spectating participant

October 29, 2005

CalorieLab Calorie Counter News » McDonald’s to add nutrition data to packaging

Filed under: dining, food — suzanne henderson @ 8:51 am

CalorieLab Calorie Counter News » Archives » McDonald’s to add nutrition data to packaging

I have to praise McDonald’s additional step toward consumer education. In the fast food places that I have visited, they seem to be the only one consistently offering nutritional data to their customers. I have seen it printed are large posters, viewable while waiting in line, and accessible pamphlets of information that customers can take home. I have also noticed that they are listing the nutritional facts on the back of their dine-in tray placemats. Having these things readily available versus available only on demand is a check-plus in my book.

Of the complaints against McDonald’s decision, this one really bothers me:

Both Jacobson and Banzhaf complained that customers would not see the nutritional information until after ordering their food, preventing comparison of items. In addition, customers who order multiple items need to add up the values themselves.

The information, prior to ordering, is there (in the majority of the places I’ve visited) and accessible if customers want to know the nutritional content of the meal they are considering. Printing the facts on food labels is more for education for those who don’t really care or who may not be considering the nutritional values. If their food starts showing up with this data on it, many will read it and possibly start reconsidering some of their choices if they are a chronic diner. It is easier to ignore something that is not seen and (hopefully) harder to choke down one’s 3rd double cheeseburger in a week if they are very aware of how it affects their daily nutritional intake.

And the argument about multiple items, come on! No, we do not need to become such a hand holding society that we assume people can’t add. Yes, some may view that simple adding the information to food labels as just an act, but I still see it as a step in the direction of education for responsible consumerism. Do I think we need to print them out a nutritional receipt with their purchase as well, no. Self-reliance and responsibility is still on the individual. The presence of the facts on their food should be enough of an external motivator for dietary change (if they need it or care).

All this being said, there is nothing wrong with eating at McDonald’s and ordering a sandwich high in saturated fat and calories. It is all about taking in account your daily nutritional intake and maintaining the proper balance throughout the day. I have been considering all the information about choosing healthier fast-food options and I considered doing that yesterday when my family went to McDonald’s (something that happens a couple times a year). And then it finally dawned on me that I’d had very little to eat that day, my nutritional intake was extremely low in all categories, and getting my favorite BigMac was not going to hurt me. I understand that for people who eat fast food daily, making healthier choices is a positive step to improved health. But for those of us who are actually on the right track nutritionally, enjoy your favorite items when you go out.

October 21, 2005

rainy afternoon reading

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 4:20 pm

I disappear from my computer for long periods of time. I’ll lose track of websites that I like reading and just skim over the last two entries or so when I get the chance. However, there is one blog that I enjoy reading so much that I will be sure to read every single entry I’ve missed. And this isn’t a small number of entries. But, I just have to share what I find to be very entertaining, so much that I’ll kill an hour of a rainy afternoon, leisurely meandering through:


cold, the clouds

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:08 am

You brushed past me, rushed and full,
nothing on my account.
On my way to someplace else,
before being rushed out.
How to justify the way your touch
threw a cage around my mind.
Too cold, too much, returning,
falling down all the time.
Walking past, moving farther back,
letting nothing wet my skin.
Swirled in emotion of dissatisfaction,
and oppressed disappointment, again.

My window, always open window,
lets you inside.
The past’s purple blossoms, ripped,
stand and sway in his vase.
The blooms still fresh yet one is
beginning to wilt away.
Tapping of your fingertips against
the soft flesh of my ear, recognized.
Just why, why again, am I sitting right here?

October 19, 2005

killing time…

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 12:26 pm

I was killing time catching up on reading, but then I looked at my page. Wow, my typing is terrible. The misspelled words, the word substitutions, so many problems. I remember going through everything once and correcting all the spelling and grammar errors. But I think that was three or four years ago and the volume of content since there makes that idea impossible. Of course, I could just focus on making sure I have no more errors in the future, but that also means that nothing will ever get published. I can barely find time to write, much less take the time to nit pick every entry for errors. Especially since I normally do read over everything once or twice, but unless I print it out, I don’t see the errors. So much for that idea. Guess I will just have to accept the fact that the world will probably believe that I am just an idiot who can’t write. I mean, that’s their choice and I know the difference, so who cares. Let’s just hope that I never become terribly famous to the point that people decide to start digging up all sorts of dirt on me. Cause then they may just take my poor spelling skills and typing errors and fly them loudly to denounce my credibility. Of course, I’d just argue that having great ideas doesn’t mean you have to know how to spell them correctly. Ha!

