A look at life at the intersections of wellness, culture, and current events

Author: Markita Lewis

WIRTW Roundup – July 7, 2017!

WIRTW Roundup – July 7, 2017!

Yikes, it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, yeah? I’ve been busy *and* unmotivated so that’s fun. On the bright side, I became scrimmage eligible in roller derby recently and got to see the Deftones and Rise Against this past weekend!  I’ve also […]

My Size Does Not Determine My Athletic Capabilities

My Size Does Not Determine My Athletic Capabilities

I get two types of responses when I tell people that I do roller derby: “Wow, that’s so awesome! You’re such a badass for doing derby!” Or, “Wait, you do roller derby? But you’re so tiny!” I find it amusing that people assume that my […]

WIRTW Weekly Roundup – June 14, 2017!

WIRTW Weekly Roundup – June 14, 2017!

Hello everyone! June seems to be flying past much faster than I expected, but I still have had time to find some good articles around the internet!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Eat the Damn Eyeball

This article talks about a Korean-American man’s struggle with proving that he’s “Korean enough” to his relatives through food, and science fiction’s relationship to the “other.” Why are alien foods such a punchline in science fiction, and how does that relate to us respecting cultures from around the world?

On Cultural Appropriation, Canadians are Hypocrites

You’ve heard of Sasquatch, right? Did you know that its origin is a bastardization of the original First Nations myths of the Sasq’ets forest people? Though this article focuses on cultural appropriation in Canada, it still holds relevant for the rest of us.

Waist to Height Ratio: A better way to measure body fat than BMI

Anthropometry is the measurement of the human individual. BMI is an example of an anthropometric measurement, but it’s better used for population data rather than the individual. In addition, BMI doesn’t take into consideration of frame size or body fat. Many health professionals familiar with these types of measurements will tell you this. Other measurements we use for body adipose measurements include skinfolds, waist-to-hip ratios, and techniques like bioelectrical impedence, DXA, or water displacement, but as far as practicality and cost goes, BMI is pretty easy to calculate. A new study published in PLoS ONE shows that a relatively new measurement, waist-to-height ratio, could be just as easy and a better predictor at visceral fat (fat around organs = bad) than BMI. I recommend reading the discussion section of this article for further information on the strengths and weaknesses of these measurements. I’m definitely interested in the future of this measurement in healthcare practice.

People Don’t Want Healthy Vegetables, They Want Decadent Ones

A study by psychologists at Stanford University found that people selected more vegetable dishes when given “indulgent” names, vs bland or health positive/health negative messages. Let me start off by saying that this study is bullshit. If you click the link, you can see a table of some of the food descriptions they’ve given the foods. For beets: “dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned beets,” “beets,” “lighter-choice beets with no added sugar,” “high-antioxidant beets.” Or let’s look at the sweet potatoes: “zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes,” “sweet potatoes,” “cholesterol-free sweet potatoes,” “wholesome sweet potato superfood.” It seems glaringly obvious that menu items that describe the cooking methods and flavorings of the foods have more appeal. You don’t need to add superfluous words like “zesty” or “twisted.”  Let me know how a food is cooked or what the flavorings are and I’m more likely to try it. That’s not indulgent or decadent by any means. People appreciate knowing the health benefits of food too, but health by itself isn’t much motivation to eat something if it doesn’t taste good.

Why the Story of Southern Food is as Much About People as Dishes

John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance talks about his new book The Potlikker Papers, which gets into the aspects of “race, class, gender, [and] ethnicity.” I’ve read several books published by the Southern Foodways Alliance so I expect this one to be good as well. Food studies people may be interested in checking this out.

Everything You Need to Know About Eating Activated Charcoal

Lately I’ve been seeing things about activated charcoal all over the place, and its popularity among foodies as a pleasing aesthetic (e.g, black ice cream) and as a powerful detoxer available in oral supplements and external beauty supplies. This article does a really good job of explaining what activated charcoal is, the cultural appeal of charcoal-dyed foods and the potential health risks of excessively consuming charcoal.

