Great Crate Challenge.

I really appreciate this video. It demonstrates a very important point that most take for granted on a daily basis. It’s not something the FDA or government want people to be aware of. This is the reason I went vegetarian. Factory farming and Big Ag are unethical and should be eradicated and replaced by actual farms. If we implemented a natural form of farming, it would be better for the economy, farmers, animals, and the planet. In these factory farms and in GMO plants, completely unnecessary pollution occurs. On farms even animal waste is recycled into the soil as fertilizer and used to grow fruits and vegetables, whereas right now it is being dumped into the water supply. Gross.


Sawasdee ka!


Hey there blog world….Here’s a brief recap of events that happened this year. The reason I haven’t been blogging is not because I didn’t have thoughts. I have thoughts (but rather too many). (High five for Julie and Julia reference?) This year has been a crazy beast so far with so much going on and a roller coaster of feelings. Feels like waves breaking over my head sometimes.

I had my 21st birthday in January. I don’t usually care much for my birthday, but friends and family made it special.

February I moved out of my parents’ house and into a condo across town with 2 roommates. This is very new and takes some getting used to, but I “decorated” my bathroom and hung pictures!

In March I went to Thailand for two weeks (What?!?). I pet tigers, zip lined through forest-y jungles outside of Chiang Mai, ate nachos at a karaoke bar, got hugged by elephants, Thai massage, yoga, got a Buddhist blessing tattoo (yes, it is like the one Angelina Jolie has, but not at all for that reason), spent a day on a beach on the island of Koh Larn, and met people from all over the world. The friends we made were the best part, now I know people all over the world that I can “visit”. I “got” to try all kinds of public transit; busses, sky train, planes, taxis, songthaews, and tuk-tuks and walked around the markets and saw all kinds of temples and the Grand Palace, and I learned a sentence in Thai. Sawasdee ka, khao pad kai dao, kop kun ka. Means “Hi, fried rice with a fried egg, thanks.” I ate a lot of fried rice. And food from 7eleven.


One of the crazies I went with. This was at a monastery, I think.

Also in March, I had to withdraw from a class for the first time ever. And my grandpa died, but this is not a place to talk about that. March was a big month.

In April I had to drop my nutrition minor and had an existential crisis over grad school because I applied for graduation. You know, the usual college graduate questions….what am I going to do with my life? How do I travel and get paid to do it? Or just pay to do it? How do I incorporate the things I love into making money? What is this money stuff everyone is talking about and where do I get it? etc.

So for now I’m just trying to keep it cool and finish school with decent grades and my sanity intact. Guest passes to the gym, friends, and nachos faith, hope, and love make the world go ’round.

A Place at the Table

Context: This is an assignment for my Nutrition Through the Life Cycles class. We were supposed to watch the documentary A Place at the Table and write a one paragraph response.
A one paragraph response is going to be difficult, if not impossible. I wrote down a page of notes and a lot more went through my head as I watched the documentary. Just from seeing the cover I had feelings come up. It says, “From the people that brought you Food, Inc.” Food, Inc. is a documentary that changed my life a few years ago. It is what led me to becoming a vegetarian and sparked my interest in nutrition. I was ignorant of the insane and inhumane treatment of animals on so-called “farms”. Since then I have watched just about every food documentary that I could get; including Food Matters, Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives, Fresh, In Organic we Trust, etc. and my Facebook newsfeed is mostly posts from 100 Days of Real Food and Food Babe bloggers. I was excited about this assignment.
The little girl, Rosie, in the film said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m going to barf because I feel so bad. But I don’t know what to do,” when talking about when she and her family go hungry. This really got me.There isn’t much she can do because it is a systematic problem, not one that she can solve for herself. With approximately 23.7 MILLION Americans living in food deserts, mostly urban areas, there needs to be a national change in the way things are. When people have access to real foods (such as fresh fruits and veggies), they tend to enjoy them and it’s frustrating that they’re not available, or at least as available as canned raviolis and chips which are highly processed and low or void of nutrients. Processed foods are cheap. Why? Because the basic ingredients (soy, wheat, corn, etc.) that are used to make processed foods are subsidized, but real foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts are not. This is going to be the END OF REAL FOODS if it is not stopped. Even if the government decided to subsidize fruits and vegetables, that would increase the use of genetic modification to cheapen the process and protect assets.
With the availability of processed foods full of trans fats, sugars, GMO’s, and high fructose corn syrup, our nation is underfed and obese. People think of malnutrition and hunger as being manifested as severe emaciation and a skin-and-bones appearance, but that’s not the case. Kids who are malnourished have behavior disorders, difficulty focusing in school, and are often overweight, among other issues.
It brought me to tears when the church in the film fed a hot meal on Wednesday nights to about 180 people in their community, but how can religious institutions be expected to feed the people and solve the issue of hunger for the government? Religious institutions such as churches get no help or funding from the government. They are even actively rejected by the government in many ways today.
Jeff Bridges made the point, “It’s a little difficult to be telling some other country how to handle hunger when we’re not handling it ourselves.” Nutrition education is seriously needed. My grandmother teaches children from low-income families living way below the poverty line, and she brought in fruit for them one day and one of her students asked what an apple was because he had never seen one. Kids need to know about fruits, nuts, and veggies. They need to know the what, the where, and how. Urban gardening is a solution for food deserts and food education. One can take part in their community, learn about real and nutritious foods, and take pride in work they’re doing for their community, and foods grown in a community garden may even be sold at a local farmer’s market to raise funds to expand the gardens. Canned food is not the answer to this complex issue.

