The effects of being vegan; does it help or harm your health?

By: Liv Miller

What does it mean to be vegan? Veganism is the diet or lifestyle that excludes the use of animal products. Some people who define themselves as a vegan go the extra mile to not just use animal products in their diet, but in their everyday lives as well. This can include not wearing leather clothing, or not using lotion or cosmetic products that have animal products, or were tested on animals.

The most common type of vegan though is the kind that only excludes animal products from their diet.

Many people do go vegan for the purpose of animals, but there are others who incorporate veganism into their diet solely for the purpose of their own health. Now, there is no right or wrong way to go vegan, but how exactly does being vegan affect your health?

According to a 2019 article in ‘The Economist’, 25% of 25-to 34-year-old Americans say they are vegans or vegetarians. So, it must be doing something right, right?

While going vegan does have a lot of health benefits, it is still important to look at the possible harms of the diet before deciding to incorporate it into your lifestyle. But let’s talk about the benefits first.

According to, a vegan diet cultivates different types of bacteria than an animal-based diet. So, the bacteria from a vegan diet is shown to help lower inflammation in the stomach and boost metabolism. This relates to the common ideology around the vegan diet, and losing weight. While it doesn’t happen every time, it is a very common thing that can occur from partaking in this diet.

Another benefit is that going vegan can reduce your risk of getting some deadly cancers like stomach, liver, and kidney cancer. This is because processed meat has been closely linked to these types of cancers.

Going vegan may also cause you to see an improvement in your sleep and skin.

Now to talk about the possible risks.

You may feel tired and foggy when first beginning your diet. According to again, a vegan diet tends to lack iodine and choline, since the two necessary nutrients are found in eggs. Iodine is needed to keep your thyroid healthy, regulating energy, metabolism, and mood. Choline supports your brain, affecting your memory and mood.

Another very common risk that many people are aware of is that going vegan lowers your protein intake. Protein is a very essential nutrient for our bodies and acts as a fuel for us. Protein is usually found in eggs, meat, etc., so basically everything that a vegan diet lacks.

Another health risk you should be aware of before switching to a vegan diet is the heightened risk of depression. According to “People following a vegan diet are at an increased risk of depression as their diets have a sharp decline in omega 3 fatty acids (no fish oil or fish consumption) and a rise in omega 6 (vegetable oils and nuts). They can include algae-based omega 3 sources in their diet, but they are costly and hard to find.”

Although there are many benefits and risks to going vegan, it is safe to say that the pros outweigh the cons. If you are planning on going vegan, I would recommend doing your own research and talking to your doctor about what the best course of action is right for your body.

5 most streamed artists of 2021 on Spotify

By: Mary Koch

On December 1, Spotify released their top 5 artists of 2021. Spotify has over 381 million listeners worldwide, so being on the list is a big accomplishment.

In 5th place was Justin Bieber with his album ‘Justice’ which he released on March 19, 2021. His song “Peaches” (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) had 925,549,910 streams as of December 1, 2021, and it’s his 2nd most played song on Spotify. “Ghost”, which has 171,459,836 streams is his 3rd most played song.

Drake is in 4th place with his album, ‘Certified Lover Boy’, which was released September 3, 2021. The song “Way 2 Sexy” (with Future & Young Thug) is his most popular song from the album, and overall, with 218,472,596 streams. His top 4 songs are all from ‘Certified Lover Boy’ which is interesting because he only released the album 2 months ago.

BTS is in 3rd with their single “Butter”. The song has 677,160,366 streams, and it was released June 4, 2021. It’s their 2nd most played song after “My Universe” which was released September 24, 2021 and has 257,570,191 streams.

In 2nd place is Taylor Swift with her album ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ which was released on November 12, 2021. She redid songs from her album ‘Red’ from 2012, other albums, and new songs. “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) is her most popular song on Spotify right now. It was released less than a month ago and already has 93,107,823 streams.

