All posts by xinyizhang2021

Preserving a coffee lifestyle in the ‘notable’ cafés of Buenos Aires

By Xinyi Zhang and Yilin Xie
Medill Reports

BUENOS AIRES — Fifteen years ago, Nestor Pichelli decided to change careers and found himself helping preserve a mainstay of life in this capital city: the café notable, or historic coffee shop. “The coffee culture in Argentina is a lifestyle,” he said, as he sat among tables full of patrons at Café Tortoni, one of the city’s oldest “cafés notables,” and a magnet for tourists. “It is a mode of how people interact and talk about life.”

The ornately decorated Café Tortoni — with dozens of artifacts hanging on its walls — has a history going back more than 160 years. Before it became a destination for international tourists, it had long been a social meeting place for artists, writers and politicians in Argentina.

Café El Banderín is another of the city’s classic neighborhood coffee bars. Its history is told through the wall of pennants and pictures from soccer teams given to owner Mario Riesco over many decades.

Riesco isn’t betting his bar on the lure of its history. He is seeking a younger clientele, with original and novel drinks and specials. He hired Agustina Sarni to help bring in a more diverse, neighborhood crowd, many of whom have become regulars at this cozy coffee bar.

Photo at top: In the afternoon, almost every café is full of customers. They come here to unite, to chat about things that have been going on, or just relax and enjoy the coffee. (Yilin Xie & Xinyi Zhang/MEDILL)

Drinking problems rampage among college students causing severe health risks

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

College students often assume that they can escape most of the negative physical and mental effects of consuming alcohol because they are young and healthy and some don’t drink all that frequently. But even minimal consumption of alcoholic beverages can still have significant negative impacts on health regardless of age. That’s according to Dr. Mashkoor A. Choudhry, a Loyola University professor of surgery, microbiology, and immunology.

Alcohol has a major impact on physical health, personal safety, and is linked to mood, and eating disorders, he says.

“Regular alcohol consumption affects multiple organs including the brain and greatly influences a person’s cognitive abilities. Alcohol has an immediate effect on the brain, making it difficult for a person to inhibit impulses and concentrate,” Choudhry says. This increases the likelihood of making poor decisions and may encourage irresponsible sexual behavior and drunk driving, the cause of many accidents. Frequent alcohol consumption puts college students at risk and may result in physical harm, injury or even death. Continue reading

Herbal supplements gain popularity as alternative treatments

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

Herbal supplements as alternative and complementary medicines continue to gain popularity as consumer health products. Approximately 80% of the world’s population depends on them for some form of primary healthcare.

Along with the considerable growth in the global intake of herbal treatments, their safety is currently shrouded in prejudice and misinterpretation, according to Kaysie Lingo, an acupuncturist at Anatomy & Alchemy Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine, 70 E. Lake St. in Chicago.

But, despite increased consumption, the efficacy of many herbal treatments is considered untested by western medical standards. This is one of the main reasons that the public remains skeptical about herbal alternatives.

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CBD – Balancing therapeutic potential and caution

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

Cannabidiol (CBD) is exploding in the coffee house market as a magical elixir. It is popularly believed to help treat many conditions including anxiety and coffee houses are far from the only place you can find it. It is currently available in dog treats, bath bombs, and even pharmaceuticals. All in all, it is worth taking a closer look at it.

CBD products- with cannabis as the predominant ingredient- have grown exponentially in terms of popularity and availability over the past year. Sales of the products are expected to skyrocket to over $706 billion in 2019, which would mark a 706% increase over the previous year. Continue reading

Park preservationists continue battle over Obama Center in Jackson Park

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

Protect Our Parks (POP) will replay a 1987 event when Hyde Park women go to Jackson Park to save trees on October 26. The preservation group will revisit the past by tying ribbons on trees that could be cut down to make way for the Obama Presidential Center, once construction is approved. The center is to be located near the Midway Plaisance at 60th and Stony Island Avenue on a site extending southward.

This is the latest salvo in the three-year preservation battle over whether the Obama Center should be built in Jackson Park. Construction remains up in the air pending the outcome of a POP lawsuit.

POP filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Chicago to prevent  the center from being built in Jackson Park last year and the verdict on it is expected in 2020. The lawsuit seeks to preserve Jackson Park, protect migrating birds and asks that alternative sites to be considered for the center.
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