Weekly Food Response:

This week we’ve focused on food aid and the proposed changes that the US could implement. I never realized how much hunger there is throughout the world and in our own country. When I’ve been eating throughout the week that’s what has been on my mind. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be starving for days and then only receive a little amount of food. I think I take what we have in the US for granted. What confused me about one of the articles I read was, “The U.S. is the only major donor country that uses food aid to benefit U.S. farmers, U.S. shipping companies, and U.S. charitable groups, and does not buy food aid internationally.” Some questions came to my mind when I read this. Is it bad that we use food aid to benefit our country alone? Is it to benefit us that we don’t buy food internationally?

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Weekly Response:

This week on the blog Food Politics, one blog talked about the FDA. The FDA has been collecting opinions on a dairy industry petition. The petition is to change the “standard of identity” for milk. The dairy industry wants to be able to add artificial sweeteners to chocolate/strawberry flavored milk without saying that they’re added on the front of the milk container. To answer the questions that were posed…

1. If the label just says Chocolate Milk, consumers might not understand that the milk is artificially sweetened. Although we would like to think that all Americans are smart enough to know that chocolate/strawberry milk does not come straight from a cow, not all Americans are educated in this sense.

2. I can imagine that descriptions like “reduced calorie” on the front of milk containers may cause some temper tantrums in the aisle of the grocery store. I as a child remember not wanting to eat anything that was labeled “reduced calorie/fat”

3. I think it would be hard for consumers to figure out whether a product contains sugar or artificial sweeteners. However, when it comes to milk I think it would be fairly easy or obvious to tell if there is sugar in the milk. I don’t think it’s a very good idea in the first place to give kids artificial sweeteners. It’s not good for their health and can reinforce unhealthy eating habits for their future.

Weekly Food Response:
This week I’ve been conducting research among students at Susquehanna. This is for my project for class. In the form of a survey I’ve been asking students several questions pertaining to their health. These questions are along the lines of, what students conceive as “healthy” food and what causes them to form those ideas. I want to know what types of food the student eats regularly, what type of foods they believe are healthy for their body, and the different ways that led them to these conclusions. While having them take this survey I started to think about what my responses would be…so I decided that it would probably be best for my abilities as a researcher and to know more about the topic if I took the survey myself. I’m not sure why I just thought about this. I came to a little of a surprising conclusion. My answers were very similar to what the rest of the SU students answered. I found that on average I keep regular meal schedules throughout the school year, however I am a victim of late night snacking more often than not (I’m going to blame this on being stuck in Abaum until 2am every night.) Unlike the participants I do tend to keep track of their daily caloric intake and do eat many portions of fruits and vegetables. I’m similar to Americans in the sense that I’m probably overly obsessed with consuming protein. If something is advertised as being high in protein, I’m always like, “sign me up for that! so in that sense once again I’m similar to the participants. It was good to know that I want like the average on campus and to see what is healthy about my diet and what I could live without.

Weekly Response:
“We produce more than enough food in the U.S. to feed every man, woman and child. In fact, we’ve got such a surplus that we throw away almost half of it. But more than 47 million Americans — including roughly 16 million kids — struggle with hunger. And with budget cuts undermining our food stamp program, aka SNAP, this problem’s only getting worse. Who has the power to change this shameful state of affairs, and how?” (Food Politics). I know that American’s consume a lot of food, not to mention produce tons of it. However, it has never been put into perspective for me how much we truly produce until I read that it is enough to feed every man, woman, and child. There really isn’t an excuse for our country dealing with hunger issues especially with the amount of food that is wasted in this country on a daily basis. For a country that is so advanced in different aspects across a various perspective, this doesn’t make sense to me. I agree with what Marion Nestle states in this blog. It’s the responsibility of Americans to take charge and push for change. Congress is only so many people; Americans have the numbers on their side and can make changes they just need to become active in this social problem, and active in making sure the media portrays this problem as bad as it is and grasps the attention of Americans that don’t know this problem exists.

Weekly Food Response:

                This week I decided to try something different. Any free time throughout my day I find myself on Pinterest, pinning pictures of “food porn” nonstop. I usually pin pictures of recipes and food all the time but never follow through and cook them. This week I cooked a tortellini and garden vegetable bake. I was pleasantly surprised when it came out of the oven all in one piece, not to mention that it was actually good. I figured I’m going to have to start cooking for myself on a daily basis since I will be living off campus next year so I might as well start slowly this semester. Although I don’t have time to cook a lot because the semester is coming to an end and my schedule is about to get really busy…but it is something that I want to continue. I felt healthier because I knew what kind of ingredients I had put into the food, the quantity of the ingredients, and I personally knew who cooked the food. After doing this I’m actually excited about being able to be independent of the caf and Benny’s next year and cook my own meals.

