Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Organ Donation Shortages

I read Anna’s blog about Organ Donations. In the blog, Anna discussed how she believed people should get incentives to donate their organs and I agree with her. She believes that if people get money in return for their organs, more people would be willing to donate their organs or a dead family member’s organs. Anna stated that there is a large organ donation shortage; because there are more people being put on the organ transplant waiting list everyday and not enough organs are being donated to keep up with this growing list of patients in dire need of help. A majority of the population already agrees with this statement and believes that incentives should be offered to people willing to donate organs. Although, not all people feel that providing incentives will fix this organ donor shortage. Some people feel that just because there is an incentive doesn’t necessarily mean that the number of donations is going to increase. She then said that she lost an uncle who was waiting for a liver transplant. So, I agree everyone should go to the DMV and get an organ donor sticker on their driver’s license. Because according to the Congressional Kidney Caucus, up to 14,000 people who meet the criteria to be an organ donor die each year. However, less than half of those 14,000 people actually do become organ donors. Although it is tragic when anyone dies from not being able to get a transplant, it is more tragic that almost 10% of those in need of a transplant are less than 18 years old. Something needs to be done about these organ shortages, because we can’t just let hundreds of people die, when there was a cure that could have saved them.

Intervene Now!

The United States and the United Nations are not stepping in to protect the minorities of the world. While the US and UN step back and don’t take the initiative to intervene, lives are systematically and brutally lost because the world remains silent on one of the most critical humanitarian issues of our day-genocide. The situation in Darfur and other genocide incidences are indeed desperate and the UN needs to review its past actions and current policies in addressing organized mass killings. Since, the UN has failed to intervene in these tragic genocides, the international community needs to generate different solutions to stop and prevent genocides from occurring. The day the world becomes silent about the things that matter, innocent lives will be taken. If people start supporting nonprofit organizations like the Darfur Australian Network and other genocide groups that care for the people who have been victimized by genocide, the world would be that much closer to eliminating genocide than if people petition for the world forces like the UN to intervene. Because it has been made apparent that the UN is not going to intervene in any cases of genocide, as seen in the Rwandan genocide and so many of the other cases of genocide in the past. The UN has proven it is not to be entrusted with such serious matters as intervening in genocide and saving peoples lives. By backing independent organizations, like the Darfur Australian Network, that can really make a difference in these victims’ lives. Also, through definitive action and cooperation genocide can be stopped and the public can help prevent any future genocides all together. Because truly, lives end when people don’t take the initiative to care.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Attractive Perfectionism

The L’Oreal Paris Company has Eva Longoria as one their spokes models for their cosmetic and hair products. The L’Oreal Company’s motto on their webpage featuring Eva Longoria is “A beautiful woman has confidence and strength of character.” Eva exudes these qualities and yet is she really an expert on cosmetics and hair products? I’m sure Eva doesn’t know the chemical makeup of her foundation or for her blush. However, she does know how to look good on camera and show off the product well. If you watch any of her L’Oreal commercials on sites like youtube, you can see all the comments that are mentioned afterwards by the viewers. Most of the comments state how perfect she is, how stunning she or how they wish they could be her. So I don’t have to guess about the success of having Eva as the spokes model for L’Oreal, because just from looking at the comments after the L’Oreal commercials online it looks like the L’Oreal is getting the kind of response they wanted. They were hoping to capitalize by attaching the success of Eva Longoria to their product and it has worked. Since the products are they are trying to sell are on how to enhance beauty, Eva is a good endorser for the L’Oreal Paris Company. Because enhancing beauty is what the company is all about and Eva is a beautiful person and demonstrates how their product will make average people have star-like qualities with their products. L’Oreal Paris was smart to pick her as their model, because so many girls aspire to look and have the success that Eva has and they think if they us the same cosmetic and hair products they too will look like that and have just as much success as she does.

