Nutritional Makeover: Size and Font Edition

New years bring new ideas, new looks, new focuses.  Along with various policy changes, health care shifts and other such political agendas, the FDA has decided to add some flare to nutritional labels.  This makeover was proposed after recent scientific research conclusions linked chronic diseases with diet.

Coming from a purely cosmetic and superficial stand point, the proposed changes make sense.  Not only do they make sense, but they infer an interesting biopsychosocial conceptualization.  Below is a side by side of the changes:

 

 

Quick observations direct the eye toward the calorie count and serving size at the top.  This definite alteration in order, placement, and size is smart.  Though the eye catches the actual caloric count first, it then looks to the approximate servings per container.  This maneuver is an attempt to slim down on over eating, etc.  In my opinion, it is easier to assimilate servings per package with a mental image of the proper amount of consumption, when presented in this way.  This allows one to consider the potential monetary value of consuming one portion at a time, rather than crash through an entire family sized bag of chips at once.  (Let’s be honest, it happens to the best of us.)  Currently, the actual portion size is the first thing listed on the label, but who carries around measuring tools in their pockets every time they go for the pretzels?  This simple adjustment invites a rather precise and direct idea for consumers.

The vast increase in font size for the caloric count may be an attempt to draw attention to the importance of the number alone.  Over indulging can quickly add up and cause a slue of health risks.  This risky behavior can threaten both pant size and life span.  Of course, other various health behaviors can impact the results in different ways for every individual.  Regardless, the message at hand is that this issue between American borders has caught the attention of just about everyone.  Things need to change.

Along with the cosmetic changes comes new information.  This proposal has added a new line in the ‘sugar’ section.  ‘Added sugars’ will now be brought into the spotlight, to aide in the confusion between natural and artificial.  This break down can help the monitoring of harsh modifications.  Perhaps this will help curb the added sugars all together.  Should this proposal take off, savvy shoppers may take notice and return the heavily modified product to the shelf.  One small step such as this can equal a giant leap in educational gains.

In the daily value (DV %) section, there have been more than a couple changes.  Vitamin A and C will no longer be legally required on labels, though vitamin D and Potassium WILL be a requirement.  Potassium has been found to help fight against chronic disease and has moved up the totem pole, so to speak.  Vitamin D aides with bone health and has gained prominence as well.

In addition to the swaps in vitamins and minerals, the actual DV requirements are under reconsideration.  The actual amounts are being looked at and investigated, to remain relevant.  Further studies will explore those changes and impacts to the final product.

Once again, the numbers gain prominence as the actual DV % is being placed in a column in front of the subject itself.  This may get more attention and grant further inspection of the product in return.  Furthermore, the actual weighted breakdown follows the subject.

Keep in mind that this is merely a proposal and could be completely different when all is said an done.  Whatever ends up happening, it’s something new that will gather attention and potential education opportunities.  Though the label will be new and improved, people need to be able to read it in order to use the information.  Health literacy continues to be a rampant issue among many demographics in the United States and does have an impact on the utilization of tools such as these labels. I’m remaining hopeful that major changes such as this spark a need for educational literature and communication.

For further information and updates, follow this link to the FDA press announcement:  http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm387418.htm

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s one Step Toward Representation!

This may just be me geeking out a little bit, but that’s ok.  Yesterday, I discovered the marvelous line of action figures called IAmElemental.  This line of action figures is marketed toward a young, female, demographic and makes a positive statement.  Check it all out at this link: http://iamelemental.com/

 

From what I know so far, I’m very impressed.  Not only are these figures created with young girls in mind,the body proportions are more realistic to the female anatomy.  Generally speaking, most figures of females  have been created and geared toward a sexualized audience.  Structures such as these keep the patriarchal paradigm alive and well.  This new line centers around the power and character within everyday girls and people, allowing them to find strength and pride in themselves, not an unrealistic ideal.

While seemingly constructing their line off of the periodic table of elements, IAmElemental looks beyond science and modern creation, and focuses instead on the character inside people.  Instead of relying on characters as a whole,  individual character traits are in perspective.  This unique approach sets this line apart from your everyday Superman or Wonder Woman.

In this first series of figures, “COURAGE,” the figures have names such as Bravery, Persistence, Energy, Honesty, and others.  Each figure has a specific set of skills and trademarks.  These realistic and common human attributes can allow girls to look beyond the silver screen or comic book and be their own hero.  In my opinion, these figures could act as a motivational decoy to empower themselves and those around them.  As powers unite and cooperate, they can only grow stronger.

“If you give a girl a different toy, she will tell a different story.”  This trademarked slogan from the company speaks a thousand words.  These figures can truly grant the gift of imagination and self-worth in young women and girls everywhere.

