Tag Archives: Serious

Genuine with All of the Faults In-Between WIAW

Recently I’ve realized that I all of my posts are starting to sound like a whiny college student. I guess that should be fine since I AM a college student who occasionally likes to whine banter diplomatically. A while back though one of the bloggers that I follow mentioned that once they left college, they really didn’t like reading blogs written by college students anymore because they couldn’t relate any longer. For me, I read blogs from people of all age groups and interests. If someone is interesting or seems like a genuine person I’ll follow along no matter the age or topic.

With that said, I believe that blogger’s statement has stuck with me because it serves a reminder that not everyone reading is in college or can relate to being in college. And as I am so much more than just a typical “college student,” I don’t want every post I write to be weighed down with my talk of exams, homework and sleep.

exams-ruff

Something that I know you all can relate to though is technology. Social Media. Let’s talk about Instagram for a moment. Have you ever heard of F4F, L4L or S4F? If not, then skip down a few paragraphs to the food pictures because it’s not important. If you have heard/seen or even experienced the profound meaning behind F4F though… Please explain why this even exists?

Upon joining Instagram I thought it was a way to quickly share and express yourself through images. Whether that be with pictures of food, beautiful scenery, workouts, pets, or a combination thereof, I believed that Instagram was all about showing what is unique about YOU. Other than adding the filters, how much more raw and real can you get than sharing captioned images of your everyday life? You leave yourself open to comments from people literally all around the world. You connect with people from EVERYWHERE.

I thought it was truly an amazing thing. Until I started seeing those hashtags I mentioned above. Follow for Follow? Like for Like? Shout out for shout out? I have issues with getting mad about things having nothing to do with me, but these hashtags just made me downright angry. Almost to a ridiculous point I was furious at these Instagramers. How dare they disrupt this beautiful thing going on with commercialism? By asking for an undeserving follow, like or shout out they are just superficially inflating their accounts. I’ve seen people with thousands of followers getting less than a dozen likes per picture. Not because the pictures were horrific or anything like that; it was because those followers weren’t following them for THEM. Just for the reciprocated “follow,” “like,” or “shout out.”

f4f

As I said, in reality it is my fault for expecting social media to be anything other than social media. Even on blogs I will get the occasional comment where the only thing someone says is “Love your blog! Will you check out mine?” To me this discredits them on my second requirement for following a blog- BEING GENUINE!

genuine

There is so much more to be said on this subject and yet, right now if I continue I think I will start to sound like my scratched up Backstreet Boys’ Millenium CD. After awhile from so much abuse it could barely get through the first track of “Larger than Life” without repeating the manical laugh of A.J. McLean. One thousand times over.

Similarly, I don’t think any of you want me to repeat myself one thousand times over, creepy laugh or not.

(I just realized that this is way more “thinking” than I had planned for a simple WIAW post. I’m also going to be linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons tomorrow for her Thinking Out Loud link-up!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Now for an entirely genuine WIAW with all of the faults in between, here is some food of recently… some mine, mostly not 😉

Hey! I can actually use this WIAW button and tell the veggie truth this week 🙂
I have been absolutely terrible about posting recipes lately, and it’s not for lack of edited photos or having the time to write them up. In fact, there are currently three complete recipes just waiting to be published in the queue. It’s just the “other stuff” that needs to be written along with them. The “life” stuff. Example number 3 is below for a new cracker recipe I just made over the weekend. They are nut-free and are packed with tons of flavor.

crackers-close-color-sharp

The next recipe I need to share (oh wait, that means I actually have 4 recipes all typed up! These two plus a vegan banana bread, and a smoothie recipe 8o … Alright, I will be sharing at least one this week!) is for some apple bread that I baked up in small ramekins. They are kind of a coffee cake/cinnamon heaven. I’m not sure what to call them yet. Now though I feel like “heaven” should definitely be included somewhere in the name?? They made my house smell absolutely wonderful.

apple-outside-sharp

Now for something that I have been snacking on:

frozen-cucumbers-sharp

Green… Ice cubes?

cucumber-frozen-2-sharp

Yes, those would be green ice cubes that I brought back with me from home to eat during the week. I took about 5 cucumbers, peeled them (the skins bother me), ran them through the juicer and then froze the juice into ice cube trays. All of the juice made around 30-something ice cubes in all. When I’m home for the weekend I like to make fresh cucumber juice, but during school that’s not possible so frozen is the next best thing. Originally I planned to thaw them out the night before and have a glass in the morning. Then I forgot and decided to eat them like Popsicles (or ice cubes… Since I really do just eat plain ice cubes. I’m not the only one, right?).

And below you can see a glass of cucumber juice in all of its glory. That is about 1 cucumber juiced, and then diluted with an equal amount of water. Delicious and refreshing. My mom was intrigued and asked to try some. She commented that it was surprisingly sweet, and I’d have to agree! I never considered cucumbers as being sweet before, but the juice definitely is.

cucumber-juice-sharp

Just for the fun of it, I decided to throw in a random picture of me to prove that I am in fact alive (Just in case there was any doubt). I’m also going to break my sort-of-vow above and acknowledge that I look a little worn out in this picture. I’m just plain tired t0 tell you the truth and am aiming for a full 8 hours tonight (I usually get about 7). Spring Break next week will be very welcomed indeed!

me-myself-i-dark

Questions for you:

Do you have an Instagram? How do you feel about the follow for follow trend that has emerged?

What recipes have you made recently? And have you posted about them (FAIL for me 🙁 )

Have you ever snacked on ice cubes before? I can’t be the only one!

Do you still hold onto your old scratched CDs? I’m sure I could rummage around and still find that old Backstreet Boys CD if I tried!!

