An Influence to a Healthier Lifestyle


Last Tuesday in class we had an influential guest speaker, Justin McGonigal who came in to talk to us about the importance of nutrition and whole food plant based diets ( not only based on health science but his life experience). If you attended that class you are aware that his story provided great proof of how we are ruining our bodies by all the animal products and fast food we eat. He gave us background on his poor eating habits and how they affected his health and mental health too. However, as college students we all know it is very hard to eat off of this whole food diet. One reason being that, some of us may live in dorms and have a crappy meal plan. Two, we are broke and eat what we can find. And three, we just are not to the point where our health worries us because we are young and enjoy a good Taco Bell burrito. However, being a Public Health major I want to eventually work my way into nursing. That being said, I would need to know about the best diets and in what ways they affect our bodies. So Justin telling us about how his heart was so unhealthy at such a young age really made me pay attention because the health of people is my focus. This was probably the only lecture with a guest speaker I’ve actually cared for in any of my classes. I always want an excuse not to care about the food I put in my body. But with the way he laid the facts out for us, it really got me thinking about how I and all the people in my life are unhealthy. We need to cut out the garbage and try to make adjustment to our diet, even if it’s just a little. I have a friend at work that eats lots of chicken every day and I always give him a side eye as he’s scarfing down a whole chicken breast for the third time that day. I already knew that wasn’t healthy, but after this lecture the next time I saw him I hit him with a few new facts I had learned from Justin’s story and the response I got was, “so what you’re saying is  I’m going to have a heart attack and I’m 24.” Obviously, that’s not necessarily the point I was trying to get across, but it just goes to show how this specific story got me thinking about the diets in my life. As well as mine, ever since my first blog about trying to be vegetarian I have definitely cut back on meat. It’s almost not in my meals these days, which is a huge step for me. So I think after learning a little more from this lecture I can apply this to my already changing diet and keep adjust it in order to be the healthiest version of myself, starting with the food I eat.

Wall-e; the environmentally woke robot.

I want to use this blog to discuss how the Pixar movie Wall-e was not only cute, but an environmentally woke film. In the movie Wall-e; an empty, waste filled earth is shown as the current state of the planet. I feel this is one example (extreme perhaps) of what the future of our planet could look like. I believe this movie is a good representation of the result of our actions if we don’t get on the right track of reducing the damage that we do every day to the only Earth we have.

Not only does it show a polluted, trashed Earth, but they show in other aspects of the movie how we as a society live the lives of consumers. During the movie the humans are shown as overly obese people who ride in floating chairs on a space ship that they live inside of instead of Earth. The Spaceship is run by a brand “Buy N Large” that keeps the people on an endless cycle of buying their products and living in and off of everything Buy N Large. The food is junk and keeps the people fat and lazy and continuously living of off these products. This is a good representation of how our society is run off of consumerism. We keep these big businesses like McDonald’s and Burger King running, when all they are doing is putting bad food into us. This cycle is not just affecting our health and the way we live but, it’s effecting the health of the earth by all the waste these companies produce. In Wall-e the earth is full of piles of metal and garbage, much like our landfills are. If we don’t change our waste to Biodegradable or something of that nature, eventually our planet will fill up too, and we will have to find our own ship to live on.

It also goes along with the nutrition discussion we had because everyone was obese and the ship ran off of their cravings for junk food. Americans today are overly obese and our society runs off of these cravings, like I said above. Although the movie is obviously exaggerated, it still gives an idea of the future of our health if we don’t get it together in the next few centuries. If we don’t stop our pollution and consumption of bad products and fast food, we will all be obese and living on an aircraft floating above an abandoned, and damaged earth.

Towards the end of the movie, Wall-e finds a small sprout from a plant and protects it in order to show it to the people, which eventually leads to hope; a hope that there is a future to live on earth again. However, I don’t think we should have to get to that point. If we as a society can continue to put forth the effort in making changes that prevent more harm being done to our planet, I believe that we can eventually make the earth a better, more livable place for us and the other creatures we share it with. And just maybe, we can stall the building of large Spaceships.

Got Mercury?

Researchers have discovered that the permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere (specifically in Alaska) stores massive amounts of natural mercury. This permafrost is melting as a result of rising air temperatures due to climate change. The high temps are continuing to rise as more pollution from human activity is released into the air, and the ice continues to thaw.

