AFH Photo // Tristin Heap
Choosing to become a vegetarian is not as easy as choosing which outfit to wear. The journey is not simple, nor is it the living hell many think it is. 
According to the Vegetarian Times Magazine, about 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians and approximately one million are vegan. Among vegetarians, there are lacto vegetarians who eat dairy but not eggs. Lacto-Ovo vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. Pescatarians add seafood to their diet, while vegans eat plant-based foods only. 
I became a pescatarian more than two years ago. My motivation was wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle and wanting to discipline myself. Like many people, I doubted I would last as a pescatarian. I thought I would end up disappointing myself by beginning this new lifestyle but quitting shortly after. However, that was not the case. There is a common misconception that becoming a vegetarian is hard. People are either afraid of trying something new and challenging, or simply convince themselves they can not live without meat.  
Kiara Batista, 16, from the John D. O’Bryant High School, who has been a lacto vegetarian for three years, says it is easy. “After the first couple of months, you get used to it,” she said.  Her motives for becoming vegetarian were that she wanted to “live a healthier life, and stop eating animals that get treated badly.” 

Because of consumers’ high demand for meat, animals are often raised in cramped spaces and barely get to breathe fresh air or spend time with their newborns. From the time they are born to the time they are inhumanely slaughtered, they often do not step foot outside their cages. 
While some people choose vegetarianism for moral reasons, there are also environmental benefits to a vegetarian diet. “Rainforests are being cut down to raise cattle for beef and cattle themselves produce methane, which contributes to global warming,” says Kimberly Fitzgerald, a member of Share Our Strength, a non-profit organization focused on teaching families and young children how to cook and shop healthy on a budget.  
Living as a vegetarian also brings health benefits. Livestrong, an online health and fitness source, reported that compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduced rates of death from heart disease, decreased incidences of hypertension, stroke, Type-2 diabetes, and certain cancers. This corrects the frequently repeated myth that vegetarians do not intake enough nutrients and proteins. 
After 18 years of being a vegetarian, Fitzgerald cannot remember what her body felt like after eating meat. “I have been told that people feel heavy and weighed down,” she says. “I find that it is much harder as a vegetarian to feel weighed down by your food. I usually feel pretty light after a meal and full of energy.” 
Despite how a vegetarian lifestyle brings optimal results for humans and animals, not many Americans live this way. Unfortunately, our government’s decision to support big factory farms has made it hard for small farmers to compete in the marketplace.  
According to the Washington Post, between 1995 and 2010, roughly $200 billion was spent to subsidize U.S. commodity crops, including animal-feed crops, while farmers who grew fruits and vegetables received no regular direct subsidies.  
Perhaps part of the reason only a limited number of people are vegetarian or vegan is that local farmers markets are not supported in the way factory farms are. After all, one of the misconceptions many people have is that a plant-based diet is expensive -- especially when compared to processed meats and foods. 
Being a vegetarian goes beyond living a healthy lifestyle. It is an approach that teaches you discipline and gives you authority over your health choices. I misjudged myself in thinking that a vegetarian lifestyle was too difficult and not worth my time. After years of being a dedicated vegetarian, I am certain I will continue my lifestyle for as long as I choose.  
Tips for healthy eating on a budget:  
  1. 1. Know what you are eating. Read the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients. 

  2. 2. Avoid soda and sugary drinks.
  4. 3. Buy foods with low sodium, low saturated fat, and avoid trans fat altogether.  

  5. 4. Purchase foods made with whole grains to keep you fuller longer. 

  6. 5. Avoid foods that are overly processed.  

  7. 6. Before going shopping, make a list of all the ingredients you will need. Try to stick to the list when you go to the store; this will prevent impulse buys and help you stay on budget.  

