Human Trafficking: You Have Probably Seen the Signs

by: Shenandoah LaRock and Jon Watts

“Earn $500 dollars a week!”

“Make money while traveling! Call 881-235-0978”

These signs are usually yellow or white poster boards that look like something your mom made for your yard sale. Wouldn’t it be nice to make five hundred dollars a week or get paid for not doing anything at all? There is no other description except the money and the number. Sometimes there will be a first name, someone to ask for when you call. Often times they use a name that implies that they are a woman because generally, people are more likely to trust women instead of men.

This is how sex traffickers lure you in.

If you call this number it may seem legitimate. They will probably try to convince you to meet them somewhere.

Do not. This is an elaborate ploy for sex traffickers to abduct their victims. A common misconception about sex trafficking is that it’s only a problem in major U.S. cities. The dark reality is that sex trafficking is everywhere. Iyanna Jame’s essay, “Human Trafficking: ‘Close to home” suggests that “The young female students without an adequate home, no close family, far friends, and a long distance support system make an ideal target for sex slavery.” I have seen these signs on UWM’s campus. Signs promising thousands of dollars for a paid internship signs offering jobs that pay hundreds a week. These are all sick ploys designed to attract the poor college student. If you see these signs, tear them down if you can. Let your friends and family members know not to fall into the trap.  Remember that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

College students aren’t the only targets for sex traffickers. Unlucky 13 (2012) is an organization through the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee. Unlucky 13 estimates that 13 years old is the average age of those trafficked in the United States. Ninety-two percent of the trafficked youth identified as women, suggesting that human trafficking is primarily a form of gender-based violence. In Wisconsin, seventy-nine percent of all human trafficking cases reported occurs in the city of Milwaukee. According to Unlucky 13, seventy-eight percent of trafficked youth identify as black and African American. This shows that human trafficking in Milwaukee is as much of a racial issue as it is gender.

If you suspect that someone you know may be a victim of sex trafficking, seek advocacy. There are numerous organizations in Milwaukee that are dedicated to the aid and protection of survivors. The Sojourner Family Peace Center is a safe and secure refuge for survivors by supplying free advocacy and shelter. Additionally, there are Pathfinders, which specializes in providing advocacy and shelter specifically for youth. To find a full list of organizations, visit the link below:

Feminist Theory is for Everybody (Gurkirat Sekhon)

“What is your experience with feminist theory?” A professor asked this question as part of an introductory survey for this course I’m taking, WGS 710: Advanced Feminist Theory. I thought this was an interesting way to phrase this question because I think that it intends to ask about coursework and other readings about what looks to be a very high brow academic topic. The word “theory” is a pretty scary word after all: people who “do” theory tend to think about really abstract, intangible ideas and tend to write in a register made for other academic elites. But I wonder, too, how feminist that practice is: it makes me ask who feminism is for and who theory ought to be for. The question, however, is asking about my experience, a very personal thing. Like anyone else, I am a product of my experiences. It asks about who I am in relation to this personal, political thing. It doesn’t really define feminist theory, but it connects it to my experience.

So what is feminism or feminist theory? bell hooks, a famous Black feminist, defines feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” in her book, Feminism is for Everybody. The Combahee River Collective, a prominent group of Black feminists from the late ‘70s, define feminism as “a politics, movement, political analysis, and practice used to struggle against women’s oppression” (“A Black Feminist Statement”). A feminist academic, Donna Haraway, defines feminism as “a politics defined by fields of contestation and repeated refusals of master theories” (“‘Gender’ for a Marxist…”). Kimberle Crenshaw, following a Black feminist tradition, famously calls for an intersectional approach to thinking about feminism, an approach that considers how different parts of a person’s identity interact with one another and inform how one moves in the world, focusing specifically on connections between racism and sexism (“Mapping the Margins…”).

And who am I? I am a queer, crazy, colored man and scholar. It’s really important to think about what this all means and what it has to do with feminism. As queer, crazy, and colored, I know a few margins: I live in a world built for straight, sane, white men. I live in a world that asks me to be like those people for whom professional culture is built. I am asked to be like these people to prove that I am worthy of making money. I am asked to discipline my margins and use the privileges I have to do so. As Crenshaw suggests, my margins and my privileges touch one another: I am all of these parts at once, so the way people think about me and the way I think of myself is informed by all of these things at once. Some parts are more visible than others; some parts are enacted as opposed to just being things people register about me by just looking at me. But again, all of these parts comprise how I am made and how I make myself.