Of course, boys and men can always be involved in this campaign and enjoy the line for themselves.  I only hope that they are able to do this, and aren’t kept away, due to the overwhelming, macho standards of G.I. Joe’s and Batman.

Time will tell, I suppose, considering the line will become available around the upcoming holiday season.

I do encourage you to surf around the site from the link above and learn about this amazing product.  Pre-order and tell your friends.  It’s about time we women have something else to look up to.

iamelemental

A Metamorphosis: Carol Peletier (***SPOILERS***)

Long ago, in a post far, far, away, I shared my opinions of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Now that four seasons have elapsed, I am going to revisit a small pinch of those opinions.

Much like any other show or story, I have my favorite characters, as well as those I’m rather apathetic toward.  From the beginning, Carol Peletier has been my steadfast choice of interest.  During season 1, she was suppressed, oppressed, and abused by her husband.  Overall, she was rather timid, shy, and weak.  Although she was conveyed in this predominantly stereotypical way, a spark was burning behind her eyes. Over the course of the following seasons, that light intensified, transforming her into a new woman.  Perhaps the same woman was there all along, bound behind her fear.  Regardless, she blossomed into an amazing character.  This metamorphosis is both internal and external.

Pictured below are photos of Carol (Melissa McBride), in season 1 and season 4 respectively:

Season 1

Season 1

Season 4

Season 4

As you can see, there is a remarkable list of differences in her physicality alone.  The following rough list are just a few of the changes:  Her posture is strengthened, her facial expression is hardened and focused, her clothes are more realistic for the fictional circumstance and not so “homemaker,” her comfort level with weaponry is evident.  There is so much to be said in her eyes and expression.  She carries herself with more purpose and aspiration.  She acts on her own for the benefit of her community.  No one ever stops her – not anymore.  What Carol thinks is best, happens.

This renowned sense of being has gotten Carol into some sticky situations on a variety of scales.  Though some of her decisions are rather brash, how can she possibly be to blame?  With the world in the fictionalized state that it is, how could she possibly be in the wrong?  I suppose it is up to the reader, the fan, the watcher.

There is a remarkably long list of circumstances that Carol has had to deal with over the last four seasons.  I attempted to write some of them down, but each just outweighs the last.  I digress…

Other characters in the ensemble have gone through hell and back, but Carol is one of the few that tends to move forward and adapt.  This is a world of adaptation and progression.  Without adapting, one cannot survive.  Is Carol making so many changes to merely survive, or be part of the solution?

I believe that Carol has a plan inside of her.  No, she may not have a cure for the “Walker” disease, but she is able to coach people into differing perspectives.  These people come to trust and confide in her.  Much like a mother bird teaching her young to fly, she forces them to deal with things that make them uncomfortable.  That’s the reality.  The reality of this new world is scary and uncomfortable.  There isn’t time to sit back and let things happen anymore.  To each their own and to each their own power.  No one can be fully dependent on others.  The world and it’s people are challenging and frightening.

Sure, this is a fictionalized story line, but it isn’t too far fetched.  There may not be zombies walking down the street right this second, but times are changing and so are people.  Perspective and adaptation are required for survival.

Stopping Dead in My Tracks

Good evening everyone.  For the record, I am a 23 year old female, who happens to enjoy a little wine here and there.  That being said, why am I subject to offense when I go into the wine section of a common, family, grocery store?

THIS IS WHY:

Why?  Just why?

Why? Just why?

I guess in order to enjoy wine, I need to have on a silk robe with an ascot, pipe in hand, next to the fire.  Why do I need to be interested in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated in order to enjoy some wine?  My actual sexual orientation is completely irrelevant at this point.  The point being, why must this display be tucked away into the wine section?  How sexist can one store be?  I shouldn’t be forced to feel this type of stigma when I am simply browsing for a beverage to enjoy among friends.  Of course, that stigma I feel comes from the culture and society of this current day and age.  I must shun away from such frivolous journalism and maintain my innocence, right?  I can’t be considered a “lady” if I associate with such atrocious print.

I’m being completely facetious, but the fact remains that I was offended by this sexist display.  I just want my wine.  That’s it.  I don’t need a show to accompany me.  If I wasn’t so offended and thrown off guard, this probably would have been rather hilarious, honestly.

The Honest, Innocent Truth

Dr. Giordano was making waves when she could barely tie her shoes.  At the age of four, she was the focal point of a seemingly innocent campaign ad by LEGO.  This ad, published in 1981 seemed harmless and innocent, simply showing the purely creative spirit of children.  In the meantime, 33 years have elapsed, and Giordano is seen once again, holding up a modern day LEGO set.  The comparison is amusing, to say the very least.  While some aspects of our culture have progressed, gender norms have seemingly gone back in time.  Again, progress isn’t always progress.