From my psychology blog…on prejudice.

Eyes of Psychology

This week in social psychology we are learning about prejudice and discrimination, and it is super interesting, but since my professor subscribes to the evolutionary view, I find there are giant question marks in my notes on the lecture. In Monday’s lecture he referred to “outgroup-preferring genes” not getting passed on by ancestral humans and “ingroup-preferring genes” getting passed along and then ended his point with, “so this is how our brain works.” WAIT, WHAT?!? Do evolutionary psychologists actually believe that there are specific genes for preferring people like us that get passed down? Dr. P said that those who didn’t prefer their group didn’t live to pass on their genes, so it seems he assumes that no social learning happened? Other ancestral humans probably saw what happened to those who didn’t fear other, unlike groups and learned prejudice through social learning and taught their children. It all goes back…

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Spoonful of Sugar: On a Wednesday?

I know, I know. I’ve been doing some first class slacking when it comes to my blog, but in a couple weeks I will almost be a free bird. This semester has been, well, one heck of a semester, and a busy one, too. But today, today is the day that my favorite artist, Ingrid Michaelson, is doing a benefit concert over the internet. If you’re in Alaska like me, the show starts at 4pm, but elsewhere it is an hour or few later, so head over to the Stage It page for details! Be sure to sign in right away so you get the right time for your timezone. Cool people doing cool things is one of the things my Spoonful of Sugar series focuses on and Ingrid’s efforts to help those in need in New York after Hurricane Sandy made a mess of things would most definitely qualify, so make sure you check out the show today, and check out her music. As I have shared previously, she also released a benefit EP to help hurricane victims, so make sure to check that out too!

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Monday Go Down. Vol. 2.

Hey there! Let’s brighten up this Monday by thinking about what awesome people are doing to help rebuild the East Coast after Super Storm Sandy wreaked havoc. One example is singer-songwriter (originally from Staten Island), Ingrid Michaelson. She released exclusively on iTunes her Live From Laurel Canyon EP to raise money to rebuild Staten Island, all proceeds go to Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Here is the link to some great music for a great cause!

Happy Caturday, Folks!

This is Miss Kitty. I am not responsible for her name. When my brother was much too young, he was given the responsibility of naming her.

A friend of mine is doing a 365 photo project and every Saturday she posts a cat related photo and I liked this idea very much, so in honor of Saturday (and happening to have just taken a fantastic cat portrait), here’s my cat.
And no, I’m not a crazy cat lady…yet. This is what one looks like, exhibit A:

From my psychology-oriented blog…

Eyes of Psychology

Since I started college, I’ve been thinking excessively about my future and my career options and what the heck I’m gonna do when I graduate and how to prepare. A couple months ago, I had a crazy idea. This idea was based off of both television and reality, but probably mostly television portrayal. I added FBI Special Agent to my list of potential careers. I kind of obsessed over this idea and it’s brilliance. I did all the research, I plotted my educational and extracurricular road map, I started preparing for the physical testing. In doing all of these behaviors I was reinforcing my attitude towards this career. My behaviors influenced my attitudes just like I learned in class just this semester. I have since realized this and also talked to some female agents and assessed my talents, interests, and disposition and realized though it would be cool, I…

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Shh! I’m Gonna Let You in on a Secret.

