Author Archives: tabitha

How will you indulge on this year’s ‘National Eat What You Want Day’?

Not many people know that the 11th May holds the title for National Eat What You Want Day.

In a society where people are becoming more health conscious, we really do need a day to stuff our faces full of whatever we want. But, it doesn’t have to be all bad.

Always wanted to try that new restaurant but couldn’t justify spending £30 on brunch? Well, use today as your excuse.

Eating what you want doesn’t have to entail endless amounts of sugar or bursting at the seems from eating far too much. We are intelligent creatures after all.

That isn’t to say you can’t indulge in your favourite snacks at maximum proportion, without being judged.

But if you verge on the more health conscious side of life, use this day to broaden your palette by trying something new. Never tried fried chicken and waffles? Well, today is your lucky day.

Luckily, this year it falls on a Friday – the perfect day to stuff our faces and lull about on the sofa.

If you’re struggling to find ways to celebrate this glorious day try some of these:

  • Go all out by gathering your friends, order pizza with extra toppings and finish with snacks
  • Get down to Creams for a milkshake and some sweet food
  • Splash out a bit – it’s not everyday you’re given a free pass to spend loads on take-out food
  • Head out in search of your favourite foods from your favourite restaurants
  • Try something new

Read more on junk food here

Ban on junk food ads: What is the point?

As childhood obesity levels skyrocket, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is proposing that junk food advertisements are banned from all London public transport — buses, tube and trains.

So will we no longer see fast food chains advertising everywhere?

No. Well, not as they are today. Instead of advertising burgers, chips and ice creams, we will see carrot sticks and salads making their way on to the tube.

Carl W Jones, senior lecturer for PR and Advertising at the University of Westminster, told the university’s radio station that the new advertising campaign will help to battle childhood obesity within the city.

“If TFL don’t advertise those brands, the organisations have to adapt” so they’ll have to come up with new products or find other ways to reach the same audience. As TFL tube alone reaches 4.8 million commuters each day, companies do not want to lose their advertising spot.

Advertising healthier options rather than junk food will help to reduce the amount of junk food seen across the capital as the publics “opinions will be influenced” as at the moment it is all we see. It will seem as though there is a wider range of choice of food that is available to the public.

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Graphic by Tabitha Durrant     Statistics from: gov.uk/health 

Jones also mentioned the companies targeted will have to be seen as though they are “caring about children”. Children are easily influenced and as society becomes more health conscience we need to give children a range of choice, without only advertising unhealthy foods and drinks.

The ban on junk food advertisements comes shortly after the sugar tax, which all companies, aside from Coca Cola, which will help reduce the intake of sugar. Now, if you wanted to buy a full fat Coca Cola, you need to pay an extra 12 pence.

A quarter of children aged between two and 10 being classed as overweight. In 2014/15, the NHS spent £6.1 billion treating patients suffering from the condition.

See what you can do for National Eat What You Want Day

Did you vote?

Every election young people are encouraged to vote, as historically the turnout for the age group 18-24 has always been low. To tackle this problem, the University of Westminster held a ‘Register to Vote’ campaign on all four campuses.

The campaign was aimed to encourage students to register, so they could vote in Thursday’s election. But how could the university entice its students to do this? With FREE ice-cream, of course.

Each student was given a flyer explaining where to register and how. They were offered to register on the spot on the laptop provided at the booth. Once they registered, they could help themselves to a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream.

The atmosphere on the Harrow Arts and Design campus buzzed with chatter about becoming more politically involved. I returned to the Harrow campus today and spoke to some students to find out if they voted.

GMO’s: How do they effect our bodies and our environment?

 

Video credit: TabithaDurrant

Genetically modified foods are everywhere. Technology has come so far that we can now design our ideal foods. Genetic modification is when the DNA of the crops we eat are changed in attempts of resistance against pathogens, herbicides and pesticides. Other benefits include additional nutrition and more crops being produced.

I reached out to Greenpeace, who were unable to give me a direct quote, but gave me permission to use their GM campaign in support of the article. The campaign suggests that using GMO crops isn’t what is right for the general public because we need to know what it is we are putting inside our bodies. Much isn’t known about the process of genetically altering the DNA of these crops.

As we don’t know exactly how they are made, nor do we know for certain what it means to modify crops, should we really be putting them into our bodies?

As they are in nearly everything, especially processed foods, it is difficult to avoid them. But, if you do want to avoid them, try going for organic fruits and vegetables and anything with a GMO free label.

