Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

February 28, 2013

Superman’s Magic (Sugar-Sprayed) Carrots

My friend, Jayne, rightly called me out, sending an email demanding that I write a blog post (which I believe she called “nice little blurbs”) for every single class meeting that I have. While this is not something (clearly!–finding time to make my bed is proving challenging this semester!) that I am able to do, I took her email as saying, “Sarah, you don’t have to make your bed today — write a little bit,”  which is much more fun. So let’s see what pours out of my fingers…!

So here we are. Starting a blog post without a topic in mind but encouraged to write something about school. Hmm. My classes this semester are stats, econ, nutrition in the lifecycle, and communication strategies for health promotion. While I could craft some regression equations, draw some supply/demand curves, or write quite a well-sized blurb about the benefits of breastfeeding (and post some pictures of new breastfeeding contraptions), I think what you would all find most interesting is a quick explanation of a project that we’re doing this semester for the communication strategies class.

My biggest project this semester is to develop a communications campaign encouraging kids, ages 5-12, to pick healthier foods when they’re eating out at fast food or casual dining (think applebees) restaurants. My group has been reading through some research that explains how kids want superpowers, and that convincing them that vegetables will give them superpowers (think “X-Ray Vision Carrots”) will encourage vegetable consumption. We’re also thinking of copying some other research that was done by encouraging kids to order their food as if they were a superhero. There was a study done showing that kids associate healthier foods with their heroes — they believe that superman would eat salad over ice cream. It makes sense, right? Grownups eat healthy food because they know it is better for them. If we highlight why (without outright lying to the kids) the kids should eat the healthier foods, they’re likely to. Kids want superpowers. Or badassery. Remember that “extreme  baby carrots” marketing campaign?

The organization we’re working for has ties to the restaurant industry and many confirmations that if kids demand a different kind of food, restaurants will work harder to meet those new demands. And it really is happening — McDonalds, etc, is transitioning to “healthy defaults,” or including milk and apple slices in happy meals unless soda and french fries are requested.

Later on this semester we’ll be conducting a focus group with some kids (anyone have ties to any groups of 5-12 year olds in boston we can use?!) and incorporate their ideas on restaurant eating and their understanding of healthy foods into our proposal.

We read about another study that shows that kids are more likely to eat more vegetables if they are sprayed with sugar water. No shit. I find it irritating that adding sugar to vegetables is a real solution that people are considering to increase vegetable consumption. Yes, the kids are getting the nutrients, but still. C’mon — there’s gotta be a better solution than sugar water.

All right, hopefully this little blurb pleases Jayne. I have to get my day underway! Be good, everyone.

December 27, 2012

Warming Up for Re-blogging

After an always indulgent and wonderful Christmas, I decided that it’s more beneficial to spend the rest of my semester break re-vamping and re-committing to the world of blog than re-watching every game of thrones episode (again) and try to decide on another show to watch. Parenthood and Hell on Wheels are top contenders, and I would like to finish freaks and geeks… but those just aren’t life choices that will benefit future-Sarah the most.

My first semester at school was glorious. It confirmed that I need to be in the nutrition/health promotion/fatness stopping field, and I’ve learned a lot (but looking forward to more) and met many wonderful people.

This is the first time I was a student after losing all the weight, and especially after slowly-weight-gaining-phase (which I can easily “blame” on the run-stopping foot injury and the big life change of deciding to leave a stable job to become a student again), I didn’t do a great job on focusing on my own healthiness and weight loss continuation/maintenance during this last semester. Learning how to prioritize new responsibilities and still eat smart and exercise was hard (I’m great at making excuses for myself), especially when all that school work and so many wonderful new social opportunities were thrown in! But I’m back in the saddle. I’m probably up 20 pounds from my all time maintainable low. It’s time to go back down (without sacrificing much of the blues music, football, and beer).

As I clean up the blog, update things as necessary, and start on new posts, I figured it would be nice to say hi and link to some old posts that really speak to the nature of why I loved blogging and what my goals of the blog are.

Brain Window on the Importance of Moderate Self-Elevation: Good head-stuff here, if I do say so myself!

Why I Was Vegan and Why Now I’m Not: Philosophies on food and simple eating

The Strength Part of the Gym is not Male Exclusive: encouraging badass lady gym-ing

On Binge Eating: Amazed with the response I got from this one–really showed how neat blogging can be.

On Balancing Work, Self, and Healthiness: Interesting to read with the new grad-school perspective!

On Not Running: In which I accept that injuries are not the be-all-end-all and that stubbornness is not always the answer.