Heated battle of the systems

Socialized medicine moving to the United States has become a heated topic in recent year political debates. Some people are all for the government paying for the healthcare of its citizens, because they claim that this system would be cheaper than the private healthcare system the US has now. While other people are strongly against the government funding healthcare systems. The article that supports a socialized medicine plan has some strong and compelling arguments with a lot of other sources to back up their arguments and ideas. However, some of the data is not backed up by any evidence. For instance, US citizens dying on the emergency table because they could not afford healthcare doesn’t have any articles or proof to back up his theory. If he could retain this evidence his argument could be even stronger. The article that is against socialized medicine doesn’t have any articles or data to back up the philosophies mentioned making his arguments weaker than the pro-socialized medicine article look stronger. Although some of the ideas behind the arguments are good, the ideas can’t be trusted because there is no supporting evidence to back them up. So while both articles state what the counter-arguments are and then continue by refuting these arguments, only the pro article has evidence to stand behind its ideas. If I were to rely just on the articles alone, I would lean pro-socialized medicine, but I would never make a decision that big based on two articles that I have read. I also have more background knowledge about the topic working in the healthcare field. The majority of the healthcare industry is against socialized medicine, because the industry would be losing millions of dollars if the system were changed to a socialized system. My mind hasn’t moved one way or the other after reading and considering both sides of the story on this issue.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Availability of fresh food, exercise linked to healthy living

I guess the saying “you are what you eat” really is true because if you do eat unhealthy foods like fast food all the time it will effect your health. The article stated that neighborhoods consisting of black people had twice the amount of fast food restaurants than in white neighborhoods. It also said that since there were more fast food restaurants that the people in the black neighborhoods were more likely to become obese or develop serious health problems, such as heart disease or cancers. Another issue was location, if there isn’t grocery store or farmer’s markets nearby then the people in that neighborhood just eat what is the most accessible to them. Sometimes the most accessible foods aren’t the healthiest choice out there. If you grew up next to a vendor of fruits and vegetables then you are probably more likely to eat healthier as an adult. Some people also don’t like to buy sustainable foods because of the cost of the foods. Why would someone want to buy expensive but healthy fruits and vegetables when they can get unhealthy foods cheaper from fast food restaurants and other unhealthy foods from grocery stores? I also believe that what you eat growing up as a kid influences what you eat as an adult. If you grew up eating healthy meals together with your family, chances are that you are going to keep eating these types of foods as an adult. On the other hand, if you grew up eating at fast food restaurants and not eating lots of fruits and vegetables then you aren’t going to start eating healthy when you are an adult on your own. If every neighborhood had access to fresh produce that was reasonably priced, I think that our society as a whole would be better off, and then it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if “you are what you eat.”

Desiree's Demonstration Speech

Although I had an introduction, a clear organization of steps, and a conclusion, my speech lacked a little background information on origami. My speech contained the visual aid of the origami paper and walked through step by step how to fold the piece of paper into a decorative origami box. The demonstration had a good tone of enthusiasm and held a good volume throughout the speech. While showing the folding steps, I maintained good eye contact with the audience members and for the most part held a good body language stance. A few times I broke the stance by shifting from foot to foot or tucking my hair behind my ears, but overall my body language and eye contact with the audience was good. I could have tried to pick up the pace a little bit by not waiting so long for the audience members to fold their paper, because the speech was over the time limit by about a minute. My speech was very conducive with the assignment at hand, because it was definitely a step by step process, which is what a demonstration is based on. Origami was a different direction than most of the class and that is why I chose it because I figured most of the class wouldn’t know how to do origami. So I thought origami would be conducive to the class because it’s something not a lot of people are knowledgeable about. Overall the speech was pretty good except for the timing and the pace of the speech. However, I did have a good visual presentation with the origami paper, and the audience was paying attention by folding the paper at the same time as I was giving the demonstration. My speech had it’s weaknesses but all in all it was a decent demonstration speech.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cheerios Acclaimed Health Benefits

