Monday, February 3, 2014

First reader

After reading chapter 2 and 5 from the book I had some mixed emotions. On one hand when reading how throughout history healthy diets have been promoted in the United States, but we are not getting healthier, only fatter. This is unfortunate because in the reading we discover how there is an increase of health complications such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, anemia, malnutrition, some types of cancer, and much more. Thinking about this, I am unfortunately not surprised because in every health class I have taken I heard this before, I heard that we are not getting healthier and it’s our fault for now following the healthy diet guidelines. This is where my mixed emotions come in. We read so many articles that discuss how we are unhealthy and how we should take better care of our health, yet the issue is not being solved. In the reading, they even mentioned that one of our problems is that families are making less and less home meals to spend family time at the dinner table. This is unfortunate, because growing up my family always had family dinner every night, it was the time to eat healthy and catch up on our days. Now, being a college student it is completely different. I see myself ordering fast food every other day, eating unhealthy foods at the dining hall, and if not that then I am in my dorm eating packs of ramen!
            Pertaining to chapter 5 in the book, I wasn’t too surprised to see how milk has been proven to show it increases growth in children. Everyone says oh drink milk and you will grow strong and healthy, but I listen to them and say oh really, you need milk to be strong and healthy, and then I think of myself, someone who NEVER drinks milk, only in my cereal. I am 6 feet tall and have never broken a body in my bone. The only complication that I have ever had was that I tore my rotator cuff playing baseball, although that wasn’t due to lack of milk. In some cases however I do see people that don’t drink milk and become pretty ill or sickly looking.


  1. After reading Chapter 5 and your response to this reading I became interested in common misconceptions of milk that are circulated throughout the media that are in tension with the Got Milk campaign. Without getting into the specifics of why or why not milk may be bad for you it sounds like a good idea. Calcium, calories, nutrients, it helps infants grow, so in the broader sense of things it would seem to be good for adults. The Got Milk campaign states that milk helps build strong bones and is essential to the diets of children due to its calcium. Some people state that calcium can be had through other foods, and animal proteins account equally for this growth. It has been argued this way and that as the chapter illustrates, but I had different questions. For instance, why do human beings consume milk of another species? That is unusual if one really thinks about it. If a cow produces milk that is essential to the development of a calf, it may not be suited for another species’ nutritional needs. After watching many documentaries on the food industry that explained the way dairy and other foods are treated, I wondered about the additional health threats that the chapter did not mention. Even though my role is not searcher I found an interesting and compelling chapter on milk and dairy from the book “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. They unpack and debunk the argument that milk is essential to our diets. The authors address the issues of the treatment of both the animals and the dairy products. They address the occurrence of lactase impersistence after weaning as another reason why milk is not the best choice. They cite a plethora of research and data to back up their results, the book itself is easy to read, credible, and awesome. They state, and I paraphrase, that cows are overworked producing ten times their natural output of milk, and they are injected with hormones and steroids for maximum output. They are subject to infection from the machinery they are hooked up to and are treated for infections with antibiotics. In response to these treatments the product is pasteurized, killing off enzymes that make calcium absorption possible. All these things plus pesticides from the cow feed are apparent in the final product (60-61). According to the authors and their sources dairy products have been linked to a range of mild to serious problems, some that include: heart burn, indigestion, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and more (58-59). Some of those may be a long shot but unfortunately some of those make sense. I would recommend this book!

    Barnouin, Kim, Freedman, Rory. “Skinny Bitch.” Running Press Book Publishers, 2005.

  2. I think the issue of human obesity and overconsumption has grown into somewhat of a social issue as well as an evolutionary issue. It makes sense how humans became biologically responsive to sweet and fat tastes due to the caloric density and nourishment present in them, and their historical scarcity, but I do not think that that can account for all of the excessive diet practices seen in modern culture. With the rise of agriculture and the food industry becoming a capitalistic market, as opposed to just a means to survival as it was for our ancestors, there is such a diversity of food available to us humans, namely Americans, every single meal that we eat. These meals coming from various establishments just seeking to make a profit are manipulated in ways that will trigger desire in your tastes, thus playing into the evolutionary traits of craving fatty foods and sugary foods. The variations in types of foods all just play into human cravings, and since they are constantly available, are always within reach to be indulged upon. Ancient ancestors never worried about whether the amount of food they consumed was too much because they have the innate ability and hormonal activity that regulates the feelings of cravings and being full. Furthermore, the penalty of overeating was not having sufficient sustenance at a later time when it may be needed. However, with the constant options of food available to us now that can satisfy any particular desire at any time, there is few reasons for people to put off cravings or desires, and the trade of of health concerns is worth the gratification of food. With food constantly being pressed on us as a culture, feeding ourselves is no longer a way of survival, but rather an emotional, social, or physical comfort and nourishment. Food has moved so far past calories to prevent humans from dying, and the vast variety of tastes and desires that would never be available to our ancestors only expands human tastes and stokes a desire to consume more.