Eating Gluten-Free is More Than a Fad

Posted: April 15, 2016 by rebeccagormancomm206 in Uncategorized

By: Rebecca Gorman

Gluten free crust

Pizza Hut launched a gluten-free crust in January of 2015.

Photo By: Flickr user Kake

Over the last two years gluten-free diets and products have gained popularity due to Celiac disease and other health concerns.

Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Gluten-free diets are aimed at helping people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines for people with Celiac disease.

People with Celiac disease are not the only ones eating gluten-free. Many health conscious people have adopted this diet in order to loose weight.

With the rise in popularity of eating gluten-free, many restaurants have made additions to their menus to accommodate people who don’t eat gluten.

One example of a chain restaurant adding gluten-free options is Pizza Hut. On January 26, 2015 Pizza Hut launched their gluten-free pizza crust in 2,400 of the 6,300 locations. Pizza Hut partnered with UDI, a gluten-free bread company, to help find the right recipe. The pizzas are made in a gluten-free zone to ensure that consumers with gluten sensitivity won’t be exposed.

Helen Sanders, a woman with Celiac disease reviewed Pizza Hut’s gluten-free crust and said, “Overall, Pizza Hut’s gluten-free pepperoni pizza turned out rather well and was pretty enjoyable. It’s small and pricey for what you get but that’s the reality of gluten-free substitutions.”

Another popular chain is working on adding gluten free options to their menu. Chick-fil-a is currently working on a recipe for a gluten-free bun, and they are testing this product in their Idaho, Mississippi, and Washington locations.

Eating gluten-free does come with a lofty price tag. On average gluten-free products are more than double the costs of regular items containing gluten. For a single gluten free bun consumers will have to pay an extra $1.15.

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Organic

(Photographer Jeff K, Organic)

When you hear the word organic, what usually pops to mind? Pricey? Healthy? There is not much of a difference between organically grown foods and conventionally grown foods in terms of their nutritional value, but there are health differences in the way they are produced. This is because organic foods, such as fruits and poultry, are grown and raised without drugs and chemicals. People who stick to mainly organic choices are shown to have healthier outcomes over time. For example, in children, many who are raised eating solely organic meals are shown to have, “lower prevalence of asthma and allergies.” Furthermore, “The U.S. presidential cancer panel report recommends choosing organic, especially for children, the most vulnerable population for increased environmental cancer risk.” Organic berries are able to subdue the growth of cancer cells much better than conventionally grown berries. Besides being beneficial to your body, organically grown items are also beneficial to the environment. “Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality.” Is there a downside to buying organic? The biggest known factor is price. the reason organic foods cost more than conventionally grown foods is because they require more expensive farming methods. People on a budget, such as college students, might see this as a reason to stick to non-organic choices. Now it’s up to you to decide between organic vs. non-organic food choices. Organic items are beneficial to the environment, don’t use pesticides, and help reduce the risk of certain diseases. The nutritional content doesn’t differ much between organic and non-organic items, and organic also costs more. So, which will you choose?

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Chipotle made news in 2015 when they announced they will only use non-GMO ingredients. But does it even matter? Photo by: Mike Mozart

By: Justin Hanks

I can never decide whether or not to believe or follow the latest health trends.

Just like with fashion, it seems like health trends come and go with each season, and just as one becomes popular, another is usually right behind it, waiting its turn to capture and devour the hearts and stomachs of health nuts everywhere. It seems as though just yesterday kale and quinoa were all the buzz and were being crowned the next superfoods.

If people aren’t praising a food for its perceived health benefits, then they are bashing another for its health risks. One of the more talked about health topics recently is the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, finding their way into our foods.  The World Health Organization defined GMOs as, “organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”

Chipotle made news when they became the first national restaurant chain in the United States to use only non-GMO ingredients in their food, or so we thought.

Last September, a class-action lawsuit alleged that Chipotle got their meat from farms whose animals are given feed that is genetically modified, their dairy products come from farms that give animals GMOs and their sodas use sweeteners that have GMOs in them.

These claims against the Mexican chain aren’t false, and Chipotle even acknowledges it, disclosing the issue with their sodas and the challenge of trying to get its meat suppliers to use GMO free feed.

