Nourish

Emily Usinger

English 150 HD

12/7/10

Nourish

 

The documentary Nourish discussed many valuable questions that people often have about food. People buy and eat food without thinking about who grew their food or what pesticides were used. Nourish also addressed topics such as the role that corn plays in almost all fast foods and junk foods. People don’t consider that every food item has a story before it appears onto the plate.

Every human being on Earth has something in common; they all eat. Nourish related several people from around the world with different backgrounds. Each of these people displayed their farming techniques and the crops they grew. The crops were followed from were they are grown all the way to production. Corn, for example, is grown as a mono-crop and several different pesticides are used. Pesticides are not only used to protect the crop from pests, but also to replenish the soil. The corn then either sent to the feedlots for livestock or is made into tortillas and chips. Corn is processed into high fructose corn syrup, which is found in sodas, sweets, and frying oils. Corn syrup being found in so many related products creates a high rate for diseases such as diabetes. A doctor on the documentary stated that nine year olds are possessing high cholesterol. This generation of people is eating 300 more calories a day than before. All this over consumption is creating extinction of ninety percent of big fish species. If people continue their current ways of eating, there will be numerous consequences in the long run.

This documentary brought to light many different aspects that I have never considered. Not only are pesticides unhealthy to eat, they leach into the Gulf of Mexico creating dead zones killing marine life. I learned that corn is one of largest commodities. It is found in almost every single snack food and over consumption can create health related issues. Organic foods are not always truly organic. Organic just means that the amount of pesticides used is limited. If a consumer wants to actually find how their food is grown they would have to research. Food scientists are continually finding ways to make food taste better to expand product growth. Each food item has a story to tell, it is just up to the consumer whether or not they want to investigate that story.

 

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Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

Emily Usinger

English HD 150

12/5/10

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

 

Without water, life on Earth would not exist. Americans have been consuming more bottled water than ever. Bottled water can be found in every convenience store and super market with multiple different brands and even fruity flavors. Tap water, on the other hand, can be found in every individual’s home. So what makes bottled water a better choice? Is the extra money spent on bottled water worth it?

Bottled water has become so popular that it is now second on the charts to soda pop. According to “Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap?” by Anne Bullers, Americans drank five billion gallons in 2001. That’s about the same amount of water that falls from the American Falls at Niagara Falls in two hours. So much bottled water requires so plastic, which is definitely a negative for an environment. Even though FDA and EPA set numerous regulations for all bottled water, the tests for tap water is just as intense. Tap water has lead testing levels set to no higher than 15 parts per billion (ppb). Lead is tested because it can leach from pipes as water travels from water utilities to home faucets. In bottled water, where lead pipes are not used, the lead limit is set at 5 ppb. Fluoride may also be added to bottled water within the limits set by the FDA. People believe that bottled water is safer, but there is not enough evidence to prove that theory.

It is said that a living being cannot survive two days without the consumption of water. When it comes down to it, water is water and it is the most essential part of the human diet. People should not be concerned whether their water comes from the tap or a bottle. They should be worried about the cleanliness of their water. Bottled is not safer than clean tap, it is just peoples preference if they want to spend more money for what they can essentially get for free.

http://www.foodreference.com/html/art-bottled-water.html

 

 

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Tragic Hero – Into The Wild

Emily Usinger

English 150 HD

12/2/10

Tragic Hero

 

Christopher McCandless, the main character of the film Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, contains numerous flaws that eventually lead to his tragic downfall. A tragic hero is a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on tragedy.

Christopher first starts his journeys by completely erasing himself from the human race. He burns his social security card and changes his name. Christopher cuts off all connection from his family, including his sister. Throughout the story Christopher blames his family for himself wanting to run away to Alaska. He hates materialism and is disappointed in his parents’ behaviors. Every city he goes through he ends up meeting people which whom he stays with until he feels prepared enough to move on. Each person he encounters he leaves an indelible mark. They don’t want to see him continue traveling and often don’t fully support his goal of living alone with nature. Christopher brings his host families happiness and helps them solve their own personal problems. A major flaw in Christopher is that he never takes his own advice. Every person he stays with gave him love and acceptance, but yet he continues to believe society is evil and it would be best to live alone. Once alone Christopher notices that happiness means nothing unless you have someone to share it with. When this time comes, Christopher is too weak and accidentally poisons himself by eating wild berries and is unable to return home. He possesses an extreme fear of the river, which also creates his incapability to return. Christopher’s decisions eventually lead to his death.

