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Go Bananas

9 Jan

One of my favorite Demetri Martin jokes is the one about bananas.  It went on like this –

“I feel stupid when I write the word banana. Its like, how many na’s are on this thing? ‘Cause I’m like ‘Bana … keep going. Bananana … damn.“

Fredrik Gertten, director and journalist, must have had that same feeling of going through something never-ending when Dole Food Co. served him papers over his film Bananas!*.  I still haven’t seen Bananas!* yet, but I have seen his film on protecting free speech and fighting for the truth called Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, which recounts the trials he went through when Dole tried to shut down his film, Bananas!*.

Bananas-documentary site

Big Boys Gone Bananas!* has been sitting in my Netflix recommendations list and I decided to make a go of watching it earlier this afternoon.  I only watch my Netflix recommendations only when there’s a film on the list that’s already aligned with my interests, and there are four main reasons why I decided to watch Big Boys Gone Bananas!*:

1)      I really like bananas.  I like bananas so much that it’s a part of our household’s weekly order from our online grocer, SPUD.  I want to know where my food comes from and SPUD provides that information.

2)      As far as I can remember, bananas have always been a part of my family’s diet.  My sisters and I grew up eating bananas.  I infer it has something to do with my farmer grandparents growing bananas.  I can safely say that our diet has been biased towards their crops, with bananas being one of them.

3)      Before entering the nursing profession, my Mom considered majoring in journalism.  She was drawn to reading and writing, and felt that it was through journalism that she can use her skills and correspondingly, serve society.

4)      There’s a ton of information thrown at all of us and it’s become a mental juggling act to sort out the truth from the junk.  Sometimes, it’s easier for us to swallow what big media shoves down our throat.  And sometimes, what they give us are like drugs… they just dull our senses.  The truth, unfortunately, is usually painful and usually involve individuals or groups of people being mistreated; with the truth being kept under wraps to prevent people, like you and me, from knowing what goes on.  In order for truth to persist, we must protect free speech.

Big Boys Gone Bananas-documentary site

Generally, I’d like to believe that most people have good intentions.  At times though, that belief is shaken when I read the news and read about political crimes, corporate malice, and democratic governments (people whom we voted to serve us) not responding to public interests and needs.  Then I start to wonder if humanity would make it to year 3000.  Then I watch pro-social documentaries and learn about people – like Fredrik Gertten – fighting against injustice by putting it in the forefront and giving everyone access to the truth, and then my faith in humanity is restored.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!* reinforced my beliefs in transparency when it comes to finding out where and how our foods are sourced.  On a similar vein, it’s all about being open to different perspectives and truths, and that we can’t ignore the fact that countless people suffer to produce our foods, make our everyday items, and manufacture iStuff.

To all my fellow consumers, it’s okay to be fussy.  Really, we should all learn to be fussy when it comes to the foods we eat, clothes we wear, and materials we surround ourselves with.  As consumers, we should do our own inquiries and figure out which companies match our personal values and make an effort to support those companies, and hold the companies that we support to social principles and integrity.

Sometimes, it’s okay to go bananas.  When it comes to protecting everyone’s rights, why not go bananas.

The Real Nightmare

1 Nov

Now that Halloween 2013 is over and Dia de los Muertos begins, I’m left being realistic about what could be a real nightmare: ghouls and monsters, or drug-resistant bacteria.  Given my educational background, I’ll go with choice #2.  The CDC made a press release in September about antibiotic-resistant infections and less than two weeks ago, PBS Frontline aired a chilling documentary titled “Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria” about the rise of superbugs, how we all played and play a part in developing superbugs, and the lack of new antibiotics to help combat them.  The image below is linked to the documentary, please click to learn more.  (If the image link doesn’t work, please click the documentary title link above.)

Frontline - Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria

ConsumersUnion is calling on all of us to help reduce the overuse of antibiotics in our food chain.  When antibiotics are fed to food animals (meaning pigs and cows… you know, where those bacon strips and steaks we all like so much come from), the antibiotics are then spread to us via the meat and environment.  If the thought of needless antibiotic spread matter to you, please go here to sign ConsumersUnion’s message to US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsak.

Despite all the health technological advancements we have, we might end up becoming a sicker society because of the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. CDC’s 2013 press release about superbugs isn’t the first alert.  In July 2010, CDC’s Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance info page was last reviewed and then updated in 2012.

