Food Pyramid is Ancient History

Just like the pyramids found in Egypt, the Food Pyramid is now history.

Last week, the USDA introduced the newest health food guide: The Food Plate. This new guide to nutrition will replace the Food Pyramid as the United States’ main guide to healthy eating. The plate displays what a typical dinner plate should look like and how much of the surface area should be taken up by each type of food: grains, vegetables, fruit, protein, and dairy.The website for the Food Plate,, encourages people not only to eat healthier, but it offers easy substitution options and encourages people to have portion control.

The old Food Pyramid site included tips such as:

  • Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Keep levels of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars low
  • Make smart choices from every food group.
  • Find balance between food and physical activity.
  • Get the most nutrition out of calories.
  • Stay within daily calorie needs.

The Choose My Plate website has updated its tips and advice. The new tips displayed on the Food Plate home page are easier to understand and include:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less
  • Avoid oversize portions
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Choose foods with lower sodium
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Every day, the website has a new “tip of the day.” Today’s tip of the day is: Select fruits with more potassium often, such as bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.

Kathleen Zelman, RD, WebMD’s Director of Nutrition, says that the main point of the Food Plate is to show people that eating nutritional food and staying healthy is not as hard as it may seem. According to KSBY, the Food Pyramid replacement is part of  Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative – a program that encourages people of all ages to eat healthy and get active. Obama explains, “As long as (the plates are) half full of fruits and vegetables and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden.” Obama says that the food plate is easier to understand and makes more sense than even the most recent, 2010 Food Pyramid.

Here is the full guide to the Food Pyramid.

Some health professionals, however, disagree with Obama’s statement about fruits and vegetables. “Like the last pyramid icon, it is promoting an inedible dry diet, devoid of healthy animal fats and much needed salt,” explains Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. “Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will not compensate for the critical nutrients in foods like butter, egg yolks, whole milk, cheese, organ meats, and seafood.”

Although many people believe that the new Food Plate will help parents keep their kids healthy, many other people believe that the new food plate was a waste of money and that the real change needs to be in people’s attitude about health – not in the way the information is presented to them. Some of the main arguments against the Food Pyramid were not addressed with the new Food Plate. One of those issues is that the Food Pyramid and Food Plate each only address the food side of health, and that there are many aspects about eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that are not addressed – especially exercise.

The Food Plate (as well as the Food Pyramid) before it was aimed at children and parents in order to make sure that families were eating well. The problem that arises with that, however, is that once people get past fourth grade, chances are they will never look at the food pyramid again. As we get older, we develop bad health habits and those habits are very hard to break. Self motivation and encouragement from those around us, not government supported initiatives, is what is going to get people to change the way they exercise, eat, and live healthily.

Although the Food Plate might not be perfect, it has come a long way from the Food Pyramid – even if just making the information more visually appealing. The visual representation might not tell you to exercise or how to use portion control, but the website definitely advocates for those types of lifestyle changes. It also includes health links for specific demographics such as pregnant women, small children, general population, weight loss, etc.

In any case, despite arguments for or against it, the Food Pyramid is now a thing of the past. If nothing else, the website name “Choose My Plate” now makes more sense than the old one: “My Pyramid.”

To read more about the new Food Plate and what people are saying about it, visit: NY Daily News, CNN Health, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Want to hear a more comedic view on the new Food Plate? Check out The Onion. How about some insight into the graphic design behind the plate? Visit The Atlantic for some insight on the colors and overall design of the plate.

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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


5 Things You Wish You Had The Guts To Say

I found this on the blog “Thought Catalog” and thought it was pretty funny. It is probably a good thing that people don’t have the guts to say some of these things… but even so, there are times when it would be ridiculously satisfying to just say what you are thinking. Even if you are the nicest person in the entire world, I’m sure that you have been in at least one of these situations. I know I have.


