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?