The author, Jon Krakauer, and film director, Sean Penn, also placed their personal views into the development of the movie. Krakauer is known as a mountaineer himself. He has gone on numerous expeditions, including climbing Mount Everest. In his climb a number of his fellow climbers and well as the guides perished.  Krakauer draws parallels between his own experiences and motivations to those of McCandless’s. Krakauer wanted to connect to McCandless and help spread his story. Sean Penn is known for being a political and social activist. Penn took on this story because he viewed the heroism and courage in McCandless’s journey. Penn spent nearly a decade getting the rights to Krakauer’s book. Penn believed that McCandless had a will that was so uncommon. He wanted to spread McCandless’s belief that society is responsible for the destruction of the environment.

After watching this film in class, I experienced a few different emotions. I was first personally moved by the story. I felt his parents and friends’ pain when he suddenly disappeared. I thought it was extremely selfish of him to hurt the people who loved him the most. Although the movie grabbed my attention and was very interesting, it probably will be a movie that I won’t choose to watch again. I found it very depressing and did not enjoy the ending.

 

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Hormone Use in Meat and Dairy Products

Emily Usinger

English 150 HD

12/1/10

Hormone Use in Meat and Dairy Products

 

Numerous people are unaware of the extra additives placed into the foods they consume. Nowadays hormones are becoming more popular in certain meat and dairy products. Humans and animals produce hormones naturally throughout their bodies. If an animal receives particular hormones they can have increased milk production and have the ability to gain weight more rapidly. Even though hormones appear to be a positive for production, scientists believe that added hormones in animals may cause cancer in humans later in life.

As early as the 1930s, farmers have been practicing the use of hormone injection. According to “Consumer Concerns About Hormones in Food” by Renu Gandhi and Suzanne Snedeker, there are six different kinds of steroid hormones that are currently approved by the FDA. It has been found that the female sex hormone estrogen shows to also have extreme growth rate affects in cattle and poultry. Researchers obtain theories that these hormones may cause early puberty in girls. This is a threat because early puberty has been found to be associated with a higher risk for breast cancer.  There is also concern that because of increased milking, hormone-treated cows may become more prone to infection of the udders, called mastitis. This could lead to more antibiotics being used to treat the cows, in turn leading to more residues of antibiotics to remain in the milk. Humans can then have the bacteria in their body become antibiotic resistant. It this is more of a challenge to control resistant bacteria with available antibiotics. The practice of using hormones has become a never ending debate as well as a political issue. The European Union currently will not allow the use of the protein hormone rbGH for dairy cattle. Studies are still being done for more evidence to prove that hormone residues in products do cause human health effects.

Although hormones are suggested to result in several health problems, more research must be taken before use can be completely banned. I believe that hormone products are unnatural and not worth the risk of getting sick later in life. Even though hormones can create larger meat mass per animal and allow greater milk production, it doesn’t weigh out the consequence of developing cancer.

http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Factsheet/Diet/fs37.hormones.cfm

 

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Cereal Box Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunches of Joy

Cereal has become one of the world’s top commodities and is a must have for those who love a quick breakfast or meal while getting the nutrients needed to obtain enough energy to make it through the day. According to “Amazing Cereal Statistics”, the average American will consume ten pounds of cereal a year, which is about 160 bowls worth. Since Honey Bunches of Oats targets families, this facilitates the need for an attractive, eye catching, and yet somewhat traditional cereal box. The cereal Honey Bunches of Oats does just that and through its creative box and catchy quotes; it provides the perfect assets to arrive in the hands of families, its intended consumers.

