When I first decided on my topic I dove right into research.  I guess I wasn’t that clear on the process as a whole.  There was a lot of information to negotiate through and I was doing it as quickly as I could. This is one of my pitfalls when I am completing assignments lately.  I will do the research when the topic is not completely clear yet, and then have to do the research all over again when I hone in on the exact purpose.  I was mostly looking for information to answer my question and support it.  I know now this wasn’t the most strategic way of doing things.  I should have been looking at things with a more “critical” eye. 

The second draft wasn’t that drastically different.  I went into it thinking I would finish what I started but add more text.  I should have taken advantage of this draft round and looked at adding more scholarly sources.  The third time around I added a few quotes one of which to draw the reader in.  Judging from the feedback I have gotten it apparently worked the way I wanted it to.  The quote I used in the beginning of the paper was from Miley Cyrus.  Now I am personally not a fan, but I understand how popular she is.  The quote struck me as a little funny since she has been catching a lot of attention for her inappropriate behaviors, and in the quote she is inferring that she is physically and mentally healthy.  The quote is “Everyone should try no gluten for a week!  The change in your skin, physical and mental health is amazing.  You won’t go back!”  While this is certainly not from a scholarly source, it made the dramatic effect I was looking for.

I have always used sources to help bring information and support my topic.  This paper has been so different than what I am used to, but I now see the merit in the way we are supposed to use our sources.  One of my quotes I used to help describe what the Paleo diet is.  “In a nutshell the Paleo Diet is a modern attempt to replicate the diet of our earliest ancestors.”  There really is no way of challenging this because it is mere fact.  It’s hard to think of ways to critically engage this kind of quote.  I understand a little bit better how we need to use our sources to make our papers into a type of conversation.  

In order to master and graduate with a degree from a University we should be able to engage in critical thought.  If we are able to do so we have reached the level of mental maturity worthy of a diploma.  Mastery of this kind of writing is important in any job beyond University.  Not only will we be asked to write like this in future classes, but certainly in many job professions.  The research involved demonstrates ability to improve knowledge.  

This whole process has really woken me up to looking at how I should approach things like this in the future.  I came to it at the wrong angle and now have to really twist my process around.  Thankfully we have such an awesome Professor to lead us in the right direction.                     .


Rhetorical Situation

As a result of the diagnoses of Hashimoto’s Disease, it was recommended by my Doctor to try the popular Paleo diet.  I had to research and find out all I could.  Why was this so popular and why were people so interested when I told them I was going to try it?  I was intrigued, but sadly didn’t have time outside of preparing to transform my diet.  This assignment gave me the opportunity to dig in and find out what the fascination was all about.  There was a lot of attention drawn to the types of people turning their attention to this diet.  Many were young, health conscious, and hoping to look and feel more fit.  I thought it may be something the average collage student may be interested in as well.  We are all familiar with diets and all have probably tried one at one time or another.  There are more and more diets to weed through.  It seems like everyone wants a diet named after them these days.

As I have mentioned before the last time I had to do this was over 15 years ago and it was for scientific purposes.  The types of English writing I had to do in the past were much more creative and had nothing to do with inquiry.   To my detriment I resorted to my old  ways and did a lot of report writing in the beginning of this project.  I tried to turn the focus and make it more inquiry based this time around, but I don’t think I fully succeeded.  I had a hard time not getting carried away with the history involved.  I love all the background information when it comes to researching a topic.  Sources are my weakness and using them properly is a struggle for me.

When I started the project I did a lot of research, read it all, and thought about things for a while.  When I finally felt courageous enough I made a very brief outline which I later ditched and made a new mental outline to follow when writing.  It seemed like it was a lot easier to keep track of in my head while I was composing.  It is hard to think of using any sort of images for a topic like this.  I did photograph some cook books for a blog post, but it seemed silly to me to add in the paper.  I love seeing images, so maybe I need to become more creative and think of an interesting addition.

I am still trying to figure out a good way to transform this paper into a true inquiry based project, but it is difficult sometimes to teach an old dog new tricks.

A Reflection

As I have told many of you already, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease last year.  I had initially been diagnosed with thyroid disease about five years ago, but it wasn’t until I was seen by a very different kind of resident as my primary doctor that I found out that it was much more than thyroid disease that I was struggling with.  When I was diagnosed she asked me if I was up for a life change.  I was very surprised and then very curious.  She asked me to follow the Paleo diet to help ease some of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s and possibly derive some allergy relief as well.  I was tired of feeling terrible so I told her I was game.  She said as a side comment that I may want to convert the whole family to avoid contamination and extra work.  I didn’t really realize what I was getting into initially, but it has turned out to be a great thing.  I was so curious about this diet that I set out trying to understand how to go about changing over my entire kitchen.  To many, Paleo sounds old and they may wonder what the correlation to a diet is.  This inquiry project has allowed me the opportunity to find out what the craze is all about.  I came at it from a completely different angle and in hindsight don’t know how I got along feeling so terrible for so long.  To many of my extended family members it has been enough observing me and the changes it has made in my health to inspire them to do the same (although for different reasons).  Thinking about my topic I had to narrow down the reasons people come to the diet focusing on the most important reasons.  Although we share “99% of the same DNA”, we are so different from one another.  My audience is all those different people with different personalities, health histories, and willingness to do something different.