Because feminism, by the definitions above, begins with combatting sexism and moves to consider other struggles and their connections with sexism, I, even as a man, am included in a feminist agenda. By fighting alongside womxn, I am fighting alongside friends who value my struggle too, who see my struggle as part of their struggle. I am implicated in a politics of compassion, one which seeks to affirm everyone and challenge those hurtful systems like racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and classism. Feminist theory, to me, is a way of naming and contesting those hurtful systems. It mobilizes and analyzes personal experiences to think and rethink about how these systems work and how we can combat them.

My feminist practice, then, needs to look like being a good friend: I need to listen to affirm experiences. I need to think through solutions with my friends by considering ways to leverage my male privilege. I need to consider my margins as tools of compassion, as things that help me care for and relate to others. As a young scholar coming into academia, I need to keep my academic privilege in check: I need to keep my feminist theory and practice grounded in all kinds of experiences.

Works Cited

Collective, Combahee River. ‘A Black Feminist Statement’. na, 1977.

Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color.” Stan. L. Rev. 43 (1990): 1241.

Haraway, Donna J. ““Gender” for a Marxist dictionary: the sexual politics of a word.” Women, Gender, Religion: A Reader. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2001. 49-75.

hooks, Bell. Feminism is for everybody: Passionate politics. Pluto Press, 2000.

Being a Pre-med student and Learning to Let Go

Trying to think of a best way to start this blog but here it goes.. I guess for being a pre-med student you’re constantly trying to keep it together. With academics, research, volunteering, work and other extracurricular activities, it can be overwhelming sometimes. Especially when it’s your final year in undergrad and now you’re constantly worried about passing your courses and what your plans are for after graduation.

I’m currently a Biomedical Sciences major and I’m in the Medical Laboratory Sciences program at UWM. I’m actually doing my clinicals at Columbia St. Mary’s hospital in Milwaukee. It’s been pretty exciting and the staff are pretty nice (I especially liked my phlebotomy rotation, when I saw all the newborns in the NICU). I just hate the part when I have to study for my rotation exams.. I’m also apart of the WiscAMP-STEM Inspire program and it’s great. It’s helped me to get out of my comfort zone in the STEM field and it consists of library nights( once or twice a month), conferences, events, and faculty/peer mentor meetings. Also I am currently doing research with the Support for undergraduate research fellows program with Dr. Campos-Castillo. I currently participate in two projects in her lab.


Finally I work at the Women’s Resource Center as one of the Marketing Coordinators! I started working at the Center since the end of August. Working at the Women’s Resource Center has helped me to expand so much in my writing (with blogging of course). But the fact that this Center offers valuable resources to students is incredible. I think the hardest thing for pre-med students is deciding when to let go. I’ve realized that I’m not a robot and I can’t do everything all at once. I’ve realized that since I haven’t had the time to do more in the center, that it’s time for me to let go and focus on clinicals and have dedicated self care. It’s important to realize that whatever you go for, you make sure you get whatever you need to be better. I really wanted my leadership to grow in the WRC but with everything going on with clinicals, research, academics and other extra-curricular activities, I knew it was time to step down. But now after working here for about 4 months, I know what I need to work on so that I can be great in my career. I knew that public speaking was something that I wanted to improve on but having the table talk sessions during the staff meetings helped. I guess even with staff meetings, I currently can’t attend because of clinicals.

With that being said I hope I’ll have more time to take care of myself and prioritize for spring 2019! I guess I can focus on finishing my last semester strong and focus on what is my next step after graduation. It’s been real and I learned a lot from this experience! Wishing good luck to the next blogger and passing on the keys (I didn’t want to say a baton because with writing blogs, you need a keyboard lol) Take care everyone!

Eating Disorders

I guess in today’s world, it seems that there can be a lot of expectations for what a woman should look like and there is such a pressure to fit into this “ideal shape”. Sometimes social media doesn’t make it any easier. According to the NIH, eating disorders are a lifestyle choice and there are serious and fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to an individual’s eating behavior. Common eating disorders in the U.S include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Growing up, I feel for the most part I was an okay child. What I mean by that is that I tried to follow my parents’ rules, do my homework, clean my room etc. But during my early teen years, I did have insecurities about my body. I remember when I wanted to grab some icecream out of the fridge and my grandmother would always make a comment on how I’m eating too much and that I’m gaining weight. But at the moment I just wanted some icecream! Lol I remember I wrote in my journal that day just feeling horrible about my weight. I would say I had a decent diet when I was younger but I really really loved food. Like on certain Sundays my family would go to a Chinese buffet and I would have just 4 plates of food back to back to back. I really had room for an appetite. And then of course I would go home and go right to bed.

I look back and I remember I sometimes felt left out in my highschool friend group because it just seemed like they were all slim. And I remember when they would exchange jeans and outfits and for me I have long legs but I hated my thighs. I just hated them. To me they felt so humongous but I probably was just being sooo insecure and over exaggerating. I feel like in society there is always this pressure for women especially to stay a certain size.