Although many cereal boxes rely on a memorable cartoon or spokesperson, Honey Bunches of Oats does not follow that same approach. Notice, in Figure 1 that only a spoonful of cereal is shown. This is almost unusual to be seen because most cereals represent a bowl full of cereal as well to promote their product. The single spoonful of cereal gives off the idea of that last mouth-watering bite.  The commercials on television also portray real life people, who are often playing the role as the cereal factory workers. The workers go around and spread the morning joy that a consumer will receive if the cereal is purchased. Honey Bunches of Oats takes a more serious approach when it comes to promoting their cereal, verses having children, as seen in Lucky Charms, chasing a cartoon character. This approach makes it stand out in a more unique way without representing make-believe humor on the box to create attention.

Honey Bunches of Oats cereal gears their marketing towards all ages, but most importantly to families. Located on the back of the box, instead of cartoons or games, are pictures of families or mothers with their children. The words, “Enjoying Breakfast” and “Spreading the Joy” can be found next to the pictures on the back of the box, as can be seen in Figure 2. These phrases imply bringing families together and making every meal a family one besides just dinner. Also, located on the back is information about the history and the creation of the cereal. The information of the cereal’s past gives consumers a feeling of familiarity. This combination of pictures and history gives off the idea of being a small business or family owned, when in reality the cereal is manufactured by Post.  The idea of family owned given off by the pictures and history contradicts the manufacture. Post is a very large company that produces many different products, so it is the complete opposite of a small business.

A few important factors exist that make Honey Bunches of Oats successful when promoting their brand to the family demographic. Honey Bunches of Oats is a modest type of cereal that chooses to take a classier approach when it comes to marketing. Honey Bunches of Oats uses several strategies in its box design to stand out as a healthy choice. The cereal box has a conservative look, but is yet bold enough to grab the consumer’s attention with its bright yellow and orange colors. The title’s large front and all capital letters makes it simple for elderly people with poorer eye sight, as well as young children to read. The larger title also makes it easier and quicker to find when placed next to many other brands. This feature is beneficial to busy parents who rush between daily errands at the grocery store. Equally important, by having the title take up most of the space of the box makes the name more memorable. This effect also makes the cereal unforgotten by parents and small children. The nutritional benefits are located on the bottom right hand corner of the front of the box, to easily remind parents that this is a healthy choice for them and their little bunches of joy back at home.

The nutritional benefits are placed strategically on the front of the box display. The nutritional benefits are demonstrated on the front of the box to grab the shopper’s attention, as can be seen back in Figure 1. The placement of the nutritional benefits on the front helps to expand the product. This way a consumer doesn’t need to take the box off the shelf to see the benefits. Honey Bunches of Oats contains zero grams of trans fat, saturated fat, and zero mega grams of cholesterol. The cereal also states that it may reduce the risk of heart disease. A consumer who was originally looking for a healthy diet cereal might have normally not purchased that product could possibly change their mind after seeing the benefits.

Honey Bunches of Oats can be found in almost every store where numerous brands of cereal can be found. As told by “Good Guide”, almost all Honey Bunches of Oats products receive over a six out of ten in a popularity rating. Being such a popular cereal and having such high demands also enables Honey Bunches of Oats to have a very convenient location on the store shelf, usually being around eye level and near similar cereals. This lets customers easily access the cereal without having to look all over the aisle or shelf for the cereal they want. Cereals that are found close or around Honey Bunches of Oats are most often other cereals made by Post: Fruity Pebbles, Raisin Bran, Waffle Crisp and others. Having various types of cereal created by the same manufacturer allows them a better chance of having the customer choose one of their cereals because they are all so closely arranged which could be highly advantageous for them.

A constantly growing population means that there is a high demand for lots of food, thus making cereal an important product. Numerous brands of cereal exist, so each one needs a distinctive method to make theirs stand out above the rest. Honey Bunches of Oats uses their warm colors and modest design to help their brand be picked over the others. This cereal uses a creative box display, along with eye-catching characteristic to remain memorable to shoppers. Honey Bunches of Oats helps promote a happy and healthy lifestyle for those who consume it.