5 Things You Wish You Had The Guts To Say by Ryan O’Connell

1. Tell your annoying friend that you don’t want to hang out anymore

We all have those friends who haven’t received the “THIS FRIENDSHIP IS OVER” memo. They still ask to hang out, still send us desperate texts and what can we do? String them along by giving then false promises obviously. “I’ve been really busy” or “I had cholera” are all valid excuses that have bought you time until the next run-in. You fill them with lies because you think it’s doing them a favor but in reality, it probably just makes them feel more rejected. But telling them the truth is also a harsh bummer. You don’t want to openly be an asshole. That’s socially unacceptable! Being a flaky bad friend, however, is. Weird, right? If being honest with someone was socially acceptable, we’d be all over it. Who knows, maybe it will be one day! In the meantime, we must continue to ignore those texts and feign an illness once a month. Because it’s the “right” thing to do…

2. Scream at a complete stranger

You know who I hate? Those people who stand on the street with those little clipboards and ask you, “Do you have a second for human rights?” or “Do you care about gay marriage?” You know they just want money from you but the way they phrase the question always makes you feel like such a jerk. I always get the gay marriage question because, duh, I’m gay and I really just want to tell them, “You know what? I do care about gay marriage. You know I care about gay marriage. That’s why you asked me. But I’m not in the mood to be guilt tripped into making a donation and I’m also kind of late meeting this guy who I plan to have sex with. Bye!” Wouldn’t that be awesome? Unfortunately, you would be seen as a psycho person with no soul so you can’t do anything except avert their eyes and keep on walking. Social acceptability strikes again! If I’m having a really bad day though, I’m just so tempted to be that crazy man in Rite Aid who’s yelling at the cashier for running out of his favorite conditioner. Instead of being That Guy, I just go home and release my anger in unhealthier ways like everybody else. Yay?

3. Just say no

If I could do it without burning bridges and looking like the # 1 mean girl, I would just say no to so many of the things that are asked of me. “No, I’m not going to write this article”, “No, I don’t want to hear about your dog”, “No, I don’t want to get drinks with you.” Just no. It might be the most liberating word in the English dictionary but you can’t say it that often because that would be…bad? I’m not really sure. I think if more people did something as simple as clicking “Not Attending” on a Facebook event invite instead of “Maybe”, the world would be a happier and most honest place. Can we just start with Facebook? “I AM NOT ATTENDING YOUR STUPID VISUAL LIGHT SHOW IN PARK SLOPE. LEAVE ME ALONE!” Ugh, it feels so good to even type it out. It feels like I just drank two glasses of “Truth’” wine.

4. When people ask how you are, tell them the truth

Okay, this one makes me sort of a hypocrite. On the rare occasion that someone actually tells me how they’re doing, I’m usually just like, “Ew. Just tell me you’re doing fine like everyone else!” While it’s true that laying all of your shit out on a random person can be weird, people could stand to be a little less robotic with their responses. “I’m doing great!”, they’ll say through clenched teeth before taking a big gulp from a glass of wine. Excuse me but part of the reason why people drink so much is because they can’t be “real” in so many situations. You aren’t allowed to be honest when you’re sober. That’s too weird! But get blackout wasted and tell me you hate me, and that’s totes fine!

5. Tell your ex: “I’m not happy that you’re happy!”

Running into exes is the worst. You have to stand there and lie about how amazing everything is in your life when you really just want to say “Screw you. Let’s get naked!” If you can have entire conversations that are knowingly comprised of BS, why can’t you have a conversation where you speak the truth? The worst is when your ex is like, “Oh and I have a new significant other now!” and you have to be like, “Oh my god, I’m so happy for you!” No, you’re not. You’re furious! This person saw you naked and now he’s seeing another naked body while you’re in a relationship with your DVR. Wouldn’t it feel so good to just respond with “Really? This news makes me feel terrible. I want you to go away now!” Yes. It would. It would feel so good until you realized you came off like a crazy person for actually speaking your mind. How dare you say what everyone is already thinking! You truly are nuts!

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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Just for Fun


Teen Took Own Life – Community Devastated

Tragedy hit the community of Danville, California when, early on Wednesday morning, police called off the ground search for Alliy Bayliss, the Danville teenager who went missing on Monday. They say that evidence was brought to their attention which leads them to believe that Alliy has taken her own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

The tight nit community of Danville is devastated by the news. Thousands of citizens in the area rallied together over the past three days to help law enforcement and Alliy’s parents find their daughter.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, at around noon this afternoon Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins announced that the search had been called off and that officials were ruling Alliy’s disappearance a suicide. “This is a very sad outcome,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the Bayliss family at this time and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts.”