There was a time in highschool where I started to eat very small portions of food. Especially like rice and chicken, I would probably put it in my mouth but not swallow it because I was obsessed with calorie intake. I also remember not drinking juice for a long time (even though I really love juice). There’s a photo that I took with my cousin at her highschool graduation where I looked like I lost a lot of weight (I’m not sure if I still have the photo). I realized that I was getting skinnier but it was hard to see myself like that. It was then that I realized that I needed to stop restricting myself from food and just eat my regular portions again. When I saw the photo it just didn’t seem like myself. A lot of the times the media can influence our eating decisions but sometimes it can even be family or friends.

A disorder like Anorexia nervosa is described as the strong desire to be thin which leads to restriction of food. A lot of people with anorexia look at themselves as overweight but may even be underweight. There are times people would want to exercise a lot to force themselves to vomit or may even take frequent laxatives.

According to the national eating disorders website, Bulimia nervosa is a life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and self-induced vomiting. Some diagnostic criteria include eating a large portion amount of food within a 2 hour frame, a portion that is larger than most people would eat in a similar time frame.Warning signs include fear of eating in public, hides body with baggy clothes, extreme mood swings, teeth are discolored or stained. Warning signs of binge eating disorders include eating much rapidly than normal, eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry, and eating until extremely full.

The big thing to take away from this blog post is that we all need to embrace our bodies! Love your curves! Don’t let anyone make you feel small for the way you look like. If they do, then they suck. I don’t want to say the usual “go on a diet” if you feel like you want to lose weight, but any opportunity to stay healthy like replacing pop with water or instead of watching tv, going for a walk is a way to go.




Getting over the Winter Blues

Alright so it’s pretty much winter. Once I notice a hint of snow on the ground, I automatically think it’s winter. Not really one of my favorite seasons. It’s just that season where I always say that I’m moving to someplace warm but I’m always still here in the good’ol midwest. I mean yea I pretty much grew up in Minnesota, so I should be used to it now. But it’s just too cold! Always got to be safe while driving in the snow, not in the mood to get out and have fun, always feeling cold even when I’m wearing like 3 jackets, my hair dries up and I always have to moisturize (not to mention I have to constantly lotion my hands because they get dry too). Lastly, I tend to get a little depressed during the winter. According to the Mayo Clinic, the “winter blues” is actually a kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder. I guess my personality just likes the sun too much. But on a serious note, having less daylight leads to our brains producing less mood-enhancing serotonin. This means that it’s producing more sleep-promoting serotonin. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder includes overeating, loss of energy, sleeping too much, difficulty concentrating and social withdrawal.

I really think it’s important to stay positive during the winter season. Even though for me I know it can be hard to be joyous around this time. Having a nice cup of hot tea helps me relieve some stress and I heard green tea can even help lose weight. When I watching an episode of “The Real” I heard that ginger tea can help with menstrual cramps. Ginger tea works for me sometimes but I usually end up just taking ibuprofen anyway. There’s also this apple cinnamon tea that I get from Whole Foods and it’s really good. It’s probably one of my favorites.

Listening to music is so therapeutic!!! whatever that suits your soul go with it! For me I really like hiphop/pop, R&B and gospel music. I usually listen to classical music when I study. I use pandora usually when studying and with the classical music station. And then I use Apple Music to listen my hiphop, pop, R&B and gospel tunes especially when I exercise.

I can’t stress this enough but TALK TO YOUR FAMILY. Your family knows you better than anyone else on this planet (I hope). And I guess I heard that listening to your parent’s voice can help lower anxiety. At first I found this hard to believe because when I talk to my mom she usually has something to say on whether I should do this or not do this or tell me something that I already know because in her mind I’m still her little girl lol. But really there are days when I just want to hear my mom’s voice after a long hectic day. I feel like no matter how old I am I’ll still always appreciate my parents. My dad still spoils me because I’m his only daughter so I’m lucky. Me and my brother are really close. I usually like to talk to him on Sundays just to see what he’s up to. I also still annoy him even though we’re miles apart. I always cherish the holidays because I really get to annoy all 3 of my brothers and boss them around.

This might be a stretch, but go outside and take a 20 minute walk to catch some sunlight. I was reading an article and I guess it can really uplift your mood. I guess there is really no substitute for natural light. I mean as a college student you’re probably already used to walking to classes in the cold air, so even walking towards the class and walking away from the class may count for your 20 minute walk. It could even be walking towards your job or even the grocery store. Just make sure there is some sun out! I usually walk to my clinical site in the morning and afternoon so it’s beneficial.

