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Big Potato funds study; finds potatoes are delicious, nutritious

Blogically Speaking is proud to bring you a guest post from our resident nutrition expert, PG. We are excited to highlight a new voice (although she’s been quoted in some of our earlier inquiry into Big Potato’s tactics).

“The time has come to stand up for potatoes.”

So reads the rallying cry issued by the potato industry last week. This amped-up effort to defend “America’ s favorite vegetable” comes on the heels of the USDA’s proposal to limit school children to one cup of starchy vegetables a week.

The potato industry has been waving around research to back up its argument. The ultimate conclusion of the study  most frequently cited?  “Potatoes belong within the diet.” While these results seem to provide a legitimate, scientific argument in Big Potato’s favor, a closer look reveals that this study was funded by none other than the United States Potato Board itself.  

It should surprise no one that a study about potatoes, by potatoes - and released at a time when potatoes are being scrutinized in cafeterias across the country - would end up ruling in favor of spuds. In fact, one research study looked at this very phenomenon of nutrition-related scientific studies funded by the food industry and came to this same unsurprising (but nonetheless unsettling) conclusion: “Industry funding of nutrition-related scientific articles may bias conclusions in favor of sponsors’ products, with potentially significant implications for public health.”

Potatoes are, to be fair, a perfectly satisfying and nutritious food in their own right. But no matter how nutritious a vegetable in its unadulterated state might be, those benefits are all but negated when it’s sliced into slivers, plunged into a piping hot vat of oil, sprinkled with salt, and emerges as greasy, fatty, calorically dense sticks. (Which is how potatoes are most frequently consumed. Particularly among children.) In fact, while the potato industry is largely taking credit for the increase in kids’ consumption of vegetables, they fail to mention that French Fries account for about one-quarter of children’s vegetable intake. The potato industry’s romanticized campaign, highlighting the many health benefits of this vegetable, doesn’t quite reflect reality.

As you come across statements singing the praises of this “gateway vegetable,” be sure to take them with a grain of salt. The food industry has been, and always will be, motivated by increasing profits, not advancing health. Don’t let the marketing campaigns convince you otherwise.

PG lives in San Francisco and enjoys all things food related - particularly eating. She can frequently be found watching bad reality television, having 90s music sing-a-longs, and avoiding eye contact with people on BART.

Filed under USDA big potato gateway vegetable potatoes science guestpost

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Guest post: djs reviews “The King’s Speech” with hyphen-less abandon

Blogically Speaking is proud to welcome our first guest post by the illustrious and talented djs. We are excited to highlight a new voice (also, she agreed to spread blogically speaking to Thailand in exchange for a day of blogic fame #logrolling). 

Maybe Oscar season means you finally have an excuse to sit at home amidst a movie marathon in a pile of old US weekly’s and discarded vitamin water bottles, or maybe you just want a two and a half hour distraction from the fact that you legitimately had to STEP OVER A PILE OF HUMAN EXCREMENT on your way to work this morning. Either way, there are a few good movies out and in case you want to have some foresight before you make those Oscar bets and play some Oscar drinking games; I suggest you go out and see (or, if possible, ask your genius robot building Asian students to download) “The King’s Speech.” Since you’re all just going to Wikipedia the synopsis anyway, I’ll spare you the plot overview in favor of a few reasons why this is not the film to miss:
       
First of all, I’d like to point out that Colin Firth is FIFTY now. He’s not the first British-actor to play a member of the royal family and then NEVER AGE. Could there be something to this whole “Church of England” thing that we don’t know about?

Second of all, this movie took the “student-teacher” archetypal relationship and explored it in a pithy, matter-of-fact way without the headache-inducing “I was supposed to teach him….BUT HE REALLY TAUGHT ME” clichés. While Albert (King George VI) has a clear character transition throughout the movie, his speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) remains steadfast, comforting, and flawed in all the best human ways. Like Mary Poppins, only less motherly. And he can’t fly (yet). Also, the movie lacks any of that embarrassing white guilt that so many of those other teacher movies throw about with wild abandon.

And thirdly, in the spirit of “the types of things that make work less boring” it brings to light the oft forgotten drama behind George VI’s brief predecessor, who ascended the throne but then abdicated in favor of marrying his twice divorced American wife (Wallis Simpson). Wikipedia/Google hopping this drama occupied a solid five hours of my work day, and took me deep into the recesses of British royal history. I now know more things about the royal line than any American ever should.

If nothing else, “The King’s Speech” makes you yearn for a time when good was good and evil was evil and muted gray pallets were an acceptable way to dress. Also, it make you hope that a time will come again when select political figures will find themselves unable to speak.

djs lives and teaches in Bangkok, Thailand, where she has too many hours of down time at work, during which she writes about pointless things and re-reads all the Young Adult novels in the school library. She enjoys watching, thinking about, and drinking with TV. According to the CDC, she is very well-vaccinated and fit to travel anywhere.

Filed under djs guestpost movie review the king's speech hypthenation-nation