San Ramon Valley High School principal Joseph Ianora sent an e-mail to parents regarding the tragedy. It reads:

To San Ramon Valley High parents,

I am deeply saddened to inform you that the police have called off the search for Allison Bayliss, and that they believe that she took her own life. This tragedy touches the lives of all of us in the San Ramon Valley High School community and our heartfelt sympathy is with Alliy’s family.

Understanding that many students and parents already have this information, we felt the need to communicate to our community as soon as possible.

We will do everything in our power to support our students, staff and parents this week and into the future, as our community deals with this terrible loss. The district crisis team, including school counselors and psychologists from our school and other district schools, will be on campus through the week. Our staff has already been informed and is meeting to talk about how we can best provide support to our students.

Additionally, district administrators will be present on the campus to assist the staff with a variety of needs. While the school and district staff will continue to provide support during the school day, there are things you can do to support your child as well.

Some common grief symptoms that you may see in your child include: sudden changes in behavior, lack of appetite, difficulty in focusing, acting silly or angry, feelings of worthlessness or self-hatred, and expressing unexpected emotion. Some students may withdraw. How children work though their grief depends largely on how family members reach out to them. The more children are encouraged to share their feelings, the more they will be able to cope with their loss. Acknowledging loss together as a family, can give comfort and support, even in the midst of pain and sorrow.

Our school psychologists are also available to parents during school hours. Additionally, there are community resources available including Discovery Counseling Center (925-820-1988) and the Contra Costa Crisis Center (800-273-8255).

We know that many of you will want to express your care and concern. At this time the school is respecting the family’s privacy. Until we have more information, if you would like to send cards or other condolences, please send them to the school office and we will deliver them to the family.

During this difficult time, the care and concern of each member of our school community is our highest priority as we grieve this loss together. Please feel free to contact the school if you have any questions.


Principal [Joseph Ianora]

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in News


Missing Teen Raises Concerns About Depression

Police are still searching for the 15 year old girl from Danville who disappeared Monday morning. Alliy Bayliss was last seen on the San Ramon Valley High School (SRVHS) campus at around 8 a.m. Monday. She is reported to be white, about 5’8″, and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a red zip-up hoodie.

Allison Bayliss went missing on Monday, May 23, 2011 at around 8 a.m.

Her parents, along with the help of police and thousands of community members are frantically looking around Danville and San Francisco. An apparent suicide note that she left at her house lead her father to believe that she may go to the Golden Gate Bridge. At around 4:45 Tuesday morning, Her father found her bike and helmet in a park near the bridge; the search has continued around the area. Local media stations have been contacted and community members have rallied together to post flyers and spread the word of her disappearance.

While law enforcement and family members are frantically searching for any clue as to where Alliy may be, the Danville community and fellow SRVHS students are hoping for her safe return. Students even started a Facebook group, FIND ALLIY BAYLISS, which has now amassed almost 10,000 members. Facebook users have been posting comments of love, support, and hope for her safe return. UPDATE: as of Wednesday morning, the FIND ALLIY BAYLISS Facebook page was taken down due to inappropriate comments. A new page has been created under a similar name: FIND Alliy Bayliss.

Comments include engouraging words such as:

“Alliy being a teenager is excruciatingly painful. But it doesn’t las forever. SO many people love you, let that carry you through any pain you are feeling.”

“The greatest joy I have is being a mother to a teen girl. I hope you come home safe and sound so that you can experience that kind of happiness for yourself, later, years from now. You have so much to look forward to. Go home sweetheart, you are loved.”

“Praying for Alliy’s safety and for her family… Alliy, I hope you are able to find a friend to talk to or even just to sit with. Please hold on to the truth that you are loved and cared about and you have friends who want to walk with you, listen to you, and just be present with you, even when life is so very hard. You are not alone”

This case has raised concerns, not only for Alliy’s well-being, but also for the status of her mental health. Alliy is considered at risk for depression and suicide. Many times, family and friends of people struggling with depression don’t know what signs to look for in regards to said issues. Many people don’t reach out due to fear of the negative stigma associated with depression; they are worried of what people will think about them and how they will be viewed by those they care about most.

