Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog Peer Response 4

This blog is in response to Jo's celebrity endorsement blog. Her post talked about some of the 2010 winter olympians who endorsed the over-the-counter cold medications Nyquil and Dayquil. Jo noted that these athletes were appropriate candidates to advertise these cold medications, and I agree. Their level of dedication to their personal health and fitness is a reassuring reason to trust their endorsements. On top of that, I think that their advertisements were successful as well. While the winter is notoriously known for being the cold and flu season, seeing successful athletes like Apolo Anton Ohno and Lindsey Jacobellis in their commercials was a very smart marketing idea. Seeing these athletes not only on tv preforming in their individual events, but also in commercials will make people feel a sense of comfort and familiarity with these athletes than they would with a celebrity endorser.
I think Jo did an excellent job on her blog post. She provided a nice amount of background information on the athletes and her post flowed very nicely. I really enjoyed reading her blog post. Nice job, Jo!!

Post 5: "Real" food vs. "fake" food

A few years ago, my parents had a small garden in our backyard where they grew tomatoes, a few types of lettuce, herbs, and acorn squash. My dad always used to make pasta sauce with the best tomatoes and it was so amazing! However, when winter rolls around and the garden becomes a small patch of snow-covered dirt in our backward, we have to resort to using canned tomatoes again. I love pasta, so regardless of the freshness of the ingredients, I will still gladly eat it. However, when comparing the two types of tomatoes (canned vs fresh), the fresh tomatoes are far more appealing. Canned tomatoes never look to appetizing to me. They are usually pre-boiled and skinned, so what's left is a red tomatoey blob that you mash up to make your pasta sauce. Now a fresh tomato is amazing! When you pick them warm out of the sun they look and smell so delicious! Despite what you may think, canned tomatoes are good for you! Many experts believe that people need to be consuming more fruits and vegetables, regardless of how fresh they are. For more information, check out this article. Although during the winter it is a necessity to use canned tomatoes, I am looking forward planting a garden again when it starts to warm up!!
Michael Pollan encourages everyone to go back to eating real foods rather than processed foods because of the many health benefits linked to "real" food. I found another article here that talks about some other processed foods versus their real counterparts, and the pros and cons of each. Check it out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog Peer Response 3

I chose to respond to Lisa's blog on a celebrity endorsement. However, in this case, there were two celebrities endorsing the product. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the stars of shows like full house and other teen movies, are shown in the rather famous "got milk?" ads. Like the ad typically goes, the twins are shown donning the famous milk mustache that the ad is known for. I like that Lisa touched on the girl's history before going into detail about the ad. Mary-Kate's time spent in rehab for an eating disorder might make some question her qualifications when it comes to a food endorsement. At a whopping 80 pounds, Mary-Kate looked more than a little unhealthy. Lisa notes that because of the manny issues with weight the twins have, that they are not an appropriate choice for the "got milk?" ad campaign.

I especially liked Lisa's link to a different web page, which made a rather clever observation. Milk is promoted to young children because of the benefits it has; it helps them grow into strong, healthy adults. Not only do the twins look frighteningly skinny, but they are rather short too, which only adds to the obvious fact that they were not a wise choice for the ad campaign.

Lisa's blog was informative and interesting, and I really enjoyed reading it!

Lisa's Blog

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Post 4: Prepare a Meal (Wild Morel and Asparagus Omelet)

Since it is officially morel and wild asparagus season here in WI, I thought it would be a nice idea to make a wild morel and asparagus omelet.

Before you can make the omelet, you first you have to go into the woods and find your Morels. A good place to start if you don't own or have friends that own a very large wooded area, is to locate any local 'state-owned' land or state park and head deep into the woods. Morels are typically found near dead or dying Elm trees. Unfortunately, there are plenty throughout WI. Usually when you find a Morel there are generally more close by. This (left) is a picture of a wild morel. You only need @ a dozen to make a couple great omelets. You do not have to worry about picking a poisonous variety because only one other mushroom looks like a morel. It only slightly resembles a Morel will not make you sick unless you ate 2 pounds yourself. Morels have a distinctive shape and smell, so don't worry. Next, you can choose to either walk along any rural road in WI and usually find wild Asparagus growing this time of year. Or take the easy route and go to a local grocery store and buy a pound.