How can we protect ourselves from superbugs?  Frontline tackles this question with helpful advice.  Number 1 of the eight tips is – “Don’t Panic”.  A bit of wisdom that can also be found in the Encyclopedia Galactica.  Numbers 3 and 5 would have to be my favorites: “Wash Your Hands with Soap and Water” and “Ask Your Doctors to Wash Their Hands”.

Being picky is okay

1 Feb

Writing a review about a restaurant and either praising or criticizing the meal is easy.  Writing a post to tell people to stay away from calorie-heavy foods served in restaurants is a bit hard.  Despite my public health education, it’s not easy telling people (except for my family whose diet I make my business for obvious reasons) what they should and should not eat.

Most people love eating, that’s how the “foodie culture” came about.  Our desire to eat what we want, when we want, is easily satisfied by the food and restaurant industries, with the latter being a $660.5 billion industry.  There’s a lot of money at stake – your, my, his, her, and their money particularly.

As restaurants “boost their bottom line” by luring us with tasty foods at affordable prices, we, on the other hand, are boosting our bottoms.  So what should we do then?

CSPI xtreme eating 2013

Be picky about the restaurant you go to and be picky about what you eat in your restaurant of choice.  This is not easy when there’s a party you have to attend and it’s planned by someone else; but at your own time and when you’re asked for suggestions, be picky.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest published their “Xtreme Eating 2013” list of restaurants with menus that could set your weight a pound or more on the plus side.  If you really, really must have that Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory, consider sharing it or request to have half (or more!) of it packed for later consumption.

Beginning this year, the FDA Proposed Labeling Requirements for Restaurants will take into effect, which marks an even bigger step forward towards raising awareness when it comes to health and nutrition.  Thank you, Obamacare!  No longer are diners in the dark about their calorie consumption since a federal policy is helping out with our health by mandating nutrition labeling in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments.

No one’s stopping you to have your pie and eat it too.  But always be aware that the pie comes with a price.  You can give the food and restaurant industries your money… but don’t give them your health.

To California with Love

7 Nov

If Washington, the Evergreen State, were to get in touch with its Pacific Coastal state sibling, California…

Hey Cali,

News travels lightning fast these days so you should have already heard…  Yup, same-sex marriage is approved, marijuana legalization is approved, and charter schools funding is approved.  Am I happy, sistah?  Am I happy?!  You bet I am!  I’m so happy I could smoke a joint.  And it would be legal.  Wow.  I should thank you, you know… I’ve got so many liberal transplants from the Golden State livin’ in my hoods.  Woohoo, remember the Summer of Love?  Watch this video to joggle your memory. 

Uh oh, now where was I… Oh right… I’m having the Autumn of Happiness.  It’s almost as if the flower kids and grandkids decided to get together in my land of salmon, geoduck, and Evergreens. 

Now tell me what’s going on with your people.  I cannot believe Prop. 37 did not pass.  Four years ago Prop. Hate (ahem, I meant 8) won, and now Prop 37 lost.  If only the results were reversed with 8 losing and 37 winning, yea?  At least Props. 30 and 35 passed.

Buck up, Goldie, the “food fight” isn’t over yet.  I’ve got your back and I’ve got I-522 waiting in the wings.  We’ve got to keep the issue in balance though by heeding the advice of our scientists; they don’t all work for giant food companies and just because they say GMO foods are safe doesn’t mean they support controversial business practices of big food companies.  We also must keep in mind that the global population is continuously growing and we need to find sustainable ways to feed everyone.  By “we”, I mean scientists, activists, constituents, and politicians.  So I guess that means all of us.  Sustainability is the key word here.  Lucky for us, our peeps have access to fresh produce and local foods thanks to the farmers markets and food companies that use environmentally responsible business practices.

Whoa.  I think I’m getting the munchies.  Speaking of sustainability, have you heard of Kettle Brand Chips?  Looks like it’s a good model for a food company. 

Can’t. Resist. The. Cravings.  I’m going to go celebrate with a bag of Tias


Election Day 2012

5 Nov

Everyday we make choices: from what to eat for breakfast to what to have for dinner.  In between our day and night mealtimes, we are subjected to a ton of information to help us make decisions for various tasks and activities.  Isn’t it great to have choices and to have the freedom to exercise our choices.

Election Day is November 6, 2012.  For those of us who voted early, we already made our choice.  For those of you who haven’t voted yet, please remember to vote.  Californians, remember to vote Yes on Prop 37 and say Yes to Non-GMO food labeling.

Happy voting!