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.

What is spice?

By: Isaac Lund

Image taken from:

Chances are, you’ve tried something spicy before. Be it a spicy potato chip or a ghost pepper, any spicy treat is bound to leave that delicious heat in your mouth. But, have you ever thought about what causes that pain so signature of all hot food? Do you know the science behind what makes something spicy?

Cuisines all over the world—India, Mexico, China, have used the art of implementing spice into food to captivate millions, no, billions of people around the globe. Those who first practiced this culinary technique were putting science to work, whether they knew it or not.

Capsaicin, an organic chemical produced within peppers, is the culprit behind the madness. Pepper plants produce this compound to turn away predators planning on eating their fruit, a deterrent that has completely backfired over the course of history. As soon as the pepper touches your tongue, Capsaicin molecules seek out pain receptors, called VR1s, in your taste buds, and latch on. Your brain is signaled, and the burning ensues. Although it may feel like you will end up shriveled and burnt, no physical damage is really dealt to your mouth and tongue.

While many like to boast about their “spice tolerance”, the heat becomes too much for everyone at a certain point. Oh no! Better get a cool glass of water! Not. Capsaicin, in the form it attacks you in, at least, is an oil. Water and oil don’t mix, and the spice will only be spread around your poor mouth. Grab a glass of milk or some ice cream instead: the oils and fats here will dissolve clingy capsaicin and carry it down your throat.

And anyways, tolerance is no excuse for having an aversion to spice. Although some scaredy-cats may argue that others have built a tolerance for spice through repetitive exposure, this is actually impossible; your VR1s will forever react to capsaicin in the exact same way. So, how do some handle the heat so well? They’ve simply come to enjoy the burn.

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My favorite Minnesota parks

By: McKenna Nutter

Image taken from:

Now that spring will be here soon, more people are looking to spend time outdoors, especially after being trapped at home with nowhere to go all year, and it was especially hard in the winter. Luckily, Minnesota has some very nice parks and outdoor areas to go and hangout, take a walk, or if you’re looking for some place to go camping.

One of my favorite, very local places to go, are the Mississippi Falls, also known as Hidden Falls. It’s a great place to go for a short hike with my family, and a place I have been going for longer than I can remember. It’s near Highland Park High School, just across the Mississippi River, through Highland Village.

Another wonderful place to go is Crosby Regional Park. These outdoor trails are located along Shepherd Rd and Kellogg Blvd. It’s a set of trails that runs partially along the river and circles a small lake. I have been here with a friend before, and we had loads of fun, I only wish I had brought more water! 

If you’re looking for a great place to go hiking and kayak, Lebanon Hills Regional Park is a great choice. Last summer, my family and I took kayaks to Lebanon, and the small lakes connected together made for easy movement between each body of water. Not long before our kayak outing, we had taken a long walk through Lebanon’s beautiful hiking trails, and we were even lucky enough to see a group of horse riders, on their own, separate path. It was a large park and the scenery was beautiful. And though I’ve never been personally, I’ve heard they have year-round campsites open. I find Lebanon Hills to be my favorite nearby park, with all of its options for outdoor activities. 

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If you’re looking to go camping for a few days, especially to get far out of the city, Whitewater State Park, located not too far from Rochester, in Winona County, was a wonderful place I went to on a group camping trip. The trails were beautiful and hiking through the rocky bluffs was more fun than I had expected. Whitewater State Park is located just a few miles from the Trout Run Creek, a popular place to go fishing. 

Snacks that help give you energy

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Do you ever feel like you need a bit more energy to get through the day? Maybe you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before, or your classes left you exhausted. Well, here are some healthy snacks to give you a bit more energy to get you through the day: 


Nuts are a great snack to have after something draining like a workout! They have good fats and are high in protein which helps your body recover and helps you regain some energy. 


Apples, bananas, and watermelon are some of the best fruits to get an energy boost! Dried fruit is also good and easier to take around! It contains natural sugar and is high in fiber which is a good energy booster! 


All seeds contain a bunch of protein! They also have good fats and many have different types of vitamins and minerals which are good for your body and can give you a good wake up call! 

Peanut butter! 

Peanut butter is greatly known for being a good source of protein! It also contains sugar and salt, and it’s quick and easy to eat for when you need a quick energy boost! 

Turkey sticks and some fruit! 

A mix of a turkey stick and an apple could give you a great energy boost! The mix of protein, fiber, and sugar really help your body out! 


Specifically, dark chocolate — it contains sugar and fats which really help give you some energy! Eating nuts or fruit covered in chocolate are also great choices, and are even better because they’re better for your health! 

Cottage cheese! 

