been something that all of a sudden has gained much popularity throughout America. Although it seems like this happened overnight to me, apparently the avocado industry has been promoting during Super Bowls since the early 1990’s. Now in 2013, I can’t go into my kitchen at home without finding guacamole or a fresh avocado in the refrigerator. “This year Americans will eat almost 79 million pounds of them in the few weeks before the big game — an eight million pound increase over last year and a 100 percent increase since 2003” (Cagle). I found this number completely shocking. Avocados have become a huge part of many American’s diets. After reading this I know I can say I will be enjoying some guacamole on Super Bowl Sunday, and clearly I know I won’t be alone doing so.

Weekly Food Log:

This week in class we started out on Monday by watching various slaughterhouse videos. I can’t say this was on the top of my to-do list for a Monday morning. Nonetheless I found myself staring down at my lap trying to listen to watch. However, the disturbing sounds of animals on their way to their deaths still entered my head. A lot of my friends and family members have viewed and talked about similar videos to these. One of my best friends watched a video and has been a vegetarian for the past three years since. It’s always been something I’ve been curious about but could never stomach actually sitting down and watching. Now, Thursday night four days later I am still thinking about it. I’ve never been a person to thrive on eating beef or pork. I usually eat chicken and occasionally some fish. So far after starting this class and especially after Monday mornings unfortunate video viewings I think I’ve made the decision to stick to strictly chicken and fish. My goal for this will be to last at least the spring semester. I don’t think it will be hard because it’s already part of my natural eating routine. However, I’m a little nervous to learn about chickens and the poultry industry. Hopefully it doesn’t affect me as negatively as the small portion of videos we watched so far because it’s kind of hard to live off of salad only from the caf at Susquehanna.  It’s not something I can say I’m looking forward to but it is something I believe I need to be educated about. I’ve never known where my food has come from in the past and I think it’s time to learn a little about it, no matter how hard it is to stomach.