But this may not help you entirely. Even the livestock we eat can be affected by these crops. Farmers feed their livestock genetically modified feed because, simply, it is cheaper. But when the livestock end up on our plates or on the shelves at your local supermarket, there is no way to tell which beef joint was fed genetically modified grain and which was not. So, in any case you could be consuming GM foods without actually knowing.

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Image credit: TabithaDurrant

GM foods are not the only thing that is wrong with the food industry though. If we look at what we are putting into our bodies, we need to look at what types of foods we eat as well. Not eating genetically modified foods won’t be effective to your health if you carry on eating non-healthy foods.

In defence of GM products, they have a longer shelf life, which essentially can reduce the amount of food we, as a collective, throw away. Think about how much food your household throws away and whether these are genetically modified foods.

Even so, these crops can be designed to produce the maximum amount of nutrients and vitamins that we need to survive. This is revolutionary, because it can (if used properly) end world famine. But is that really an excuse to change the DNA of food that has served us well for so long?

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Image credit: TabithaDurrant

Well… yes and no. The world’s population has increased massively since mass farming began and now in 2018 farmers can’t keep up, especially if they are faced with bad weather and crops don’t make harvest. Genetically modified crops can fix this. They are able to protect themselves from bugs, germs and weather because their DNA has been adapted to do just this.

GMO’s are suspected to cause food allergies, of which there is an increasing number of people who suffer from them; wheat, eggs, milk, dairy, fish, nuts and seeds. Though it is uncertain that genetically modified food actually causes these allergies, most of these food products have had their DNA altered, which kind of puts them hand-in-hand.

It isn’t just our food we need to think about and how it affects our bodies. What about our environment? Are genetically modified organisms good for the Earth and its wildlife?

Well, it is common knowledge that the pollen in these crops is vastly different from plants that are not altered in any way. It is supposedly far down inside the plant so it is not picked up in a wind transfer, however Prince Charles made an excellent comment, “can you govern how far a bee flies?”

No, no you cannot.

Monsanto were unavailable for comment when I reached out to them. The company has facilities in 69 different countries and contribute to the use of GM crops. Monsanto encourage the use of these crops on the basis that they can be more efficient in feeding the masses.

Genetically modifying crops can be harmful to the earth but it can be very beneficial, especially to humans. I mean, now that we have over populated the earth and are running out of food, we need this food-based revolution so we have enough for everyone.

Is the unknown as scary as we think it is or should we continue to allow the modification of our food?

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Image credit: TabithaDurrant

Can we bring back monogamy?

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GIF Credit: TeamCoco

Have you tried dating in today’s society? With everyone staring at their phones and the phone becoming another component in our relationships, it is no wonder everyone has trust issues and are afraid to care about someone other than themselves.

Pressure is put on women to have a certain body type with a tiny waist but with large assets, she is encouraged to adopt the ‘stay at home’ culture, but must be Instagram model worthy at all times. It is enough to say that society has always had its way in depicting how a woman is supposed to look and behave but with social media growing, images of the ‘perfect’ body are literally at our fingertips. We dissect them and compare ourselves to people’s ‘best’ photos collection, forgetting the use of lighting, angles, filters and Photoshop, resulting in insecurities being watered while self-confidence suffers a drought.

In response to the unwritten rule of men being able to do anything they want on the dating scene, women are shutting down, learning not to trust and accept they are worth less than the men they date. Though many women retreat to the safety of their guarded hearts and steer clear of the dating scene altogether some try another tactic: be as bad as the guys. This obviously isn’t healthy for anyone involved, but can you blame them?

I spoke to Gael, 24, who has started the hashtag movement ‘#settle2018’ in the hopes to encourage the youth of today to drop the façade and become open towards real relationships. He hopes to build on his hashtag movement and help this generations boys realise that treating a female with respect and decency is the manly thing to do, while teaching women to let their guard down and regain hope.

Q: What does the hashtag mean?
A: The movement is to get guys and girls to be on their best behaviour – it means we’re serious this year. No trashing around, we need to settle down, find yourself a nice partner and attach the hashtag. We need to do it.

Q: So when did you start the hashtag movement?
A: New Year 2017 – I’m not the sort of person to go out all the time, so it was my third time going out all year and I’ve tried to do the settle down thing before but I never really had the time, what with work and all. But I was talking to my friend about it, saying “this life ain’t really for me anymore, you know, going out. I really want to settle down” and he agreed, so we decided that that was the last time we were going out. The New Year is the time for us to find a partner and settle down.

