GMOs vs. organic

By Nora Doyle

Image taken from: The Gazette

The debate on whether or not GMOs are good or bad has been going on for a while now and has become more of a commonly talked about issue as the organic foods movement has become more popular.

What are GMOs? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. ​Forbes.com​ scribes GMOs as an organism whose genetic material or DNA has been changed in an unnatural way. ​’Forbes​’ also says GMOs are mostly designed to increase the nutritional value, and protect crops against pests.

As for organic food, ​’Forbes​’ describes it as food that doesn’t contain any pesticides or fertilizers, and is completely natural. Some people swear by organic foods and refuse to eat anything that has been genetically modified, and others don’t want to spend the extra money just for products that are fully natural.

The first topic of this argument has to do with this money opinion.

When you look at a package of organic blueberries at the grocery store, compared to blueberries that do not say organic, you will notice that the organic blueberries are significantly more expensive. Some people believe it’s worth the extra money, but some don’t.

There are a few reasons why organic food is more expensive according to ​OrganicAlberta, ​and one reason is that the demand is often greater than supply. Also, they say organic farming methods are more expensive than non organic farming methods, meaning they have to sell at higher prices.

Is organic food actually better for you?

According to ​Harvard Medical University, ​organic foods don’t appear to have nutritional advantages. USDA data shows that organic foods do have fewer pesticide residues, but both organic and non organic are the same level of safe for consumption.

However, Harvard studies do say that organic farming doesn’t feed their animals growth hormones. They are mostly naturally raised, so it may be arguable that organic is better for the animals.

Overall, it seems as though GMOs don’t really do much for us, but neither does organic food. Eat what you like how you like it!

5 teas that help with stress and anxiety

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

An easy way to relieve stress and anxiety is by drinking tea! Making tea is generally a simple thing to do, and the benefits from it can be astounding. So, here are 5 teas that will give you the most benefit when it comes to stress and anxiety.

Chamomile tea:

Chamomile tea is an herbal tea that has a caffeine-free version. This version allows the avoidance of rising anxiety levels. This tea is good for any time of the day. It helps raise serotonin (a hormone in the human body that helps stabilize your mood) and melatonin (a hormone in the human body that has effects that lead to reduction of anxiety) levels. 

Lemon balm tea:

This tea is made by a well-known calming herb that helps with stress and anxiety. It also contains a rosmarinic acid that helps with GABA (an amino acid in the brain that regulates nerve transmissions) receptors. This is all done while also helping by relaxing muscles and reducing headaches, muscle cramps, and helps the digestive system. 

Peppermint tea:

Peppermint tea is able to help your body and your mind relax. It helps by giving an energy boost that also causes you to feel calm. Along with this, it can help against stomach issues caused by stress, as well as headaches. This tea can be consumed hot or cold which makes it nice in the summertime.  

Lavender tea:

Lavender tea helps alleviate tension and stress by helping subdue tense muscles and nerves. This can also aid against muscle pain and annoying headaches. The tea also helps the digestive system by being anti-inflammatory. The scent itself is also popular when it comes to soothing stress and anxiety levels. 

Green tea:

This tea has many antioxidants (molecules that fight against free radicals), which helps avoid chain reactions that could harm the body, as well as the stress and anxiety induced feelings. It can also lead to better sleep and minimizing lack of energy or tiredness; this is all thanks to an amino acid called L-theanine. 

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Why are oranges the king of all fruits?

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Wikipedia

Oranges. Not referring to the plural form of the color, but the juicy citrus that is of the same name.

The second the outer layer of the fruit is peeled back, the distinct aroma fills the room.

The popular fruit is known to originate from southern China, northern India and Myanmar. According to Healthline.com, the citrus fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, fight free radicals that cause cancer, and can reduce the stress hormone “cortisol”.

The delicious fruit can also improve your skin, as vitamin C supports collagen production. Collagen production can improve skin health and help wounds heal.

You may have heard about the internet trend where people will take hot showers and bring an orange with them to snack on because it’s supposedly the most liberating act of food consumption ever, and will bring you pure unbridled joy. On pure wow.com you get a more detailed explanation as to why that is. The scent of citrus is thought to have calming properties, the smell of the sweet orange helps when you’re feeling anxious. When you’re taking a hot shower, the heat from the water makes the orange smell even more strong because heat can amplify smell. So, the orange becomes much more fragrant in the shower.

