KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn LESSON FOUR: What We Eat

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LESSON FOUR HERE! 

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Today you’ll be listening to a passage entitled What We Eat about how our eating habits have changed over the past sixty years and how this new diet is affecting our health. Listen carefully to the passage and then answer the questions that follow.  It’s always a good idea to take notes as you listen, but remember: don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening. 

 

 

What We Eat

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Lesson Four PASSAGE ONLY track:

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Say you have a craving for something deliciously meaty.  At such times, for many of us (apologies to all you vegetarians out there!), nothing satisfies like a succulent, home-grilled, all-beef burger.  Imagine, then, how grossed out you’d feel if your burger wasn’t 100% pure beef after all, but also contained horsemeat—especially if, to you, eating horsemeat is a dietary or cultural taboo.  But that is exactly what happened to thousands of people in the U.K. in early 2013 when Ireland’s Food Safety Authority revealed that much of the beef sold in supermarkets contained up to 30% horsemeat.  Horsemeat, of course, is not harmful to human health; in many countries it is eaten regularly.  But in the U.K., the Authority’s announcement caused a health scandal of sorts.  People were not only disgusted; they were irate.  They had been deceived and lied to, and wondered just how much of the food they were putting on the dining room table was in fact “tainted.”

Before World War II, most people in Europe and North America bought their food from small, family-owned shops—local bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and green grocers.  Consumers knew what they were getting.  But that changed in the 1950’s when large supermarkets began springing up in local neighborhoods.  At the same time, home refrigerators became widely available and a growing number of processed—canned, frozen, or packaged—food items made their way onto supermarket shelves.  The daily task of having to shop for fresh ingredients was rendered a thing of the past.  How easy and convenient!

The downside to all this convenience was that we started eating more and more processed foods, which are chock-a-block with preservatives and additives. These days, a mere 8% of the food found in supermarkets is “unadulterated.” Even many so-called fresh-food items are contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals.  A recent report in London’s Daily Mail suggests that an astounding 98% of the fresh fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets contain traces of harmful chemicals.  To make matters worse, research shows that the growing obesity epidemic (a true health scandal) afflicting adults and children in America and many other countries is the direct result of a diet high in processed foods.

Nutritionists say that increased consumer awareness is the key to good health.  Always read food labels so you know just what you are getting.  But what if the label is a pack of lies, as the horsemeat scandal showed us it can be?  Well, say the experts, the very best thing is to consume only organically grown produce and fresh meat from local farms.   Excellent advice, of course, but how ironic, because this would entail returning to “inconvenient” daily shopping at, you guessed it, small, family-owned shops—the bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and greengrocers of yesteryear.  It would also mean that the next time you bite into a home-grilled, 100% beef burger, it would be just that.

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LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson Four LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS ONLY track:

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Today’s listening comprehension questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE and based on FACTUAL CONTENT and LOGICAL INFERENCE.  Listen to each question carefully and mark your answer.  For the best results, always try to listen to the question without looking at the written questions on the website.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

1. According to Ireland’s Food Safety Authority, much of the “beef” sold in UK supermarkets in early 2013

a)        was mostly horsemeat.

b)        was over half horsemeat.

c)         contained 30% horsemeat.

d)        proved to be one-quarter horsemeat.

 

2. The Authority’s announcement caused a health scandal of sorts in the UK mainly because

a)        people were disgusted and angry about being lied to.

b)        for all Britons, eating horsemeat is culturally taboo.

c)         horsemeat is harmful to human health.

d)        all horsemeat tastes disgusting.

 

3. Before World War II, where would people most likely go to buy a fresh chicken for dinner?

a)        The supermarket.

b)        The greengrocer.

c)         A convenience store.

d)        The butcher.

 

4. When did supermarkets first start springing up in North America and Europe?

a)        During World War II.

b)        Around the same time that home refrigerators became more widely available.

c)         Sometime in the 1960s.

d)        Long before processed foods were invented.

 

5. Which of the following food items is NOT an example of a processed food?

a)        A carton of milk.

b)        A frozen pizza.

c)         Canned peaches.

d)        A carton of eggs.

 

6. What percentage of the food found in supermarkets these days does the article claim is not “tainted”?

a)        Only about 8% of the food found in supermarkets is unadulterated.

b)        About 30% of the food sold in supermarkets is reliably fresh.

c)         Most of the food found in supermarkets today is fresh and organic.

d)        A full 98% of supermarket food is either canned, frozen, or packaged.

 

7. According to London’s Daily Mail, what are many “fresh-food” items contaminated with?

a)        A high percentage of horsemeat.

b)        Traces of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

c)         Deceptive farming techniques.

d)        Insects and other pests.

 

8. The growing obesity epidemic in America and many other countries affects

a)        adults only.

b)        children only.

c)         only people who eat frozen foods regularly.

d)        both adults and children.

