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2014 SXSW Explores The Future of Food (HINT: Insects Play a Role!)

Just a bit of background in case you are like me and only recently learned about the glorious SXSW. SXSW—which is short for South by Southwest—is a collection of film screenings, “interactive events,” music festivals, and conferences that happens in Austin, Texas every March. (Today is opening day!) It started as more of an indie-music thing but now it’s one of the top tech meet-ups in the world. And there truly is something for everyone, including dozens of food-specific offerings like discussion panels.

sxsw-app-logo

Below, a sampling of this year’s SXSW food-and-health related seminars:

March 8
“Dear Taco Vendor, How Are You Securing My Data?”
This important seminar explores the idea of exchanging personal information as currency. SXSW, like many other festivals and events, offers free swag in the form of clothing, grab-bags, and, of course, food. You’re not often charged money for these items, yet you have to “earn” these free things by logging into your various social networking accounts and promoting the company. This seminar discusses the process from logging in to ways the companies benefit from your information. The security of your personal life is important. Get to know the way of the world in 2014!
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When Did We Let Digital Fat-Shaming be OK?

Imagine a person just standing there minding his or her own business, and that person happens to be fat. If you place a clever caption underneath of the photo pointing out just how fat that person is and suddenly, somehow it becomes funny, right? Wrong. I’m sure you’ve these photos floating around on the interwebs. This is what is referred to as fat-shaming.

fat shaming

Personally, I have never found any photos exploiting overweight individuals as a “joke” to be funny at all. Being overweight in itself is not funny. And I have to wonder why this type of discrimination and bullying is still so acceptable in our culture. Even in Hollywood, consider how much negative attention a celebrity gets when they gain weight. Their image is shown on the cover of a magazine with a caption stating something about how fat they’ve gotten, and we’ve allowed that to be acceptable!

I gained a great deal of weight in my early teenage years and in high school, I was somewhere over 200 pounds. My saving grace was that I was funny and well-liked, so I didn’t become the target of much bullying (and most people would never have made fun of me to my face). I thank my lucky stars that things like Facebook and Twitter (heck, even cell phones or texting!) didn’t exist back then, because it’s so much easier to bully someone when you’re sitting behind a computer.
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Respect the Selfie: Why Oxford’s Word of the Year is Nothing to be Ashamed About

It seems anywhere you go these days the odds are pretty good that you will catch someone taking a selfie. What’s a selfie? Well, Oxford Dictionaries just named it the 2013 Word of the Year, and defines it as, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.

Honestly I think selfies get a bad rap. I think often times people look at others who take selfies and write them off as possibly being arrogant, full of themselves, and at times down right annoying. We, as a society, are quick to judge others from the outside without actually knowing the story that person has to share.

You see, for me, selfies have a unique meaning. I have been overweight for most of my adult life; the picture below was me at my highest weight in 2009 at 480 pounds.

sweating it off
I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself from that period of my life; the reason being I was scared of the camera. I didn’t want to capture myself or what I looked like. I didn’t want to see the reality of what I had done to myself. At social functions when people would pull out their cameras wanting to capture the moments, I would mysteriously disappear or be that awesome person who volunteered to take the pictures for everyone else.

There were even a few times when people would sneak up and take pictures and I would kindly ask them afterwards to please delete any of the pictures I was in; they never really understood why.

The bottom line was I was not happy with many aspects of my life and I didn’t want proof of that published in the form of a picture as a constant reminder.
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ShiftCon to Bring Together Health, Wellness and Environmental Bloggers

Next October, Los Angeles will be the home of the world’s first international social media focusing on wellness, health and environment. Presented by Bookieboo and Mamavation, ShiftCon Social Media Conference will bring in bloggers from all over who write about wellness, health, the environment, food, fitness and natural living.

ShiftCon 2014
Leah Segedie, the event’s founder, hopes that it will provide these bloggers with a way to connect and share. “ShiftCon was born out of the idea that together we can create a profound impact on the world around us. We can literally shift how we eat, raise our families and our impact on the environment,” Segedie said. “That shift has begun, and now it’s time to come together and leverage our collective influence to accelerate that shift.”

As the first conference of its kind, ShiftCon was created in the spirit of providing wellness and eco-friendly bloggers with a chance to network, share ideas and learn from industry experts. Robyn O’Brien, author of Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It, is already slated as one of the keynote speakers.
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Roni Noone’s #WYCWYC Challenge Inspires the Interwebs to Move!

I’ll exercise tomorrow. I’ll start running when it’s not so cold outside. I’ll diet when this chocolate cake is gone. I know I’ve personally uttered every one of these excuses and I’m probably not alone. Fitbloggin’ founder Roni Noone wants to take away the excuses and show people that living healthier lives doesn’t have to be a monumental commitment of time, money and energy. She encourages people to do what you can when you can (#WYCWYC). Now, her hashtag campaign, nay, challenge, has gone viral.

Roni Noone #WYCWYC

 As a mother with two young sons, Roni knows all about the cycle of yo-yo dieting and “waiting until everything is perfect” to start an exercise program. She credits the what-you-can-when-you-can mantra for helping her achieve and sustain a significant weight loss over the last eight years. As a self-described “social media fanatic,” she was inspired by other hashtag challenges including #plankaday #yogaaday and #running.

“I love the idea of using social media to inspire,” she explained. “I truly believe that when we share positive, motivating and inspirational things, it helps spur more positive, motivating and inspirational things.” A few weeks ago, the #WYCWYC Challenge was born.


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