Oranges are loved by so many people all over the world and for good reasons too! There are many health benefits that come with the consumption of a delicious orange. It’s good for the state of your mind, helps when you’re anxious. You get an excellent source of vitamins and overall a good experience when you eat this fruit. The juicy citrus has a marvelous texture with little bubbles of juice that you bite into, it’s a wonderful fruit, I say it’s the best out there!

How to make better burritos 

By: Quentin Miller

Image taken from: Jason Bolte

So, you want to make a better burrito, well I’m here to explain the best ways to improve the way you craft it. This isn’t a specific recipe, think of it more as an overall guide of how you’re doing a lot of things wrong. 

Well, the first thing you’re probably doing wrong is the tortilla. If I had to guess, you’re using a really thick doughy tortilla, stand up right now and go look at the brand of tortilla you’re using, if it’s Mission you’re already not doing good.

You’re going to want to start with a much thinner tortilla with more fat; it makes it stretchier and easier to fold. If you’re homemaking tortillas, first, good luck, and second, just experiment with flour and fat combinations until you get something that feels right for you.

Next thing you’re probably doing wrong, you’re probably just making hamburgers wrapped in a tortilla judging off how much spice there is.

Now, I’m not going to judge anyone for using store bought taco seasoning, because truth be told it actually isn’t that bad. But, it’s far from perfect.

So, you’re going to start with chili pepper as the body of your seasoning, from there, you’re going to add the following ingredients to your preference 

  • Cumin
  • Garlic/onion powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper (you can add a lot of salt if you’re into that)

Also, you’re going to want to add cayenne for extra spice. If you’re too weak to handle some spice, substitute for extra black pepper.

Finally, if you want even more spice, add some hot sauce. You’re going to want something very spicy because if you drown your pan in hot sauce it’s going to be too wet. My personal favorite choice is “Desert Creatures: Black Widow’s Kiss.” I add about 6-8 drops of this into my pan while I mix the seasoning and meat (full disclosure, I have an extremely high heat tolerance and should not be the standard for how much spice should be in your food).

We’re almost done here, only two steps left.

So, the filling of the burrito is surprisingly not important. You can use any meat you want really, chicken and ground beef are really the only options people consider and that’s for good reason.

For ground beef, make sure you brown it to your preference, you’re going to want it pretty much 100% brown.

Next, for vegetables, just do whatever you want. I like just onion, but any pepper isn’t bad and some weirdos like avocado, just do what you want and make sure it fits comfortably in the tortilla.

Once again, cheese is just a preference thing. I love myself some ghost-pepper jack but cheddar is just fine. Really, any cheese with cheddar-like properties (ability to melt and texture/consistency) works fine. 

Last step, folding your burrito.

Now, I’m not going to actually tell you how to fold it; if you don’t know how to I don’t know why you’ve read this far on a burrito improving guide – you need to go back to the basics.

Now, after you folded the burrito in a stable way, you’re going to get the pan you warmed your tortillas on. Get it very hot and sear the top and bottom of your burrito, this’ll seal the fold and add a mouth watering light crunch to the tortilla.

Congrats! You’re done now, if you followed every step you will now have the most spicy burrito possible. If you wussed out on a few of the extra spicy steps, you’ll still have a considerably better meal.

A lot of these techniques require a lot of trial and error, so don’t expect to get the perfect burrito first try! Just keep trying and eventually you’ll be making burritos like a pro.

Restaurants are closing and they aren’t coming back

By : Jalalaisa Geleto

The lockdown that started in March has caused hundreds of thousands of businesses to close down, but the restaurant industry has been hit the hardest.

The reason restaurants have been suffering more than any other business is because of the small margin of profit they make. According to ‘Restaurants 365′ the average margin of profit a restaurant makes is 3 – 5 %. For bigger chains like Mcdonalds it’s around 10%.

During the first few months of lockdown restaurants were completely closed meaning they had to sustain workers, supplies, and a building, while making no money to pay them at all. Because restaurants tend to make smaller profits there was only so much money the owners could save up to pay all their future bills.

Restaurants couldn’t pay up because restaurants’ financial model isn’t effective at all without customers for a long period of time.

16,000 restaurants have been permanently closed since the beginning of the lockdown, that’s 60% of all restaurants that closed form the pandemic according to ABC News. The restaurant industry is not going to recover from this for a very long time.