Ingredients -
One dozen small to medium sized (1.5 to 3 inches high) fresh Morels
12 fresh Asparagus stalks
2 Green Onion stalks
4 Large Eggs
1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Colby cheese
3 Tablespoons butter
** Salt & Pepper to taste

Utensils -
Cutting board
Knife suitable for chopping
2 small mixing bowls (1 pint minimum)
Fork for whisking
Wooden Spatula
12 inch sauté pan (non-stick works best for most people)

Start by gently rinsing the morels, inside and out, trim off any bad looking spots and discard, and lay to dry a couple minutes on a paper towel. Rinse the Asparagus, trim off the bottom "woody" 1 inch of each stalk and discard, and chop the remaining stalk into 1 inch pieces. Slice the Morels cross-wise into 1/4 inch rings. Chop the Green Onion cross-wise into fine rings. Reserve a small amount of the chopped green onion to sprinkle on top of the omelet as a garnish. On medium heat, sauté the Morels, Asparagus and Green Onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until the Asparagus begins to soften
and most of the liquid is gone. * Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this mixture aside. Crack eggs into a bowl (discarding shells of course) and Wisk with a fork until well mixed. On medium-low heat melt the remaining butter in the sauté pan, and pour in the whisked eggs. Using a wooden spatula, gently stir the eggs until they are still slightly moist, but be careful not to let the eggs brown on the bottom. Turn off the flame if using gas, or turn off the heat and move pan aside if using electric. The heat from the pan will finish cooking the eggs. Pour the Morel/Asparagus mixture on the eggs and spread evenly down the middle from one side to the other. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the entire area. Tilt the pan toward you, and using the spatula, fold one side of the omelet to the middle along the line of the mixture. Repeat this same fold on the opposite side. Using the spatula, cut the omelet in half and place each half on a plate. Garnish the top with a small amount of the Green Onion.
Serve and enjoy!!

This is truly one of the best treats you can give yourself or someone else. Hunting for Morels and wild Asparagus is aslo a pretty neat experience.

In the book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen talks about how Americans don't stop to enjoy their food. With fast food chain restaurants becoming more and more popular, on-the-go food has began to replace family meals. I agree wholeheartedly. Today, it seems like people eat strictly out of necessity. I think that to truly enjoy a meal, you also have to enjoy the company of the people around you. Plus, meals that are quickly made usually are not the most healthy. I liked my meal choice because by including wild asparagus and morels, it makes me feel like I am eating real food, just like Pollan suggests.

Jill Nussinow, a.k.a. The Veggie Queen, agrees with Pollan. She too stresses the importance of eating real food, or food that is fresh and not processed. She noted the importance of preparing a meal to make it more healthy. I enjoyed reading her articles because not only does she talk about health meal alternatives, but she also has some amazing recipes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blog Peer Response 2

I read Tom's blog post about Ozzy Osbourne's endorsement of "i can't Believe it's not butter" butter substitute. Tom has a nice reference picture of Ozzy just in case anyone doesn't know who the so called, "prince of darkness" is. Tom talks about the rather strange paring of Ozzy with this rather harmless butter substitute. He notes that it would be more fitting if Ozzy were to endorse something tough, crude, or even related to music. In the blog, Tom provides a link to one of the rather funny commercials for the butter spread. Tom also provides a link for an article commenting on the many different commercials Ozzy did for the buttery product.
I really liked Tom's choice of celebrity endorsement. It was funny, and certainly surprising. However, I do not think Ozzy has any credibility when it comes to promoting this butter substitute. Besides his personal opinion, he has no real credentials that would make his participation in the commercials valid. Despite all that, I think the company did a good job in marketing their product by having such a random commercial that still captured the attention of their audience.

Below is a link to Tom's Blog.

Tom's Celebrity Endorsement

Post 3: Compare two online articles

My controversial topic is based on the current legal drinking age in the United States. While many people believe that the legal drinking age should be 18, currently only individuals 21 years of age or older are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages.

The first article I found in favor of lowering the legal drinking age argues that if, at 18 years of age, you are responsible enough to vote, serve on jury duty, and possibly be drafted, then they should also be able to drink. The article also argued that if the legal drinking age were lowered, colleges would be able to take a more proactive approach when monitoring students alcohol intake. Instead colleges just tell students to not drink, which is far less effective. The article's last arguement is that if individuals under the age of 21 are not legally allowed to drink but desire to do so, they will seek out places to drink where they will be unseen. Without any monitoring this can lead to alcohol related injuries or even death.

Lower the Legal Drinking Age

The second article I found, in favor of the current drinking age, argued that Lowering the drinking age increases both youth binge drinking and intoxication. The article compared both Europe and the United States, and noted that Europe had far greater cases of binge drinking among their teens. On a biological level, the article stated that, "New brain science shows that alcohol negatively impacts the maturing brain and learning. The American Medical Association states that brain growth doesn't end until around age 20." So, allowing individuals who are 18 years old to drink would damage their developing brains.