 

9. Research shows that the obesity epidemic is a direct result of

a)        a diet high in processed foods.

b)        a diet that contains too many fresh, organic ingredients.

c)         eating too many all-beef hamburgers.

d)        not getting enough exercise.

 

10. According to nutritionists, we should always read food labels because

a)        it helps us keep track of how many calories we consume every day.

b)        it’s important to know where our food items come from.

c)         we all need to be more aware of what we are getting in our food.

d)        it’s the only way to be sure our food is actually organically grown by local farmers.

 

 

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Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did.  The correct answers will follow immediately after the closing jingle, so stay tuned.  Answers are also available on the KA Wordcast website as a separate track.   You can also download the lesson in PDF format and keep it for your reference.    And be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will improve your understanding of the passage itself and give you a bigger, better active vocabulary.

LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!:

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You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.

PDF DOWNLOAD:KA WORDCAST Listen and Learn Lesson 4 WHAT WE EAT

 

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KA WORDCAST:  Listen and Learn!  Lesson FOUR

KEY VOCABULARY

Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track.   This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.

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An IRATE customer.

1. IRATE

People were not only disgusted; they were IRATE.

IRATE is an adjective that means very angry. Furious, outraged, enraged, fuming, and incensed are the nearest equivalents.

I received an IRATE phone call from a parent who accused me of deliberately marking her daughter’s test paper unfairly. 

When you work in customer service, you’re bound to come up against an IRATE customer with unreasonable demands now and then.

Within moments of the verdict in the high-profile murder case, a flood of IRATE emails poured in demanding that the judge reverse the decision.

 

 

Looks can be DECEIVING.

2. DECEIVE

They had been DECEIVED and lied to, and wondered just how much of the food they were putting on the dining room table was in fact “tainted.”

When you DECEIVE someone, you deliberately cause or make that person believe something that is not true.  Some close synonyms include lie to, mislead, trick, cheat, swindle, and dupe.

It’s a well-known fact that used car salesmen often turn back the mileage counter on a vehicle to DECEIVE the potential buyer.

English poet and essayist Samuel Johnson once said that we are inclined to believe people we don’t know simply because they have never DECEIVED us.

Japanese scientist Haruko Obokata was forced to make a public apology when it was revealed that she had DECEIVED the scientific community by falsifying her stem-cell research data.   

My eyes could have been DECEIVING me, but I swear I saw a UFO hovering above the tree line near my house last night. 

As the old saw puts it, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Appearances can be DECEIVING.

You can also DECEIVE yourself (or be DECEIVED) by refusing to admit or acknowledge that something unpleasant is true.

You have talent and good looks, but don’t DECEIVE yourself into thinking you can rush off to Hollywood and become an instant star. 

You’re only DECEIVING yourself, Mark, if you think that you can get away with cheating on your SAT.

Don’t let hope DECEIVE you, Ethan.  Mom will never change her mind about letting you go to the music festival all on your own for a whole weekend.

 

 

Traditional typewriters were RENDERED obsolete about 25 years ago.

3. RENDER

The daily task of having to shop for fresh ingredients was RENDERED a thing of the past. 

In the sentence above, RENDER means to cause something to be in a particular state or condition.

One of the problems with antibiotics is that, over time, patients can become immune to them, RENDERING the antibiotics ineffective.

Traditional typewriters were RENDERED obsolete about 25 years ago when most people started using word processors and home computers. 

Tens of thousands of people were RENDERED homeless after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf States in August 2005.

RENDER has several other common uses.  First, RENDER means to provide or give something such as a service or assistance.   Offer and extend are some close equivalents.

If you drive by an accident, park your car away from the scene and RENDER assistance to anyone who needs care until an ambulance arrives.

Dozens of volunteer nurses and doctors were sent to the region to RENDER medical attention to those afflicted with the mysterious ailment.

To RENDER also means to furnish or present something in a formal or official capacity.   Synonyms for this usage include submit and tender.

Income tax returns must be RENDERED by April 1st of each year. 

After a very long recess, Judge Ballard finally RENDERED her verdict late in the afternoon.

RENDER can also mean to represent or express in an artistic way, as in:

Most of the guests at Nicola and Don’s wedding were brought to tears when Julie RENDERED a beautiful version of All of Me

“The hands you’ve drawn here are exceptionally well RENDERED,” the art teacher told Noah.  “You have a good eye for details.”

Finally, RENDER means to translate something from one language to another.

Many Japanese phrases are difficult to RENDER into English without losing some of their meaning.

The Latin phase carpe diem is usually RENDERED into English as “Seize the day.”

 

 

CONTAMINATED drinking water.

4. CONTAMINATE

Even many so-called fresh-food items are CONTAMINATED with pesticides and other chemicals.

CONTAMINATE means to make something impure by adding a harmful substance to it.  Pollute, taint, and adulterate are the nearest equivalents.