  8. 7. Look at the unit price while shopping at your grocery store to see what the best value is. 
Read more…
AFH Photo // Yvonne YangYing Chen
Due to advancements in technology, the way people spread and receive information has changed. Before modern times, it was through word of mouth, newspapers, or radios. Today, people post pictures, captions or hashtags of their new product or business and it can go viral in minutes. This may seem effective and appealing, but there is a catch. The problem with the efficiency of technology is that false information can spread quickly. 
Advertisements are an eye-catching and effective way of spreading information in seconds. Today, ads have moved beyond television and into our tablets, laptops and phones. Because social media is powerful and addictive, most people see hundreds of ads and banners on web pages every day. Companies and businesses know the majority of young people go on social media constantly and they use this intel to spread product awareness.  
Bright, colorful slogans and images are used to lure our attention for a few seconds. We’re exposed to so many advertisements and brands every day that we can’t always tell apart the ones that are sending false or accurate information.  
On the Federal Trade Commission website, a government agency that protects consumers, it states that they “look especially closely at advertising claims that can affect consumers’ health or their pocketbooks – claims about food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and tobacco and on conduct related to high-tech products and the Internet.”  
But how well is the FTC able to protect us from false advertising? There are millions of commercials and advertisements surrounding beauty. We see beautiful, young models trying makeup and hair products, and this persuades us to buy the product to look as beautiful as the models. There is pressure all over the world by society, for both men and women, to look beautiful all the time. It can lead people to believe makeup will solve their problems.  
Jo Swinson, a British member of parliament, wrote an article featured on CNN titled “False beauty in advertising and the pressure to look 'good.’” In it, she discussed her decision to bring Lancome ads for foundation makeup featuring Julia Roberts to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority, which banned them for being misleading. Brands that falsely advertise should reflect on how they present their products, food, or business and how it impacts consumers.  
However, not all companies falsely advertise. To be truthful to their customers, both business owners and ad agencies properly test the product before putting together commercials. Matt Duerr, an account supervisor at MullenLowe, works with upcoming businesses and meets with clients every day who need assistance in promoting their business or brand. Duerr says that when he works with businesses, he and his co-workers make sure their client is able to substantiate the claim they will make in the commercial. “We have always made sure that a product is properly tested before we move into production,” he says. MullenLowe and businesses collaborate together throughout the entire process to assure customers will be happy with the finished product.  
A way to know whether an advertisement is false or false is to educate ourselves on how businesses and companies attract consumers. In a time where avoiding advertisements is impossible, honesty by brands is more important now than ever. 
Read more…
AFH Photo // Vanessa Vo
We all have friends who sometimes annoy us. Every friendship can be annoying - it's natural. But sometimes, it’s more than that. Here are the signs you may be in a friendship that has run its course. 
First of all, it feels one sided. You feel uncomfortable having conversations with the other person and only do it out of necessity or politeness. The conversation isn't genuine and you feel out of place, wishing they would leave you alone, or that you can disappear into the wall. Everything feels fake and you end up trying too hard to make the conversation last or not be awkward.  
I have found that these “friends” seem totally lost as to my discomfort. The hints pass by them like the oxygen they're inhaling. In my case, I tried to be a genuine friend and make it work. I tried to take interest in their hobbies, likes, and concerns as any good friend would. Or at least tolerate them.  
But as others have said before me: “we fell out of touch with each other,” “our interests didn't align anymore,” “we grew apart,” “it wasn't them it was me,” or “we simply didn't fit into each other's lives anymore.” It's life. True friends don't feel uncomfortable in front of each other. And life is too short for shallow or one sided friendships. So I cut these friendship short with the best interest of everyone in mind. 
 The following are the steps I took to end unnecessary friendships. These aren't proven theories, just one girl's successful attempt at cutting off a friendship that had run its course. Read on if you're at at a place in your life where a certain individual has no space in it and you are in need of direction. 
Approach 1: The Painful Truth 
 Just tell them the truth. If you disclose to “the friend” how you truly feel, most of the time, it will end your struggle and bring you swift results. However, this can come with significant downfalls. The potential for drama, and other people getting involved and escalating the issue, is real. This approach can also make you look like a heartless and cold-blooded person.  
Approach 2: Have-a-Heart  
Let's be honest, the painful truth is only plausible for certain people. Those of us who possess an actual heart take the high road. That was my approach. Like most changes, it took time, and there are two things you can do.   
Social Media Cut Off: Social media is where we do most of our socializing nowadays, so losing your Snapchat streaks or not viewing their story is a great way to create distance. Do not like their Instagram pictures or tweets. Maybe even delete some of your mutual friends. Eventually, you will not know what has been happening in the other person’s life, creating less of chance for full blown conversations on things you have in common or can each relate to.  
Distance Thyself In Reality: Although you might try to avoid the “friend” as much as possible, if you go to school together you cannot avoid them fully. This means you need to change the way you interact with them -- how you speak to them and your body language, words and tone. When in a conversation, make sure to be as brief and vague as possible with your responses. Look bored, busy, or tired. This will keep them at arm’s length.  
Sometimes though, they might put be resistant and push back on your methods. They might hold on to the friendship tightly and wonder why you're not hanging out as much. In this case, you have to be able to address their concerns to their face about not hanging out as much. 