This is a big problem. Not only is Global Warming an issue in itself but, studies have found that the soil in these areas hold nearly twice as much the amount of mercury than in all other soils, the ocean, and atmosphere combined. When it thaws, this massive amount of mercury will be released. The mercury bound up here may be 10 times greater than all the mercury humans have put into the atmosphere from pollution of the last 30 years. (National Geographic) As this happens far more of the pollutant will be allowed to build up in the atmosphere.

This is a serious problem because mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is very dangerous to the health of humans. Not only can it poison us, but it can build up in the water and affect the fish and other animals in the environment causing serious health issues. Mercury can have harmful neurological and reproductive effects on animals, leading to a shift in the health of the environment and our eating habits. As the mercury collects in the water, it will lead to the terrestrial food chain being affected and will eventually work its way up the food chain. Humans are at the top of this food chain. This will affect our health and ecosystems worldwide. The effects of this mercury take over will spread, for the mercury being released into the atmosphere will be spread globally.

Even though this is a scary outcome of the Earth’s rising temperatures, they are looking into a solution; or at least a temporary hold on this outbreak.

In certain regions they are researching putting certain animals back in these areas to walk over the fluffy snow. These climate adapted horses, ox, and bison will push down the fluffier snow to compact it down thinning it and making it dense. This lowers the permafrost temperature and allows a deeper freezing which will lower the temp and hold off on melting. They say that the fluffy snow act as an insulator to the ground and keeps it from getting cold.

This is just another example of an issue that is a result of Climate change that is a result of humans abusing the earth and being careless of the toxins they release. Hopefully we can be to restore the damage we have created before the irreversible results like mercury poisoning begin.

This article was a great source, I feel like it was intended to inform the public of the things that are happening around us as a result of our actions. However, biases could be involved by making people feel as though things are worse (or better) than they are in order to put certain ideas in to the public’s mind. Regardless, it is a good article that explains a recent event like so many others, that we need to be aware of to keep our actions and planet in check.

Becoming Vegetarian: a struggle

Personal Change– I’ve made a change of becoming vegetarian- for a week.

I have a few friends that are vegans, as well as vegetarians and they are always impacting my decisions when we eat because I tend to involve their eating habits around where we go. Whenever they want to try a new vegan place or somewhere with a vegan friendly menu, I go along too. I have never been huge on eating red meat anyway, and when I buy groceries I don’t typically buy any meat products. I get items such as pizza or burritos just plain cheese. Since my diet is already not all meat based I thought it would be an easy task to take it completely out of my diet for a week. I wanted to see if it would be a challenge and if I would feel any healthier after. Especially since any meat intake can really effect the environment and your health. Meat production factories not only use up about one third of the worlds fresh water, but they produce lots of waste and chemicals that aren’t helping the Earth. Also, eating meat raises your chance of getting heart diseases and cancer.

I’m not going to lie, after going a week trying not to eat meat it made me realize how frequently I actually do. I work at a sports bar so after a long shift, my friends and I usually grab food to go from there. (Chicken tenders, a burger, chicken salad). But, during this week at work I switched my chicken salad- to just a salad- and my chili nachos to just nachos without the chili. I feel like it’s an easier choice to make when we get pizza or Mexican food, because I always get plain cheese or beans. It got tougher later on because most of my sandwiches and main meals when I go out involve turkey or chicken.

I also didn’t realize Chick-fila was my campus go-to meal when I got out of class. I had to change a lot of my habits, but I think it was good for me. Also eye opening because it is possible to change your diet and if everyone went vegetarian for just ONE day, we would save around 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 billion pounds of crops, 70 million gallons of gas, and so much more. Even though I’m just one person, I’d like to think that my 7 days had a positive impact somehow on the earth. I’m not sure if it will be a permanent change for me at the moment but, I do think I will work my way up to it. Especially since I

already don’t include meat into all my meals now; I will get to the point of less and less days during the week that include it, and get to where all my meals are better for me, and the environment and completely meatless. If someone were trying to go vegetarian, I would suggest trying meals you already know that you like, just minus the meat. So that way you aren’t trying a whole new meal that you might not enjoy, because it could trick you into thinking you won’t like any meal without the meat.

Also, after doing the ecological footprint homework, my carbon footprint really went down after changing my diet to only meatless products. I feel like if I 100% changed my diet to being meatless, along with a convincing a few more of my friends, it would be the start to a (small) but helpful change to the impact we have on our limited environment.