Recently in Blog 2 Group A Category

Growing up with an Asian mother she was always worried about my health and my weight, especially since my dad is obese. She would constantly pester me about eating too late at night, giving me the evil eye when I reached for the bag of chips. I'm happy to say that she is not right but... she is also not wrong. According to an article in Web MD an experiment containing two groups of mice proved that on average there was a 20% weight increase when the mouse's eating habits were changed. On the other hand according to Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., she believes that eating a healthy 200-300 calorie snack helps maintain a high metabolism through out the night, still leaving you hungry in the morning for breakfast. Finally, an article from meets in the middle saying its eating the right thing at the right time. Eating a couple hours before bed is a good thing, leaving you with a slight hungry feeling before you go to bed, meaning that your body is burning your fat.

Legitimacy of these articles may vary from person to person, because Web MD is a well known site some readers may view it as more accurate information. Otherwise, if your like me hearing that eating before bed is actually O.K. makes everything else seem insignificant. Also the legitimacy of each article cannot possibly pertain to each reader because everyone's body, metabolism, and diet are different. In the end I think each reader knows their own body best, and what eating style would be most beneficial for them.


Are YOU an Olympic Athlete?

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Gearing up for the Olympics this coming summer in London, I can't help but think--Why am I not participating?! And additionally, what creates a Gold Medalist? Looking into how athletes get to the Olympic and Professional level, the debate of Nature versus Nurture comes into play. Being a multiple sport athlete myself, I find this topic extremely intriguing. Growing up, I was taught that you can beat the most talented players with a hard work ethic and a heart for the game. According to several articles on the subject, this debate may never be settled. One post on gives examples of great athletics running in families, yet concludes the article by saying that great athletes are created and not born. This may sound confusing, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Some people are born with genes that make them more apt for athletic success, however, if they chose not to pursue their talents, they will not reach Olympic Status. There is a reason you always hear about pro sports players spending hours and hours at the gym keeping themselves strong. In my opinion, getting that gold medal is a direct reflection of how hard you trained for it. Natural talent will only take an athlete so far.

One issue that has grown more and more controversial in recent years is how and why "non-traditional" sexualities occur. Scientists have many theories on the issue, including the parental manipulation/kin selection, which involve the parents unconsciously producing a non-heterosexual child usually for the intent to assist in rearing a sibling's offspring. Ultimately, the question to be answered is if an individual can be born homosexual or what environmental factors lead to differing sexual orientations.

A study of twins in Sweden points to the problems of looking at only "Nature" or "Nurture" factors. Among mono-zygotic or identical twins there was a sizable, but far from high correlation between genes and sexual orientation compared to DZ or fraternal twins. Thus, the scientists who involved with the study concluded that there was not one side of the Nature vs. Nurture dichotomy solely responsible for sexual orientation, and it was, in fact, a combination of blurring of the two.

My reaction to any Nature vs. Nurture argument is that is rarely any one side of the issue that creates the individual. Rather, it is foolish to try to analyze issues through this dichotomy because the lines between them are so often blurred.Btwins_585x350_667905a-1.jpg

nat-nurt alcohol.jpgOne of few things that comes to mind when I think about the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate is alcoholism. Is there certain traits that one must inherit in order to have addictive behaviors? Or do addicts pick up their habits from the friends and family around them? Many contributing factors of this problem (some call it a disease) are discussed in this article titled "Alcoholism: Nature vs. Nurture." In my opinion, I believe that those who have addictions also have the power to overcome their addictions or prevent them from happening in the first place, even if it is encoded somewhere in their genes. Many experts say that alcoholism runs in the family--if you have a family history of alcoholics, your chances of becoming an alcoholic are increased. Looking at the picture above, I don't think any baby comes out of the womb wanting to crack open an ice cold Rolling Rock! Though I do see how certain traits that cause addictive behaviors can be a large contributing factor, I think what substance one is addicted to is affected more so by their environment. Among many other nature/nurture debates, alcoholism is one topic that remains unclear as to which plays the stronger role. As said in the article, however, "most experts would agree that it is probably a combination of all these factors - family history, personality, environment, and genetic predisposition - that leads to someone becoming an alcoholic." If you are in a family with a history of alcoholism, you have both nature and nurture playing their roles: alcoholics in your environment and in your genes.