Finally, in 1st place for the second year in a row, is Bad Bunny. He had over 9.1 billion streams this year, and he didn’t even release a new album. His most popular song right now is “Lo Siento BB:/” (with Bad Bunny, Julieta Venegas, and Tainy) which has 136,924,017 streams.

The Vikings try to keep their playoff hopes alive on Thursday Night Football

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from:

Close games that come down to the wire are something the Vikings know very well. It’s also something the team would be glad to see go, just for one week. The Vikings almost blew Pittsburg out of the water on Thursday, leading 23-0 at the half. Cook had 14 carries for 2 touchdowns and 153 yards in the first half alone, despite playing with a dislocated shoulder.

Jefferson began the Vikings first half scoring drive on a 14 yard touchdown, followed by a 29 yard touchdown by Dalvin Cook the next drive. With less than 3 minutes in the half, Cook stretched the lead to 23 with a 7 yard touchdown.

The Vikings defense also held Pittsburgh to just 66 yards on 26 plays, and got close to Roethlisberger countless times, recording 4 sacks.

The Vikings scored twice again in the third quarter, making the score 29-0 with just over a quarter to go. Then the old Vikings returned.

Pittsburgh’s first score of the game was on Najee Harris’s 3 yard touchdown with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Less than 3 minutes later, Pittsburgh scored again after an interception thrown by Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings went 3 and out, and the Steelers quickly put up yet another unanswered touchdown, making the score 29-20.

Minnesota did not give up easily. The offense responded to the comeback with a 62 yard catch and run by KJ Osborn, giving the Vikings a 16 point lead. The Steelers countered with a 15 yard touchdown completed with a 2 pt conversion, making it a 36-28 ball game.

Down by 8, with seconds left on the clock, Rothlisburger fired to Pat Freiermuth in the end zone hoping that with the touchdown, and a 2 pt conversion, they’d be able to force OT. Vikings safety Harrison Smith was able to knock the ball out of Freiermuth’s hands on the try, alongside Xavier Woods ending that hope.

“We keep asking ourselves why we keep putting ourselves in this position”, said Cook. “That’s been us all year. Living and dying by that last drive. We’ve got to figure it out.”

The Vikings held the game 36-28, to keep their playoff hopes alive, although far in the distance. Minnesota now plays Chicago, the LA Rams, Green Bay, and Chicago again. Losing more than 1 game in this final stretch will likely put their playoff hopes to rest.

How drunk driving affects everyone

By: Fatima Mohamud & Sumaya Noor

Not only can drinking and driving put a person at risk, it can also put other people at risk and potentially end many lives. On average, drinking and driving kills about 10,000 Americans per year. According to, about 28 Americans die per day, which is about one person per hour. This is preventable, but over the years it’s been getting worse.

Consuming alcohol can affect the human brain in many ways, but here are some common effects: altered speech, losing judgement, losing track of time, losing sense of balance, altered mood, feeling hyper, and losing sense of direction. Losing a sense of direction is a big part of why many lives are lost to drunk driving, as an individual may not be able to tell where they are turning or how fast they are going.

Even though it’s very illegal, people still tend to somehow let it happen. They can face charges, spend time in jail and this also goes on their record for all future jobs and activities can see.

An individual may have an accident with a price that’s too much to pay, or even have to deal with insurance not being able to cover it.

Here are some ways to help stop drunk driving from happening:

  1. Stop drinking: Drinking is something millions of people do, and it’s normal if you’re over 21, although not healthy to have too much. If an individual keeps it at a moderate level it’s fine, but it can lead to heart or liver diseases and cancer.
  2. Drink at home: If someone is drinking at home, they can spend less time being on the road to get to places, rather than being at a bar and having to drive home.
  3. Ask a friend or family member to drive: this can ensure their safety as well as others.

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Should we have summer break?

By: Marcus Lund

I love summer break, and I’m sure you do too. However, is it really as useful as it used to be?

Breaks from schooling are mandatory to both educators and students. It’s the school year’s current format, with one long break in the middle of the year, that is under scrutiny. Summer break was originally started to allow kids to return home during the hottest months to help on the farm. However, with rapid urbanization, and a much lower population farming by hand, this has become increasingly unnecessary.