Even though one’s teen years are many of the most difficult and emotionally wearing, many high schools (and colleges) do not yet know how to deal with issues such as teen depression, self-harm, and suicide. SRVHS has had counselors available to its students throughout the past few days. Many students remain hurt and confused by Alliy’s disappearance. The hope is that the on-call counselors will be able to help students with any pain associated with the situation.

Over the past few years there have been discussions of putting up net on the Golden Gate  Bridge in order to prevent people from jumping off and taking their own lives as often. Kevin Hines who jumped off the Bridge at the age of 19 and survived says that most people who jump instantly regret doing so. Although it is still to be determined as to whether or not Alliy attempted to jump off the bridge, there have been other cases within the past couple months involving teens who have jumped or fell off the bridge; one was a prank and the other was an attempted suicide – both survived. Both stories gained national attention.

As search parties continue to look for the missing girl, community members are doing anything and everything they can to help the family. Many have signed up to bring meals as well as dropping off younger kids at school, and helping out with anything else that may need to be done in this difficult time. Today, countless students throughout the area wore blue, Alliy’s favorite color, as a sign of support and awareness. Danville Congregational Church is hosting an interfaith vigil tomorrow night at 7:00 as a way to show its support for Alliy and her family.

More information can be found at the following news stations: San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, KTVU, and Patch.

Anybody with information about Alliy or her whereabouts should call 911 immediately.

For those struggling with depression themselves or know somebody who is, visit The Love Out Loud Campaign to find different resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: 1-800-784-2433. (UPDATE: Those who are struggling with these issues in the Bay Area should also check out the Bay Area Suicide and Crisis Intervention Alliance)

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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Assignments, News, Videos


Three Rapes Too Many

Within the past nine days the Cal Poly community has experienced something unimaginable: three women have come forward saying that they were raped. The first rape occurred on Saturday, May 7 at the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep), the second (May 12) and third (May 15) at on campus apartments where many second year students live. Although alcohol was involved in all three assaults, police are saying they are three different incidences and that none are linked.

The initial press release that was sent out by campus police after the rape at Sig Ep caused an uprising with students who felt as though the campus police were blaming the victims for what happened to them. Once the second rape was reported, President Jeffrey Armstrong sent out an e-mail to the campus community saying how sorry he was for the women involved and asking how the campus can become a community of change following these incidences.

His e-mail states: “Beyond our concern for the women involved – and my heart goes out to both young women — the most useful questions we can ask right now are simple: What can we learn from these incidents? What more will we do as a community to prevent sexual violence? What more will we do to eliminate use of illegal drugs and reckless consumption of alcohol?”

Many students have rallied behind the women, saying that, no matter what, the women are not at fault. Their statements come in contrast to yet other students who feel as though some of the blame should be on the women who perhaps drank too much at a party or don’t remember hooking up with the guy that they ended up sleeping with. One student has turned himself in with connection to the Sig Ep rape; the two other suspects have not been arrested and will remain out of police custody until the police have figured out how to proceed with the evidence and arrests.

Students who know the man who turned himself in are confused and unsure of what the real story is. Many people don’t realize that most rapes are committed by somebody the victim knows.

Joseph Trupiano, the student who turned himself in with connection to the Sig Ep rape, has been described by friends as caring, compassionate, and “a stand-up guy.” Many of them do not understand how he could be involved with such a serious crime.

Armstrong also explained how important it is for fellow students, friends, and party goers to stand up and stop acts of sexual violence in the future. “This is not who we are as members of the Cal Poly community,” he explained. “This is not merely unacceptable behavior; this is deplorable, contemptible, infuriating behavior. Perhaps some who failed to report what they knew stemmed from a fear that they would be in trouble as well. That’s a change in culture we must embark on immediately. Others, perhaps, simply didn’t care. I don’t know that we can fix that sort of calloused behavior, but we surely must try.”

