I Live-tweeted the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Let me begin by saying I wish I could have posted pictures of the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, but my phone is archaic. I tried to set up an account with Twitpic, but then I tried to use it from my phone and nothing happened. Well, about an hour later I saw the picture I tweeted, but the text wasn’t there. Maybe I’ll figure it out in the future.

Anyway, I live tweeted the Vegetarian Food Festival. It was basically a large room (a gymnasium in the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College) filled with exhibitors promoting their vegetarian/vegan food and products. And the place was packed, as you can see by my tweets. I think the best thing about it was all the free, delicious food.

I wanted to go there to see if I could learn anything new about vegetarian food that I didn’t know already, and to learn about new products. But I’m a skeptic, so I was underwhelmed by the new products. How many vitamin-infused smoothies can there really be?

What’s unfortunate about live tweeting an event is that you don’t get the whole picture the way you would on a nightly newscast. Pictures would help, but they still don’t provide the whole scene. So Twitter is somewhat limited in the amount of information it can offer (the 140-character limit helps with that too).

The best part was the personal account you can get of an event. I’m always interested in how people spend their time, and I think it’s fascinating to experience someone else’s experience almost as soon as it happens.


Corn sugar? Not so sweet.

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yikes! I have had a crazy two weeks filled with mountains of work punctuated by five-hour periods of light sleep. And so here is my attempt to get all caught up. Below is my post that should have been on Friday, Oct. 1.

Maybe about a month ago, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) renamed High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Now it’s Corn Sugar, or at least it will be in six months if the FDA chooses to approve the change. I first heard about this on the always entertaining Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! from NPR. And after a Google search, I found this nice blog post on it from The New York Times’ Well blog.

Now, before I write what I think about the name change, I want to first explain how I feel about HFCS in general. I think it’s bad. Why? Because Michael Pollan told me so in his book In Defense of Food. He said you should avoid food made from ingredients that were manufactured in a lab. And I wholeheartedly agree. Real Ingredients! That’s what real food is made from. But about a year after I read that book, I took a class about how the food we eats affects our environment and our health. And I learned that corn sugar was not, in fact, as bad as people made it out to be. It was demonized, and made the scapegoat for a whole host of health problems. And then I felt foolish for once having told my sister not to believe the commercials the CRA had put out trying to mitigate the terrible public opinion of their beloved product. But! But I still don’t like it. Why? Because it’s made in lab, and it’s the product of corn that get’s a disproportionately high amount of government subsidies. That said, I may, every so often, have something that contains the substance. But I try hard not to.

So back to the NYT blog post. It basically explains why the CRA wanted to change the name – because people were confused, it turns out HFCS isn’t really that high in fructose, it just has more fructose than regular corn syrup. The post also said that there are really no differences between HFCS and regular sugar.

So perhaps the CRA will get more public support for Corn Sugar. Good for them. (But still not so so great for America’s weight problem).

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