This is a slow week, thank goodness. I seem to be alternating slow and over-scheduled weeks lately. We’re having some friends over for dinner tonight, but since I’d be cooking anyways, that doesn’t add any real activity to the week. This weekend M&M will be out of town and Chris and Alex are heading down to a metal working flea market in Virginia. Yippee! That means that I will have the house to myself for a while. I’m pretty excited about that. Chris seems to think that there is something dysfunctional about being happy when people are gone, specifically when I am happy when M&M are out of the house. I try to explain the fact that I’ve never really lived with anyone before. Sure, I’ve lived with partners and Alex, but that is different. It is the concept of people being somewhat removed being in the same house that makes it different. Chris has always lived with people and so I guess it is just natural for him to always have people about. Me, I just like knowing that it is just me (or us) in the house. Not that it matters at all, because the majority of the time M&M are asleep or hiding out in their room. I guess I can’t explain the difference; it is just something that I like. And especially because that means that I can get some cleaning done in the house without interruptions.

Right now I am just waiting for my Educational Measurements and Statistics class to start. We had a midterm on Monday; I doubt that we will get the scores back today. I am sure that I did well on the test. However, the other EDMS midterm I had yesterday didn’t feel like it went as well. I’m minorly irked about that, but I’ve decided to get over it. I’ll just know how to prepare for her tests in the future. But most importantly, ignore her notes and just read the book. Sigh, I prefer to get out of a class without actually reading the book. It is working pretty well in my other classes so far. I’ve missed my math class twice this week. I guess the only problem with that is the attitude I’ll get from the instructor for it. He wants us to pass the class and the only way that is possible (according to him) is to come to class. Well, we’re doing really simple stuff right now and the midterms and extra am-snuggles won out the past two days. But, I think I’ll make a point of making it to class the rest of the week. And also make it to the gym the rest of the week as well. It seem the fitness schedule is constantly being restructured each week. But then, I do make up various justifications for why it is okay. And I guess that knowing how I am doing fitness wise, and have been steadily losing weigth, makes it all okay in the end. However, I feel my mood/energy decreasing ever so slightly and know that is the best way to perk them both back up. If it weren’t for the dinner party and the “future securement” plans for later, I’d probably head over to the gym after this class. But, things to do and Wednesday is the best day I have for doing things. M&M are gone and I get out of class before 2pm. And now, time for that class… not a bad way to kill time.

October 14, 2005

what about grad school….

Filed under: school — suzanne henderson @ 4:33 pm

I had this thought before, to pursue the 5th years masters program with the Educational Measurements and Statistics department. Of course, the my frustration with math had be wondering if I needed my brain checked, since it seemed like such a contradiction to consider a statistical career. But now… after being about halfway through the semester in two EDMS classes, I really really like what I am doing and I feel like it has an actual job skill attached to it. Right now, my anth degree is starting to feel a little foolish in the limited work opportunities available department. And, I’ve been in school forever, so why not take one more year and actually have two degrees to show for it. Now, just to figure out what I need to do to get into grad school and how to pay for it.

creature comforts cuizine

Filed under: dining, food — suzanne henderson @ 10:38 am

I’ve been fading away on the [food] scale lately. It seems that nothing sounds good to my mind or stomach. In trying to come up with somewhere to go eat at, my mind draws a blank and thinks of the massive redundancy of our frequently visited restaurants and the varietal staleness of the menu items. Wednesday, I couldn’t think of anything to eat and we eventually ended up at [BJ Pumpernickles] which always offers a broad selection of foods. Alex was in a finicky mood and took longer than usual to select from the generic kids menu. I took twice as long as she did and finally resolved to order chocolate pie instead of bothering with anything real for dinner. I’d been eyeing the matzo ball soup and when Chris slyly mentioned this to our oh-so-accommodating-waiter, a cup appeared on the table for me to try. It was good but not what I wanted. Chris had a Greek wrap that was closed to my undefined craving, but still lacking. The pie was great, but also left me feeling a little disappointed in the entire subject of food and eating. And then, last night rolls around, and again I cannot come up with anything that I feel is worth shoving down my throat. Chris offers up all sorts of options, friendly trying to make a reasonable accommodation to my new found selective pallet, but nothing holds out. Finally, being defeated by my lack of direction, he opts for ordering pizza. Just as he is about to click the order button, I notice a menu we’d collected from our visit to [Roots] grocery store several months ago….