Works Cited

 

Beta, Good Guide. Honey Bunches of Oats Guide. Good Guide, Inc. 28 Sept. 2010

<http://www.goodguide.com/brands/214952-honey-bunches-of-oats>

Bruce, Scott and Crawford, Bill. Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of       American Breakfast Cereal. Faber and Faber, 1995 as cited on Amazing Cereal      Statistics. 28 Sept. 2010

<http://veg.ca/content/view/212/112/>

FIgure 1

<http://annarborgrocerydelivery.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=68>

Figure 2

<http://briodesign.com/blog/category/show_and_tell/>

 

 

 

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Family Traditions: Thanksgiving

Emily Usinger

English 150 HD

11/29/10

Family Traditions: Thanksgiving

 

 

Thanksgiving is one of the few American holidays where present exchanging is not one of the major factors. This particular holiday focuses on tradition, as well as bringing family and friends together. When a person thinks of Thanksgiving a few common thoughts come to mind including those such as, white turkey breast, mash potatoes with gravy, and of course pumpkin pie. Even though most Thanksgivings share these similar traits, every family encompasses different traditions to make the holiday unique.

My family, for example, follows the same customs for Thanksgiving every year. Thanksgiving always takes place at my Aunt Barbara’s house. This is a very convenient location considering that she lives just down the street. My mother brings the dessert. She formulates three pumpkin pies, two of which are for the party and one stays at home for me. I always eat the crust first, and then add a good helping of whip cream to be eaten with the body of the pie. My father helps out as well by assembling the mashed potatoes every year. He loves to leave his potatoes a tad chunky. He claims that by doing this people will know his potatoes are homemade and not from a box. Barbara prepares the turkey, but our family usually does not sit down to eat until around seven or eight. This can become a problem for me due to the fact I starve myself all day in order to feast as much as possible by dinner time. My sister and I sit at a four-person table with our Aunt Debra and one other family member, which is usually my mother or another aunt. Debra likes to fill my sister and me in on all the new family gossip. Debra bakes the pumpkin bread and gives my sister and I our own mini loaves to take home to enjoy. A lot of family members come in and out of the house the whole night thus making leftovers scarce.   My mom will decide the next day to recreate Thanksgiving for just our family. My family loves Turkey Day so much that we celebrate it two days in a row.

Whether a family is big or small, as families’ lives get more hectic, many lose the custom of eating together. Even though it comes only once a year, Thanksgiving happens to bring all families together. Everyone should celebrate a holiday that focuses on family values rather that one that focuses on gifts.

 

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The Risks of Cloned Food

Emily Usinger

English 150 HD

11/3/10

The Risks of Cloned Food

 

People love to eat, which is why making sure there is enough food is important. Animal cloning has been a solution to this problem. After much debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that meat and dairy products from cloned cows, pigs, and goats are safe for consumption. On the other hand, the Center for Food Safety has petitioned the FDA to re-evaluate the safety of cloned animals. There are numerous factors that contribute to the argument of whether cloned products should be consumed.

Although cloned products have been determined safe, no one really knows the true risks of cloned animal products entering the food-supply. Some cloned animals are said to be born sick and die unexpectedly. Scientists cannot tell us why this happens, but according to “Is Cloned Food Safe?” by Lisa Farino; about half of the cloned animals die unexpectedly. The cloning of animals can create chromosomal abnormalities and problems with gene expression. Farino states that the FDA review process has not addressed these issues. Another problem that appears with cloning is that companies are not permitted to label their product if it is from a normal or cloned animal. The only way to assure that food is clone-free is to eat organic food. The FDA is currently trying to resolve this problem by putting radio frequency identification tags on the animals’ ears. This will allow slaughterhouses to separate and track meat from cloned animals. Even though animal cloning can provided mass production there are risks that also contribute.

Animal cloning appears to be an interesting way for producers to expand their product. A question that arises concern is then why are some producers refusing to use this method? Even though cloning has been stated to be safe there is still hesitation to release certain products onto the market. Until further research is created the issue on whether cloned food is safe for consumption will still stand.

http://health.msn.com/nutrition/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100188112

 

 

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