Where did The Punk Go?

Did he die?  Nope.  *Quickly turns away and checks pulse.*  Nope, still alive

Did he quit blogging?  Also nope.

Can you help me find my keys?  Did you check in the couch?

Jokes aside, I needed to take a break from blogging to finish up the term.  This past term of working for Food Hero (an extension of Oregon State University that provides health and nutrition information to low-income families), getting educated in nutrition, and doing work on my writing minor left me run down.  I got super burned out, and as a consequence, I began hating nutrition and writing, which is definitely not a good thing.

I plan on getting back into writing on my blog, and maybe even publishing some work.  I also want to try and grow my Twitter account, which can be found here.  I try to post something there every day, but sometimes I don’t if there’s not much to say.  Give it a follow if you’d like.

I am also unsure of my future as an online personality, with the recent repeal of Net Neutrality.  If running social media accounts becomes too expensive, then I will have to leave.  I cannot afford to run social media while attending school.  Hopefully things don’t change too much, because I do like writing and working on social media.

Hopefully everyone had a happy holiday season, and hopefully 2018 will be a better year for everyone than 2017 was.

Also because this is a nutrition blog, I suppose I should leave some last words on food.  Eat your fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.  Limit saturated fats and added sugars.


Where Did the Punk Go?

When it rains, it pours.  And because it’s Oregon weather, it rains for several months on end.

I wound up getting VERY busy over the last two months.  College has a tendency to do that.  The good news is that I have been refining my writing skills, and branching out.  The bad news is that it’s been two months (almost a whole term at my university) where I have not written anything here.

I branched out into fiction.  Since high school started, I focused only on non-fiction.  This includes things like literary analysis, and science papers.  In college, I focused more on writing technical documents.  However, I did take some fiction writing classes before I declared myself a writing minor.  Now, I plan on taking more.  In fact, I might even post some of my favorite assignments into a portfolio and share it with my readers!

I also got hired onto a new job.  This job is through SNAP-Ed, so instead of recruiting people to sign up for SNAP benefits, I am assisting in developing materials to publish online for those who need it, or are interested.  I’ve only JUST started working there, but so far so good.

I’ve also been working on three video projects all at once.  This was a HUGE time-sink.  One of the videos I had to do completely.  I really did not care for this one.  I started to run out of time, and had to rush it a bit.  It probably does not help that I am not super confident with video editing.  The second one I liked better.  I got to work with a group of three other people.  We made an instructional video for the university’s food service explaining why it’s important to check meat temperatures, and how to properly do so.  The last one has been the biggest time-sink of them all, as the project has spanned almost this entire year.  This one is an educational video on the changes to the Nutrition Facts panel that is happening in the summer of 2018.  We wanted to ensure all the information was accurate, and that the video was entertaining enough, while incorporating enough classroom materials for the videos to supplement a lecture.  This one has been fun!

So what is the future of The Nutrition Punk?  Right now, I am working.  This takes less time than classes, so I definitely plan on blogging WAY more.  Once next school year begins, I will probably have to be away from my blog intermittently to wrap up my last year at university, and to work on getting my materials together for a post-college life.

Happy fcuking birthday: My One Year Blog Anniversary

I hit a milestone of one-year of blogging!!

Well, it’s been one year (and one day, because classes prevent me from having too much fun!) since I started posting to this blog.  This started off as a project in one of my nutrition classes (I actually submitted the first post as an assignment!).  Since then, I have kind of built up my blog further.  It’s been interesting for me.  I never thought that I would ever get this kind of exposure!  I’ve had friends and family discussing and sharing my blog with others.

To celebrate, I am going to write up a summary of what I have learned during this year.  There were many changes for me, in all works of life.

Make Adversity into an Advantage:  The blog was done as part of an assignment in one of my nutrition classes.  However, during this time, I was facing some problems.  Because of several issues with class scheduling, I wound up being a year behind schedule.  Meaning I had to take another year, with most terms having too few credits for me to keep my funding.  Instead of bitching about it, I opted to take on a minor.  I enjoy writing (if that wasn’t evident enough), so I decided to take a few extra writing classes to boost my schedule.

Strive for Improvement:  I push for personal improvement in life.  I have a hard time really feeling satisfied with what I am doing.  On assignments, I usually get to the point of saying “fuckit” and turning in what I have done.  I know that I am going to consistently miss small details here and there, and with the stresses and time constraints.  I do take criticism with stride, though.  I try and take the feedback received by classmates and professors alike to improve my own work.  I also look at test scores as a sort of feedback.  If I am hot satisfied with a grade I got, I examine the habits I have and try to improve them to get the score I want.