Another great tip that comes to mind is that you should try to stay social! Try to make plans with your friends and family on a regular basis. Especially with thanksgiving coming up, “Friendsgiving” has been popular for a long time so if you plan to have an intimate small group of people that you know, have someone designated for assigning who will bring the certain types of meals or people can pitch in what they like to make. Or it may even be a large group of people. Just make sure that everyone can contribute somehow.

As always, thanks for reading my blog post and I hope you can knock out the winter blues effectively with these tips!

How to Moisturize Hair during the Cold Weather Season

I guess for starters, knowing your hair type is important (super important). For my 4c hair especially it just doesn’t like the cold weather at all. It sheds especially when it’s dry. I also tend to braid my hair a lot during the cold season and braiding really helps my hair grow. I usually buy braiding sprays that help with sensitive scalps and I have one that has this mint effect. It’s called the Parnevu T-Tree braid spray (good price on amazon).

Wash days are the best days!!! I usually wash my hair twice with shampoo and once with conditioner. The brand that I’m currently using is called Maui Moisture. Specifically, the one I use has shea butter and it’s supposed to heal and hydrate for dry hair. But for the conditioner part, I usually like to deep condition my hair. So, I would apply my conditioner to my hair, leave it on for 10 minutes and put on a shower cap. Then I would rinse my hair and apply Argan oil.

Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, helps combat dryness and softens the hair. It’s non-greasy and can also be used as a skin moisturizer as well. The brand that I currently like to use is the creme of nature brand. I usually like to get it from Sally’s Beauty.

Instead of argan oil, there are other oils that can work like coconut oil. It moisturizes hair strands, stimulates hair growth, adds shine and luster to hair, promotes scalp health and repairs damaged hair. It is rich in antioxidants, has antibacterial properties to improve scalp health. Wow I was looking through some articles on the web and I think I’m going to use coconut oil more often. I used to use this shampoo and conditioner set called Ogx nourishing milk that I used to get from Walgreens. It’s a great product but I wanted to try something with shea butter which is the reason why I switched to the brand that I’m using now. Speaking of shea butter, it can be a sealant to keep moisture and softness for curly and coarse hair. It also prevents hair breakage and reduces scalp irritation (oh that is wonderful). And my favorite thing about shea butter is the smell. Compared to organ oil and coconut oil, I really like the smell of shea butter for some reason.


A product that I have in mind when I think of “hair products that smell good” would be Cantu products! I sometimes use the shea butter leave in-conditioner when my hair is super dry and irritated. I also use the coconut oil and shine mist moisturizing spray for my scalp too. What I love about the Cantu line is that there are a variety of products that aim specifically for your hair needs. The Cantu brand is sold in a lot of stores and is really popular.

This is a new thing that I’ve started recently but I like to spray my hair with rosewater. Rosewater is known to really hydrate the hair and promotes hair growth, conditions hair, reduces scalp inflammation, gets rid of dandruff, reduces oiliness, reduces hair loss and also reduces product buildup on your scalp. Brands like Mario Badescu and Heritage Store Rosewater are good brands for a low price. You can find them online or in stores. Rosewater can also be used on the face as a face mist! So it’s like killing two birds with one stone.



Tea tree oil can help with itchiness and inflammation and is proven to have antimicrobial properties. It really helps to soothe the scalp and can help with people who have psoriasis. Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in most shampoos and conditioners. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree oil special shampoo is a good brand and it’s sold at Ulta beauty. The Hollywood Beauty tea tree oil is a brand that I use for my scalp and I got mine at Walmart for a low price. This is a nice product to have as well because it’s a travel sized bottle and you can take it on the go!


Jamaican Castor oil has moisturizing and antibacterial properties! It can also treat problems such as itchiness and dandruff. It can treat split ends, strengthens hair and eliminates dryness. I remember there was a time I really wanted to grow out my hair so that it can grow healthier and evenly and this product is good! I noticed great results in less than a month. The oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and is rich in vitamin E. This can also be used for acne, signs of aging, heal scars, treat infections and relieves muscle and joint pains.


Thankyou everyone for reading! There are probably thousands of products out there that I didn’t mention but the trick is if there is progress with the results that you want for your hair then it’s probably a good fit for you. Also YouTube is a great place to see what other people have said about the product! Also check out peer reviews from the web as well.