The city’s drinking water was CONTAMINATED when a sewage pipe burst and waste seeped into the reservoir. 

Dozens of people were hospitalized after eating shellfish that had been CONTAMINATED with toxic pollutants.

Whenever you go camping, always boil your drinking water, because it could be CONTAMINATED.

CONTAMINATE can also mean to influence in a bad way.   You can CONTAMINATE a person’s perception, opinion, idea, or attitude by feeding him or her negative or harmful ideas.  A place can be CONTAMINATED by destroying its normally happy or positive mood.

Watching nothing but rubbish on TV is bound to CONTAMINATE any child’s perception of the real world.

The positive atmosphere in the classroom was CONTAMINATED by the appearance of Mrs. Kendal, the school’s grouchy old secretary. 

 

 

Even TRACES of poisonous mercury can be harmful to your health.

5. TRACE

A recent report in London’s Daily Mail suggests that an astounding 98% of the fresh fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets contain TRACES of harmful chemicals.

In the sentence above, TRACE is a generally technical-sounding noun that means a very small amount of some chemical or other substance.

The autopsy revealed that the victim had ingested TRACE amounts of rat poison.

The star third-baseman was suspended for fifty games when TRACES of a human growth hormone were found in his blood during a routine test.

Our waiter Takashi spoke English with barely a TRACE of an accent, which is impressive considering he’s only been in the UK for four years. 

TRACE also refers to a mark or indication that suggests that something existed or was present before.  Evidence, clue, and remnant are some words you can use in place of TRACE.

After nearly a year of searching, the Malaysian government called off the search for the missing airplane that had disappeared without a TRACE.

Before leaving a campsite, make sure you remove all TRACES of your having been there by clearing away any debris and putting out your campfires.

Volunteers from near and far came to help the police look for the missing child, but no TRACES of him were found within a twelve-kilometer radius. 

A TRACE is also a search to find information about the identity of someone through investigations.  The police may put a TRACE on a phone call, for example, to see where the call was made.

“We’ve got a TRACE on the call, so we should know Kyla’s exact location in a moment,” the park ranger assured Kyla’s worried parents.

Detectives are doing a TRACE on a vehicle that was seen parked in front of the bank just moments before three armed men robbed it.

As a verb, TRACE has several uses.  For one, TRACE means to find or discover someone or something by looking carefully for him/her/it.  Track down is the nearest synonym.

It had been years since I’d last spoken to my host family in Belgium, but I was finally able to TRACE them to an address in the Netherlands. 

Police have TRACED the suspect to a warehouse near the harbor, and are now on their way there.

TRACE also means to find the source or the cause of something.

With the help of websites such as ancestry.com, I was able to TRACE my family back to the late 17th century.

The water seeping through our living room ceiling was eventually TRACED to a leaky pipe in our attic. 

TRACING paper

Finally, TRACE can mean to copy something such as a map or picture by drawing over its lines on a transparent piece of paper.  You can also TRACE lines onto a surface, as in the last examples.

“Wow, Jay.  This drawing is really nice.  Did you TRACE it from a book, or did you draw it yourself?”

Monica and Olivia TRACED their names in the sand with a stick and watched the waves wash them away. 

After my guests left, I saw that one of them had cruelly TRACED “Dust Me!” on a tabletop I had forgotten to dust.

 

 

CONSUME only organically grown fruits and vegetables.

6. CONSUME

Well, say the experts, the very best thing is to CONSUME only organically grown produce and fresh meat from local farms.   

Here, CONSUME is a verb that means to eat or drink something.

You’ll have to CONSUME fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.

Did you know that an adult grey whale CONSUMES about 1,000 kilograms of food every day?

CONSUME also means to use or use up things like energy, fuel, or time.  Deplete and go through are some close equivalents.

According to the latest statistics, 25% of the world’s population CONSUMES 80% of the earth’s natural resources.

Most of the oil CONSUMED in the United States is used to power passenger vehicles. 

CONSUMER and CONSUMPTION are common noun forms for these usages.

Manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that their products are safe for CONSUMER use.  

With CONSUMPTION of tuna on the rise in sushi shops all around the world, stocks are rapidly depleting and may soon disappear altogether.

Recyling can go a long way towards cutting CONSUMPTION of natural resources.

A fire is also said to CONSUME a building or other structure by completely destroying it.

During the Great Fire of 1666, flames quickly CONSUMED all of the city of London inside the old Roman wall.

The raging forest fire CONSUMED tens of thousands of acres of old-growth forest before the rains finally came and put it out.

Finally, when talking about emotions or feelings, CONSUME means to completely fill the mind with certain ideas or thoughts.

Katy was CONSUMED with guilt after her unkind words left her best friend Angie in tears. 

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PDF DOWNLOAD: KA WORDCAST Listen and Learn Lesson 4 KEY VOCABULARY