Cut the Crap

I am a health freak. Processed food scares me silly. I have a love-hate relationship with meat, cheese, and my ever-favorite Diet Coke. I have read so many self-help articles, books and journals that my own brain contradicts itself on the daily. Over the past few years, I have tried everything. I’ve jumped on every bandwagon health-kick, exercise regime and diet that exists, waiting for that one to sweep me off my feet and make me instantly healthy. Here’s what I’ve discovered after years of experimentation: the only self-help tools you really need are a set of eyes, ears, a nose, mouth and some good ol’ common sense. Please, let me explain.

Our world today is covered in artificial chemicals, and I mean that literally. We drink water out of plastic bottles, allowing chemically made materials like BPA to bind with water molecules and enter our bodies affecting our cells, tissues and organs. We breathe air next to Diesel trucks, inhaling mouthfuls of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other particulate matter. We drop chemicals into our eyes when they are feeling dry, take aspirin when we have aches and pains and eat chemically processed, genetically modified and artificially flavored food because it’s cheap, “safe”, and “good-for-you”. None of this information is particularly new, and none of this information is shocking. What this information is, frankly, is disgusting.

The harmful substances we put into our bodies today, whether by choice or by accident (because let’s face it, breathing in Diesel isn’t necessarily a choice when you’re sitting in rush-hour traffic on a Friday afternoon), are not only making us fat, but they are also making us sick. It’s no secret that diseases like obesity and diabetes are on the rise in the United States. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, from 1990 to 2010, there was a 60% increase in childhood obesity. Diabetes has similar statistics. But what about the diseases you think have nothing to do with what we eat, drink and breathe, like autism? In a study this past May, researchers found evidence that environmental conditions such as air pollution may be a main reason why autism rates are on the rise in children. Increased rates of brain disorders like autism are just the beginning. It’s pretty obvious that as we continue to live, eat and breathe in our environment, we will be at risk for a plethora of new diseases, cancers and epidemics, not to mention extreme weight gain and malnutrition problems. So what do we do? How can we possibly protect ourselves from getting fat and sick? The solution may not be as difficult as problems we face. I’m calling it a solution as simple as “Cut the Crap”.

It doesn’t take a diet book, fad or article to tell you any of the above facts. It takes common sense and some observational skills. The next time you read the nutrition facts on a box of cereal and see more than 20 ingredients, stop and think. The next time you reach for that bottle of water that’s been sitting in ninety degree heat for the last eight hours, stop and think. The next time you drive by a toxic waste center, or see thick smog rising from buildings, stop and think. My hope is that after reading this article, you will begin to stop and think. I hope you will realize that the problems eating away at our health and society are not rocket science. You know you’re not supposed to eat processed food, drink melted plastic, and breathe in polluted air, so don’t. Or, at the very least, cut as much of the crap out as you possibly can.

Chemicals and our environment are making us fat, not the “bad” fats and carbohydrates that we hear about so frequently. It’s not what to eat, it’s what to avoid. Everything in moderation, except for of course, the chemically-processed-been-sitting-on-a-shelf-for-3-months crap. Let’s become a better society together, by weeding out the toxic items we’re putting in our bodies. The first step to a happier, healthier you? Ditch the diet books and open your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. A healthier world is out there for the taking.

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The Rising

It’s been over six months since my last post, and I will admit that in my off-line time, I’ve almost forgotten about the power of blogging. Writing is difficult to keep up with on a daily basis, especially when you believe in quality over quantity. Reading relevant, useful information that is well-thought out and delivered is always better than indifferent posts, published for the sake of adding content to one’s site. So until now, I’ve been in a bit of a hibernation.

Now that you understand why I’ve been dormant, let’s now delve into what I’ve actually been doing, seeing and thinking about in these past few months.

Goodbye Northwestern, hello real world essentially sums up what’s been going on. Between finishing classes, graduation ceremonies and saying goodbye to my previous home of four years, I’m now in a happy place: on my living room couch. Of course I am job hunting, but I am looking for the right opportunity, and I come closer to it every single day. I don’t believe in settling; it’s a principle I learned on my own, and one I am proud I now understand. Settling is for people who want to live life through someone else’s eyes. I don’t want to settle down a routine path and wait for opportunities to arise. I want to search for the right opportunity, place and people where I know I can make a difference and change the way others view the world. So yes, I’m unemployed and sitting on my childhood couch, home alone while all of my friends and family go to work, but I’m doing so much more than that.

In the time since I’ve been home from college, I’ve helped my electrical engineering father take apart a remote control with a broken screen, re-solder a new screen in place, and delve into the world of circuit-boards. I’ve become glued to my Nike FuelBand, and entered into the world of wearable computing, making lists-on-lists of improvements and applications that would pair beautifully with my device, all the while gamefying my own activity level and changing the way I view healthy living. I’ve traveled to Vermont, Florida and Chicago, experienced new people in new places, and now have a deeper understanding for where I want to spend my life and the people I want to spend it with. I’ve had time to read Twitter feeds, news articles and scientific advancements, and I have a deeper appreciation for brilliant minds. I’ve mapped out an exciting new mobile application, formulated new ideas and concepts daily that have challenged me how to think like an engineer and entrepreneur.

I feel remarkably fortunate to be able to live at home during this in-between period. Many people in our country and world do not have this liberty, and for that I will always be forever grateful. While I have this unique opportunity, I am taking the time to better myself and constantly asking questions and solving problems. I am honoring my environmental degree, but living as a life-long learner. I believe you should always strive to know more, and those who keep pushing themselves to find new answers are the ones who really change the way our world works. We will be a better society by challenging the way we exist in it, and I refuse to follow a path that will not allow me to be a game-changer.

Past Poem on Nuclear Power

I wrote this poem in the 11th grade, and recently came across it. It may be a bit whimsical, but it’s still pretty cool to see a passion for the environment, even before my real studies began.

How many times a day

Do you hear on the TV set,

“Nuclear bombs, nuclear war,

Our country has too much financial debt!”

 

Living in the United States

Is not as easy as it used to be

With just under 7300 nuclear weapons

Now it seems that weapons are the only things running free

 

Constantly trying to balance

The usage of coal and nuclear power

Our country is largely at fault

For killing all of the flowers

 

Yet nuclear weapons may prove to be

An exciting breakthrough in science

If only the meaning behind them

Didn’t cause a breakage in countries’ alliances

 

Although many people believe

That nuclear weapons are only used for harm

The bi-products of fission

Set off more than just alarms

 

Made from not natural chemicals

Uranium and Plutonium are ahead of the game

Just by putting these two chemicals together,

Our world could head into a very deep shame

 

So, therefore we have to be careful

With the weapons that we obtain

Because if these weapons fall into the hands of the wrong people

It would cause our country much pain

 

But worrying about the future

Is only a small price to pay

For the possession of nuclear weapons, and other things as well,

Make the United States the strongest country everyday.