Self Care


As a college student it can be so stressful when trying to balance school, work, volunteering and research. It’s like your days are so busy that you dread leaving your bed every morning and once you lay in bed, it’s the best feeling in the world. For me, I’m personally not a big fan of 8ams and Friday classes. I remember when I had a semester when I had no Friday classes, I enjoyed not having to worry about touching my alarm and slept so peacefully. According to psych central, self care is an activity that we do in order to take care of ourselves. Ever since I’ve been in college I’ve heard multiple times how it’s important to practice self care but actually I find it hard for myself to actually do that on a regular basis because I feel like there is always something to be done. Even when I’m doing an activity that involves self care, in my head I’m like “I should be reading those PowerPoint slides for class or start studying for an exam”.

As an adult, the thought of “self care” may be an award or maybe part of our daily routine. As I get older I try to implement as much exercise as I can into my lifestyle. Usually on Saturday mornings I like to be at the gym and do cardio. Running on the track is a new thing that I’ve added to my gym routine (which brings me back to my track days in highschool). It’s definitely a great stress reliever for me. I remember my sophomore year in college, I decided to take a yoga course. I actually thought that it would be a pretty easy workout. But nope, I really began to hate the downward facing dog pose. We did it so many times in class that every time I hear the name of the pose my head hurts. However, by the end of each yoga session, I felt like my whole body was stretched and felt somewhat rejuvenated. I really liked the part when we would just lay on the ground and the whole room would be silent so that we could listen to our breathing.  It helped me to just think about what I was doing in the moment and not think about other things going on around me.


Another thing that I like to do for self-care is going for walks. In the summer time, I remember I would usually walk to the grocery to pick up some food items but walking outside allowed me to enjoy the moment and to just focus on my breathing. I also like to walk by the lake sometimes and to just stare at the waves. It’s very relaxing and soothing by visually hearing and seeing the waves.


An activity that I absolutely enjoy (especially during the winter, because it’s indoors) is Zumba. I usually go to the Klotsche center every other Thursday to attend a Zumba class and it is pretty active! I don’t have a favorite trainer but I enjoy the music selection for the dance routines. It’s even super exciting when you go with friends because then everyone can just be embarrassed together when you can’t roll your hips a certain way or shake ass.

Biking close by the lake is also my fave. The last time when I went with a friend he played all my favorite songs on his phone and it was a great way to end the summer before we went back to school. I held a huge snake that day because a man at the park decided to bring his pet snake to the park. I held the snake, took my photo, gave back the snake and continued biking like nothing just happened.

One thing currently that I’m into is oil diffusers! My mom bought a whole bunch around the house and decided to send me one from amazon and it’s pretty nice.  It’s called art naturals. The oil diffuser that I currently use came with 8 different oils. Each oil has a particular way for helping you relax. My favorite so far is peppermint and lavender. The lavender scent helps me to wind down after a long, hectic day and peppermint helps me to focus on homework and gives me a “spa” like vibe. I also like the fact that it lights up in a different range of colors which makes it so much cooler (haha I sound like I’m five). What’s also nice about it is that when it’s done, it automatically shuts off and you can set it to run for an hour or even 3 hours.

Here’s everyone’s favorite….”NETFLIX AND CHILL”. Okay really what I mean is putting on your favorite facial mask and watching a movie or series that you love when you have that time to just decompress. Right now I’m on season 10 on grey’s anatomy (very addicting, it reminds me of when I binged watched Scandal because it was so GOOD! P.S. SHONDA RHIMES IS AWESOMEEEE IDC IDC IDC”. I also used to watch the office on Netflix and it was hilarious, Dwight was my favorite character. He had no chill. Lol

There is probably tons of activities that I didn’t mention for practicing self-care but the common denominator in pretty much everything I wrote about is that it’s important to find your happiness right now. Not with getting through the week, a job, a relationship, a new environment. Find it right now! (saw a post on Instagram and it spoke to me). I know sometimes for me I think that graduation or getting a boyfriend would make me so much happier in life but really finding your joy in the little things can be so rewarding! I’m not saying it’s horrible to have milestones, but it’s awesome to know that no matter where you are in life, you are the only one who can decide what makes you happy. As I’m writing right now I just realized that I never process how I happy I am at a moment, I just go through it and maybe I’m more worried about putting something on snap or my Instagram story. I’m planning to challenge myself to embrace my happiness more and actually process it. I definitely need to spend less time on my phone. I actually get a notification now on how much time I spend on my phone and what apps I use regularly. Such a cool feature because now I can really push myself to be on my phone less often. But the main point is that you should go grab your happiness !!!!!!!!!!













Meal Prepping for Beginners

I’ve always wanted to start meal prepping but I haven’t really had the chance to know how to start. I started browsing on the internet to get inspiration on how to start and how meal prepping can reduce some day to day expenses for people who are always on the go. Meal prepping is simply preparing your meals for a certain time during the day. You can even prep for the entire week or even two weeks if you wanted to. The benefits for meal prepping is that it can help you make healthier food selections by having unprocessed ingredients. Meal prepping ensures that you eat proper portions so that you will not go over your total calories for the day. If you’re like me who doesn’t really pay attention to calorie intake and just eats whatever is in sight, when you feel like it, then this blog post is definitely for you.