What You Need to Know About Your Produce

Originally I had a much more fun post planned for today, but then I got an e-mail in my inbox and changed my direction completely. Needless to say I’m already ahead of the game for next week’s WIAW! Usually I would be a little annoyed at the thought of writing an entirely new post, but I think this topic is much more important for you all to hear today.

So, who was it that caused this drastic change in plans?

Actually the proper question would not be who, but what, and the what would be the Environmental Working Group (otherwise known as EWG). As stated on the EWG’s website, they are “the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization.”  Their mission “is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment.”

ewg-logo

(Source)

At first that seems like a pretty big undertaking for an organization that many have probably never even heard of, but EWG is funded by many supporters which you most definitely are familiar with such as The Walton Family Foundation (as in the Waltons of Wal-Mart!), The David and Lucille Packard Foundation (ever heard of Hewlett-Packard, aka HP, one of the leading technology companies in the world?) and many others.

ewg-funding-donations

(Source)

EWG concerns itself with six key issues including consumer products, energy, farming, food, water, and toxics. The issue that the e-mail I received addressed an issue that everyone should be concerned with— Food!

Every year for the past nine years now, EWG has released what it calls its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. As the title suggests, this guide ranks the pesticide contamination levels in popular produce and shares it with consumers to so that we can make healthier decisions about which fruits and vegetables are safest for us to consume.

ewg-shoppers-guide

(Source)

In addition to their Shopper’s Guide (and more importantly in my opinion), is EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.

Both the Shopper’s Guide and Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists are based on the pesticide residue tests completed by the USDA and FDA and according to their website, this year included more than 28,000 samples on 48 fruits and vegetables to ensure the most accurate results.

Here are the links to some of the invaluable information that EWG released this year regarding to pesticides:

Apples Top EWG’s Dirty Dozen (sort of like a newspaper article describing their findings)

Executive Summary (very concise and helpful!)

Methodology (again, a very clear and easy understand description of how they obtained their information)

FAQ’s (common questions people ask about pesticides)

Full List (ranks all 48 fruits and vegetables by level of pesticides)

As I stated before though, I think one of the most helpful things that the EWG creates for consumers is their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists:

EWG-2013

This is great to print out and store in your wallet, purse, pocket, etc. when you go to the grocery store. You can click here to get your own free downloadable copy so that you always have the list with you. I also printed out a list and taped it to my fridge at home for easy reference when I or my parents go to make a grocery list. All you need to do is look over at the list when you write down your groceries and if a produce item is on the Clean Fifteen write C (for Conventional) and if it’s on the Dirty Dozen write O (for Organic). That way you won’t forget while you are shopping. So easy!

It’s important to note though, that these lists don’t guarantee that if you buy something conventionally grown on the Clean Fifteen it’s pesticide-free or on the Dirty Dozen it’s pesticide-laden. These lists are based on test data and can only predict the likelihood of pesticides on the produce.

Also, some of you particularly observant readers may have noticed that the number of produce on the Dirty Dozen don’t add up to 12 but 14! As noted by the asterisks (*) beside the bottom produce of collards/kale and summer squash/zucchini, these vegetables did not make it into the official Dirty Dozen list, but when tested they showed evidence of organophosphate pesticides which is why they were added as “Pluses” to the list. Organophosphate pesticides are “potent neurotoxins that can affect children’s IQ and brain development, even at low doses.” I think it’s safe to speak for the masses, but I’m not even bothered in the slightest that EWG broke their 12 rule and included this produce on the list.

ewg-pesticides

(Source)

There are many still that believe there is no benefit to consuming organic over non-organic vegetables, but as you can see, I have a very strong standpoint on the matter. With severe gastrointestinal issues, I can really tell the difference when I consume conventionally grown versus organic produce both in taste and in the way I feel overall. I still skin most of my vegetables, but that doesn’t mean I’m safe. While it’s true that pesticides are more concentrated in the skin of produce, we now know that pesticides can actually be found inside produce as well, making none of our previous methods of preparation entirely full-proof.

My questions for you today are: Do you follow the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists when you shop? Do you try to buy organic produce whenever possible? 

If you haven’t already, I urge you to click on my link above, print out your own copy of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists, and go put it in your wallet so that you can reference it whenever needed. Even further, why don’t you print out a few additional copies and give them to your friends and family so we can all be a little safer in what we put in our bodies!

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A huge thanks to Jenn for allowing me to participate in WIAW week in and week out (even though I always break the rules 😉 )

Shared at Fat Tuesday as well.

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Edited to add: I received a comment that you can read below from a website that claims that organic and conventional produce are equally safe and that the EWG is trying to make people fearful of eating fruits and vegetables.

Addressing the first part, you can read about the USDA’s National Organic Program, as well as their Organic 101 Blog which answers a lot of questions that consumers might have about organic regulations. The most interesting for me was that “the USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used” (Source). Also, while studies show that organic produce may not necessarily be higher in vitamins or minerals compared to their conventional counterparts, organic produce is less likely to contain dangerous toxins that can impact your health (Source).

For the second part of their comment, I would like to repeat a quote that I shared in my response to them below from EWG’s FAQ page: “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables. And with EWG’s Shopper’s Guide™, consumers don’t have to choose between pesticides and healthy diets (Source). Also on the FAQ page the organization was asked if we should stop eating produce that is on the dirty dozen list. They responded that that is not their intent in creating the list as chemical-laden produce is still healthier than the much more popular snacks of candy and junk food (Source).

Finally, the EWG provides many studies on their FAQ page and website that support their claims. I am not trying to convince people to only buy organic; I am just providing the most convincing evidence that I have seen so far in the debate of organic vs. conventional. If you have any objections, questions, concerns, opinions, research, etc. that you would like to share, feel free to leave links in the comments below! Thanks for making this a great discussion!