Now that the lockdown has loosen up, restaurants are now allowed to open up but only under strict guidelines. This helps the surviving restaurants very little because they have to spend extra money (which they probably don’t have) on the safety guidelines that their state demands, and serve less than half of the customers they would usually get before the pandemic.

This will lead to restaurants laying off workers because they support their full work force when they already have to pay for equipment to reach their states safety guidelines and their customers being cut in half. As I stated before, restaurants have a very small margin of profit therefore they are going to sacrifice a lot of things to even get there again.

ABC News reports that around 40% of the surviving restaurants believe they will make a full recovery with government assistance by the end of the year. Only 6,400 of the over 26,000 restaurants closing this year plan on making a full recovery this year.

Many business owners want the safety guidelines to go away so they can go back to when things were normal, but state governments have ignored their cries.

More restaurants might close in the future but they have definitely slowed down for now.

Things might start to fully open up again and the state mandated guidelines might go away allowing restaurants to go back to their old ways and hire more waiters and cooks. Only time will tell.

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How COVID-19 made a reservation at state parks in 2020

By: David Meyer

A gorgeous photograph from a state park in Texas (Image taken from: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/garner)

Starting over a century and a half ago, state parks have been great places for visitors to camp, to hike, and to view the amazing wildlife and scenery. They have also been safe havens for wildlife and people alike. However, with the introduction of COVID-19, this past year, state parks have had to shut down. Many reopened soon after the quarantine was lifted, but some were still unable to open to the public. This is because people who help maintain the parks got COVID-19 or are highly susceptible to getting it. 

With that being said, the pandemic has created an eagerness to get outdoors since quarantine ended because people want a change of scenery. Large numbers of people quickly began to fill up the parks with more visitors and more people willing to pay money to stay at these parks. This overflow helped many state parks recoup much of the money they had lost from their months of closure.

However, the increased revenue has ended up deficient in combating the issues that many state parks are facing. With the large influx of people, there has been an increase in trash and coronavirus littering throughout the parks. In turn, this leads to many workers at state parks having to go out more to help pick up the trash while increasing the chance for employees to contract COVID-19. Because of this, more state parks are beginning to close not only from having less healthy workers to maintain the parks but also from the lack of funding states can provide to help keep them open.

At the moment, many state parks have been staying open despite these troubles, but hopefully people maintain their excitement of visiting state parks after the pandemic eventually ends, so our beautiful parks can remain open to visitors and continue to be havens for wildlife and people alike.

Shanghai Disneyland reopen

By La Dafia Dehaney

Disneyland, in Shanghai, reopened back to the public on May 11, 2020. The SVP of Operations for Shanghai Disney Resorts, Andrew Bilstein, reported that “We have a very dedicated team of custodial cleaners that we’ve increased the number of those throughout the park that are constantly wiping down all the surfaces.”

To stay open, Disneyland is required to have only 24,000 people daily, the visitors are required to wear face masks (only costumed workers are the only ones not required to wear masks), the visitors should also practice social distancing, have their temperatures taken and have disinfectants. The park is covered with garbage cans dedicated solely for used face masks. 

Shanghai Disneyland parades have been canceled due to people always crowded at the sidewalk to watch them. The theatres there have also remained close.

To go on rides at Disney, they have placed purple social-distancing mats on the ground. To practice more social distancing Disney has decided to leave rows of seats empty on the rides, and the employees have been instructed to constantly disinfect ride vehicles and lap bars.

People who attend so far have been very respectful about the social distancing rules.

Due to the travel restrictions, only Shanghai residents, and the surrounding provinces, were allowed to go, but guests must book entry tickets online to avoid a large crowd. Also, they must show a green QR Shanghai health code, this helps the government track them if they are exposed and who they have been in contact with.

Shanghai Disneyland is the only one of the company’s parks to reopen, Disney is uncertain when they will reopen the other theme parks. But, Disney has signaled that Disneyworld in Florida might reopen next. The mall there, Disney Springs, will begin phased reopening on May 20.

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Desserts to make during the quarantine

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Looking for something to do or bake while under quarantine? Try these eight different desserts that will keep you busy and have you baking them over and over again.