Local media stations have been quick to pick up on these stories. Questions have arisen about whether these reports show an increased number of sexual assaults, or whether the reports simply show an increase in confidence that coming forward about rape will be taken seriously. President Armstrong has set up a task force in order to figure out how to address the most recent rapes, as well as prevent similar acts of sexual assault from happening in the future.

Here are links to stories by KSBY, KCOY, and The Tribune.

Update: the story has most recently been picked up by bigger news sites such as the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Jour 410


A Headline of Eye-Catching Proportions

Any journalist will tell you that a good headline is one of the most important things to include in an article. The headline tells your readers what the article is about – just about everybody bases whether or not they are going to read an article based on those few bold words. The following are some of today’s headlines from a few local news websites and why I think they were successful or not.

Good Headline: Jury Finds Santa Barbara Woman Guilty of Stealing From Nuns – This headline was effective because it clearly states what the story is about, but leaves enough mystery for the reader to stay intrigued and want to keep reading. Unfortunately the article was not as interesting as the headline lead on, but the headline accomplished its mission: to intrigue me enough to make me keep reading!

Bad Headline: National Fraternity Tells Local Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon to Cease Operations During Rape Investigation – Although I find this story interesting and somewhat applicable to my own life, this headline does not succeed in encouraging me to keep reading the article. The headline says the most important information about the story and does not leave enough mystery or suspense to create a desire for me to keep reading. Perhaps a better headline would be “Local Fraternity Suspended During Rape Investigation” – although similar, the reader has to click on the article and read a little bit more to figure out the entire story.

Good Headline: Large Scale Meth Bust in SLO County –  Maybe it is a personal interest thing, but every time I see an article about a drug bust I am always intrigued and tend to want to find out more about the story. This headline is short and sweet, but also leaves the reader wondering certain questions that can only be answered by reading the rest of the article; questions like where, exactly, the drug bust happened, who was involved, and what “large scale” actually means.

Bad Headline: Family of Ducks Close Lanes on Highway 101 – Despite the obvious “who cares” factor about this story (I mean, really, a family of ducks?), this is another headline that doesn’t leave much to be discovered by clicking through and reading the rest of the article. The article didn’t really include anything of substance, besides the fact that Southbound 101 was closed for a while. A better headline could be “Unusual Events Close Highway 101” – people would want to read the article to figure out what was “unusual” about the closure.

Good Headline: Local Bank Branch Robbed Twice in Same Week – This headline gives enough information to make it interesting, but not too much information that I don’t have to read the rest of the article. The headline makes me want to click the link and read the entire article because I have a lot of unanswered questions: which bank? have they caught the people responsible? when did it happen? what is being done about the robberies?

Bad Headline: Search for Suspect Continues – Unlike other headlines that I have pinpointed, this headline doesn’t give enough information. Although one would think that the mystery associated with the missing information from the article would cause me to want to know more, it was so open and indefinite that my eye just kind of skipped over the article. A little more information would probably cause me to be more interested. A headline like “Armed and Dangerous Drug Suspect Still at Large” would cause me to want to know where and when he was last seen, who he is, and what he is wanted for.

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Jour 410


How To: Lemon Pudding Cakes

My step mom teaches high school AP Environmental Science. Ever since she started teaching about 7 years ago my family has been hyper aware of our environmental impact. We started recycling just about everything, compost, participate in electronic recycling, etc. Unfortunately, as a college student, I can’t afford to take the environmental measures that my parents do – it’s expensive!! They only buy produce from local growers (no food from over 100 miles away), eat vegan meals once a week, go to farmers market every week and only eat fruits and veggies that are in season, they even have their own planters boxes in the backyard. The fresh food tastes so much better than the stuff I buy at school (have you ever had organic strawberries? They are ridiculously sweeter and tastier than the regular kind.)

Anyway, I guess all of that was just a roundabout way of telling you where I got the following recipe. My step mom bought a healthy living cookbook a while ago. They try at least one new recipe every week. The following was one of the first recipes that they tried from the book and it has been a favorite recipe for the entire family ever since. For my video editing class I had to film, narrate, and edit a How To video similar to the style of HowCast. I chose to do the healthy lemon pudding cake that my family loves. Check it out! And try the recipe… it’s delicious!!

What are your favorite recipes?

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Jour 303

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