Okay, so I hope that in this it doesn’t seem like I’m just linking back to old content for the sake of putting up another post without having to write a full one. That’s not the intention. Reading through those made me excited to get back on track and get back with the blog! School doesn’t start up again until the 16th-ish, so I should be able to get some solid content going (and perhaps even appeal to my nutrition-school friends for guest posts–wink, wink). I hope you all are enjoying the holidays, and generally also enjoying the life–I’ll be putting up new content soon!

June 11, 2012

I’ve been neglecting the blog for good reasons–don’t worry.

and honestly, I probably won’t be all that consistent with posts much anymore. But when I was writing this blog & really deep into it, I realized something: I love this stuff and I want to do it forever and ever.

And by “this stuff” I mean sharing why living healthfully is wonderful & worth it, and how it’s pretty simple, once you get the hang of it. But I don’t just want to do it in blog form. I want to be official. So guess what?!

In the last 8-10 months, I’ve applied for, been accepted, and enthusiastically accepted a spot at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy! Come September, I’ll be perusing two degrees: One in Food Policy & Applied Nutrition, and another in Public Health. Friedman is an amazing place — have you heard of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign? Probably. It was based on Shape Up Somerville, a “community based research study” done at the Friedman School. Neat, huh? I only applied to one school, and I’m very confident that it is the right place for me to be to get started with this stuff!

I’ll be in school for 2.5 years, and while I’m a little bit nervous (okay, very) about going back to school after 4 years working, I got a desk in my apartment a bit earlier than necessary, and am slowly warming up to the idea of homework.

Right now for work, I educate people on a large scale as to the importance of philanthropy, and encourage them to change their behavior and donate money to their university. My goal is to educate people on a wide scale as to the importance of health, and encourage them to change their behavior and life in a healthier way. I think I want to focus on children, but I don’t really know yet. I don’t want to limit my focus before I even get started!

Other than that, life is great. I’m loving everything about biking season (the MS 150 ride from Boston to Provincetown is in 12 days!), I’m (still) reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and running is still impossible, due to the charming ramifications of my stupid stress fracture. I haven’t jumped in the ocean yet this summer, but I will soon.  I have 46 days until my last day of work (timed to coincide with the timing of the Olympics), and I’m psyched to get going on this next chapter! Thank you to all you for supporting me through this blog (and even in real life, of course) and helping me truly realize the best way that I can live and enjoy my life while helping others to better theirs!

February 6, 2012

Why Calorie Counting & “Diet” Foods Aren’t Ideal

The breakfast I’m enjoying as I write this has around 250 calories.

This could mean that I’m eating a poptart and some orange juice, 1 serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a donut, or a bowl of oatmeal made with milk.

Calories don’t mean anything.

“250 calories” does not thoroughly explain how my body will respond to the food I’m giving it, yet for so many people, calories are the focus.

Calories are simply a measure of energy, and when we’re talking about food, they represent the amount of energy stored in a food.  Calorie counting as a meal plan suggests that all calories are equal, but our bodies do not at all think that. Our bodies are much more concerned about the nutrients and carb/protein/fat ratios in food, so perhaps we should be, too. It just makes sense to fuel our bodies with attention to how they react to fuel, don’t you think?

Most sources say that our bodies require around 25% of our calories to come from fat, 45% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein (or close to these ranges). But that’s still “calories from,” as opposed to “grams of”. That’s almost like saying, “to build this house, I need 500 pounds of wood, 30 pounds of nails, and 3 pounds of hammers.” Yes, those items can be measured by their weight, but that’s not really how their measurements are best understood.  I suppose it’s easier to talk about calories since we’re all used to it, but I just think that talking about calories is keeping us from understanding food. 

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February 16, 2011


I can’t help but completely envy people who can have a pie in their kitchen/ownership and responsibly eat it over a long (but appropriate) period of time.

same goes for girl scout cookies and ice cream.

That’s all.

February 6, 2011

Turkey, White Bean, and Green Stuff Soup

It's not very attractive, but it is very delicious.

I was an English major, but first I was an engineer. Among other things, this combination of thinking methods leads me to make meals up, rather than follow recipes, in order to more completely get the food that I want. I’m a culinary bs-er. I like cooking, because it’s a practical application of creativity and, unlike building bridges or writing critically about Shakespeare, if you mess up majorly, it’s not ultimately a big deal and it’s probably reversible (unless you burn your house down, of course). If you discover a delicious new meal, awesome. If you don’t, well whatever — now you know not to cook that again! No one’s going to drive their car into a canyon or think you’re a literary imbecile because you got a little too inventive when cooking.

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