An increasingly popular alternative to summer break, is a system with more frequent, shorter breaks spread out throughout the year, as opposed to one long one.

So, what are the current pros and cons for this sweet, sweet yearly hiatus?

One pro is how easy it is to cut out meaningful family time during summer break. With more spread out, shorter breaks, a detriment to family structure would occur. Things like finding childcare would become more difficult with parents having to look for babysitters year round.

Spread out breaks would also cause less break overlap between different schools and workplaces, so that families spread out over many occupations and schools would be further separated.

Summer breaks also provide outside-of-school learning opportunities, such as travel and summer camps, that help with character building.

Finally, traditional summer breaks offer a light at the end of the tunnel. Burnt out teachers can have negative effects on students, and vice-versa.

However, the new system has its positives, too. Eliminating a long term break would bring about improved academic achievement. 3 months away from school frequently causes huge gaps in memory and learning, a problem that could be soundly remedied by giving students less lengthy breaks from schooling. This loss of learning affects all children, but it varies by learning level and age.

Summer break can also lead to a lack of engagement, with students frequently getting bored. One expert, Carol Lloyd, says, “If American summer isn’t structured, it’s almost too long.”

I know I want to keep my summer break, but the question is, should I?

Your rights cont.

By: Parker Rowen

The Fourth Amendment is probably one of the most important of all the amendments to understand, and be aware of, as it covers “search and seizure”. A search and seizure is being stopped by, and having the police take a look at your personal belongings. This is known as “inventory”, meaning any assets you may have (such as things on your person, your car, or your house) can be searched. There are quite a few cases within the law which set specific precedent against what does and doesn’t count as a reasonable search and seizure.

The first of these cases is ‘Terry v. Ohio’ (1968). Terry was seen with another man walking up and down the same street multiple times, each looking in the window of a jewelry store. Every time one walked down the block and looked into the store, they would return to the end of the block and talk with the person who was seemingly sizing up the place along with him. Eventually, another man joins the two, and goes down the block once himself; when they all regroup, they begin walking down another street. The officer who spotted this decided to follow these individuals. The officer assumed the men were planning an armed robbery, so they may have a gun. He followed these two and stopped Terry, then proceeded to pat him down.

They decided in this case, the cop had reasonable suspicion to pat Terry down. The actions of Terry couldn’t be defined as reasonable and normal (non-criminal) actions. Therefore, the cop was justified in his search.

This was very important for the concept of a search and seizure, this helped define what could be used as “reasonable suspicion” and lowered the standard for searches. The important piece to take away from this case, is that any and all search and seizures must be “justified at their inception”, meaning the officer must have “articulable facts” to back up the reason for the stop. An officer’s judgments based on speculation are not enough to justify a search, but instead, the facts presented to the officer at the time (in this case, Terry consistently walking up to the same store and peaking inside, along with conferring with another man after every time passing by).

The next case I would like to discuss is ‘St. Paul v. Uber’ (1999). This case was paramount in setting the standard for profiling. “Uber” was a white male, driving a truck registered to Mounds View, Minnesota, in the Summit-University Ave. area of St. Paul, a place at the time known for prostitution, around the hour of 2 a.m., with Uber fitting the profile for a man seeking prostitutes. Uber was seen driving around the same city block by a police officer twice within a 30 minute period; the officer found this behavior to be suspicious and indicative of some sort of criminal behavior, and ran Uber’s plates to discover his suspended license. The officer proceeded to pull him over. When this happened, it was found that Uber was intoxicated and was promptly arrested. The courts found that the facts of Uber’s appearance, or as to why he was in that neighborhood were not relevant, though the suspended license was enough to justify the stop.

An important note from this case is the relevance of why you were in a certain area at a certain time, and simply put: it isn’t. The court ruled that, so long as you are not disturbing the peace, or committing any unlawful acts on public property, you have no obligation to state a reason as to why you are there. You are not allowed to be pulled over for the reason of being in a neighborhood, whether a high-crime neighborhood or not.