Whether you have it by itself or with seeds, berries, or even chocolate, it’s good on protein and fat which are good energy boosters! However, you should eat it in moderation, since it can contain high amounts of sodium. 

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Healthy breakfast ideas

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Everyone says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” But sometimes I’m too tired to make any breakfast, or I wake up late and barely have any time to eat something healthy. And there are many occasions where I simply don’t know what to eat. So, here are —- quick and easy healthy breakfast ideas: 

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Breakfast burrito!

Why not try having a burrito in the morning? Getting a tortilla, adding in some eggs, avocado, and some veggies (or keeping it a strictly vegetable-only burrito) makes a healthy and delicious breakfast meal! 


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Toast is quick and easy-and you can have a variety of different toppings; there’re different kinds of jam, peanut butter, and avocado!

With the avocado, you could add veggies too, such as spinach, radishes, cilantro, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

You could also add an egg-scrambled, hard boiled, or sunny side up are all doable on toast!

A dash of lemon can also make the flavor pop! 

Breakfast Bowl!

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Just throw some food in a bowl and call it breakfast-nice and easy. This can vary widely.

A berry bowl with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and adding some coconut water has become quite popular!

Or a more savory bowl with eggs, vegetables, and some brown rice is different and healthy.

Or a sweeter bowl with quinoa, almond milk (or any kind), and some cinnamon, if savory isn’t what you’re feeling!

Mixing it up is perfect with this breakfast meal!

Breakfast Quesadilla! 

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A quesadilla-obviously with a tortilla and cheese, but why not add something else? Adding in some ham, bacon, or sausage to boost up protein is always an option!

A bacon, egg quesadilla-or simply some egg!

Or add in some vegetables-onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms always do the trick! Some avocado also never hurts!

Whatever floats your boat! 

Breakfast Oats! 

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Oatmeal is quick, easy, and healthy! Adding in some fruit, jam, seeds, some almond or adding in some peanut butter with chocolate chips always shakes things up!

Adding in some yogurt with some chia seeds is another great combination with oats!

Or apricots with pistachios and pomegranate seeds, or hemp seeds with mango and currants!

The combinations are endless! 

Quick rundown of vitamins

By: Mohamed Ahmed

There are 13 essential elements. Vitamins are organic compounds that we need to ingest to stay healthy. In a sense they are the bodybuilders, defenders, and maintenance workers if the body. They build muscle and bone, capture and use energy, all the while healing wounds.

They are consumed in different ways. Lipid (fat) soluble, and water soluble. Water soluble vitamins are taken up by the blood flow. Lipid soluble is broken up by bile from the liver and is commonly seen in fat.

The difference of the way it is consumed, ejected, and even stored is based on if it is a water or a fat soluble vitamin.

Here are the four main vitamins that you need the most:

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is vital for the reproductive system and for the immune system. The other things that Vitamin A is good for is that it helps lungs, kidneys, and other organs run properly.

Liver, fish, and dairy are great sources of Vitamin A. 

Vitamin B 

Vitamin B is great for cell health, it is also great for infections and even helps blood cells thrive.

Ways to receive Vitamin B are meat, eggs, whole grains, seeds, and you can’t forget the dark leafy vegetables. 

Vitamin C 

This is the vitamin that you probably will recognize. A deadly disease called scurvy can be cured with this vitamin. It has the benefits of helping reduce your chances of contracting certain types of cancer and diabetes.

This vitamin can be found in oranges, mangoes, papayas, and pineapples. 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D can be found in liver, eggs, red meat, and ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation can be found basically anywhere the sun is, so you can get Vitamin D by going outside as well.

Severe Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to the following: easily fatigued, bone pains, and even muscle weakness.

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Holiday travels: 2020 vs. the past 

By: McKenna Nutter

COVID-19 has had a large impact on many aspects of everyone’s life. As the holiday season has recently come to an end, many of us are able to look back on the differences between this year and the years past.

The difference, even in the media, was large. While most years we are encouraged to spend time and gather with our friends and family, this year was very different. We had been warned that it was risky to go see our families, and that we should make other arrangements, such as the highly suggested virtual gatherings.

Another major difference, this recent holiday season, was the restrictions and lack in travel. We all know that the airports are filled each year with millions of people flying out to see families, and the streets and highways are filled with cars packed for the road with people driving to see their loved ones. However, the year of 2020 has no doubt been different.

Each of the airlines and airports have had their own pandemic restrictions, and they all vary from one to another. In many states, there are mandates of their own. For example, in Maine, a visitor must self-quarantine for 14 days unless they have had a negative COVID test result within the last 72 hours. Every state has different regulations, and some have none at all but, no matter the state, over the holiday season, there has definitely been an increase in cases. 