I used all these approaches in my journey and managed to slowly end the friendship without too much drama or hurt feelings. It did not happen overnight, so patience is key. You can't rush it if you want optimum results with no hint of drama or feud.  
I wish you good luck! 
Read more…
Society is excited about celebrities. If a celebrity is wearing a dress, people will buy it because “a celebrity wore it,” even if it doesn’t look good on them. People will go to concerts even if they don’t have the money and need to borrow it from others. This is mostly teenagers but sometimes adults too.  
Now, people are mostly talking about Kim Kardashian, an American actress, businesswoman and model. She is the star of the reality show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” which gets filmed in California. The family has two other shows called “Kourtney and Kim Take New York” and “Kourtney and Khloe.”  
Catherine Finkenstaedt, an English teacher at Boston International High School, said,“to me, Kim Kardashian seems to be a bit of a materialistic person. At the same time, she must be pretty intelligent to be as famous as she is.” 
When asked if she believes that celebrities tell the truth, she responded,  “I think that just like everyone, celebrities probably don’t always tell the truth especially because they are always in the spotlight. When they do something wrong, they probably feel more of a need to hide it or adjust the truth so that their fans will continue to like and respect them.” 
When asked about her taste in celebrities, Alyssa Hughes, a history teacher at Boston International High School said, “I am a fan of some comedians, musicians, actors and other artists.  I like them because I enjoy their work, not necessarily because they are famous.  Two comedians I like to listen to right now are Hari Kondabolu and W. Kamau Bell.  They are not super famous, but I love their work.”  
She also said “I think it can take courage to pursue art professionally and I admire that about artists.” When asked about Kim Kardashian she stated, “I find Kim Kardashian and her fame to be fascinating!  I’ve watched her show a few times because I was curious about why it is so popular.  I think she is popular because her lifestyle is what many people want--she is wealthy, but on her show she shares so much about her life that people believe she is relatable. She’s ‘just like us.’  But she’s so not! ” 
Another frequently discussed celebrity is Beyonce, who started her career through a singing and dance competition as a child. Hughes is a big fan of Beyonce. “I love the art she creates, especially her last two albums. Recently, she has spoken out and performed in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement - using her voice to amplify the message of the movement.  Brava! I think that many celebrities share ideas, pictures, etc. that present an image of what they want to be perceived as.” 
Finkenstaedt adds, “she is trying to make her music relevant to the issue that many people face today.” 
From this, we can learn that people have different ways to expresses their feelings and we try to listen to their perspectives and respect them.
Read more…
AFH Photo // Mariana Melara
The dilemma most kids face today is that they can’t get a job without work experience, and they can’t get work experience without a job. Maybe, if they are like me and an immigrant to the United States, they were delayed in their ability to even get a work permit.  
To have a job in United States, you first need to have a social security number. Since I was not born here, I had to apply for citizenship in order to get a social. This process alone can take years to finish and there are fees that one has to pay. This is especially difficult if you are unable to have a job first. This can discourage teenagers like me who, when they finally get their work permit, come to the conclusion there is no work to be found. 
 Companies often want someone with prior experience so they tend to hire fewer teens. From an employer’s point of view, this makes sense. Why hire some clumsy, temperamental teenager who you’d have to train for days, when you can get someone who already knows what they’re doing.  
Most kids don't want jobs because they believe the payoff is not worth the time. After all, $10 an hour on the weekends won’t help you save up for college, and standing for hours on end ringing up bags of groceries for a couple extra dollars in your pocket doesn’t seem like a good use of time. That's why finding a job that won’t bore you to death, but will also give you a decent paycheck, is difficult.  
Here are the common steps I encountered while on the job hunt:
Step 1: Finding a job that suits you 
I started my job hunt by looking at bigger stores. I imagined myself like internet sensation Alex from Target, but something about Belkis from Walmart didn't really sound right. Then I thought about fast food restaurants. After all, Chipotle could always use an extra hand. But, smelling like tortillas after my shift is not something I was looking forward to. I later turned to retail stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Dicks Sporting Goods and TJ-Maxx with the main incentive of employee discounts. 
Step 2: Fill out numerous applications 
You can go to stores directly and ask the manager for an application, but most are done online. I started to apply to DSW, but realized that I could not answer questions regarding previous job references, so I decided not to finish the application. It is overwhelming feeling like I somehow got the short end of the stick and not being able to do anything about it. I am a proud immigrant but I wish it didn't hold me back in my job search. I realized that if I kept getting discouraged I would never finish any application. I am already at the bottom so I may as well go up.  
Step 3: Find references 
References are recommendations from people who have seen you do good work and are willing to talk about it. Reach out to any previous community service programs you have been a part of, and kindly ask if they would write you a reference letter. Teachers and coaches also work. My math teacher, who is also my math club leader, was my reference. I felt that he has seen me work hard, lead my group, and bring people together to problem solve effectively. 

Step 4: Create and upload a resume 
This is challenging mainly because I didn’t see how me taking two advanced placement classes and being a member of the math club could possibly coincide with being a shoe saleswoman. Nonetheless, I was committed to being honest in my application process.  
Step 5: Hit submit!   
Waiting for a phone call or an email can be  nerve wracking to some. I don’t know if I will get accepted, but the fear of being rejected no longer holds me back. The application process taught me that there is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there, and there's also nothing wrong with trying something new. 
Read more…