To start meal prepping, you should choose a day during the week when you have a lot more free time. A day that I would meal prep would be a Sunday because that is a day during the week when my schedule is not so hectic and it gives me time to know how exactly I would prep for the week. Also as a beginner try to prep for only for about 4 days, just so that you’re used to choosing the right portions and making sure that the meal choice that you picked for those days are the right choice for you. It’s also helpful to use a calendar to schedule times when you plan on eating each day. If you have the Microsoft outlook app on your phone device, it can give you reminders on when to eat depending on your schedule. Or if you’re into planner notebooks (like me), that can work too.


The next step in meal prepping is choosing the actual meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are tons of recipes to choose from and even though it’s a good idea to maintain healthy choices, try to select a variety of meals so that you won’t get bored of eating the same meal every day. I know for me, if I continue to eat the same meal over and over again, I would probably walk to Potbelly’s and order my usual turkey sandwich with a banana smoothie. When I begin to start my meal prep, a meal that I would consider to make for lunch would be white rice, grilled chicken, broccoli and carrots. It’s totally up to you if you want to meal prep for breakfast or dinner. For breakfast I would have my usual pancakes and tea. (I’m a big fan of green tea). And then for dinner I would try to meal prep for chicken wraps with whole grain wheat tortillas. Finally for the most exciting part, well for me, for dessert I would treat myself with 2 scoops of low-fat ice-cream or sorbet.  If you’re looking for more inspiration about what to make for a meal prep try watching YouTube videos for nice demos. You could also try asking a family member or friend of what their favorite meals are and see if it’s quick and easy for you to make.


To scale food items to help keep track of calorie intake, a kitchen scale can be really useful. A kitchen scale can also help you make sure that your portions are distributed evenly between the containers. It is also good to know that the type of container you use is important. It is recommended to use containers that are BPA free. A container that is BPA free means that it is microwaveable and safe. Also use clear containers so that you’re able to see what’s in your container which can help you decide quicker what you want take for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A good container should have divided sections so that foods will not cross contaminate each other. For me, I just hate when certain foods “touch” and the meal doesn’t seem so appetizing to me anymore. It also wouldn’t hurt to have containers that are air tight because it can keep the meal fresh so it doesn’t spoil too quickly. Also try to use same sized containers so that it is easier to stack and doesn’t take a lot of space in your fridge. Other factors to consider for finding the right containers is that they are reusable, dishwasher and freezer safe.


The benefits for meal prepping is that you can save money. Try buying things in bulk and definitely make use of your freezer. For example with 8lbs of chicken, you don’t have to cook it all at once. You could cook the chicken 1lb at a time and then freeze the rest until ready for use again. One day you could decide to make a grilled chicken wrap or another day you decide to make chicken Alfredo (another favorite meal of mine). You could also freeze herbs if you wanted to use it for the chicken. Also if you like making meals with beef, it can be the same way as the use of chicken and can even give you combination of a variety of meals like tacos or spaghetti.

Meal prepping can help you save time. This is a perfect strategy for super busy individuals. A way to multitask in the kitchen can be when you’re making an incredible meal for dinner, you can start meal prepping for lunch the next day. It can help you feel organized and prepared for the next day. A great example is by making use of your oven and fill it with all kinds of different foods like baked potatoes, vegetables and chicken. Sometimes people may think that meal prepping can consume so much time but I think choosing healthier food options by just grabbing a container out of your fridge each day is easier than deciding what healthy meal to cook for each day of a week.



Hope this blog got you motivated to try meal prepping! Try to tailor it to what you enjoy eating and don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as way as a fresh start to a healthier lifestyle and maybe a new exciting hobby! Make your friends and family jealous and post your creations on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Tumblr. Once you’re a pro, try to make a video on YouTube and get your technique to go viral. But most importantly motivate others to have a better, healthy eating lifestyle. Thanks for reading!


by Shenandoah LaRock

April is Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness month. This is when I see parents, friends, and peers “Light it up Blue” on their Facebook profile pictures in support of A.S.D. The pretty blue filters are products of Autism Speaks, America’s largest autism research organization. When the temporary profile picture expires, I do not see these allies again until next year. What I do see is continuous negative stigmatization of autistic people as infantilized people who are unable to self-advocate.

