Writing an Online Article to Inform & Entertain: Humor helps recall

Your clients want informative and educational blog posts and articles. Some information can be unpleasant or complex. Throw in some humor to make it more palatable and easier to recall. Here’s an example which throws out some difficult to digest information about the foods we eat.

The Wellness Chronicles:  I’m Scared In the Supermarket! 


Are you overwhelmed by food choices? I am.  According to the USDA, 19,047 new food products hit the grocery shelves in 2009.  And more have arrived every year. With so many options, how can we still choose foods wisely?

Lost in the grocery store jungle

As thunder rumbles from the produce section, I enter the supermarket feeling like a jungle explorer surrounded by strange and exotic species.

I plunge bravely with my wobbly-wheeled cart down the first aisle.

Brazen boxes and bags of highly processed foodstuffs promise, ” Hey there, I’m the new and improved miracle food. I’m organic, high-fiber, low-salt, all-natural — I taste great, make you skinny, get you healthy!”

I turn my cart, dodging fellow brave explorers; they’re on cell phones seeking moral support from base camp.

I weave through the towering displays. Oh, the tons of packaging, the overwhelm of sensory input, the humanity!  What kind of food is actually in these packages? Is it nutritious? Is it even food?

What is my food eating? Something shocking

Finally! A food that appears to be fresh. Deep within the icy seafood freezer, decorating a small square box, a fish leaps from pristine blue water. His body arches, his scales shimmer enticingly.  But, a microscopic label under his lovely portrait reads, “fish product.” And the next line reads, “farmed fish.” I imagine this fish grazing  in a grassy field with a herd of brother fish. Hmm.  Maybe he’s not grazing . . .

Uh-oh. Now what comes to mind is a 2012  Bloomberg article which furnished information about unsanitary conditions at overseas farms and “the practice of using manure as feed for farmed fish. ”  Yes, these fish are fed pig and chicken feces –poop — as a protein source. The FDA, says the article, has rejected multiple imported seafood shipments. I think I will move on.

I spy the familiar orange of bagged raw carrots, drop them into my cart. I am  out of here before the next fake lightning flash.

When I reach the safety of the Farmers Market down the block, I relax.

I find it sad and disheartening that a trip through the supermarket feels so like a survival hunt for anything nutritious.

How to choose foods, expert-style

If we take time to do research and read  labels, we can make better choices at the market say the experts. For example, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Environmental Defense Fund, comes a “Best of the Best” list of fish species: fish that are sustainable, low in environmental contaminants, and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • albacore tuna (troll-or pole-caught, U.S. or British Columbia.)
  • freshwater Coho salmon (farmed in tank systems, U.S.)
  • oysters (farmed), Pacific sardines (wild-caught.)
  • rainbow trout (farmed), salmon (wild-caught, Alaska.)

That helps, but let’s face it. We are busy. What can we do if we don’t have the time or the access to that kind of research?

Easy ways to choose foods wisely

For another point of view, I interviewed Ramona Beville, a Certified Health Coach and Educator. Over a bowl of fresh strawberries and a cup of tea, we discussed food choices. Ramona introduced me to the chicks at her place– the ones in her backyard coop. Each morning she collects their eggs.

Beville received her training at Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She declined to make blanket statements about nutrition and food choices, saying no one method will work for everyone. Deprivation, says Beville, is not the answer.  “Don’t be afraid of food. Food is a pleasure,” she says.  “Keep it that way.”

She offers these tips for grocery shopping:

  • Remember that corporations are in business to sell food, not to keep us healthy. Consider the source, not only where the food originated, but the accuracy of the marketing slogan.
  • Add fresh foods to your diet. When foods are fresh and organic, they are typically free from processing and unhealthy additives.
  • Eat your greens. Packed with nourishment, we seldom get enough of these.

A clear day in the produce department

As for me, I plan to do more reading about where my food comes from, steer my wobbly cart away from the bags and boxes, and shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s  where fresh and recognizable foods live.

And,  hope it doesn’t rain in the produce deparment. I forgot my umbrella.

This edited article originally appeared in AOL Patch.com.

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