Looking into the future now that my freshman year is finished and I have completed my Sociology of Food class, I wonder about the effect it will have on my diet going into the summer. One change that I would like to implement into my diet would be to not be so wasteful when I eat. After learning about world hunger and witnessing the wastefulness of my peers around me I feel obligated to cut back throwing away perfectly good food. This entails taking smaller portion sizes when I eat at open buffets such as the school cafe or always taking home the leftovers in a carry out box from restaurants. I also plan on arranging a meeting with Bob Ginader next fall to tour the inside of the dish room in the cafe to remind myself to stick with the resolution of being more sustainable. Ideally I would also like to work with Mr. Ginader more next year in order to stay informed and to help provide students with insight about the food services on campus. The next change I would like to make would be to support local farmers through purchasing better quality meat and local, organic vegetables. I will look into finding the closest farmers market to my town and possibly join a CSA. In addition I would like to share the information I learned from this class with my family and friends so that they can lead healthier lives and make better choices when it comes to food. Another change I would like to implement would be expanding my cooking toolkit by trying out new recipes and ingredients when I make dinner for myself. I would like to be more involved in the process of creating my food from now on, I don’t want to merely eat what is set on my plate anymore. Lastly, I hope to continuing reading some of the food blogs to stay informed about food issues going on. Although I may not stick with every change I hope to accomplish, I have no doubt that this class will have a lasting impact on my diet and view of food. I have been set on a better path to developing a relationship with the food I eat, and it is all because of my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN). Thanks to her, now I can truly go forth and conquer.  

Upon searching through the food blogs I came upon a possible explanation as to what possessed SU freshmen students to throw out abundant amounts of food. The reason? People in the United States are so concerned with obesity now that they have forgotten that the concept of starvation even exists! In the article “Reuters: How the White House wobbled on childhood obesity” I was informed that Congress is so busy trying to keep obesity prevalent in our nation while appearing concerned and proactive that it would be absurd to ask them to attempt to solve world hunger or to advocate awareness. Instead, Congress is diligently working to keep our nation meaty through passing bills declaring pizza as a vegetable in order to keep it in school lunches and killing a plan that recommended reducing the amount of sugar, salt at fat marketed to children. It is thanks to this veto that numerous college freshmen in my hallway went out to buy Ramen noodles only to later throw it in the trash. Meanwhile our girl Michelle Obama is still struggling to have her child obesity campaign take off, because apparently she does not have nearly enough influence with our Congress. With the way that things are heading, it looks like her campaign will be dead soon, similar to all the children starving who could use our wasted food.  

 Sociology of food class may be over but I still deal with many of the topics I learned about from it in my daily life. This week I watched everyone in my freshmen hallway including my roommate (SARAH JANTSCH) pack their things to go home for the summer. It was a sad sight to see, that is until I viewed the contents of the trash. You could not even begin to imagine the things that people throw away today! Brand new bottles of detergent lay beside a trashcan while fully packaged solo cups poked their heads out of the trash. In such an illogical situation, my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) and I did the only logical thing, we went dumpster diving baby! Yet I was not as interested in the material trash gems to be found but rather in the gems of the edible sort. That’s right, people were throwing out food. Now i’m not talking about half empty boxes of old crackers, I’m talking about brand spanking new, unopened food. Being an intern in the Center of Civic Engagement, I was in charge of the donation drive going on which coincidentally was collecting non perishable food to give to the local homeless shelter. I decided to seize the opportunity to support the drive and of course, take a final stab at impressing my internship overseer (HOT BOSS), because everyone knows there is nothing sexier than digging through the trash. So off my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) and I went, a couple on a mission. In total we ended up finding a box of popcorn with 22 bags left in it, a box that advertised containing 52 packets of oatmeal, there were 45 packets remaining in the box. There were 2 unopened boxes of chewy bars, 24 bars, 2 unopened boxes of Cold Stone Creamery hot chocolate, 22 pouches in total and 2 sleeves of perfectly packaged Oreos. But wait, there’s more! Originally a 28 pack of V8 tomato juice with 19 left, 6 Dole fruit cups, and my absolute favorite, a whopping total of 28 packs of Ramen noodles. This was all found on the mere surfaces of trashcans since I did not hardcore dig through the trash, so one could only imagine how much more food lay inside them. The sight of this mountain of food sitting on my bed made me feel sick to my stomach, can people really be this wasteful? Can they really throw away food without the slightest twinge of guilt? Personally, my mother (WENDY HUSCHER) would shake me senseless if she were to ever catch me being so inconsiderate. Is it because I go to a $40,000 a year school where people grew up with plenty of money and bellies accustomed to feeling full or is it bigger than that? So many questions yet no answers, where is my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) when you need her? Baffled, my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) and I sat down for our last dinner together of the school year, organic, vegan ramen (which I suspect is still highly unhealthy for you) which we had dug out of the trash. What a way to end to end my freshman year.  