The other important takeaway from this, is the “totality of circumstances”, which means that, alongside the articulable facts, less relevant pieces may be used as further justification for a search, such as the cop’s experience on the force, or the suspended license in this case.

 The final case I will be reviewing is ‘Alabama v. White’ (1990). This case was one defining the use of “anonymous tips”. White was found guilty for possession of cocaine, after an anonymous tip came in alerting the police to his behavior. The caller reported White to be leaving his apartment at a specific time, while carrying cocaine in a brown case, in his Plymouth station wagon, with a broken right taillight, and that he would be stopping at a motel at a certain time. Police decided to watch around the apartment, and when they saw a Plymouth station wagon leave and begin to take the most direct route to the motel, police stopped him around a block or two before the motel. When asked to look inside the vehicle, White consented. When they located a locked case matching the description of the one in which the cocaine was supposedly stored, the police requested White to unlock it, and once again, White consented. The police found and seized both marijuana, and cocaine within the case and White was quickly arrested.

The courts found this tip to be enough to justify the stop, as the facts were so specific they decided “Only someone with intimate detail of White’s personal life could know,” these types of facts.

The most important lesson to learn from this, is one about consent. The officers did not have enough information to justify looking within that case, but with White unlocking it at their request, anything found within the case was perfectly admissible as evidence in court via the “plain sight” rule (meaning if something is able to be seen, it is considered being presented to whoever may pass by, and therefore is considered public information).

Your rights against search and seizure are very important ones to understand. Oftentimes, the police will find an excuse to arrest you, and allowing them to search your person is just one tool you’ve given them to do so. There are very specific circumstances surrounding what justifies a stop. Knowing these are important for any defense you may have to make later in your life, and to protect you against tyranny, and abuse of the people, perpetrated by the government.

iPad kids

By: Sarah VonBerge

It is highly debatable whether or not children should be allowed to use iPads, or other screens, for extended periods of time. Because the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did a study, people are now able to look further into the effect electronics have on young kids. It has been shown that screens stunt children’s development by narrowing their focus, interest, and limiting their other means of exploration and learning.

Exploring the outdoors, playing with toys, and playing with other children help them form their imagination and important social skills.

Development happens the most in the first 3 years of their lives and many skills are created by watching the adults around them. If they are looking at a screen, they are not able to take in the world around them. It’s been shown that children under 2 learn more watching someone else teach them as compared to watching a video.

Exaggerated tones and faces help them learn how others around them are feeling or talking to them, without these exaggerations, they are not always able to take in the needed information. Screens and video games cause them to miss out on valuable caregiver interactions that regulate emotions.

Excessive screen time doesn’t just affect emotions and communication, it’s been shown to actually completely change how the brain is formed. It’s been shown that kids who spend more than 7 hours a day on a screen experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex, which is the area related to critical thinking and reasoning.

Kids who spend 2 hours a day on a screen have also been shown to score lower on thinking and language tests. Along with this, it was found that kids who spent more than 2 hours watching TV a day were 64% less likely to get the recommended 10 hours of sleep as compared to kids who spend 30 minutes or less.

5 year olds who spent 2+ hours on screens were 5 times more likely to show symptoms of ADHD compared to children who spent 30 min or less. Although it does not cause ADHD, they’ve been known to be more hyperactive, which is a common symptom in ADHD.

Screen time can trigger the release of dopamine, which is ‘the happy’ neurotransmitter. When you are doing or seeing something that is releasing dopamine, you will not want to get off the screen. Because of this, many children have difficulty putting a screen down, which often results in frustration, anger and/or a complete shut down.

Although it is not completely detrimental to give kids screen time, their time needs to be limited.

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What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

The COVID-19 vaccines that are being used right now are the Pfizer vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine cleared for children currently; it is cleared for children ages 5 through 11.

