Katerina Nickel
Freshman, Biology Major

Our society constantly expands in every imaginable facet, especially in terms of populations, development and technology. Simultaneously, there is a decrease in resources, green land and natural products. This discrepancy is the source of the lies and will lead to the loss in the health of humanity if we do not: Acquire Apply and Act on the knowledge concealed from us.
Like many, Jovani Hernandez, a computer engineering freshman, took a quick glance at an ingredient label only to find many chemicals he had not heard of, let alone knew how to pronounce.
As a student who attended the Food Babe presentation (a Common Reading event) presented by Vani Hari (national food critic blogger: Ever hear about the discovery that an ingredient found in yoga mats was found in Subways’ breads?), Hernandez didn’t let the claims sway him into believing that the chemicals in food are unhealthy.

“I trust the Food and Drug Administration to regulate any foods that are truly harmful or correctly label harmful foods,” explains Hernandez. Hernandez’s food philosophy consists of trying to eat healthy, which he does by choosing food not harmful to the body and adding more food groups to every meal.
Although consumption of food is a personal concern, it also reaches into the national sphere. “If your decisions on what you can eat are limited because healthy food is not available to you, then it becomes a national concern,” Hernandez says. Although it may seem futile and daunting, we need to step up and do our part in fighting the dominance of chemicals in our everyday food because when the community is at risk, we are at risk.
Many people are aware of chemical additives in foods such as High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG; few question their value and necessity.
Nadia Hassan is a biology freshman who doesn’t let chemicals control what she eats. Although she tries to avoid trans-fats, she admits, “I do not avoid all the foods I probably should.” Many can relate. (Complete abstinence from cookies would prove to be a dull and bland existence).

While nutritious eating is important in leading a healthy life, it is okay to indulge occasionally. Hassan proposes a reasonable solution of balancing needs and desires (and proportions). “It is when people don’t care at all that more chemicals are added and more health risks become common,” she observes.
Why should we care?
“In America, there is a huge problem with obesity… and most of the time it is from overeating unhealthy foods,” Hassan explains.
Is caring alone enough? Hassan acknowledges the limits of our capabilities when she says, “Not everyone can have a
farm and grow their own foods, but by having some action and getting these food issues out into the public, people can help make a difference in bettering our food supply.”
We need to spread the word in order to garner the attention of the people in charge so they can change their methods.
Hassan advises, “Figuring out ways to have quality food without the additives.”
If there is a will, then there is a way to have both quantity and quality. Even though it might prove to be a hassle and quite costly, isn’t it worth it?
Aren’t we worth it?
Freshman chemistry major, Monica Ionescu, shares her definition of healthy food: “…unprocessed and not pre-packaged foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains.”
That might not sound as enticing as Chick-fil-a or Starbucks, but it does provide the daily intake of nutrients that is crucial to our well-being.
When someone tells you not to do something, it often makes you want to do it all the more. Instead of commanding others to change their eating habits, we should try to present evidence based information. The important thing is that the information is there for everyone to utilize.

In the end, science is progressing, studies are coming out with new claims and new discoveries are constantly being made.

Who do we trust? Who do we listen to?
What food claims are true and false? What eating habits are right and wrong? In the end, it’s all about (as Ionescu phrases it), “…making smarter dietary choices.” We want to enjoy life to the fullest and we can only do that if we take care of our bodies first and
make sure they are up for the all the challenges we plan on undertaking.
But first, are you up for the food challenge?