Thursday is the day when members and guests attending the GFWC/Ohio Woman's Club of Wintersville's noon luncheon and business meeting hopefully will be in a spending mood.
This month's meeting at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville is a program hard to resist. It's the club's "Make It, Bake It, Take It"?auction where member Lil Ferguson will assume the auctioneering duties to sell a variety of items that club members bring for this annual fundraiser.
And variety is the right word as the auction features everything from baked goods and household items to flowers and assorted other goodies.
Guest speaker Stephanie Vance
-- Janice Kiaski
Judy Weaver will offer the meditation and grace at the meeting where Pauletta Sprocchi will chair the hostesses committee that also will include Donna Phillips, Jeannie Barker, Carole Coffman, Charlotte Shively and Aimee Jaros.
It's hard to believe that the club year is winding down. After Thursday's meeting, only one more is on the calendar for the 2013-14 meeting year. The May 15 meeting program will be "Honor Our Members" presented by Judy Anastasio, membership chairman, and Mary Beth Allan, special recognition chairman.
The March 20 meeting, though held on the first official day of spring, brought snowflakes along with a sobering program all about food and nutrition and what its presenter said people need to watch out for in their diet.
Stephanie Vance, an associate professor of biological science at Eastern Gateway Community College, was the featured speaker who gave a presentation with a lot of information to digest.
Vance was introduced by Linda Cipriani, the club's corresponding secretary, who before her retirement as the dean of health and biology at what is now Eastern Gateway Community College, had hired Vance as a part-time faculty member in the late 1990s.
Vance said there's lots of information out there.
"Let's look at some of the challenges we're seeing today in nutrition," Vance began her presentation, explaining that nutritional science is something that's very new. "From a research point of view, it's not very old, so we have a lot of changes still yet to come and exactly how are we going to help stop some of the chronic diseases."
"Do you realize that you are a unique generation?" she asked the audience of women, including herself in the mix.
"Do you realize that our generation is the end of the 80- and 90-year-old generation?" she posed the question. "We are already starting to see the return of early deaths again, and in public health we've already noted this. It's coming. Your children and your grandchildren are not going to live to the age that you are. Why is that? What's different? What has changed?"
Vance offered a "good, bad and the ugly" list of what has changed in the food/nutrition arena, namely more processed foods. "How many processed foods could you go home right now and pull out of your kitchen cupboards? What about your daughters' (cabinets) and sons' - have you looked at their kitchen cabinets? It's quite different," she said.
Vance said people don't think about synthetics being in food, "but they are - a lot of it, not only the things that leech into your plastic containers. How many of you have microwaves? How many of you still put plastic in the microwave? Or paper towels? Paper plates? Those all have synthetic chemicals in them, and they do leech your food when using your microwave, so think about what you're using there."
When it comes to corn-based food, Vance said, people might think they're eating potatoes, wheat, oats or rye in a product, but a look "underneath all the labels, you're actually eating a combination of a corn-based product. That's going to be a problem down the road here," she said.
Vance said soy is not good for hot flashes. "When it was first introduced to the United States, it was coming out of Asia. Soy processed in Asia is healthy. Soy grown here in the United States, first off it's a genetically modified food, and it's not processed and fermented like they do in Asian countries, so when we look at soy from a research perspective, what we're looking at today is how is it affecting thyroid function."
Fillers are something that consumers should be informed about, according to Vance, who reminded the audience about something called "pink slime."
"It's been just a few years back that there was this big article on the news about pink slime - remember that? How the schools agreed it was OK to use pink slime, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, yes, it's OK to use pink slime - do you know what it is?" Vance asked.
"If you go into some of the slaughterhouses, they literally package up all the nonusable components of what's left from the slaughtering process," Vance said. "Those are then shipped to another facility where they are ground, leeched, and they add chemicals to it so nothing is harmful in them. They still have a little bit of protein by the time that they're done, and they package it in these kind of cool-looking squares, kind of like hay bales, and they ship it back to the companies that make processed foods, and it's added to things like hamburgers and chicken patties. It's used as a filler food, so fillers is something that we should be taking a look at," she said.
Artificial flavors, artificial colors and artificial sweeteners are common in food and another area of concern, she said.
"If you buy it in a box, can or frozen package, it's going to have one of those three things in it," Vance said.
Another "food for thought" item she mentioned included "radiated foods," such as strawberries.
"In your childhood, you couldn't wait until spring for strawberries, so when you go to a grocery store and see things sitting on shelves that really are not ready here yet, should that not give you a heads up that they have done something to it to bring them to the markets?" she asked. Strawberries from Florida and California, she said, are radiated before they come to the shelves of stores.
"They do this to keep them fresh longer and to also prevent food-born illness," she said.
Vance also challenged the members to think about preservatives, genetically modified food and high fructose corn syrup. She said the body does not use fructose directly.
"Your liver has to process fructose, and the liver converts it to a sugar that the body can use, but when we use high fructose corn sugar in the quantities that we're getting it in, because it's in everything, even your bread, and when you get it in that volume, we have a problem because the liver cannot process it all," she said.
Also touching on transfats, low-fat and low-calorie foods, and antibiotics and hormone use in food, Vance said a lot of what is added to food encourages overeating and increases the way people store fat, especially women.
"We will not see it in our lifetime, but I guarantee your granddaughters are going to get this fully by the time they become our age. They're going to see the results of this highly processed food that we call food in our world today," Vance said.
Nancy Honse chaired the hostess committee for the March meeting that also included Lu Grimm, Ruth Carson, Caroline Dean, Imogene Louk and Kathleen Henry. Natalie Doty offered the meditation and grace.
Members were reminded that the state women's convention will be held the last weekend of April.