Ah-ha, something perked up inside and I eagerly read over the menu options. [Great Sage] (Spencerville, Maryland) was the name of the small eatery next door and the menu was filled with all sorts of vegetable goodness. A vegetarian establishment, they looked like they put real effort in the items they offered and they all sounded good. Suddenly, I was starving and couldn’t get out the door fast enough to try some of the items. And what a treat it was. We started with an appetizer of roasted vegetables with goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic and a spiced pumpkin chai latte and a pumpkin smoothie. That was really the best; I could have eaten two of them, except I was quickly filling up before my main course was even close to being done. I got a vegan Shepard’s pie and while I hate for vegetarian food to be a meatless replica of something else, I still found it quite appealing. There were a few things about it that could have been better, but still wonderful overall. Chris got an Indian cakes dish with lentils and all sorts of curry goodness. Alex ended up with the mac and cheese from the kids menu which didn’t go over well. I think it was the whole wheat pasta and the use of real cheese that really did her in. Neon orange mac and cheese is rally the only kind she likes. Oh, I was so happy over the food. Of course, that was hampered a little by the $60+ bill that came with it. Ouch, wasn’t expecting that. But then we did get specialty drinks that are always overpriced and essentially two appetizers (Chris also got a side salad). So, all in all, it was still what my palette needed.

I went to be thinking of all the wonderful things I can start cooking again and looking forward to the shopping trip today and the dinner that will result from it. Sometimes, I guess you just need a little extra kick to get the tastes going again. And now that it is fall, this is a perfect time to settle into those wonderfully rich dishes that you just want to snuggle into a warm sweater and devour.

October 10, 2005

finally dry..

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 9:13 am

It was another wet, wet PDF. It rained and rained, as it has done before, and left a little to be desired in terms of weather but not in spirit. This was the smallest burn I’ve seen in ages. I guess too many mud burn refugees decided that it wasn’t worth a repeat experience. By late Saturday afternoon, I was seeing similar conditions to the previous mud fest. The ground had given up on absorbing anymore water and everywhere there was foot traffic, there was inches of mud. But, I still felt like it did a bit better than the first one, in terms of wetness.

I must say that I am happy that many people stayed home. While I am sure the lack of participants had something to do with the lack of organizational volunteers, I still can’t help wondering how the hell this weekend manage to flow at all. This isn’t a statement of fault, but it was another serious eye opener. Hopefully catastrophe did not strike since my departure around 5pm last night. Perhaps it did and we’ll have a whole mess of people shouting loud about it once they get home. But even then, it is simply another learning lesson.

It was just an average weekend in a field with friends. Not too much gear, enough to keep ourselves fed and the inside of our tent dry; unfortunately, for alex, her tent was swimming the very first night. The warmth on Friday and Saturday was a real blessing. I’m not sure how much I’d be smiling if Sunday’s chill had hit a bit earlier, especially since I was only dry when sleeping. Alex managed to survive, though this morning, after too little sleep, she wasn’t sound all too happy/chipper about the experience. Howevver, that is much like alex to focus on the bad and to forget the fact that every time I saw her this weekend she was running around smiling and happy. And then, on Sunday, she spent about 6 hours straight on a trampoline… and then wondered why her back was hurting later that evening. I know she had some fun even if she’s already forgotten it.

On the way out, we stopped for inner at the Restraunt on 301, just South of 299. Certainly not a place I’d go to again. But it seemed to fit the bill for a place where we could look weathered and not feel out of place. Of course, I don’t really care about such things, but I think Chris is a little more conscious of that stuff. Luckily I have a late start today for class. We were able to sleep in a little, get the Blazer unloaded in time for Chris to get to work just an hour late. And I’ll probably even get my homework done for Wednesday. But first, breakfast!

October 7, 2005

ducks in order

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 12:52 pm

all in a row, wadding through the drops pouring down from the sky. [Playa del Fuego] starts today, and despite the rain forecasted for the entire weekend, I’m quite excited about it. This just might be the slimmest trip I’ve ever planned. And yet, somehow it still costs the same amount. And how is it that I go camping several times a year, but I seem to always need to get some sort of gear? Had to get camp chairs and a shade structure/shelter this time. I’ve been borrowing and sharing stuff for so long, that must be why. Only borrow 2 things from M&M this time, but also only taking the Blazer and not the Big Bad Truck(tm). No burn barrel. No dual hammocks. No containers of costumes. I’m really looking forward to the weekend curled around my honey any chance I can get. Snuggled into this warmth, letting the rain fall and just not caring about anything else in the world. Have I mentioned how much I like this guy? He is a damn fine man, thats for sure. I’ve thought a lot of such wonderful things and love and affection and the heart’s longing and have smiled at these thoughts and of how my heart has led me to see such happiness in the world and how happy my heart must be to know the love, joy, and happiness I’ve found.

As for the other ducks in a row, had 3 big tests recently. My math placement test was the one weighing heaviest on my mind. I found out that I passed the test and placed into Math 111 like I wanted. Yay! I event got the highest score on the logs and exponential functions in the class. I was pretty happy about that. Yesterday, I also had my first Family Studies Exam and I got a 98.5 on that one. No big surprise there. I didn’t do as well on my Anthropology test (last week) as I had hoped, but I still managed an 86. All good news to find out today before going away for the weekend.

now, for the wet trip out to Delaware…