Monthly Archives: November 2010
Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s socially known as the over-eating holiday. When you think about going home to your family and sitting down to a nice Thanksgiving meal, what do you envision? A table full of food. How much of that food do you dig into? Almost all of it. That’s what I thought. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you would think to survive the meal in a healthy manner. Here are a few tips to help you get through the holiday guilt-free, while still enjoying the deliciousness around you.
Be sweet. Instead of gorging on the stuffing, opt for a serving of sweet potatoes. They’re a great source for fiber, vitamin A and potassium, and they’re a filling side dish to that coveted turkey.
Go crazy for cranberries. They’re filled with antioxidants to help keep you healthy during the beginning of cold and flu season. Just make sure you don’t snag the canned variety — they’re often packed with unhealthy amounts of sugar. Try making your own instead: the Alliance for a Healthier Generation suggests mashing fresh cranberries with orange juice and a splash of apple juice concentrate.
Skin the turkey. You’ll shave off about 33 calories and four grams of fat just by passing on the skin, says fit sugar. Instead, head straight for the white meat to get a great source of protein. Opting for white meat instead of dark will also save you four calories and one fat gram per ounce. But if you’re a lover of dark meat, don’t nix it completely. It actually has more iron, zinc and riboflavin than white meat.
Veg out. Fall veggies such as squash, green beans and pumpkin are excellent side dishes that provide color to your plate. Pumpkin, a Thanksgiving staple, is filled with Beta-carotene, an important antioxidant vitamin that gives pumpkin its orange tint. Remember an important healthy-eating rule: always have lots of color on your plate! Generally speaking, the more color you have on your plate, the better off you likely are. If there’s a lot of brown on your plate, try mixing in some fruits and veggies for instant improvement.
Hydrate with H2O. Alcohol, soda and coffee all dehydrate you, so try to avoid them. Staying hydrated helps your body stay aware of when it’s full, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Plus, new research in The New York Times says that drinking water before a meal can reduce caloric intake and help with your weight loss goals.
Get fruity. Apples, pears and blueberries are all great fillers for pies that are not only delicious, they’ll provide you with more nutrient boosters than a cheesecake or chocolate pie would. Looking for a simple switch to make the pie healthier? Swap out white flour for whole wheat flour when baking.
Practice portions. To make sure you have room for all the food varieties, pile small portions on your plate. The more control you put forth, the more you’ll be able to taste. After all, having a little bit of everything is more pleasant for your palate than a sensory overload of one item. Keep mixing things up and you’ll be able to know for sure who really brought the best dish.
What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving dinner? Have you learned any healthy eating tips over the years?
After receiving a ton of media attention and politically-geared excitement, the producers of Four Loko, Phusion Products, announced Tuesday they would remove caffeine, guarana and taurine from the malt beverage.
The company intends to reformulate the product nationwide and from now on will only produce non-caffeinated versions of the popular alcoholic drink.
This change comes right as the FDA warned Phusion Products, along with three other companies, that their products were not safe and could be seized off shelves.
Personally, I can see why the FDA issued the warning. But I also understand why Phusion Products shouldn’t necessarily have to alter their product formula. Yes, mixing caffeine with alcohol isn’t very safe because the two products contradict each other. Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. The whole point of alcohol being a depressant is that it makes you drowsy and your body is more aware of when it has had enough. However, when you add a stimulant like caffeine into the mix, it is harder for the brain to receive those body signals, making someone more likely to continue drinking or do something they wouldn’t normally do.
Clearly, this was the case for the famous incident involving Four Loko at Washington State, when eight college students were rushed to the hospital after drinking the beverage. However, Four Loko can’t be the only factor. What about self-control? I understand the combination of the two products makes you want to drink more, but people should always try to issue self-control.
What about all of the other caffeinated alcohol beverages out there? Classic drinks such as Red Bull and vodka, rum and Coke and Irish coffee combine caffeine with alcohol, yet they have been safely enjoyed by people for years.