What a difference 33 years can make.

What a difference 33 years can make.

 

As you can see, the 1981 LEGO set is simply that:  multicolored blocks, neutral, nonspecific.  The fine print of the ad points out the “Universal Building Sets” and how children build for both fun and realism.  It states how proud she is of herself for creating something of her own.  “What it is is beautiful.”  

I agree completely.

However, as time has elapsed and we look at a current set, things have different.  “What it is is different.”  In this new “LEGO Friends” line, girls are the focus.  However, this seemingly gender neutral toy is suddenly geared toward feminizing.  Why does the news van have to be all pink and feminized?  I don’t recall Meredith Vieira or Robin Roberts ever decking out in pure pink for a glitter filled news cast.  

According to HuffPost, the advertisements for this new line of LEGOs has this description for the pink news van: “Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van!”

Really???  Breaking news coverage over a cake?  Really?  Come on.

In my youth, I too played with LEGOS, like it was my job.  I had free bricks to create anything with, as well as a couple of sets.  However, my LEGO set was of an Indiana Jones type guy traveling through a forgotten mummified tomb – booby traps and all.  I don’t remember there being a cake anywhere, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I guess I’m just missing the point of making children’s toys have sex appeal.  Why?  Why can’t children just be children and use their imagination, rather than toe the line and follow the so-called ‘standards’ of popular culture?

In 1981, Giordano was donned in baggy jeans, a unisex shirt and shoes and only had her red braid to set her apart from the boys.  Who knows what she would look like today as a child.  The eternal tom boy in me cringes when I see little girls walking around with their parents in make up and clothes more expensive than those I own now.  I suppose everyone has their own opinion and they are rightfully entitled to have them, but I will be eternally grateful for the liberties my parents gave me as a child.  I was outside from dawn to dusk and played hard.  I dressed up for special occasions and stayed clean during school.  Any other time, the world was my oyster and I had countless adventures under the clouds.

I only hope that every little girl and little boy is given the same opportunity to explore in a label free backyard.

 

Coca-Cola: One Company Trying to Showcase America for What it Could Be

As most of you may know, the Super Bowl was last night.  Of course, whether or not a legitimate football game occurred, is up for interpretation.  As a Broncos fan, I openly admit that this game was a farce and a pitiful defeat.  So, the only thing keeping me tuned in, was the commercials.

Overall, the commercials seemed about the same as always – Doritos, cars, money, blah blah blah.  HOWEVER!  The Coca-Cola ad sweeping the nation and world alike has a lot to say.  Take a look:

This commercial has sparked quite a bit of attention, most of which isn’t very positive.  Why is that?  Why is it a constant struggle for this country to embrace the foundations of our nation and realize that America is indeed, a quilt of culture, language, and people?

I feel that this commercial is perfect.  The song is a wonderful fit.  Not only is a historically recognized and endearing song, it was written by Katharine Lee Bates, who lived happily with a woman for 25+ years.  So yea, she’s a lesbian.  The use of multilingual context, and individuals is beyond comparison.  Introducing a family with two dads, utilizing a good mixture of males and females, showcasing culture, happiness, innocence, and purpose was seamless.

Why must there be so much hatred and ignorance associated with this commercial?  Ok, so English wasn’t the dominant language…well…English isn’t a native language to this land if you really want to go there.  We are who we are and what we are based on a long history of immigration.  Sure, this immigration may have been done in both positive and negative ways throughout time, but what nation is exempt from this?

All I know, is that I have had a lot of problems with this country lately, but this commercial reminded me why I enjoy being an American.  I come from a country of culture, freedom, chance, opportunity and love.  Unfortunately, this gets covered up too easily.  Maybe 2014 can help turn that cycle around.

State of the Union: Economic Edition

In lieu of tonight’s State of the Union address, I am wondering: Will President Obama touch on the gendered aspect of the wage gap?  This address is to touch on the economic inequality of this nation, but I haven’t heard any tidbits relating to this issue as of yet.  Sure, this is a bit premature, but I continue anyway.  

Thus far, I have heard people touch on minimum wage increase, class separation/gaps, etc. etc., but nothing on gender.  It isn’t news that women in this country make less than men.  There is plenty of evidence and research out there.  So, will the president himself make this issue known, or will it be swept under the rug?  It won’t be the first time.  

You’ll know the answer as soon as I do if you tune in tonight at 9 p.m.  The SOTU will be broadcast on most major networks and also online at the White House social media sites.  It will also be aired on NPR and websites such as PolicyMic.  