Q: How long have you been promoting the hashtag?
A: Obviously the beginning of the year. It started New Year’s Eve and took full impact on the 2nd January.

Q: How many people are involved?
A: I’m trying to encourage as many people as possible to jump on the movement. At the moment I’ve got around 50 people, mostly women, some men. But I don’t like taking on the boys, because it’s harder for boys to be serious about this type of thing.

Q: Is settle 2018 important to the youth?
A: It’s important for everyone, you know. This generation: I’m not impressed with it, especially the guys. Guys find it cool to speak to multiple girls; if you speak to multiple girls, as a guy, your friends think you’re cool, like you’re the man.

Then we have girls who have just lost hope. Lost hope in good guys and they end up not letting anyone in or trying to be as bad as boys. It’s like a competition. Nowadays, boys don’t want to settle down because they are scared of the girls that are trying to be as bad as them. It’s a crazy circle, it’s just going round and round. This is how it ends. Well, it doesn’t end, but this is how it gets better.

As soon as guys find it cool to take a girl seriously, that’s when more guys will join. Remember back in the days, when a guy had a girlfriend, it wasn’t looked down upon to take the one girl seriously, but now it’s like if you do that everyone will look at you like “look at this prick”, it is what it is. If you can make guys find it cool or feel like they aren’t the minority anymore, to look after a girl, then girls will see hope and they’ll both make an effort and hopefully give 100% in to the relationship. We’re helping a generation.

Q: Have you helped anyone find love?
A: Yes. At the moment, I think we have helped about eight people. They were previously ‘talking’ but some of them were afraid to get in there. We’re giving advice, got a lot of people in the group that are very wise: wise guys, wise girls, some single, some in relationships, but they know how to give good advice.

Q: What do you gain from this?
A: Nothing really, I just spend my time helping other people and giving them my advice and of course it makes my surroundings a bit better as well. That’s what the movement is and we’re trying to make it global. #settle2018

So far in 2018, we have established that dating is hard. But I have two solutions for you: Do as the gif says and “Don’t do it” OR join Gael’s hashtag and find someone worth your while.

Organ donor ‘opt-out’ system approved. How does this effect you?

 

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GIF Credit: TheCat5001

What does the opt-out system mean? The UK government recently changed the process of how we choose whether we want to be part of the organ donor list. What does this mean for you?

First of all what is organ donation? It is when a healthy person gives an organ to someone who needs a transplant. There is no age limit on becoming a donor, but it is preferred that the donor doesn’t smoke or drink excessively and is generally in good health.

Wales made the switched to ‘presumed consent’ in 2015, meaning all deceased are automatically considered for organ donation. The rest of the UK are following suit as the bill has been passed and is now being finalised in the Houses of Parliament. The ‘opt-out’ system ensures that there are enough people on the donor list and will help to increase the amount of lives saved by organ donations.

Theresa May stated that in 2016 about “500 people died because a suitable organ was not available” to them, this new system can prevent this from happening again. Wales’ organ donations rose by 7% within the first year of the law change, consequently decreasing the list of people waiting for a transplant.

The previous system asks those who wish to become organ donors to visit the NHS website to fill out a form, which only takes a couple of minutes to complete. On the form, it allows you to select which of your organs you are comfortable with donating and if you wish to donate any tissue as well. Once the form is completed and sent off, you should receive an organ donor’s card.

It is also suggested that if you wish to become a donor, that you tell your friends and family about your decision, as they will be consulted about it after you die. This system doesn’t provide enough organ donors, so the ‘opt-out’ system was proposed.

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Image Credit: JennyHursit/Kindey Research UK

The first reading of the bill was in July 2017 and it passed the second reading in February 2018, and is now being drawn up. It was brought to parliament by Geoffrey Robinson MP, and was passed without division. An individual must ‘opt-out’ if they do not wish to donate their organs after they die, otherwise ‘presumed content’ will take effect.

Some people say that there needn’t be a change in the law as it can shift the ownership of one’s body from being in charge of your own body to it being a possession of the state. It is preferred by some that a scheme be introduced to encourage people to become donors. Also, it can be uncomfortable to ‘opt-out’ as those who choose not to become organ donors may feel judged for their decision regardless of their reasons.

What organs can be donated?

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine
  • Tissue (from heart valves, skin, bone, tendons, eyes etc)
  • Corneas (tissue at the front of your eye)