Cheerios, the breakfast cereal, makes health claims that it lowers cholesterol and makes your heart healthier. The FDA has since stated that the claims made on the box of Cheerios are not appropriate because the health claims can only be true if it is an FDA approved drug. The FDA also states that since Cheerios is a whole grain food it can mention its ability to lower heart disease, but it isn’t allowed to say it lowers cholesterol. The General Mills Corporation is currently working with the FDA to have the allegations that their claims are not false. There is no substitution for Cheerios; however, there are other types of oat cereals. So no there is no healthier substitution for Cheerios. Even if Cheerios has no health benefits, it is still the number the best selling cereal. So if it didn’t help people lower their cholesterol, I still think Cheerios would be a high selling product because people just like the taste of Cheerios. I would still recommend Cheerios as a product even if it doesn’t lower cholesterol. Cheerios still has lots of fiber and is a good source of whole grain according to the FDA. Cheerios are also made out of oats, and oats are healthy for you because they are a form of soluble fiber. So although the FDA may claim that Cheerios can’t lower cholesterol because it isn’t an FDA approved drug it still has true health claims as being high in fiber and since it is a whole grain it can help lower heart disease. So some of Cheerios health claims are not proven true yet, but it does have some proven benefits according to the FDA.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Preparing a meal in college

When you think about preparing a meal, you think cutting potatoes, onions, and other vegetables. However, while living on campus at a college that is clearly not the case. Most students living on campus do not have access to kitchens or even grocery stores for that matter. If I feel like going to the grocery store, I have to plan a bus trip. The trip typically lasts at least an hour an a half, because not only do you have to wait for a bus to come and get you but you also have to shop fast enough to catch the next bus. Otherwise, you might find yourself waiting another half hour for another bus to come and get you and bring you back to campus. Another problem with preparing a meal for yourself in college is storing the food after it is purchased. The refrigerators provided for students are not big enough to store large quantities of food. So cooking for yourself, while living in a dormitory, is just not practical on a regular basis.
The only alternative is to eat in campus dining halls. The UW-Madison campus dining halls are starting a program where they order organic foods from local farmers. To eat in the dining hall all that is involved on my part of preparing the meal is to grab a tray tell the person working that I would like the organic squash and the pork that was raised within the surrounding Madison area. Then I go to the checkout line and pay for it with my student card. For cleanup all I have to do is go and put my tray in the tray return zone. It’s fast, easy, and no work is involved in actually going to the store or preparing the food itself. I would agree with Pollan’s statement, “a flood of damaging innovations…such as low-fat processed food.” For the fact that, several people look for low-fat on the packages of the food they want before purchasing it. It also affected me not because I was looking for low-fat food, but because most of the food served in the dining hall is processed. The statement has to be true because everywhere you go you see either low-fat or processed foods. Not even the dining hall is safe anymore.

Why do we eat fake foods?

I eat both real and fake,processed chicken. Fake, processed chicken doesn’t really have a distinct smell to it; however, it does have a different taste. The fake chicken doesn’t taste as juicy or good as real chicken does. Fake chicken also has a little different look to it. It looks like ground up chicken pressed into patty, strip, or nugget form. There are no beneficial benefits of eating fake chicken to eating real chicken. In reality, real chicken is probably healthier, because it isn’t processed and full of sodium like fake, processed chicken is. I have been eating processed chicken ever since I was a little girl. Most little kids grow up eating chicken strips, chicken nuggets, and other forms of fake, processed chicken without even realizing that they are eating fake, processed chicken. Kids are subject to eating fake, processed chicken even at school. Even schools that promote healthy lunches serve the less nutritional processed form of chicken, because it is cheaper to purchase and easier to cook and serve to the kids. I switched over to fake chicken in grade school when I was first subjected to this new form of chicken. I had always eaten real chicken up until this point of entering grade school. I had to switch over to fake chicken, because that was my only lunch option at the time. I have just continued to eat fake chicken, because it is cheaper and more convenient to obtain. While at the University of Wisconsin Madison, the most common form of chicken found in the dining halls is the fake, processed form of chicken. So through convenience and price, I have just continued eating the fake chicken. However, I have not given up real chicken all together. Whenever I have the chance to eat real chicken I do. Real chicken is better and I wish it was easier to obtain while living on campus, not only for its taste but for the better nutritional values of real chicken.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Michael Pollan's visit to UW Madison