According to the Autism Speaks website, their improvements in the autism community include, “increased global awareness of autism, better understanding of the breadth of autism, and advocacy to increase research and access to care and support.” ( Bob and Suzanne Wright, who are the grandparents of an autistic child, founded Autisms Speaks in 2005. Since the organizations conception, it has been criticized from members of the A.S.D community because of Autism Speaks’ misrepresentation of A.S.D people and their lack of autistic board members. Non-spectrum people dominate an organization dedicated to helping the A.S.D community. How can people who do not experience the same realities as A.S.D people decide what is best for them? There is also the issue that Autism Speaks has framed autism as a medical condition that must be cured, implying that there is something wrong with Autism Spectrum, and that people that are on the spectrum are inferior.

In her essay “Representing Autism; a Sociological Examination of Autism Advocacy,” Anne McGuire states, “Instead of understanding disability as a medical condition located in individual bodies, the social model locates disability in the physical and social environments and in inter-subjective relations that work to disable impaired bodies. Disability becomes politicized as a category of social oppression and material disadvantage.” The way Autism Spectrum Disorder is represented in the mainstream media promotes the ideology that Autism is a an epidemic, something that parents should be worried about, and reminds parents to look for the signs of autism in their babies. This places much attention on the bodies of autistic individuals. As McGuire states, “This conception of autism, viewing autism as a disorder/series of symptoms creates a binary between the body and identity.” Autism is not something that exists separately from the self, or on the body, instead it is always apart of the identity of the individual. Someone cannot be Autistic and a woman, but instead is always an Autistic woman.

Furthermore, this viewpoint on what Autism Spectrum means for those that are on the spectrum is inferring that they are not viable simply because they are different from what is considered to be “normal.” “Normal” is a difficult concept to define. How do we decide what is normal? Who decides what is normal–when there are so many biological anomalies within society? Someone may look “normal” on the outside, but might be “abnormal” on the inside. Deciding that someone is either normal or not normal creates another binary system synonymous with good and bad, acceptable and socially unacceptable. Instead of advocating for ways to deal with people on the spectrum, maybe some advocacy groups ought to support self-advocacy as well as equal rights and opportunities for those on the spectrum.

One way to support the Autism Spectrum community is by getting involved in self-advocacy organizations.“Nothing about us without us” is ASAN’s mission statement ( The Autistic Self Advocacy Network “seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regards to autism. ASAN believes that goal of autism advocacy is a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities”.

Another way to support the Autism Spectrum community and challenge the status quo is by sharing stories. Change starts small. It could be with something as simple as sharing your story. As I looked through Autism Speaks website it was difficult for me to find any material directed towards people on the spectrum. When I looked through ASAN’s website I found a page where those on the spectrum could share their experiences.

I encourage anyone that may be reading this to go forth and write your stories.

I see you.

I am listening.



STIs; Awareness and Acceptance

by Mariah Lord

Outside of a painfully awkward 10th grade health class, STIs are very rarely brought up in daily conversation. However, 50% of sexually active people contract an STI before the age of 25 (American Sexual Health Association). STIs are not as uncommon as you would think, it’s just that no one wants to talk about them. Chances are, you or your friends probably have or will have an STI in your lifetime.

Our society uses scare tactics to promote sexual health, or rather, abstinence. The only 100% chance of preventing pregnancy, STIs, and STDs is to not have sex at all, remember?  This type of mentality is problematic because it insinuates that STIs are devastating and life ruining situations, and places blame onto the individual. The truth of the matter is that STIs are treatable by medical professionals. If you are sexually active, it’s very important that you get yourself tested regularly. Many STIs don’t have any symptoms or may lie dormant for years at a time. If get rid of the negative stigmas associated with STIs, getting testing/having STIs won’t seem scary anymore.

Half of all the diagnoses for STIs are contracted by young  people, and only 12% of young people actually get tested for them. We need to move away from the mentality that we will never be the one to contract an STI and begin to see the reality of their pervasiveness. I am proposing the radical idea that we all become a little more comfortable with talking about STI’s. Normalizing STI information will eventually reduce the negative stigmas associated with STIs, STDs, and sex in general.

Education and support are the most important components to changing the way society views individuals with STIs as well as stopping the spread of STIs. For many people, the only education they receive on the topic of safe sex and STIs is in middle school and maybe a brief refresher course in high school. My personal experience with this was a room full of giggling pre-teens who weren’t mature enough to realize that, statistically speaking, 80% of them would contract HPV at some point in their future. Maybe if our society encouraged safe sex instead of abstinence, sexually active young adults would be able to make educated and safer decisions when it comes to sex.