There are many reasons why people become vegetarians, but they predominately fall within three categories: health benefits, ethical responses, or in support of environmental sustainability.


Although there are definitive pros and cons to both sides of the argument, it is a very personal decision. With this as my premise, I will try to summarize and simplify the main points before I put in my two cents. Please reference this article for further credibility.

Here are the claims: vegetarianism proponents argue that eating meat "harms health, wastes resources, causes deforestation, and creates pollution (1)." What's more is the ethical stance that killing animals for food is cruel and unnecessary because non-animal food sources are plentiful.

To counter, opponents argue that consuming meat is healthful, humane, and that "producing vegetables causes many of the same environmental problems as producing meat (1)." In addition, they cite that humans have been eating and benefiting as a means of evolution from meat consumption for over 2.3 million years.

Lisa Simpson, my favorite pro-veg.jpg

These three articles expand and challenge the former claims: Why Become A Vegetarian, Why I Am Not a Vegetarian, and My beef isn't with beef: why I stopped being a vegetarian.

After reading the articles I have come to these conclusions: eating meat and Environmental activism, Pro-Veg.gifvegetarianism both have draw-backs in regards to health (vitamin and protein deficiency vs. heart disease susceptibility), and ethically one can not presume to say definitively that killing animals is "wrong" or "cruel", when it is part of the natural cycle of life and a component of human evolution. Once these issues are put aside as impasses, we can examine another approach to vegetarianism, one that is slightly more apropos as a current issue: sustainability.

My third article described one woman's switch from radical vegetarianism to a small farm operator raising (and killing) chickens, pigs, sheep, and others. Woginrich became a vegetarian in response to the misuse of resources, pollution, habitat destruction, animal hormone pumping, and environmental liabilities caused by the poor farming practices of the commercialized American meat industry. She says that "to be vegetarian is to be a pacifist, avoiding the fight against animal cruelty. Eat meat from sustainable farms, and we will win."

I have to agree with her stance. Vegetarianism for animal activism is a personal ethical decision. Vegetarianism for "heath benefits" is dubious. However, if you become a vegetarian in response to the negative practical aspects of the industry, I believe your efforts can be redoubled by supporting small farms that promote the humane treatment of animals as well as environmental sustainability.

So that is my opinion. I know this topic is controversial, so you will probably have your own thoughts. If my sister read this, she would be pretty outraged at my "moral apathy" (she is a stoic vegetarian who sends annual donations to PETA). Feel free to unload ideas.

What does it take to be a world class athlete? Is it perseverance, hard work, commitment, hours of training and sacrifice? Or are champions decided before they every play their first game, run their first race, or even take their firsts steps? The debate of nature vs. nurture in athletics has been plaguing athletes and coaches for a long time. What is that makes top athletes better than all of the rest?
As a competitive athlete i understand and feel the burden of always wondering if my genetics will help or hinder me in athletic endeavors. When we look at a fact or figure like, the top 33 mens marathon records of all time are held by African runners, It is hard not to believe that an athletes genes play a significant role in how successful they are. This sounds like a disheartening figure, almost encouraging people to not even try because they are already pre-determined to fail. But even if we accept that nature plays a significant role in our athletic ability how do we know that the edge that these champions receive isn't strictly in strength, endurance, or other physical ability, but that of an athletes willingness to train, their perseverance, the mental toughness that pushed them harder than others. I refuse to believe that when i line up for a race that everyone there doesn't start on an even playing ground and it is the athlete that works the hardest, trains the hardest, and races the hardest that wins. If you start an event thinking that your competition was born to beat you, your already beaten.
Studies have linked certain genetics to be more prominent in athletes but it has not been proven that a person is born a champion. The following article discusses this ongoing debate and the amount that genes might affect our elite athletes, i would recommend all those interested in the subject to read farther.
I would like to close just by saying that i believe that it takes a multitude of factors, both from nature and from nurturing, to create a champion athlete and regardless if you think you have the genes of champion, you better give it absolutely everything you have come race day!

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