Image from Google…

Netflix. I have a strange love/hate relationship with this web site. I love that I get to watch movies and tv shows without having to wait for commercials try to load over slow internet connection and streaming is practically seamless. I hate that it doesn’t have tv shows the next day after air like Hulu. I love that I discovered Caterina Scorsone by happy accident. I was looking for something new to watch one day in August and I came across a 4-hour tv-movie/series called Alice.

This was a fantastic movie and I loved it! Scorsone’s acting was so superb that I had to find out more about her so I checked out her IMDb page to find out what else she was in. I then came to find out that a Lifetime tv series (2003-2006) about a recent college graduate (Scorsone) that gets hit by lightning and gains the psychic ability to find missing people and gets to work with the FBI. This show is was called 1-800 Missing, then in season 2 they reworked the whole thing and made it into an entirely new show, gave it a cooler name: Missing, and it had the same general idea (twenty-something psychic finding missing people) and Caterina Scorsone, but the similarities end there. I ended up liking the series so much that I have now seen all three seasons 3 times in succession.

She looks so young! And she wears that necklace in every episode in every season…

She has done some more stuff since then, a couple of movies (mostly made-for-tv) and has been doing a tv show on ABC for the last three years. She became Dr. McDreamy’s (Patrick Dempsey’s character on popular hospital drama, Grey’s Anatomy) neurosurgeon sister on the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, Private Practice with occasional appearances on GA. Her role had a very dramatic plot arc as a drug addict whose friends try an intervention in season 5 of PP. She plays the emotional break down very convincingly and shows incredible talent. It really was an incredible portrayal.

That show is ending after this season, so anyone will be able to watch the whole series (Scorsone enters in season 3) on Netflix this summer. I don’t think the show is really worthwhile unless you enjoy dramas with redundant plots (with some exceptions, obviously) that emulate daytime soap operas, the general sentiment is who’s with who most of the time. Just watch the big plot arcs, like Amelia’s intervention, on YouTube. But if you have a Netflix account, I would suggest finding Missing and Alice for sure. If you like strong female leads that can kick butt and look good doing it, then you will love Caterina Scorsone’s characters in these small screen sensations!


P.S. Enjoy these older works because she recently had a baby girl named Eliza, so I wouldn’t be expecting much in the near future…

Education, Compassion, and Politics.

Every four years, a constant, heated debate rages between rational humans over political issues that don’t usually come up in everyday conversation. I mean, I don’t usually have spur of the moment or tangential conversations with my friends, professors, and peers about issues such as abortions, health care, women’s rights, unemployment, our country’s foreign relations, etc. I might get into the Mac vs. PC debate though…or even the Canon vs. Nikon debate…

What people need to do in light of the upcoming elections is educate themselves on each side of the issues and what the bills and things they want you to vote for would mean to you and other people. Consider the effects of Obama’s Healthcare that he is pushing. Why are people opposing it? They must have their reasons, and same for why people are pushing it. They must have reasons, so what would be the consequences of a bill like that? Also, it is important to have compassion. That goes into what I was saying, how would this affect other people? Would it do more good than harm to children, mothers, babies, men, minorities, and humans in general? Just like the ethical considerations given when doing research, does your plan have respect for persons? Beneficence? Is there an informed consent process that should be considered? Just keep in mind that the human tendency is to think critically about things that oppose their views and not about things that support their views; this is called the confirmation bias. While every person has thinking biases and challenges, it is up to the voters and decision makers to think critically about both sides of an argument.

I personally can’t support a bill that makes me pay for other peoples’ birth control, morning/week after pills, or abortions because it’s just not healthcare. It’s government-assissted homicide. Just because it’s medication, doesn’t mean it is a medical necessity. I would gladly get behind healthcare that puts my tax dollars toward helping people pay for life saving surgeries/treatments, cancer trials and research, paying for expensive hospital stays, caring for and curing of childhood disease, and the like. Either candidate who gets elected wouldn’t change much in a four year span economically or in our overall foreign relations, I’m not thrilled and over the moon with Romney, but if he is elected maybe he can save some lives.

Either way this election goes, God has it in his control. He ultimately appoints the kings and judges. I just wish people would stop slinging mud at other parties like four year olds on a playground. If somebody disagrees with you, you can consider their points, consider your points, and make a decision and that doesn’t have to be a hostile process. I hate politics, but I care about people and respecting others no matter what their decisions/race/ethnicity/etc. but since this is a democratic and sovereign nation, I just hope that I am not forced to get behind things I don’t believe because that would be very unconstitutional.