It is important to reach out to younger people in case they do engage in sexual contact earlier in life. Since sex is such a taboo subject, often times the only time a teenager/young adult learns about sex is in school. Since sex education in all of its complexity is crammed into one class in middle school/high school, there is no way that a student could remember everything. That is why it is vitally important that we ensure schools have proper education about sexual health that goes into more depth as they enter high school (a time when it is much more relevant for many students). There are many schools that have an extensive sexual health education program, and I commend them. Unfortunately, my own alma mater did not go over the material again adequately. If this was true for my own experience, I am positive that there are many other districts in the US that are not proficient meeting the health needs of their students.

We can all take on a more open and understanding approach in our relationships to help one another out when we it comes to sexual health. This means talking to your teens about sex. Talk to your siblings about sex. Talk to your friends about sex. Encourage the people in your life to go in for regular check-ups. Pay attention to your body and ask your doctor if anything looks or feels different than usual. These are ways we can reduce the number of STI diagnoses.

For the entire month of April, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will be offering free STI testing. They are offering this as a direct response to the shocking influx of HIV and Syphilis in the Milwaukee area recently. Here is a link to more information about the free testing offered through the rest of April: insurances cover STI/STD tests. If you don’t have insurance you can also get tested at a reduced-cost depending on your income. You can also visit the Norris Health Center for STI testing.


For more information on STI statistics, visit



Nevertheless, She Persisted: a History of the Pill

By: Natanya Russek

For as long as people have been having sex, women have been inventing methods to prevent pregnancy. Resourceful – but typically ineffective – methods of preventing pregnancy throughout history included herbal remedies, makeshift condoms, and behavioral methods like withdrawal. Many women were left with no other choice except sterilization, often with hysterectomy, to prevent pregnancy (The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret, Vice, 2012).

In the 1950s, the earliest clinical trials on hormonal contraceptives began (History of Birth Control in the United States, Congressional Digest, 2012). Enrollment was forced primarily upon women living in poverty in Puerto Rico. The design of the studies was unquestionably unethical. Participating women, many of whom had low literacy, were not told what the pill was for and were not warned of possible side effects.

Dr. Edris Rice-Wray, the only female physician involved, tried to bring attention to the 17% of enrolled women who were experiencing side effects ranging from weight gain to life-threatening complications like blood clots. Her concerns were dismissed by her colleagues. It wouldn’t be until two decades later that women would be provided a list of possible risks in a pamphlet with their prescription, thanks to advocacy by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin (The Birth Control Pill: A History, Planned Parenthood).

This high rate of side effects led many women to drop out of early studies. It was again Dr. Rice-Wray who came up with the ethical idea of telling women what the pill was supposed to do that women were willing – and eager – to volunteer to try the new medications (The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret, Vice, 2012). As rumor spread that a pill could empower women with the ability to control if and when they wanted to get pregnant, more women were willing to participate.

Officially, the FDA did not approve the pill until 1957, and even then resistance to women controlling their own fertility was so strong that the pill could only be prescribed officially for irregular periods. In 1965, the US Supreme Court ruled that married people could be permitted to use the pill and other contraceptives; in 1972 that right was extended to single women.

Today, students on college campuses have many options when it comes to birth control and reproductive health care. Here at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, the Norris Health Center ( offers many resources and services for students. Off campus, Planned Parenthood ( offers confidential, non-biased, and non-judgmental medical services for reproductive health and family planning. Planned Parenthood has five locations here in Milwaukee:

Birth control options from condoms to IUDs are covered by most insurance plans as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) with exceptions with respect to religious freedoms. If your insurance plan does not cover these services, many students may also be eligible for Badgercare’s Family Planning Only Services which guarantee access to contraception and women’s health screening visits. Planned Parenthood can also help get your birth control delivered to your door 4 times a year.

According to Planned Parenthood, almost 90% of women will use hormonal contraception in their lives, for many reasons like controlling menstrual cramps, treating endometriosis, and family planning. Though I am glad to say we have come a long way in our journey for comprehensive contraceptive options and accessible reproductive health care, there is still progress to be made.

Despite strong evidence for the positive health and economic impacts of reproductive health care, accessing preventive care, including birth control, can be costly and out of reach for many women, especially those with low incomes and people of color (US Dept. of Health & Human Services). Continuous threats to the Title X program, which funds family planning and women’s health screening and serves more than 3.5 million low-income women through Planned Parenthood and Medicaid, are a direct threat to the wellbeing and autonomy of women (National Women’s Law Center).

All women regardless of age, race, or ability to pay deserve access to affordable, effective, and accessible contraceptive choices and comprehensive contraceptive counseling. For many women in the United States there are still far too many barriers to accessing care. This Women’s History Month, we must continue to stand up to defend our rights, and we must use our voices to work towards reproductive justice for all women to access the care we deserve.


Natanya Russek is a second year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is now living here in Milwaukee to complete her clinical training through the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) Program.