Food and Politics in the Presidential Election

Food and Politics in the Presidential Election

How food and nutrition should factor into your vote.
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When making an informed decision about which candidate to vote for, we look at a variety of issues, but when it comes to food we seem to fail to make a few important connections. Food is one of the basic necessities of life. Without food, our bodies would cease to function. In the United States, we have an abundance of food and, therefore, don’t think about it enough. We pop pills for every problem we have and seem to forget about the existence of root causes entirely. I have even heard doctors admit that they learned more about drugs in medical school than they did nutrition. This doesn’t sound like a political issue—does it? Even as someone who actively thinks about this topic, I didn’t put the pieces together in my head until I watched a great food documentary called PlantPure Nation that discussed how food lobbyists have negatively influenced dietary guidelines in the US.

First, let's talk about how much food actually does impact your health. How many times have you heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?" Have you ever really thought about what the food you put into your body will do to your overall health? A proper diet will prevent most of the chronic diseases that are prevalent in this country and, in some cases, can reverse them. We aren’t taught how to feed ourselves properly in school and what we are taught is not based purely in science. Lobbying and politics have heavily skewed the dietary guidelines provided by the USDA, even during the most recent 2015 revision. We need lawmakers that believe in preventative medicine, see the problem with food lobbyists having such a strong influence, and who will vote for or write laws that are conducive to humane, sustainable farming practices. If you disagree with me, really think about how important food is to human health and really ask yourself if you’re ok with food lobbyists having more influence than scientists. TedTalks: Chew on This is a great resource to learn about food and is available on YouTube and Netflix.

The primary concern everyone seems to have is GMOs, but that's not the only issue that's important to the production and promotion of healthy, wholesome food. The primary reason we should be worried about the candidates' stances on GMOs is because, regardless of whether GMOs are good or bad, the public deserves complete transparency on what they're consuming. The weekly presidential series, Food Directions LLC, has highlighted the stances of each candidate on nutrition, food, and agriculture policy. Instead of thinking about those topics from a corporate perspective, consider them the same way you do healthcare policies. Food is what prevents you from getting sick in the first place and lawmakers have a lot of sway in how we as a country are fed, so do your research.

The FD Dish series is very well done and is unbiased, but for those who do not have the time or interest to watch it, I will quickly summarize each candidate here. Both Democratic candidates support GMO labeling. Hillary Clinton, however, has been highly criticized for her involvement with Monsanto, which should be taken into consideration when evaluating her as a candidate. She does, however, have a clear plan of action when it comes to food policies. Bernie Sanders has regularly expressed a belief that Americans have the right to know what's in their food and consistently supports both sustainable farming and important nutritional programs. All of the Republican candidates oppose GMO labeling.

I will cover the three Republican candidates that are currently in the lead: Donald Trump supports family farming, but seems to prefer state-based action to federal. Over the course of the last 16 years, Trump has flip-flopped from liberal to anti-socialist views when it comes to healthcare policies. This begs the question, what else has he changed his mind about? According to FD Dish, Marco Rubio believes the 'environment can be "fixed" with a free market and less government', and has spoken about the importance of food security, but these topics have not been among his major concerns in the past. Jeb Bush is on a paleo diet and actually wrote to the USDA about the importance of rabbit consumption. He believes in something called "catastrophic healthcare" and also supports renewable energy sources such as ethanol, corn, and soybeans. He created an extensive policy to reform the Floridian education system, which suggests that, as president, he would be in support of improving school nutrition programs.

"You are what you eat," and what's available for you to eat is the responsibility of our lawmakers and entities such as the USDA and the FDA. Unfortunately, food lobbyists have had a bigger impact on lawmakers than scientists have, which has, in turn, had a negative impact on the health of Americans nationwide. To make America great again, to make us a healthy nation, we need a president who truly understands food policy and values public health over capital interest.

Cover Image Credit: Popsugar

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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