I Had a Meatmare: why Flesh Haunts the Dreams of Vegetarians

Androids dream of electric sheep, and sometimes vegetarians dream of eating hamburgers, even years after removing meat from their diets! This article gets into the psychology and social significance of meat eating (or abstinence from meat). For some, social anxiety, guilt, and morality associated with abstinence of meat eating can lead to these meatmares. I highly recommend reading this article! To my vegetarian/vegan readers, have you ever dreamt of eating meat?

“Dear Orlando” – One Year After the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

From the article: “The “Dear Orlando” photo series, released today on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, features survivors, family members, and first responders giving their own accounts of what happened, and how their lives have changed in the wake of that night.” While looking through this photo essay I took some time to reflect on the state of LGBTQ rights, especially for people of color, and what needs to be done in the continuous fight for equality/equity.

50 Years After the Loving Verdict, A Photo Essay

50 years. It’s sometimes hard for me to grasp that my mother is older than the decision that overturned the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States and made interracial marriage legal. Things like this serve as a reminder to me that many of our most significant cultural changes are still quite young. Check the article for a brief history of the Loving v Virginia case and a few images of the photo essay The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait by Grey Villet.

That’s all for this week! Are there any other recent articles that you think are worth a read?

Until next time…

How I Fixed My Relationships in My Sleep

How I Fixed My Relationships in My Sleep

We are very different sleepers. I’m a light sleeper, and he can sleep in until noon. I like to sleep on my side, and he needs to sleep on his back, otherwise he’ll be in pain. I tend to have dreams all the time, and […]

WIRTW: Gulp by Mary Roach

WIRTW: Gulp by Mary Roach

Flatulence, and fistulas, and fecal matter – Oh my! Last week I read Gulp by Mary Roach, a novel looking at the science of the alimentary canal (aka, the digestive tract). I’ve wanted to read Gulp since seeing her interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart  years ago […]

Coming Soon: Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017!

Coming Soon: Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017!

For once in my life, I am thankful for targeted advertising on a social media website. While scrolling through Tumblr, an advertisement showed up on my feed for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017.  Immediately I got excited and my day improved by 1000%. You may be wondering, what’s a fringe festival? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2010. Photo by Festival Fringe Society

A fringe festival is an annual, open access festival that invites the local community to  experience and participate in freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. At a fringe, you can find comedy, acrobatics, musical performances, theater, and other forms of performing art that you may not see in mainstream arts society. Yeah, some of it may be weird but that’s what you go for.

The most famous (and the original) of the fringes is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  You can check out their page to learn how a group of post-WWII festival crashers came to create one of the most highly regarded performance festivals in the world. I am fortunate enough to know a group of physical theatre students at LSU who performed in Edinburgh back in 2014 with their piece Origin and got to see a part of it performed at an on-campus research conference. Fringe festivals have got some really great stuff.

Photo by Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017

Now that I’ve hopefully drawn you in, let’s talk about the Hollywood Fringe. This year, the festival officially runs from June 8-25th. There are previews of some Fringe shows happening from June 1-6th, and there’s a big opening night party on June 7th.

A tip: going to the website itself is going to be the best way figure out what’s going on. There’s going to be multiple performances going on simultaneously in different venues. Because of this, it may be overwhelming to dive into a fringe without some kind of plan.

I haven’t looked at the entire schedule yet, but there are some shows that look promising. Take, for example, Buffy Kills Edward: A Musical Romp. It’s an musical AU where the characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are introduced to the characters of Twilight. Need I say more? Paul Yen’s Secret Identity Crisis reimagines iconic superheroes to examine the history of Asians in America. And if you’re looking for something a bit more existential, Void is a story of two sisters debating the pros and cons of cryogenic freezing to avoid death, if only for a while.

If you happen to not be in the Hollywood area, do not fret! There are fringes around you (hopefully)! If you don’t know how to find one, ask your artsy/circus performer friend and they might know.

See you there!

A Review of Never Alone (video game)

A Review of Never Alone (video game)

Earlier this year I came across the 2014 game Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) produced by Upper One Games- the first indigenous-owned commercial game company in the United States. That day, I entered a stream of the game in progress on Twitch and had no idea what was going […]

WIRTW Weekly Roundup – May 25, 2017!

