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Clean water as easy as making instant coffee

17 Sep
Kayla Hunt is junior at the University of Florida majoring in Public Relations. Wanting to experiment writing on science and health and environmental topics, she decided Layman's Terms Media would be the perfect outlet. In her free time, she keeps  an informal blog titled Bloggish Gibberish that chronicles her life experiences as a college student.

Kayla Hunt is junior at the University of Florida majoring in Public Relations. Wanting to experiment writing on science and health and environmental topics, she decided Layman’s Terms Media would be the perfect outlet. In her free time, she keeps an informal blog titled Bloggish Gibberish that chronicles her life experiences as a college student.

This is the first of a series of posts by undergraduate journalism and public relations students at the University of Florida. Layman’s Terms Media will serve as a platform for those willing to give science and health communication a try.  By using this blog as a platform, students will get one-one time with an editor and mentor to ease them into one of the areas of communication that are often misunderstood. 

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By: Kayla Hunt

According to UNICEF, contaminated drinking water and lack of sanitation accounts for the death of about 1,800 children under the age of five every day.

In an effort to ease this dilemma, scientists from more than 100 organizations and governments have collaborated with Procter & Gamble’s nonprofit program, Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW), alongside the Center for Disease Control to come up with a purification process so simple kids can do it.

The process is as easy as making instant coffee. First, take about an ounce of this “miracle powder,” put it in roughly 10 liters of water and stir.

In about 30 minutes, the finished result is drinking water that looks like it came right from a Brita filter. Seriously, a 2-year-old can do this.

“We call it a mini-water-treatment plant in a packet,” CSDW Manager Allison Tummon Kamphuis, R.N., M.B.A. said.

She explained that the powder in the ketchup-sized packet is like a municipal water-treatment plant that is portable.

The packet’s ingredients pack a powerful punch against the contamination. The main ingredients are calcium hypochlorite and ferrice sulfate. Calcium hypochlorite kills deadly pathogens, and ferric sulfate sticks to the dirt and other pathogens that aren’t killed by the calcium hypochlorite.

The initiative began in the mid-1990s and by the mid-2000s, the team had perfected the ketchup-sized packet that to this day has saved about 32,000 lives by providing more than 6 billion quarts of clean water.

The Purifier of Water packets, which run at about 10 cents a pop have been used in countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Pakistan. To this date, the packets have served populations in a total of 71 countries. Tummon Kamphuis said she hopes the miracle packet will help the team reach their goal of saving one life every hour by 2020.

To reach this goal, the team built a new production center was opened in Singapore last year and plans to invest in wide-reaching public awareness campaigns in the near future.

“The real key to us achieving numbers like that and providing that much water and having the estimated health impact that we report is really partnership,” Tummon Kamphuis said.

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The Skinny on Good Fats and Bad Fats: How both will affect your health

25 Jun
Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit  for nutritious recipes at a reasonable price. Also follow her on Twitter.

By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition blogger

Diet trends come in waves. One decade we see the rejection of carbohydrates, and we shun animal products the next. Some of you reading this right now may remember the low fat craze of the 90’s–it was then that fat got a bad rep. The reputation has stuck so much that “fat” is now considered an insult.

Well, I’m here to tell you that fat is not bad for you. In fact, it’s necessary for our health and our well-being!

Let’s start with the basics. We often refer to fat molecules as “triglycerides” because a fat molecule consists of a glycerol “backbone” with three fatty acid chains attached. The fatty acid chains that makes up this fat molecule can either be saturated (meaning it is fully surrounded by hydrogen atoms) or it can be unsaturated meaning there are double bonds between the carbons and it is not fully surrounded by hydrogen atoms.

Here’s an example of the structural difference between a saturated fatty acid and an unsaturated fatty acid:

Credit: faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu

Credit: faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu

 Your body needs these fats to function on a daily basis. Not only do we acquire fat in our diet from plant and animal sources but we also make our own. The importance of fat in the body includes different functions including aiding in vitamin A,D, E, and K, the fat soluble vitamins.

Fats also aid in maintaining healthy metabolism, building strong hair, nails and smooth skin and cushioning our organs.  And, of course fats act as a readily available source of energy –whether you’re going for a long run or pushing through your daily routine. Continue reading