The Ugly Truth About Antibiotics

The Ugly Truth About Antibiotics

Everyone needs to know the facts
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Antibiotics are a thing that makes our world go round. Scientific breakthroughs, like penicillin, helped thousands of people and eradicated many bacterial diseases in both humans and animals. As a society, we are healthier thanks to antibiotics. They are one of the biggest reasons that age expectancy is closer to 80 than 40. Despite all these amazing breakthroughs, many modern farms have chosen to go completely antibiotic free in order to be healthier for the consumer. You can see the words "antibiotic free" and "raised without antibiotics" written on a substantial amount of food products in grocery stores in big earthy prints. Doesn't this just sound great?

Think about how amazing this is. Now, when a farmer goes out to check on his cattle and notices one is sick, he can't do anything for it. All that he can do is seclude it from the rest of the herd, and hope it gets better on its own. Doesn't this sound fantastic? An animal that the farmer has grown attached to, cared for and put thousands of dollars into is going to die in front of his eyes because the general population wants antibiotic free meat. This is such innovative thinking! A diseased animal could be easily treated, released back into the herd and live a healthy life, but we have instead decided not to treat them! We now just watch them suffer! The best part is that organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are for these measures because we aren't "pumping animals full of drugs" anymore! Guys, this is just great!

It is here my sarcasm ends. Seeing "antibiotic free" written on foods should be infuriating. I get it; consumers are worried about what is in their diet. They are generations away from the farm and don't quite understand what we do. Let me explain. Agricultural products are vigorously tested for antibiotics and diseases to make sure they are healthy to the consumer. Growing up on a dairy farm, I witnessed first hand this process. If an animal got sick, my dad kept track of when he treated the cow, and how long it would have to be before the milk could be used again. All medicines had to be out of the animal's system before her milk could be put in the tank with the rest of it. When the milk truck came to take our milk, the driver would test the milk for antibiotics before he ever took it away. If we accidentally put the treated cow's milk into the tank, the whole tank had to be dumped down the drain. Otherwise, we would face significant repercussions from the company we sold our milk to. No milk in any grocery store has antibiotics in it.

However, there are now many companies that are forcing their farmers to never use antibiotics so they can write "antibiotic free" on the label. Animals are suffering and dying every day because the new fad says that antibiotics are a bad thing to use. For a moment, let's ignore the fact that it's inhumane. Let's think about how this affects the environment. Cows are known to burp methane, which is considered to be harmful to the environment. It's hard to do anything about it, simply because that is the cow's natural biological function.

Studies vary on how much methane a cow produces a day, but most will conclude somewhere between 26-53 gallons a day. For this article, we will be conservative and say 28 gallons. In 2015, 28.74 million cows were butchered for meat. Let's approximate a mere one percent of cows die in a herd due to lack of treatment by antibiotics, so we have to keep another 2.87 million cows around to meet demand for beef products. That would be an extra 8.04 million gallons of methane a day, or 2.93 billion gallons of methane every year, going into our atmosphere, simply because people are too scared to trust a farmer to use medicine on their herd. In actuality, I would expect that number to be significantly higher in practice.

Other animals would have a similar impact on our environment and economy. Producing extra pigs and chickens to meet demand would mean more grain would go toward animal production than it currently does. You could expect your food prices to shoot up significantly. When demand stays the same but supply decreases, prices go up. Farmers will also have to pay more for their feed, so you will see meat prices increase.

I don't know exactly how much more I can say about antibiotic-free animal products. They are inhumane, harmful for the environment, and bad for the economy. I would highly encourage everyone to think twice about the food they are buying and the labels that are on it, especially in regards to antibiotics. Going "antibiotic free" is a practice that needs to be eradicated immediately.

Cover Image Credit: drcris.com.au

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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