Weekly Response:

                This week I read on the blog, Food Politics, more about calorie labeling. The blog was titled, Menu labeling: What’s new? The irony about this title was that pretty much nothing is new. Over three years ago President Obama signed the health care act that included calorie labels into law. However, even though this has been signed into law the FDA still hasn’t issued rules for them. I think I am one of the few that think that menu labels would work for me. I am a typical calorie counter and would definitely appreciate the “traffic-light” labels that the article talked about. I don’t think that it’s fair that people that want menu labeling and would benefit from it haven’t been able to have it in over three years.  I was also really surprised by the section of the blog that was titled, “Are the posted calorie amounts accurate?” I suspected that restaurants would claim that there is an extremely small amount of calories in a given meal and what was actually found was that the calories were very accurate to what was posted. I hope that something is done about the menu labeling because I think it would be a great way to help move America into a healthier and more calorie conscious manner.

Weekly Food Response:

                This week has been pretty hectic for me. Usually when I’m running around for hours on end I don’t pay attention to what I eat and this week has been no different. Even though the week doesn’t show any signs of slowing down I want to start to pay attention to what I’m eating again instead of just sitting down and shoveling food in my mouth. I haven’t really been paying attention to the portion sizes of my food or the times I’ve been eating which is strange for me. Since spring break I started something new with my diet and I’ve been trying to only eat between the hours of 10am-6pm and cut out my late night snacking. Since I’ve been doing this I feel a lot healthier especially when I wake up in the morning. For years my diet has consisted of eating really late at night and whatever I could find. At first this transition was hard for me because I would get hungry around 8pm but I realized it was only because that was when I technically wouldn’t “allow” myself to eat, so it was all in my head. I want to try and abide by this because it makes me feel good and healthier than I’ve been in the past. However, I’ll be cheating tonight and going to Rita’s later tonight for free water ice to celebrate the first day of Spring 😛 This week my mom and I also started to think about what we will cook for Easter dinner in a few weeks and came to the conclusion that we should try and cook some healthier alternatives to what we have had in the past.

Weekly Response:

“Dietary Supplements: A round-up of bad news” was at the top of Marion Nestle’s Food Politics blog this week. It caught my eye similarly to the blog she had about pomegranate juice a few months ago. Like the pomegranate juice, dietary supplements are something that women in my family have sworn by for years now. There is a big store in the center of my town at home that sells every type of supplement available. I was shocked and how long this blog was and how many negative reports there were. Recent reports have stated that some supplements do more harm than good, some companies don’t report problems to the FDA, and some companies can’t back up health claims. 
“Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued two reports examining health claims on immune support and weight loss supplements, both fast-growing segments of the industry. In its first report, Structure/Function Claims Fail To Meet Federal Requirements, the OIG points to FDA’s limited enforcement authority over such claims. As a result, supplement companies cut corners and ignore requirements for such claims”
This surprised me a lot because I do take some supplements but now I’m curious to find out whether or not they’re doing what they came that they are. This is something that I want to share with my supplement-crazy family.

Weekly Food Response:

Over break I felt like I was able to eat extremely healthy. I was pretty much eating food that is grown and not processed. My family eats a lot of salad for meals. Every night we had a salad with some type of meat on the side. That was a little strange for me because I’ve been avoiding meat for most of the semester. My mom and I also went on a shopping spree in the Harry and David and bought a lot of food that might not necessarily be the healthiest. However, I’ve been attempting to stick to portion sizes provided on the foods that I eat so I didn’t feel too guilty about the shopping spree. I’m excited to be back for the remainder of the semester with a fridge fully stocked from Wegmans. I made it a point to go food shopping there before I came back to school and successfully avoided most of the unhealthy foods. I was also able to pick up some organic shampoo and conditioner for my hair. I was in the isle of organic products for so long trying to figure out what everything was and which products to buy. I remembered talking about the true meaning of “organic” in class and it made me want to start using products like that. I was surprised at how expensive everything was and it made me think about how before in class I said that I would not be willing to sacrifice more money to get a better and healthier product. I contradicted myself when I bought the shampoo and conditioner but surprisingly, I think it is something that I’m going to continue doing. 

Weekly Response:

                “Daily News Op-Ed: Bloomberg’s soda ‘ban’ should be only the beginning” was the blog that caught most of my attention on Food Politics this week. To sum up this article, “Mayor Bloomberg’s 16-ounce cap on sugary sodas goes into effect on Tuesday, March 12. After that, restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and food carts will not be permitted to sell extra-large portions of sugar-packed drinks.” In my opinion this soda “ban” is a step in the right direction. Americans are constantly complaining about how being overweight has become natural in our society. It’s because of gigantic portion sizes that other countries in the world could not even imagine that being overweight is the norm. I know a lot of people that can’t stand wasting food. I feel like when people are pressured to order larger sizes in places like movie theaters and sports venues; those types of “anti-food wasting” Americans feel forced to finish the huge soda that they just bought. By doing this they are taking in so many unnecessary calories that they don’t need and would not be ingesting if they just stuck to ordering a small drink or popcorn. I was shocked when I read that the original Coca-Cola was only 6.5 ounces. That is so much smaller than any soda we can imagine drinking now in 2013. I don’t think it would be a damaging thing to our country to be able to get back around to offering drinks that are that small. Yes, they are cheaper and would not bring in as much money, but if we want to be the healthy America that seems like has been placed on the back burner then sacrifices should be made.