Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Podcast: An Interview with Colleen Crockett about Chocolate!

Finally! An actual podcast is going up on sitchpodcast.blogspot.com. It's about time!

My little sister, Colleen, agreed to be my first guest. I interviewed her about her current goals in life. She has some lofty ambitions!

Main challenge she faces: her age. It's illegal to handle the equipment in a chocolate shop until she's 18. She also can't attend a chocolatiering school until she is out of high school.

What she's doing to overcome this challenge: practice making chocolate at home and sharing with friends/family for feedback and reading about chocolate and chocolate making.

Main take-away: instead of flip-flopping career choices, Colleen is going to explore this option until she knows for sure it's NOT what she wants to do. She may do chocolatiering forever, or for a few months. But she won't know it's what she loves until she gives it a go and gets her hands dirty.

My favorite quote: "I hope I don't spend years trying to figure it out, but I can't do anything by just sitting around and thinking about it."

Thank you, Colleen!

Interested in being a part of the podcast? Send me a message via the contact form on the left. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Body Shouldn't Belong to Me

The vaccine debate rages once again on the internet (although I may be behind a few days as the internet seems to have moved on to a raging debate about that movie coming out tomorrow on Valentine's Day). Scrolling through my Facebook feed a few days ago, I found a pole on the Biz Journals website asking if the government should mandate vaccination for the measles. I was shocked that at 3,910 responses, 53% said yes. I posted a screenshot of the results with the comment: "This is scary. Even if vaccines are a good thing (which I personally do not believe), why would you want the government to force you to get one?"

I find it scary because I don't believe that anyone, especially the government, should control what goes into my body. Since I took the pole four days ago, there are now 6,781 responses with 55% saying no. Pew, thank goodness. But still -- why would even just one person want to mandate vaccines onto others? Or mandate any medical injection onto others? You're basically saying that my body shouldn't belong to me -- it belongs to the government and to the "good of the whole".

I would never try to tell another human being what they should and should not put in their body. As one of my friends commented on the photo, "What's next, forced sterilization? The government should not be allowed to dictate what goes in my body". And this is exactly why I thought the results were frightening.

Basic human boundaries start with skin. My skin, my body, is the basic boundary that no one should be allowed to cross unless I give them permission. Sticking a needle into my arm and loading my body with a vaccine by force would be a clear violation of this basic right. Mandating vaccines could lead to even more control over my body (as my friend mentioned above).

Another good friend of mine argued that mandating vaccines isn't a bad thing if that vaccine is "tried and true" and been around for a while. She argued that measles vaccines were responsible for eradicating the disease in the U.S. This friend is studying science in university and is extremely smart. However, I still don't buy her analysis. I don't think any of the vaccines are infallible. In fact, there may have been more deaths caused by the measles vaccine than the actual disease in the years 2004-2014. Not to mention that  when drugs and medicine gets tested, usually only the positive results get published. There are many unknowns about vaccines and until they are proven to be safe and effective, I might prefer to opt out. Even if they are "proved" to be 100% safe and effective, does the government have the right to mandate I get one?

If you answer anything other than 'no', I fear for what other freedoms you are willing to give up for the sake of the whole. Surrendering our individual freedoms for the sake of "herd immunity" (which doesn't even work as evidenced by the recent "outbreaks") means giving the government a foothold into other individual liberties. When will we start respecting each other's decisions and freedom? It's dangerous to start surrendering these decisions -- once it starts, it will be nearly impossibly to stop.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" 

-Benjamin Franklin 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Fast Food Challenge: Update

Instead of trying to have 57 New Year's resolutions and work to achieve them all at once, I'm focusing on one goal per month. January's goal was to avoid all fast food or food on the go. The exception was when I was going to sit down inside with a friend to eat. 

Like many goals, my excitement and stamina got me through the first 10 days with little difficulty. Sure, I still wanted to stop for a coffee or snack, but the urge wasn't too hard to fight and I started packing my food and bringing drinks. 

As the days passed, I started making more frequent stops at the grocery store. I still picked up "convenience foods" and sometimes would go inside to purchase a single meal (as if I was going to get fast food but instead had to park and go inside rather than just drive through), but the food I bought at the store was always healthier than the food I would have purchased out (and it was cheaper). The fast food meals I normally buy are packed with sugar, fat, and tons of calories. The food I buy at the store was fresher, healthier, "real" food and it was about half the price. Instead of $7 on a burger, fries, and soda, it was more like $3 or $4 for a salad, hummus, and pretzels or perhaps a green drink and a sandwich wrap. 

As the month wore on I did deviate slightly from my path. I purchased several coffees and sodas from fast food establishments. They aren't that expensive ($1-$2 per stop) and I still avoided the food, but they are marked up extremely high and can easily be purchased at the store ahead of time. I was definitely paying for lack of planning and convenience when I made these purchases. 

Overall, it was a great experiment and I plan to continue avoiding fast food and cutting my consumption in the future. It saved me money and the food I would pack myself or run into the grocery store and grab was yummy and much healthier. 

Tips for trying out the same challenge:

  • Plan ahead! Make grocery store runs and stock up. Have a lunch box and plenty of ice packs handy. Give yourself 5 extra minutes before leaving so that you have more time to pack your snacks and meals. 
  • Leave the cash at home. I don't know about you, but I'd rather pay for my fast food habit in cash so that I don't have to be reminded of my spending later and others never have to know. If this is you, stop carrying cash. 
  • Go out with a friend. If you get the craving for a latte or just want some junk food, I get it. But invite a friend and make it a social activity. Don't just eat it to eat it. 
  • Track your spending. Keep a piece of paper in your car and write down your fast food habit there or keep a note on your phone. Seeing the amount of money you spend and the frequency of your purchases might give you motivation to slow down. 
  • Find quick foods you love at the store. Find convenience foods you can stock up on at the store. These will be cheaper and probably healthier. 
Good luck to those who have a New Year's goal. My goal for February is to finish my Postpartum Labor Certification. I am half a book and one essay away. There is no excuse not to finish!