Monday, May 3, 2010

Response to Louisa's Blog Post!

I enjoyed Louisa’s blog on ‘Real Food vs. Fake Food.’ I agree with her that fresh tomatoes picked right from one’s garden are so much better than canned ones. For the most part, canned tomatoes are artificially ripened before going through the canning process. It’s disappointing to know that even some fresh tomatoes sold at stores are artificially ripened; makes me wonder if stores ever sell anything ‘natural’ anymore. It seems to me that, unless one grows their own fruits and vegetables, it’s almost impossible to eat ‘naturally’ grown produce nowadays (unless you’re better off, in terms of wealth, and can afford organic foods on a daily basis).

What I dislike most about canned tomatoes is like what Louisa said; they’re just “tomatoey blobs” of what some consider “vegetables.” Look-wise, they are also extremely unappealing, as Louisa stated. In terms of taste, canned tomatoes are soggy and watery. They’re not like fresh tomatoes picked from one’s garden, with a firm outer layer and a juicy inner layer with sweet and sour juices. My mom grows her own vegetables and herbs every summer. I love the taste of all her vegetables, especially when the vegetables are just at their peak. Every year, as the tomatoes reach their time to be picked, my family often make a spicy tomato dip with fresh chili peppers and green onions to be dipped with grilled pork or chicken. It’s our family’s favorite spicy paste and we make it multiple times during the summer before my mom’s garden comes to an end as the winter season approaches.


Wisconsinites and businesses have two strong opposing views on the proposed increase in Wisconsin’s beer tax. According to The Capital Times, “Raising Wisconsin’s beer tax might slow sales and rise commodity and energy costs for Wisconsin’s craft beer industry.” Opponents believe that Wisconsin’s craft brewers and distributers employ thousands of people statewide with good-paying jobs and that raising the beer tax would destroy such jobs they’ve created and drive new businesses out of Wisconsin. Opponents confirm that in spite of Wisconsin’s low beer tax (the third lowest in the country), federal, state, sales, payroll, business, and other taxes and fees already add up to about 40 percent of the retail price of beer; and that the tax is already high enough. Supporters of the beer tax increase proposal, though, have a different take on this issue.
According to the Mellman Group, Inc. , in addition to Wisconsin being the 3rd state in the country to have the lowest beer tax, the beer tax hasn’t been raised in 40 years. Supporters believe that the benefits of a beer tax increase outweigh the costs because increasing the beer tax saves lives. Cheap beer only contributes to increased underage, heavy drinking, and binge drinking. The revenue generated from the beer tax increase, estimated to be more than $40 million, could help solve Wisconsin’s problems by funding for programs to treat and prevent alcohol abuse and by tightening the law enforcement of drunk driving.
Studies show that increasing alcohol tax saves lives. Alcohol-related deaths, for example, dropped 29 percent in Alaska after a tax hike in 1983; that’s 23 fewer deaths per year. In 2002, Alaska underwent another alcohol tax increase and saw an 11 percent reduction in alcohol-related deaths, saving more than 20 lives per year.[1] This is why I have always supported the proposal. As mentioned, the Wisconsin state tax on beer hasn’t been raised in four decades and the state is long overdue for an increase. As stated by the Wisconsin State Journal, by increasing the beer tax, Wisconsin would raise enough revenue to pay for substance abuse programs and help individuals get the treatment they need to recover. Since alcohol and drug abuse affects everyone, “A few pennies per beer is well worth safer roads and saved lives.”[2]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Response to Esperanza's Post: Proactiv

I agree with Esperanza’s view on celebrities endorsing Proactiv. Yes, there are way too many celebrities endorsing and Proactiv, testifying that Proactiv is their only miracle to getting rid of acne problems. The celebrities’ testimonials are hard to believe because they’re all the same. For instance, celebrities usually talk about the difference Proactiv has made in their lives and include a close-up facial photo from before and after the treatment to show how much their skin has cleared up. Not too convincing because, seriously, what happened to their personal dermatologist during this whole time they’re suffering from acne problems? And another one of my question is, don’t these celebrities have access to some of the best dermatologists in the world that would give them more powerful treatments? Yes. So, why are they using Proactiv? Because they are getting paid big money to do so! Right!

In terms of expertise, I don’t believe celebrities endorsing Proactiv have the credibility to do so. I think it will be more appropriate if Proactiv were to have actual dermatologists, not Proactiv ones, endorse the product. Of course this won’t happen because these ‘real-life’ dermatologists are smarter than that. According to, “Proactiv is much more expensive than similar products that use the same active ingredient, benzoyl peroxide.” And because the use of benzoyl peroxide should be increased in dosage after the skin becomes used to the drug, it is likely that Proactiv may become less effective overtime.