There is also a COVID booster shot. Everyone over the age of 18 can get it. At first they were just giving it to first responders and people who were more susceptible to get COVID, but now it has opened up more to the public and everyone of the age of 18 can get the booster shot.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, once fully vaccinated, people can start doing more, and a safer way to help build protection.” 

One of the reasons the vaccine is safe is because millions of people in the US have received the vaccine since they were authorized by the FDA. Another reason is that they have undergone “The most insensitive safety monitoring in US history.” A third reason is “There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems.” The last reason, the CDC had stated was “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.”

I interviewed a freshman and a junior. I asked them these questions: Have you heard anything about the COVID-19 vaccine causing fertility issues? Have you heard about the tedious monitoring that the US has undergone trying to make the vaccine?

The freshman answered the first question saying, “No, I haven’t.” 

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. I know it took lots of scientists to make the vaccine. They also had a very short period of time to make the vaccine.”

The junior answered the first question saying, “I’ve only heard conspiracy theories about it.”

They then answered the second question saying, “Yes I have. My Mom works at the U of MN and she tells me stories about how long it was taking and what a tedious process it was.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is effective. It helps children and adults from getting very ill. Another reason the CDC states about this was “Getting children ages 5 years and older vaccinated can help protect them from serious short- and long-term complications.”

Once fully vaccinated, people can progressively start doing more. Families/people can resume many activities that they did before the pandemic started. Some activities that you could return to doing that are low risk are: eating outdoors at a restaurant, getting a haircut, going to an outdoor concert, hugging vaccinated family and friends, and visiting elderly relatives that have also been fully vaccinated.

Some other activities that you could return to doing that are medium risks are: eating indoors at a restaurant, going to the theaters, traveling, going to the gym, and getting a massage.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a safer way to help build protection. According to the CDC, “Children ages 5 years and older and adults who are eligible should get vaccinated regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with previously having a COVID-19 infection.”

To learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated, please go to:

‘Red Notice’ Movie Review

By: Eva Olson

‘Red Notice’ is an action/comedy movie starring Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot. It follows the story of an FBI agent (Dwayne Johnson) and a con-man (Ryan Reynolds) who must work together to catch the world’s greatest art thief (Gal Gadot) and steal the last of three treasured golden eggs.

This movie was pretty fast paced and action packed. There also weren’t a ton of deaths. Most of the fighting in this movie was involving guns or hand-to-hand combat. Although there was a good amount of action there wasn’t much blood or gory scenes.

The plot was very interesting and puzzling. There were a ton of plot twists and betrayals throughout the movie which made the movie more fun to watch.

This movie had a lot of double crosses which made me very eager to see what was going to happen next. All of the plot twists really added to the suspense and mystery of the movie.

I liked the cast and recognized a lot of the actors. The actors suited the roles pretty well in my opinion.

All of the characters were pretty funny and I liked most of them. I enjoyed the main characters’ dynamic between each other and how they would get into unnecessary fights over small things. It was also fun to watch Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson act in the same movie together.

All of the costumes were really cool and they made each scene feel more realistic. The scenery also made the movie even more captivating. In general, the movie was very eye-catching.

Overall, I would give this movie a 7/10 rating. I recommend it to action/comedy movie fans. You can find this movie on Netflix.

Sports schedule for: Dec 13-18

5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. North/Tartanat WSP Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Northat North St. Paul High School
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. River FallsHOME
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski Skate Raceat Elm Creek Park Reserve
4:30pm2:45pm / 6:45pmBoys Swimming and Diving vs. Como Parkat Humboldt High School
5:00pm Wrestling Triangular vs. Humboldt / Minneapolis SouthwestHOME
6:00pm Gymnastics vs. Cretin-Derham HallHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Simleyat Simley High School
4:15pm / 4:15pm 6:00pm Boys Basketball vs. Patrick HenryHOME
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm / 6:00pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. Two Riversat Two Rivers High School
4:00pm / 6:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Two RiversHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. MoraHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. Northern Lakesat Breezy Point Arena
9:00am7:00am / TBDWrestling Invitationalat Trinity School at River Ridge