Thursday evening started off with a delicious sustainable dinner at Pop’s, the southeast dining hall. The food was all locally grown and cooked in honor of the Michael Pollan lecture later in the evening. I wish we could have more dining hall meals like that.
Next on the agenda was the Michael Pollan lecture. You can tell he’s going to be a big deal when you have three different people get up to introduce him. At the beginning of his lecture, you could tell he was a little nervous because he kept drinking the provided water next to the podium. As the lecture progressed however, he definitely was feeling more comfortable speaking to some seven thousand people filling over half of the Kohl Center. During his speech, he predicted the statement, “Omega 6 fatty acid would be the next nutrient attacked by scientists.” He believes “that the nutrition scientists will think that omega 6 fatty acid will try to push out the blessed omega 3 fatty acid molecules out of vital body cells.”
At one point during his presentation, he asked the audience members to list off some key nutrients that scientist are promoting at this time. One audience member’s response was “olive oil.” Pollan responded jokingly “that olive oil isn’t a nutrient.” Pollan did agree however, that nutritional scientists are promoting the use of olive oil over vegetable oil. Another point in the evening was when he brought out the food he purchased earlier in the evening to talk about. He talked about how the fewer ingredients it has the more organic the food is. Pollan also discussed how packaging plays a huge role in selling food. He explained that manufacturers can manipulate the labels to say anything they want it to say. For instance, he held up an ice cream and the label said now made with only five ingredients. He then stated that even before people found out about the fewer ingredients the healthier it is for you, the ice cream still only contained five ingredients in it. He made some very thought provoking points throughout the evening. Another one of these points is when he brought up the farmers. The farmers who do the most labor intensive work in creating the food is the people who get paid the least. The people who create the packaging receive more profits on the food by an outstanding percentage in the billions than the farmers receive. The farmers in the audience were so appreciative of him bringing up this topic, that at this point during his speech all the farmers wearing the green t-shirts responded with tremendous clapping and whistling. The points he brought up were not only expanded thoughts on his book, but also new insights as well. The speech was very informative, but also fun and intriguing to listen to at the same time.
The audience response to Michael Pollan was overwhelmingly positive. He received two standing ovations. One was right after his speech and the other was after the brief question and answer portion of the evening. Overall, I would say the night was a complete success.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"In Defense of Food" Insight

In Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food,” he talks about observing food as a whole instead of stripping food down to just nutrients and minerals. I would have to agree with Pollan’s philosophy. Certain foods just can’t be classified into a one hundred percent nutritious category. Take for instance the January 1977 committee’s advice to Americans to “reduce their meat intake.” Senator McGovern of South Dakota had a large constituency that had consisted of cattle ranchers; the committee had no choice but to change their tune to “choose meats lower in saturated fats.” This has left an impact on scientists by examining each nutrient individually and not looking at food as a whole.

Another example where industry beat out health was the margarine incident that Pollan referred to. Margarine paved the way for processed foods in America. Margarine manufacturers claimed that by containing polyunsaturated fats and by adding vitamins to its formula it was healthier than butter containing cholesterol and saturated fats. The manufacturing industry can manipulate foods to add any vitamins and minerals they please to enhance their sales figures. Manufactures have brought the margarine scandal to new heights with genetically modified and processed foods, because with the right marketing spin and “health” promotions these foods can be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Nutritionism is another point that was brought up in the beginning of this book. Nutritionism is an ideology that the nutrient is the key of success in understanding foods as a whole. Pollan goes in-depth and explains more about how scientists study nutritionism and also talks about the public’s awareness of this growing problem in America. Upton Sinclair’sThe Jungle” also made aware of the food industries scandals and has brought about public reform with the laws and the Food and Drug Administration. Even if you don’t agree with Pollan’s philosophy, you do have to admit he makes a pretty compelling argument.