A Fashion Icon: Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria Parker serves as a perfect endorser for L’Oreal Paris’ product line. Eva is a well-known actress and a great representation of ‘ideal beauty.’ Though she may not be an expert on make-up and hair chemicals, she embodies strong characteristics that make her a powerful endorser of L’Oreal products. For instance, she is stunning, gorgeous, and was “named one of the most beautiful people.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that many admire Eva. As evident in her L’Oreal ad, her style is chic, elegant, and classy – a good representation of L’Oreal Paris. I assume that Eva’s ads for L’Oreal Paris are successful because she not only looks good on the outside, but also on the inside – exposing complete beauty. For instance, in 2009, Eva was “named Philanthropist of the year by the Hollywood reporter for her commitment to Latino causes and for contributing back to the community. L’Oreal Paris has made a very wise choice selecting Eva to endorse their products. She is what many females seek to look like. She has the perfect face structure (an oval-shaped face) and gorgeous eyes (eyes with brown iris). What’s interesting is that L’Oreal Paris specifically selected Eva for her stunning face, figure and beautiful glossy hair. Eva is, indeed, the fashion icon for beauty, cosmetics, and hairstyles. This makes her the perfect fit for endorsing L’Oreal Paris.

*Picture retrieved from

Friday, March 26, 2010

More Recipes, Cooking Tips, and other food related information from me!

If you'd like more recipes, cooking tips, and other food related information from me, visit my Meals of Asia blog.

Let me know how I'm doing, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks!

Peer Response to Jessica Snzaider's Blog: Raw Milk

Jessica’s take on raw milk is very interesting and makes me want to give raw milk a try! Her description of the taste of raw milk, “creamier, fresher and plain better than the heated, processed version,” sounds very appealing. However, I’m a bit skeptical about the safety of consuming raw milk since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that more than 800 people in the United States have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998. Unpasteurized milk, stated by, can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses and this frightens me from having my younger siblings, especially, consume raw milk since their immune systems may be less resistant to fighting these bacteria.

The debate on raw vs. pasteurized milk remains most controversial since it’s a health vs. health debate. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about raw milk because both views seem to have their legitimacies. Some research claim, for instance, that “pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time,” while others state that, “pasteurization also destroys not only the bad, but beneficial bacteria, such as natural enzymes and chemicals make-up of calcium in raw milk.” So, as a consumer, I’m highly conflicted because while raw milk may offer higher health benefits, it can also pose a serious health risk.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fresh Spring Rolls

I love spring rolls; they're much healthier than egg rolls because they're not deep-fried and most of the ingredients are fresh. Though spring rolls are typically eaten as an appetizer, they make great lunches! Spring rolls are filling, with just enough carbs from the noodles, protein from the eggs, and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, making me feel satisfied after eating them. Spring rolls are a bit tricky to make, so my instructions may be quite lengthy, but you'll find them very useful! With that being said, let's make spring rolls. Remember, good sanitation is important in all food preparations!

Serves: 4-5 people (makes 12-15 spring rolls)


• 3 oz rice vermicell
• 1 package dried rice wrappers
• 1½ cups chopped green onion
• 4 leave lettuce, chopped
• 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
• 4 eggs (optional)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp oyster sauce
• 2 cups ground pork

Peanut Sauce:
• 4 oz Peanut Flavored Sauce
• ¼ tbsp Hoisin Sauce
• 1 tbsp crushed peanuts
• 1½ tbsp sugar
• ½ tbsp fish sauce
• ¼ tbsp fresh lime juice


1. Prepare vermicelli noodle:
Fill medium saucepan halfway with water. When water boils, put in vermicelli noodles. Occasionally stir with wooden spoon to make sure noodles don’t stick to bottom of pan. Let boil for 5 minutes then decrease heat. Stir for another 5 minutes; then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

2. Prepare ground pork:
In large wok, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add ground pork. Stir-fry ground pork for 10 minutes or until pink is no longer visible. Add oyster sauce and green onion; stir for another 5 minutes; remove from heat. Set aside.

3. Prepare eggs (optional):
Break eggs into bowl and whisk with fork. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and pour in egg mixture. Swirl egg mixture around to coat pan. Break the sheet in half with wooden spoon; flip over to let other side cook. Remove egg sheets from skillet onto chopping board and cut into strips. Set aside.

4. Prepare Peanut Sauce:
Place all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts in blender. Blend on low speed until well mixed. Pour sauce into bowl and stir in crushed peanuts. Set aside.

5. Prepare wrapper:
Fill large bowl with warm water. Soak rice wrapper in water for about 5 seconds. Lay wrapper flat onto a large round plate or clean area. Let stand for 5-8 seconds; you’ll notice the wrapper getting softer.

6. Finally, wrapping time!
On top corner closest to you and about 2 inches in, place about half a handful of vermicelli noodle, one spoonful of ground pork, 1 strip of eggs, 1 cucumber stick and half a handful of lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold top uncovered side inward, follow by the other two uncovered sides and tightly roll the wrapper. Repeat the same process with remaining ingredients.

Serve spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side. Enjoy!

I somewhat agree with Pollan’s claim that the American public accepts, “a flood of damaging innovations…such as low-fat processed food.” For many people, including myself, low-fat processed foods offer convenience and ease, so I do consume them frequently. I don’t think all low-fat processed foods are ‘damaging innovations,’ because canned soups from Progresso, for instance, are healthier food options than home-made lasagna and fish fries. Though I understand that many “low-fat” foods are extremely high in calories, people just have to be smart about what they are putting in their bodies. As supported by and Johnson, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that processed foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables, provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Therefore, what’s not to like? In my opinion, any food, whether processed or not, if eaten in moderation, is good for the body.