WIRTW Weekly Roundup – May 25, 2017!

Welcome to the first What I Read This Week Roundup! If you were looking for something interesting to read, you have come to the right place! Below are some articles that I found worth my time this week. My Family’s Slave Writer Alex Tizon recalls life […]

I was a University Medalist, and I f***ing graduated

I was a University Medalist, and I f***ing graduated

Some of you already know what this post is referring to. If you don’t, check out this terribly written piece made viral on LinkedIn about some guy who brags about failing all of his classes for a semester and dropping out of the University of Maryland two weeks before graduation, even though he was Valedictorian of the University with a GPA of 3.94.

Before I start discussing this article/letter, we are going to do two things:

  1. We’re going to treat this like this post was entirely real.
  2. We’re going to set aside the fact that U of M does not have a valedictorian and instead has a University Medalist.

I have a lot of feelings about this piece (mostly annoyance) because I was a University Medalist at LSU in 2014. For those of you who may not believe me about my academic achievement, I am mentioned by name in these two articles published by the university.

I came across this article two days ago as I was looking through my emails in the morning, and thought it would be worth a read. Instead what I read was like a bizarre fever dream that positively reeked of privilege. On my second read of the letter, I realized that approximately half of it was a rehash of every single “Achieve your dreams” or “Increase your productivity” article I have seen online. The writing style felt like a motivational speaker trying to convince you to purchase their book/seminar series/21-day cleanse because they had found the secret to life. I suppose he meant to be motivating, but the only thing he motivated me to do is roll my eyes so hard that they hurt.

Moving into the second half of the letter, he gets into about how he wants to become a “self-made entrepreneur” without a degree. He feels that a job that requires a degree is an escape plan from his dreams, and he doesn’t want to work with anyone who values a degree over being fearless. To him, a degree is just a piece of paper. You know, there are a lot of important pieces of paper out there. Your birth certificate. Social Security card. Legislature. The piece of paper that states that your doctor can legally be a doctor. In the medical field, we like to say that if it’s not written down or documented in some way, then it didn’t happen. Having a degree or a “piece of paper” is quite important in many fields, so to equate not following your dreams to obtaining a degree is a fallacy.

My favorite part about this letter is when he’s trying to tell his parents not to be mad at him, and that he still needs their money and a place to stay until he gets his dreams started. What happened to being a self-made entrepreneur? For someone who stated that he didn’t need a safety net, he’s sure as hell depending on the original safety net, Mom and Dad. He then tries to gain pity by saying that he couldn’t even buy two sandwiches from a bagel place and he’s got low funds in his bank account. How sad. I think that a real entrepreneur would have planned for these things beforehand, and would know how to budget his money to get actual groceries instead of eating at a chain restaurant. But yeah, you go on, you self-made entrepreneur who doesn’t need a safety net.

After he finishes his letter and talks about how inspirational his parents are, he talks about how he wasted (I mean, spent) his time at university. He states that he rarely went to class after freshman year, studied everything at home and only showed up for class, and that none of his teachers inspired him. I would like to note – how could you ever get inspiration from your teachers if you never were around enough to know them?

So what did he do in his free time outside of class? He worked out, played sports, joined a fraternity, went out partying three times a week, and did “a lot of other things.” Wow, that’s really impressive.

When I was in school, attending all of my courses and becoming a University Medalist, I completed my nutrition sciences major and psychology minor, took extra courses I was interested in, became involved with research and did an honors thesis, learned how to do aerial silks, was active in 6 to 8 student organizations at any time, participated in activism, hung out with friends, commuted back and forth to school, and still got 8 hours of sleep at night. Oh, and I graduated with my piece of paper (that’s allowing me to pursue my dreams). I guess people utilize their time differently.

It pisses me off that he wasted people’s time and money, and generally has a personality (from what I can perceive) that has some sort of superiority complex. I don’t have a problem with people dropping out of college – I have several friends who have done so for various reasons. I also acknowledge that there are many successful people who haven’t attended school, and have worked hard to get to where they were. But this guy just gets on my nerves.

I hope that people don’t find his type of mediocrity to be inspiring.

Find your own path, but don’t be a dick about it.