Keep Drinking age at 21

I think that the first article is more convincing because it was very straightforward in delivering its facts. It also remained relatively short, which helped to keep my interest. My opinion after reading these two articles has not changed, because the more convincing article of the two agreed with my initial opinion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Demonstration Speech

My demonstration speech taught the class how to wax a snowboard. The fact that we all live here in wisconsin (at least for part of the year) I thought it would be a relevant topic for anyone who has, or was considering trying out a fun new winter sport. I wrote my speech well in advance, and made sure to have clearly organized steps. I did my best to relay as much information as I could in the time given, and I made sure my speech wouldn't be too confusing.

As far as the physical presentation went, I think that I need to improve the most in that area. I had no trouble being enthusiastic, considering that snowboarding is something I am very passionate about. However, I do think I need to work on slowing down my speech and speaking clearly. Because my presentation was something I was so familiar with, I had no problem making eye contact with the class. It was hard to judge my body language when reviewing my speech because I spent most of my time going through the motions on how to wax a board, however I did think that the motions were very useful in my demonstration.

My visual aids were the strongest aspect of my speech, because I had almost everything required to wax my board, including my snowboard which was a pain to bring to all of my classes. I thought I used my visual aids well and clearly showed the class how to wax a snowboard.

I liked my topic choice because it was something very familiar to me. It was a fun and easy topic to demonstrate to the class. I don't think I would add any other content to my speech if I could improve just one aspect, I most likely would choose to speak slowly and clearly so that the class could better understand me. Below is a link to my demonstration speech.

my demonstration speech

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blog Peer Response 1

I chose Austin Spohn's blog about preparing a meal to write my first blog peer response on. The meal he chose to make was a simple pasta marinara with chicken and steamed green beans. He started with gathering the ingredients, and I like how he made references to specific types of pasta and even exact measurements. The specificity of it made it seem like a real recipe. He gave useful suggestions on how to marinate meat, and even his favorite type of marinade. Austin is sure to be specific with the timing in his recipe so that anyone could follow along at home. He continues to give step by step instructions on how to properly cook the pasta and steam the veggies. He even gives a description of what cooke chicken should look like for the many cooking rookies out there. I think austin did a great job of retelling his meal preparation. He included step-by-step instructions on how to cook his dish and even included a section about clean up at the end. Austin chose a very well rounded meal and connected what he made to Pollan's book nicely. Too bad I was hungry when i read this one..

Austin Spohn's Blog
Here are the two other science blogs I have linked to.

tomorrows table

A blog Around the Clock

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Post 2: Analysis of a Celebrity Endorsement

The celebrity endorsement I chose is a diet product called Quick Trim. It is endorsed by Kim and Khloe Kardashian and is all over the media. I have seen large ads for the product at the mall, with a giant picture of Kim Kardashian promoting the product. Quick Trim is a dieting plan that offers 48 hour super diets, 14 day diets, and even an 8 hour weight loss pill.

Here you can see Kim Kardashian promoting the diet plan, and a quote about how it worked for her.

On their website, Quick trim has a video of the Kardashian sisters (bathing suit clad) talking about how sexy and skinny they feel because of the Quick Trim diet. You can also see about ten pictures of the Kardashian sisters as well as order the product at the bottom of the page. As if their endorsement wasn't clear enough, the actual product has Kim Kardashian's face on it.
Quick Trim Website

In my opinion, the Kardashian sisters have no real reason to be endorsing this product. Neither sister is a nutritionist or dietician, and they have no medical license that would give them any credibility. However, I do think the endorsement will be successful. The growing popularity of the Kardashian sisters will give the diet product the right amount of publicity it needs to sell.

A diet and fitness website agrees with my skeptical views of whether or not the diet actually works. They argue that the weight lost through the diet will be regained after you stop taking the diet pills. you can find a link to that website below.
QuickTrim skeptics

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blog Post 1

Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food, focuses a lot on choices. His main goal is to help us as "eaters" recognize that every choice we make has a consequence. What we put into our body matters. Pollan goes into detail describing the irony of how unhealthy today's health foods are. He talks about the importance of eating for biological and cultural reasons, and goes on further to stress sitting down with friends and family to enjoy your meals. Pollan's book makes you wonder how much information you've blindly listened to or read about nutrition, and calls into question who the real experts are on the subject. Instead of being passive eaters, Pollan urges everyone to start demanding food:real food.

While looking for a website that agrees with Pollan's book, I stumbled upon a blog entitled, Junkfood Science:Critical Examinations of studies and news on food, weight, health and healthcare that mainstream media misses. (The blog can be found by clicking on the link below). In her blog, Sandy Szwarc talks about why processed foods aren't real foods. She mentions all of the unhealthy oils and additives in todays processed foods, and goes into detail about one specific processed food (Cheese Whiz) as an example.

junk food science