  • Oreo Cake It’s a moist cake that is covered with Oreo whip cream frosting and is made up of chocolate layers with crushed Oreos in them.
  • Cheesecake is made of a mixture of Philadelphia Cream Cheese combined with eggs, flour, sugar, and water. The bottom layer of the cake is crushed crackers or cookies that you combine with butter and sugar. The toppings are usually strawberries or any type of berries. 
  • Trifle is an English dessert that came from England in the 18th century. This dessert is made with any type of fruit you want, and it has a layer of sponge fingers soaked in cherry.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies originated in the United States. This dessert will include a dough that is made with butter and both brown and white sugar. You top it off with your pick of chocolate chips.
  • Ice Cream Cake is filled with ice cream and layers of sponge cake or cookie crumble in between them.
  • Apple Pie is just filled with apples that you combine with brown sugar and cinnamon and toss it up. It also includes a crust that you can make with water, butter, flour, and sugar.
  • Cinnamon Rolls are made up of a dough that is rolled into small portions and in between are sugar and cinnamon. You then bake it and top it off with some cream cheese and powdered sugar mixed together. 
  • A Banana Split is an ice cream dessert, it usually has a sauce of chocolate, strawberry, or caramel that you drizzle over the ice cream. You finish up this dessert by topping it off with some whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lab-grown alternatives to meat

Lab-grown meat is meat that is not from a living organism. It is made by taking a muscle sample from an animal. Then they take stem cells from the tissue, and replicate those and grow them. These cells are able to renew and grow themselves, that’s why it is important to the process of making the meat. The cells then generate into different tissues and are able to grow, forming muscle tissues. The meat grows onto itself in a cultivator. It’s ready to harvest in 4-6 weeks. That is fast!

There is a reason why this is being practiced. This type of meat can put an end to cruel and unethical treatment of many animals that are raised for food. Many of these animals have bad living conditions that consist of little space, and their diet is foods meant to bulk them up, sometimes with abusive caretakers.

Many animals used for food now are genetically mutated for the purpose of getting more meat off of them. Most baby bulls are killed for meat. The female cows are needed for breeding and milking, so why waste funds on a male that produces less product? The same is thought for chickens; hens lay the eggs.

Along with better relationships with cattle, there are also good impacts this meat brings to the environment. The production of livestock products is one of the huge industries contributing to extreme amounts of deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse-gas emissions. Less land usage, less ingredients, and an overall smaller impact is a result of synthetic meats. Synthetically growing the meat does not need as many resources as sustaining and growing animals from birth. One simple tissue sample is used and is able to make thousands of quarter pounders. We are able to reduce the pollution agriculture causes as well as the amount of land we have dedicated towards it.

The meat is not yet on the market, it is still being tested, but it is hoped to be coming very soon. The purpose of this advancement isn’t to get rid of traditional agriculture, it’s about finding a safer, less cruel alternative to factory farming. The cost of production is high right now, that is because it’s not yet perfected. There is a focus on bringing the cost down, but it still utilizes fewer resources. There are a lot of different names for the food produced, but we know one thing for sure, it’s a nearly perfect alternative for real meat.

Places to visit this Christmas

Looking for somewhere to go this Christmas, here are some places to consider if you have the funds: 

  • London, England- London has great things during the holiday season like going on a Christmas river cruise, visiting one of the Royal Parks, and going ice skating at JW3.
  • The Maldives– The Maldives is a chain of 1192 islands located south-west of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean. Flying time from the United States to the Maldives takes about 20 hours, 4 minutes. In Maldives you can snorkeling, go diving, go fun tubing, have a private picnic on a sandbank, and go whale watching.
  • Jerusalem, IsraelIsrael is a holy city for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. You can explore the Western Wall, Holy Sepulcher, Tower of David, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, Haifa, and the Mount of Olives.
  • Honolulu, HawaiiFrom Minnesota to Honolulu, Hawaii, it takes about 13 hours to fly. There are plenty of fun things to do in Hawaii like: go on a Makani Catamaran, go to the Honolulu Museum of Art, go to Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, go on a Diamond Head Hike, go to Waikiki Beach, and go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.
  • San Jose, Costa RicaCosta Rica is a rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. In Costa Rica you can go ziplining; it is one of the most essential things to do there. You can also go horseback riding, go on a sunset sailing cruise, go on a private boating tour in the Gulf of Papagayo, and you can go canoeing.

Visit these sites for more information: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/travel-guide/g12919081/places-to-go-for-christmas/