There is something fishy going on in the Gulf of Mexico. In the article “Ew! Eyeless shrimp and deformed fish now routinely caught in the Gulf” http://grist.org/list/ew-eyeless-shrimp-and-deformed-fish-now-routinely-caught-in-the-gulf/ I learned about the effects the BP spill is having on the marine life in the Gulf. Many shrimp are eyeless now and are suffering from black gills. There are also crabs with holes in their shells and who are dying from within. Luckily, none of these health concerns prevent them from being sold in our local grocery stores. With any luck the food industry may be able to market these eyeless critters as delicacies, the new portobello mushrooms if you will. I mean it can’t be any worse than pink slime right? I’m not even going to go there. On a brighter note, maybe people will finally begin to worry about fish suffering now. But who am I kidding? As my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) would say, i’m merely farting rainbows. 

This week I got my research ON. I spent nine solid hours conducting surveys and watching a graphic video on the horrors of the meat industry over and over and over again. Believe it or not, watching baby calves being shot in the head does not get old, in fact, if you watch it enough the image becomes ingrained in your head. The same goes for watching the necks of cows slit as they flail around on the ground and chickens being thrown on the floor in an attempt to break their necks. The one image that did not stick in my mind however was one of the cruelty towards fish. In fact, my data showed that an overwhelming amount of people were the least affected by the fish section of my video. So why is it that nobody cares about the poor little fishes? I myself own a pet fish (FISH) who I am quiet fond of. For example, every school break I have to put the little guy in a Benny’s soup container to transport him home since I am not allowed to keep him here. It was before Easter break, right when it was time to leave that my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) told me that my pet fish (FISH) was no where to be found. Naturally I brushed his comment aside and insisted on looking inside the cup myself, only to find water. It was then to my horror that I noticed a small red ball curled up on my floor. The little guy had tried to take his own life by jumping out of the cup and over my dresser. You would not believe how loud I screamed at the sight of my dead fish. Yet to his dismay and my delight I was able to recover him last minute by placing him back in the soup container. So how is it that I reacted so strongly to my little beta fish taking a tumble yet while watching other fish suffocate in over-crowded fish tanks I barely wince? Even my literature reviews showed evidence that fish is usually the last type of meat for vegetarians to give up. They say that there are plenty of fish in the sea, but is that really an excuse to dismiss the pain endured of the fish sitting on our dinner plates?  

FISH AND I

This is FISH and I in our happier days before he tried to get away from me by taking his life

 Once again I got rejected from the Red Cross this week. Ever since the last blood drive I’ve been determined to get my iron up so that when the time came, i’d be ready to donate. I made a conscious effort to take my iron supplement everyday, although occasionally I admit I would forget, and I attempted to eat more iron rich foods such as spinach. Finally, the day of the blood drive came and I was feeling nervous. The nurse lead me to the preliminary testing booth and gave me a frown of disapproval. It was apparent she was skeptic when I told her how much I weighed, and from there on things just went down hill. Not only one, but two different nurses could not find my pulse on my wrist, and when they finally did find my faint pulse, it was barely high enough. My blood pressure was extremely low as well and don’t even get me started on my iron levels. The level you need to pass an iron test is a 12.5, I got an 11. Of course they retested my iron level again just in case the first test was a dud but the second time was no better than the first. I left the booth with two throbbing index fingers holding my letter of rejection and a damaged ego. It didn’t help that my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) made sure to ridicule me for the rest of the day either. Even my internship overseer (HOT BOSS) got a kick out of my feeble attempt. I mean I was just trying to help the Red Cross, why did they have to turn me away?

Similar to the my iron deficient blood, GMOs are being rejected as well. The United States wants to help Africa through introducing them to the enhanced crop the same way I wanted to help the Red Cross through my donation of blood. But both Africa and the Red Cross have standards, just because help is being offered doesn’t mean that it should be accepted. In both cases, these groups are holding out for a better alternative or solution. Of course somebody could use my blood for a transfusion, but will it really help them if my blood is not up to par? Most definitely could GMOs help solve the hunger issue in Africa, but is it worth risking the health of the people and the agriculture system of their continent? I have to admit there is an admirable component to the stances that these groups take, and I have to respect the Red Cross for their decision even though I still feel the sting of their rejection in my index fingers. I suppose I will have to continue searching ways to improve my blood iron level, just as the United States will have to search for an alternative way to help solve the hunger issue in Africa. Who knows, maybe next time we will get it right.

 

Speaking on rejection, time to bring up the rejection of clothianidin and imidacloprid, the pesticides responsible for the decline in the honeybee population. The article “ Moe evidence links pesticides to honeybee loses” http://grist.org/industrial-agriculture/more-evidence-links-pesticides-to-honeybee-losses/ describes the various tests conducted surrounding the various effects of pesticides on the health of honeybees. One test conducted at Harvard showed that the pesticide imidacloprid, killed 15 out the 16 hives it was exposed to. The final conclusion that this research arrived at is that there is a direct link between neonics and colony collapse disorder. Imidacloprid is less toxic than the pesticide clothianidin, therefore hypothetically clothianidin should be even worse for the honeybees, and for us. It is no wonder that Africa is hesitant to receive our pesticide ridden GMOs in their countries. It seems as though there is no turning back for the US and our chemically enhanced crops, the first to go will be our honeybees and then us Americans. It looks as though the last ones standing will be the Africans, oh how the tables have turned.