The question though becomes, why should I care about GMOs?

Some of the arguments for the use of GMOs are economic, saying that they lower the use of pesticides, grow substantially more crops, and provide developing countries with a sustainable source of food.  Other arguments say that GMOs allow food to be altered to contain higher volumes of vitamins and nutrients.  GMOs also allow bizarre food combinations to be made, such as the oraniwi, banato and lemato.

The opposing argument proposes that GMOs could possibly cause an increase in allergies or resistance to anti-biotics. Studies have not supported these claims, but skeptics claim there could be a correlation between GMOs and these health risks.

Whether you believe the claims or not, it is important to know the information regardless, especially since the United States, unlike many countries around the world, doesn’t have laws requiring the labelling of genetically modified foods.

Personally, I will not care much about GMOs until relevant and reliable studies come out to support the claims that they risk health.  However, I think that companies should label their foods if they do contain GMOs.

This way, people can decide for themselves whether or not to follow this trend.

Fast Food Secrets. Do You Really Want to Know?

Posted: April 15, 2016 by gresserd in Uncategorized

By: Daniel Gresser

Embed from Getty Images

Photographer Don Emmert undergoes experiment and lets this McDonald’s Happy Meal sit uncovered for six months. The results show no deterioration, spoilage or mold growth, which proves the amount of preservatives added into these meals.


In this fast paced world, there seems to be little time to sit, relax and enjoy a meal, and less time to prepare it. Americans have a need for convenience. As a result, fast food restaurants have become the quick and easy solution to meal time. But what we may be gaining in time, we may be sacrificing in quality.

So what is in that grab and go burger that you pick up in the drive thru? It may be more than you bargained for.

The goal of fast food restaurants is to serve you quick, inexpensive and tasty food. And how these restaurants provide this is in the ingredients they use.

One of the ingredients that fast food restaurants use in their breakfast sandwiches is propylene glycol. This ingredient is used as a solvent to make spice concentrates, as well as food coloring and flavoring. What these restaurants don’t want you to know is that this ingredient is also a synthetic substance that absorbs water and is a main component in anti freeze and deodorant.

Another ingredient that was found in a popular fried fish sandwich is cellulose, also know as sawdust. This “wood pulp” is to used to thicken and stabilize foods as an alternative to flour and oil. But why? All to save just a couple extra dollars.

These are only just a couple of the dubious ingredients on a long list that people are unaware of, let alone would ever consider eating on their own. Along with these unusual ingredients, there are also more familiar ingredients found in fast food. And although these ingredients are more common, the amount that is in a single portion is staggering. For a Quarter-Pound Cheeseburger, Large Fries and 16-ounce soda, there are 1,450 mg of sodium, which is about half of your total recommended intake.

When you look into the nutritional facts in some of these fast food restaurant meals, the calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium content usually exceed the daily recommended intake. For people with fast food as part of their regular diet, their habits may cause health issues.

Not all fast foods are bad for you and you can still maintain a healthy diet when eaten in moderation. Still, nothing beats a home cooked meal that includes natural ingredients.

The Benefits of Locally Grown Food

Posted: April 14, 2016 by katenilles in Uncategorized
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Locally grown foods are making a comeback. 
Photo by: Michael Stern (cc)

There are few things more frustrating going to the grocery store for something, say strawberries, just to find that they are out of stock. It’s mid-April and while strawberries don’t grow near you at this time of year, you expect that they will be waiting for you at the store.

Years ago, people relied on the fresh food that grew right outside their doors in order to survive. The convenience of having bananas shipped from Ecuador and strawberries from Mexico simply did not exist.

In the United States, consumers are starting to once again look to the foods that grow right in their own backyards. Many consumers do so knowing that local foods can benefit their health and the economy.

Food that travels from other parts of the world to your plate oftentimes carries pollutants that are harmful to the environment. In order to meet the constant demand, farmers who export produce to the United States use chemicals to speed up the ripening process of their produce.

Once shipped, food can travel thousands of gas-guzzling miles in packaging that creates excess waste and increases toxicity in the environment. After days of storage, food finally ends up in your grocery store, ready to eat.