Have fun:  Life is one of those interesting things.  Life can be incredibly fun and you can love everything that is going on.  But life also can be a huge drag and bore the hell out of you.  On top of this, it can change on a whim.  One moment, you can be having the time of your life, and then suddenly be bored or stressed or some other negative emotion.  So, what can be done about things?  Well, I try to maximize the amount of times I have fun.  I love learning (otherwise I would have not gone to college), and I love putting my knowledge to use.  I am finally at the point where classes are less knowledge cramming for tests, and applying the knowledge I learned.  Instead of viewing what I have to do for classes as chores, I view them as something fun.

This was one helluva year to say the least.  I am not going to get into too many personal details that are irrelevant, but I am glad I started working on this blog.  Here’s to another year of blogging!  I can’t wait to have more stories to share!

The Name Game: Alternative Names for Sugar

Food labels can be complicated. Here is a reference guide to added sugars.

I had mentioned in a previous post (which can be found here) that added sugars have different names.   This week, I am going to give you a handy guide to finding the sneaky little bastards (as in, grams of sugar) in your food.

Added sugars generally are carbohydrates added to something that are not naturally there.  Foods like fruits, vegetables, and plain milk (as in not flavored milk, like chocolate or strawberry).  So something like unsweetened tea would most likely not have added sugar, but if the tea is sweetened with a nutritive sweetener (as in it provides Calories or energy the body can use) then it has added sugars.

UHDS has these listed as names recognized by the FDA for added sugar:

  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar

Now, these are only the ones recognized by the FDA.  More names are appearing on food labels such as:

  • cane juice
  • evaporated corn sweetener
  • crystal dextrose
  • glucose
  • liquid fructose
  • sugar cane juice
  • fruit nectar

So why does all this matter?  Well, the FDA cites that diets higher in added sugars are often lower in nutrient dense foods, meaning the foods with a lot of added sugar have little nutrients.  Often, they are called “junk food” or “shit food.”  Diets lower in added sugar also appear to have less risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  On the new food label, as I wrote about prior, there is a new section dedicated to added sugar, because of this reason.

Have you found any other names for added sugar?  Please comment them below!

Lunchbox: Advice for Packing Lunches

What are some tips for making lunchtime healthier while on the go?

For many students, school has started, or is about to.  For others, it’s the same old day-in-day-out Monday to Friday grind.  Whether you are a student, a parent of a student, or someone who works, you can benefit from eating a healthy meal.  Hopefully, it can save you some money, because you would be buying more servings of food for less money, instead of buying the shit they sell at fast food joints.

Beverage:  What should you drink with your lunch?  Things like soda and juices are loaded with sugar, which can cause a sugar crash later on.  I would recommend drinking water, black coffee, or tea.  Water, by nature, is hydrating.  Coffee is less so, but the caffeine can also perk you up for the rest of the day.  So long as you do not add sugar, milk, or creamer to your coffee or tea (or I suppose, your water, but adding those to water sounds fucking nasty if you ask me) you can save Calories on your meal.  A 12-ounce can of soda is about 150 Calories.  Water is zero.

Main course:  For me, I typically go with a sandwich for lunch.  It’s highly versatile, as the interior and bread can be changed around.  Usually, I eat sandwiches with cheddar, lunch meat, and whole-wheat bread, with mayonnaise and mustard.  I would substitute the lunch meat with deli meat or things not loaded with nitrites, but I am a fucking broke college student.  That shit costs too much.  The mayonnaise and cheese can be taken away to lower the amount of Calories from fat, if that is what is desired.  The bread itself can also be substituted with lettuce leaves to reduce the glycemic load.  My goal, however, with the main course is to NOT be too messy, so as to not get food remnants all over my clothes.

Sides:  Instead of eating chips or other snack foods, why not eat something like chopped carrots, broccoli, an apple, or other produce?  A serving of produce is going to be much more nutrient dense than chips or candy.  Plus, it is much more filling for way less Calories.

To recap, what are the benefits of packing meals the way I have described?  Making simple switches from soda to water, as well as something like chips or candy to fruits and/or vegetables has already decreased the meal’s Calories while increasing the amount of nutrients present.  I suggested one main course that is highly variable and can be toyed around with to find what works for you.

Do any of you readers have tips for people on packing their own lunch?  Any advice I missed and did not put up in this post?