If you are reading my paper either you have to for class, or you are curious.  The stakeholders may be the family members of someone who is considering the diet as well as the person themselves.  You don’t necessarily have to be interested in going on the diet to derive some valuable information.  Many are enthralled with the latest fad.  My attempt is to help people see past the fad and find out what this diet is supposed to achieve and address.  This paper can be used by those who jump into something they may not know much about just because it’s what a lot of people are doing.  Maybe a little information could be helpful to ensure long term success and a healthier eating habits.  As Challem put it ” In a nutshell the Paleo Diet is a modern attempt to replicate the diet of our earliest ancestors”(Challem 48). Is their wisdom transferable to our modern times?

So much interrupted time………..


This past week I spent two full days in the Milwaukee County Courthouse. I had been called to jury duty, again. I swear, I have the worst luck with these things. Back when I lived in California, I was called nearly every four years. Not that I mind doing my civic duty, but with a family of seven and being in school full time, I don’t exactly have extra time to give. If I did have the time I think it could potentially be a neat learning experience. What does this have to do with my English Class writing? A lot actually. I have a large writing assignment due this week so I decided I should bring this assignment to the courthouse in the hopes that I might squeeze in some writing time (I was only partially successful). Once I found a spot to sit down and wait to be called, I began to write. It takes me a while to actually get into it and produce good quality writing. I finally began to get on a roll, and was concentrating so hard that I actually forgot the juror number assigned to me, when my name was called, completely interrupting my train of thought. The worst part? It has been very hard to get back that train of thought since. Long story short, the best way to write, in my opinion, is to find a time where you can get into the writing and continue without interruption. This makes the process of writing infinitely easier.

First Draft Jitters

Although it probably is no big deal to most people, I am getting nervous about pulling information together into a really great draft.  I am second guessing the sources I have chosen thus far as being a valuable enough contribution.  I just wonder if they are going to give me enough good relevant information.  Maybe you never feel fully confident in your sources.   I really want to do well the first time around so I can keep on going full speed and get this thing written.   The time I get to work is so fragmented I have a hard time wrapping my head around everything all at once and having a real writers flow.  I am hoping to form a complete picture of what I aim to do with the paper by this weekend.  I have notes in various places so I need to streamline all that information and put it in one place.  I am going to have to put many more chunks of time aside and get a babysitter so I can get enough momentum going.  Hard to do with so many monkey’s getting into trouble in the house.  I used to write big papers like this all at once until the wee hours of the morning.  I am too old for that anymore!  My best writing time is during the day now.  There is the delicate balance of being awake enough to be clear that seems to fade right around 2PM for me. I try to combat this with caffeine, but it doesn’t always work.  I plan to do a bit more research before I dive in.  I am going to do what I know and that is writing an outline to make sure I don’t miss anything.  All the assignments so far have done such a good job leading up to where are right now.  This first draft doesn’t seem long enough to lead up to 14 pages though.        

Library Tutorial

When I think back to all the years of library research I had to do, I yawn. When I was younger I thought research at the library was so boring. Looking through all those card catalogs put me to sleep every time! Now a days it is so much more exciting. There is so much more available and so quickly too! Going through the tutorial I thought I might fall asleep, but on the contrary I actually learned quite a bit. I have used the UW Libraries since last semester, but never took the time to go through all the tutorials. I am really glad I did because I learned how to use all the extra little features I didn’t pay much attention to. This is going to be really useful in finding scholarly sources for my paper. Scholarly sources are usually written by someone qualified. They tend to be unbiased and written for a peer review. This ups the anti on the topic report. I found a number of really good sources already, but I still am not sold on my question. The Library online is really convenient since it is such a struggle to find extra time to actually go to the physical library.
Here are my girls a little bored waiting for dinner.

Too much to research so little time!

I have so so much I want to know more about. Having 5 kids has made me so much more aware of every little thing that we do in society, do to our bodies, and what we do in our homes. Since my family struggles so much with different allergies, I am really interested in anything that can make us better. My son who has food allergies has jumped on the gluten free bandwagon without complaint. He was actually bragging at school about it! I have been blessed with a ton of amazing doctors for my kids over the years who have helped us along every step of the way. I know diet helps, I know chiropractic and reflexology help, I know limiting outside sources such as media helps, I have seen the effects first hand. Now I really want to know HOW it actually works.
Then again I have so many other things I want to learn about, but have so little time to do so. I feel like this paper is giving me the opportunity to dig into something I know little about. I just don’t know how to put a priority list together. It might be too long.

Community Pool: Name that Blog

The Daily Post

The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout, or anything else. If you have a post, page, or idea you want to bounce off someone, leave a comment. Your fellow bloggers can then click through and offer input either on your site, or in the comments here (feel free to indicate which you’d prefer).

This weekend, we’ve carving out a place for those of you looking for help coming up with the perfect blog name. Tell us about your blog’s focus and what you’re considering as a title, and let your co-bloggers take a crack at it.

Read on for the ground rules and to leave a comment . . .

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In my previous life (before marriage and kids) I was a Bio Science major. As I identified more closely with what I wanted to do with the degree I was intending to get, I had to research, write, research, write again and again and again. The papers were long and intense, but I really loved what I was researching. The most difficult thing for me was limiting the information. I wanted to be uninhibited by page number, but then I would have probably written a book and not a paper. In the past ten years I have researched more health issues than I care to admit. We previously lived in Sacramento, California which is one of the allergy capitals of the country. With the combination of being up the valley from LA, and all the diverse trees, my family developed major health issues. My husband and 2 year old developed asthma. I refused to live with it, so I researched. The most influential thing I discovered was diet. Since then I have had more kids and more allergies. I am continuously working on new and different ways of cooking for my family. Currently my research ends with new recipes not papers. Maybe I will attempt a paper on the influence diet has on allergies???


These are the lovelies I do all my research for. This picture was nearly impossible to take, and then my husband is the one who ruins it by putting only ONE foot in!!!