Though there has been a major difference in holiday travel this year, the holidays have seemed to increase the travel. TSA data has shown that during a single week, right before the holidays, over 1 million people had been screened each day. This number may not sound too bad during a normal year, in fact it sounds pretty good, but in a year when we are encouraged to stay home and stay safe, this is a large number. 

As predicted, the surge in the number of cases, and the number of deaths, after the holidays was incredibly high. Of all the states in America, Arizona was definitely a hot spot, and Arizona is only one part of the 50 state nation. After the holiday fun was over, the U.S. was averaging more than 246,000 new cases per day! Not to mention the number of deaths was evened out between 3,000 and 4,000 per day. 

This surge in numbers was expected, and though the experts had continually encouraged us to stay home, the warnings may not have been completely ignored, but they went unfollowed by many. 

Hopefully, with the number of new vaccines going out, and the set-up of many vaccination sites, we will be able to pull this surge back into control.


Why Wendy’s social media should be concerning 

By: Quentin Miller

Wendy’s, we all love them.

Their charming insults over Twitter and their #relatable memes are just tons of fun and a good move for brands to be going, right? No, not at all, and I’ll explain why.

Now, what is a brand? Is a brand the person who runs their Twitter account? 

No, that’s a team of social media experts. A brand is a corporation with lots and lots of money, whose main goal is to make more money. Not to say corporations are bad, that’s not the point of this article, but corporations aren’t our friends. 

The only thing Wendy’s is trying to do by being relatable to the average person on Twitter is to hide the fact that just like every other company, they’re trying to cut every corner to make as much profit as possible.

One specific example is when Wendy’s had a scandal where they were serving rotting fish according to an ex-employee’s testimony. But my guess is that you never heard of it, because instead of making a public statement, or seeking for defamation, they did nothing and continued to make fun of people on Twitter, acting like they didn’t just put the lives of hundreds of their customers in danger.

Wendy’s isn’t the worst offender, really they’re just very cheap. But imagine what this type of dominance over the public perception of a company could do in the hand of a company like Tesla or Amazon, who have enough money to influence world politics, if not called out and stopped. The new marketing strategy introduced by these chain restaurants is worrying and should be called out before it becomes dangerous. 

Local coffee shops in the Twin Cities

By: Lizzy Woxland and Anna Hisle

From modern, to artsy themed décor, the Twin Cities have an large variety of coffee shops for any occasion.

Wether you want a quick latte to go, or a great place to sit down and be productive, the Twin Cities coffee shops will have something for everyone.

Here are a few of our favorite coffee shops in the Twin Cities.

Quixotic- ​
Quixotic is a very modern clean cafe containing a variety of different drinks. They also have an array of foods and pastries so we are sure there is something you’ll like. Quixotic has great seating and is the perfect place to get stuff done.

Lizzies favorite drink is their “Marco Polo”

J&S Bean Factory- ​
J&S Bean Factory opened ​in​ 2001 and is an independently owned coffee shop and roastery. J&S has a very welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel very comfortable. Not only that, but when they are roasting the beans the whole place smells amazing. They also have amazing staff that are always in a positive mood.

Lizzie’s favorite drink from them is their iced vanilla lattes.

Amore Coffee- ​
Amore coffee is a coffee shop in West Saint Paul. Amore is a small business that has independent roasters, a conference room, live music, and fresh food and drinks.

Cafe Astoria- ​
Cafe Astoria is a locally owned coffee shop in Saint Paul. The coffee shop features specialty drinks, crepes, and salads. Starting as a pop-up, people enjoyed their food and drinks so much that they moved into a place on Grand Ave and officially opened Cafe Astoria.

Fresh Grounds Coffee- ​
Fresh Grounds Café is not only a successful neighborhood business, but it is also partnered with RS EDEN and is a training program for teens and young adults who experience barriers to employment. This place brings a very cosy vibe. Not only do they have amazing coffee, but they also have pastries, lunch items, smoothies, and ice cream. This place is an amazing place to meet up with friends to sit and chat.

Ginkgo Coffeehouse- ​
Ginkgo Coffee house opened in 1993 with a few locations throughout Saint Paul. Ginkgo has bands from all over North America that travel and play in their coffeehouse. Not only do they have musicians come and play but they have open mics! This coffee shop also has a small play area for children along with boards games and a small library area.

Riverview Cafe- ​
The Riverview Cafe is a wine bar and coffee shop in Minneapolis. Inside the Riverview, there is a children’s play area, seating, and live music. Their menu has food and drinks everyone will like!

Anna’s favorite is their bran muffins.

We hope you try and support some of our personal favorite locally owned coffee shops! Enjoy!

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. ​​ 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!