Meanwhile, local farmers travel just a few miles to the farmer’s market with produce that is seasonal, fresh and was allowed to grow for an appropriate length of time without ripening chemicals. At farmer’s markets, people from the community can buy healthy produce and connect with the people who grew it.

In addition to the health benefits, the growing, selling and purchasing of local food stimulate the local economy. The more community members buy from local farmers, the more they are able to support themselves and carry on producing fresh, natural foods.

When the grocery store is out of strawberries, consider what the farmer’s market may have to offer in the way of fresh, affordable and locally grown produce.

 

By: Quinn Beiter

Embed from Getty Images

(Chance performing at the SoundCloud Go launch in 2016)

What do you get when you give something away for free? Popular opinion would suggest nothing. However, for a rapper whose namesake is centered on taking chances, thinking inside the box never even occurred to him.

Chancellor Bennett, who goes by the stage name Chance the Rapper, is a lot of things. At only 22 years old, he’s a native of Chicago’s south side, an activist, a self-proclaimed LSD addict and a fully independent artist — meaning he has no backing from a major record label.

Chance is also the next prophetic voice in hip hop, revolutionizing not only the genre, but the landscape of the music industry as a whole. As an independent artist, he makes all of his own decisions, displaying a level of creative control unheard of in the world of big labels.

For example, the traditional path for artists trying to “make it” in the music industry is through a record label. Musicians get put on and promoted by a given label, who tries to sell the artist to the public and build them a fanbase for a cut of the action.

Chance chose the path less traveled. The most notable difference is that he built his own support.

After the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape “Acid Rap in 2013, Chance’s popularity exploded from a grass-roots fanbase in Chicago to an international following that treats his lyrics as Gospel.

His massive and ever expanding fanbase is a product of his incredible talent, infectious personality and most notably his refreshing approach to music.

Chance is also part of a group called The Social Experiment, a collective of longtime friends and musicians that collaborate together to make music they think is cool despite style or genre.

In 2015, The Social Experiment lived up to their name, releasing their album “Surf” on iTunes for free — and it was quite the experiment. Despite some fight from Apple, it was downloaded extensively and met critical acclaim. To this day, all of Chance’s music is free for fans to download and share as they please. His revenue comes from his relentless touring as well as his popular merchandise.

Chance has all but cut out the middle man, and music lovers everywhere are praising him for it. As far as the rest of the music world goes, it hasn’t caught up yet. However, it may just benefit from taking a chance on this rapper’s vision.

The Dangers of Drug Use At Concerts

Posted: April 6, 2016 by Thom Koester in Uncategorized

By: Thom Koester

Embed from Getty Images

Going to a concert is a different listening experience

As most college kids do, I love going to concerts. They are an excellent opportunity for people to physically see the artists they love. Above all, going to concerts is an experience.

This summer, like every summer, there are going to be music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Summer Fest, Bunbury, Governor’s Ball and more. What’s something that all music festivals and concerts have in common? It’s something more than music. The answer is drug use.

Recreational drug use at music venues has been in the news for the past couple of years. At every concert, it is almost guaranteed that someone will be smoking marijuana or something else. There will be people who dance strangely or behave like they’re from a different planet. It’s always been this way. Music and drugs go hand in hand.

Above all, the festivals that gain the most attention for being a haven of drug use are EDM festivals. EDM, electronic dance music, is portrayed in the media as being gigantic raves where every person is gone off of ecstasy. The media isn’t completely wrong, in 2013, Electric Zoo had to be cancelled after two people died after overdosing on MDMA.

Yes, it’s the user’s choice to use drugs. The thing is this, ignoring the problem of drugs at concerts can only make it more dangerous. It’s no secret that drugs are fun, but sometimes we as humans can make mistakes and overdose ourselves. Without any sort of regulation, it’s not ethical to assume that concert attendees are suddenly going to stop using drugs to make concerts more fun.

I think it is safe to say that concert-goers need to be careful of how they wish their concert experience to be. Drugs and concerts go hand in hand, just look at Woodstock. A more mindful approach to using drugs at concerts can be a big help to stopping the fatalities that come from it.