“Selfie”

Is there more depth to this superficial craze, than meets the eye?

As this fad has grown and grown over recent years, my opinion on the matter has been torn.  Are selfies superficial, empowering, or both?  Honestly, I can’t say that I have a valid answer, as it’s a rather subjective phenomenon.  It’s become so wide spread, that the term has been officially added to the dictionary.  Because I haven’t read the technical definition yet, I’m going to look it up and toss it on in here.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  Interesting.  Alright – moving forward.

I chose today to explore this subject, as Dove has released a new campaign titled, you guessed it – “Selfie.”  This short explores the idea of beauty and how it is conveyed in the eyes of mother/daughter duos.  The young women are relatively high school aged and their mothers vary.  Take a look:

After viewing this latest short, I continue to be torn.  I have been a fan of Dove’s previous campaigns and do still appreciate this one.  However, I feel that there are things missing.  Understandably, this is a short and not a media research analysis.  With that in mind, I looked to the people.  I listened for their words, for their stories, for their reasons.

For example, around minute mark 6:40, one mother states: “I think that my daughters have taught me that social media is widening the definition of what beauty is.”

Ok.  So.  Here is my paradox.  If social media is widening the definition of what beauty is, who is right?  Would this be a good thing, or a bad thing?  One common thread in the short is the idea of women basing their appearance off of celebrities in movies, TV, mags, etc.  So, why is that so different from social media?  Thread sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and others regurgitate the idolizing of celebs and airbrushed models.  As it were, the young women in this short admit that they frame themselves just so, when taking a shot.  If they are perpetuating these standards in their own pictures, doesn’t that just beat around the bush?

Understandably, the point of this campaign was to throw water on the situation and wake everyone up.  Did it work?  Will it continue to work?  The message is there and the purpose is positive, but I’m not convinced.  This particular community shared a wonderful event and I wish them well in continuing this renewed mindset.  As for the rest of us, what’s next?

There are many other points that I wish to touch on in this post, but I want to think a little bit more.  I’ve been reminded of other mediated messages from the past and may just have a little series up my sleeve.  Stay tuned, if you so wish.

In the meantime, what do you think?

New Year, New Me : Cliché or Not

2013 was an interesting year and I’m sure 2014 will have it’s own bunch of surprises.  It’s true, I’m not exactly where I thought I would be right now.  I just decided to put my graduate degree on hold, as the program I was in did not meet my expectations.  Although it was a hard decision to make, I know that it was the correct one for me.  I can’t be a part of a program that hinders my perspective and passion.  What’s the point in that?  Where’s the support?  So, back to the drawing board I go.

Of course, I do have a degree and do plan to pursue a more direct career here asap.  In the meantime, I’m not going to put myself on the back burner.  After working my butt off, juggling classes and a job for the past few years, I am drained.  Sure, I wake up for work before the sun everyday and don’t skip a beat, but my true being is exhausted.  I’ve been so focused on my education and work for so long, that I have been ignoring my own needs.  I am composed of more than one compartment; my spirit is hungry – my soul is thirsty.

I want that to change.  I need that to change.

I want to read for fun.  I want to pursue random interests and have new hobbies.  I want to create.  I want to explore.  I want to express again.  I want to be selfish, to better myself.  Really though, is it selfish to want to be a better, happier, healthier person?  NOPE.

Because of all of this, rather than make a New Year’s resolution, I have made a 2014 bucket list of sorts.  I composed a list of things that are realistic and attainable for me.  By utilizing this list, I hope to reach my goals and take myself to a better place spiritually and physically.  Art, music, writing, health, cookbook – so many things to work on and improve.

I honestly don’t have a whole lot of things to complain about in my life right now.  Sure, some situations could be more ideal, but I’m here.  I have a job.  I found a love for the history books, so what could possibly stand in my way?  I am the only one that can get in the way of being a better me.

Why would I ever want to stop improving?

So, here’s to a new year and a refreshed soul.  My ambition is vamped and ready to go.

Return of the Blogger

Hello there!  Allow me to dust off the microphone and do a quick sound check for any of you still in the audience.

It has been quite some time since I last wrote and much has changed.  Don’t get me wrong, my passions remain firm in their foundation and the blog will continue to follow the same basic theme.  However, I may be making some changes in the near future.  Not only do I plan to write more frequently, I may make a slight title change and overall direction.  The issues surrounding health and gender are still very important to me, but I may expand a wee bit.  Rather than starting a whole new blog and maintaining two, I may just streamline the one.  We shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy whatever posts are made and feel free to comment as you wish.  It is my goal to post at least once a week.  That doesn’t conceptually seem difficult at all, but things do come up.

Thank you again for reading!  Welcome to anyone new.

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