Chop Cut-Me by Kitchen Ups and Downs: Some of my Kitchen Horror Stories

Everyone makes mistakes with cooking. Here are some of mine

Decided to change around my theme on my blog, hopefully people like it, if not, if anyone has any advice, please let me know.

I think on hurdle many face when it comes to cooking meals at home is the idea that it is difficult.  We live in a society where celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay can chop some random ingredients up and toss it in a pot and that is a challenge for amateur chefs on Master Chef or watch over a group of competent chefs fuck up things like risotto and scallops.  This can make the kitchen intimidating.  I don’t know when I am going to open up the fridge and Chef Ramsay is going to come out and yell at me for being a stupid donkey for accidentally burning something or using sub-par ingredients due to my meager college budget.  That being said, I want to talk about some of my kitchen fuck-ups to show that you get better with time, and the kitchen isn’t a scary place to be.

Confession:  I am absolutely dreadful at making cookies.  I remember one time I was going to make chocolate chip cookies.  Now, every package of chocolate chips has a convenient little recipe for simple cookies on the back.  It is very helpful to actually READ the damn thing, because like the idiot I am, I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl, and almost burned out my mom’s mixer’s motor.  Needless to say, I had to have her bail me out and fix that problem.  Another time in my cooking class in high school, we were tasked with making cookies.  Working alongside on of my friends (who has become a chef) we mixed up the ingredients, but we must have reduced the numbers wrong, because the result was flat, partially baked goo after the baking time.  That was not a good day, and I went home feeling embarrassed and like I let my friends down.

Another time I tried to make a reduction like I learned in another class (hmm, notice how I can’t cook desserts?) and wound up going from a thin sugar sauce, to something akin to gasoline.  I made my sister try it.  I don’t think she forgave me for that stunt.  Another time, as a graded assignment, my group was tasked with making a pudding pie.  We followed the recipe exactly, and set the pie in the fridge for the set amount of time.  The next day when it came to presenting, we presented soup.  Somehow the pudding did not set after several hours.

Most recently, my biggest battle came from shallow frying some tofu for a stir fry.  I set everything up, and prepared to start cooking.  I checked the oil to see if it was too hot, or cold.  It was just right.  So I start frying up the little fuckers, and what do they do but pop and spatter oil all over me.  It’s interesting what you call cooking food as it gives you several minor burns on your hands and forearms.  Later on, I noticed that my t-shirt had oil marks all over it, indicating that I am glad that I did not decide to try and be sexy (to who I would be sexy to, I do not know, I was home alone at the time) and cook shirtless.

So who all out there has horror stories about cooking?  Anything memorable and funny you are willing to share?

Image from State Farm on Flickr, with no changes made.

Feelings by This Offspring: My Take on Some of my Emotions

Some millennial talks about life like they’ve lived it enough or something.

Ah, the journey of life.  Some say that it’s the best thing ever, that living is a blessing.  Others would claim that it is a tragedy, that life is a terrible curse.  I, on the other hand think life is a joke, and we are all the punchline.  With that, it is up to you to decide whether to laugh at it, or be miserable because of it.  But, back to the point about emotions.

I recently had an interesting conversation with one of my friends during a session at the gym.  Some people view negative feelings as something to be avoided.  However, I told him that my rage was actually a GOOD thing.  And that my happiness is not always something to cherish.  So what do I mean with this fucked-up perspective?

I view my rage or sorrow or any other negative emotion like an active volcano.  Sure, initially it erupts and there is mass destruction.  However, once the lava cools, the soil becomes more fertile.  New life begins in the area that was obliterated.  With my anger, it motivates me to improve.  I find things I do not like in life, and I change them.  Sadness makes everything after so much better and puts things in perspective.  Whereas happiness, I view more as stagnation.  If things are all hunky dory, then things are not going to change.  I mean, I am not going to fix something that isn’t broken.

The problem though, is I do have some problems with balance.  Sometimes I am to angry or sad about things I cannot change, or I remain blissfully unaware that there is an issue until it gets called into attention, and then at that point, I feel like an asshole.  I mean, shit in life is hard to deal with.

Recalling back to my statement about life as a joke, I choose to laugh.  Even if it isn’t always funny.  Since life is temporary, and I as a living entity am a punchline, I might as well laugh when it’s funny, or try to make a change when it isn’t.  Sometimes all a joke needs is a simple edit here and there for the audience when it is not funny, and other times, there’s no change needed because the crowd is already in stitches.

So what are your takes on life itself?  Anything interesting to say?