Phusion Products also took all of the necessary precautions before putting the drink on the market. Not only is it only legally sold to those 21 and over (yes, I understand it may still get into the hands of underage kids), but Four Loko cans were the first to have the “We ID” tag put directly on the can. The cans also feature seven different warnings about the 12 percent alcohol content, all of which are in a font size as large as the federal government will allow, according to the Phusion Products website.
However, there’s also the factor that underage kids do still get ahold of the drink. Typically, those who are 21 and older know how to drink responsibly, but those who aren’t have a more difficult time — especially college freshmen. When you’re in a new environment and away from your parents, a part of you wants to go crazy. What’s the most popular way for kids to go crazy? Get drunk. But they don’t think about what they’re drinking or how much of it they’re taking in. They just want to have fun! If they were more educated about what they were putting in their body, then maybe Phusion Products wouldn’t have this problem. But how are you supposed to forbid access of the drink to underage kids but allow it for adults when IDs are already in place? Basically, the drink is not safe because of the naiveté of underage teenagers.
So, I understand why Four Loko is being banned. However, I don’t necessarily agree with the movement. What do you think about the controversy?
As an obsessed magazine subscriber and purchaser, I constantly forage through as many as I can get my hands on to study layout, design, and of course, look for good content. While I read about 15 different titles a month, there are a few favorites that I always make sure to read cover-to-cover. Of course, they’re all health and fitness related! So, what did we learn this month? Here are three top things I picked up, one from each issue.
1. We have the right to bare arms.
If you couldn’t tell yet, I’m a huge fan of Bob Harper, a personal trainer on The Biggest Loser. I love his personality, the way he connects with clients, and the workouts are sheer torture. I have all of his latest workout DVDs and each one is a doozy. FITNESS created an awesome upper body workout from various moves on Bob’s DVDs, and many of them I never would’ve thought of doing on my own. I’ve done it myself a few times and ran my clients through it, and so far they all love it! No hiding my arms in bulky sweaters this winter!
Added bonus: FITNESS’ Karla Walsh interviewed Bob to get the scoop on his vegan lifestyle and shared healthy eating tips with us!
2. The average smoker inhales 425 cigarettes a month, according to Self.
Wow. And ew. That’s all I can really say. Luckily, Self had a lot more to say. Catherine Ryan wrote a great article that digs into a person’s “smoking personality,” gave them tips to quit, and provided some myth busters. Did you know that the average smoker spends $1,408 a year on smoking? In today’s economy, the cost of cigarettes alone should be reason enough to quit.
Self also gave 10 reasons to quit, most of which I didn’t know before. If you don’t want to quit for you, do it for your favorite pets! Secondhand smoke can lead to them developing cancer. Want to have kids someday? Smokers have a greater risk for infertility. This article is full of interesting information — I immediately texted my smoker friends and told them to go buy it.
3. The average supermarket carries 46,852 items, and Women’s Health scoured the aisles to find 125 of the best packaged food for women. Now I don’t have to search through everything! I don’t know about you, but I hate the fact that grocery shopping takes me about two hours to complete whenever I’m buying a lot of stuff. There are so many labels to read and prices to compare. And I’m still a college student — I have homework to finish, meetings to attend, and work to do! Women’s Health did a great job of narrowing things down for me so I know which packages to not even give a second glance.
The categories are broken into “sweets & treats,” “breads & cereals,” “condiments,” “pasta & rice,” “snacks, crackers & chips,” “frozen meals,” “drinks,” “fruits & veggies,” “soups,” “dairy,” and “meat & seafood.” Phew, I think they’ve got it all covered! I’m not going to list everything they have, but let me just say, I’m glad they have Emerald’s Trail Mix – Tropical Blend and Campbell’s Select Harvest Light Italian-Style Vegetable Soup — they’re both staples in my house. Now that I have this list, I bet I’ll be able to transition my boyfriend over to some healthier meals!
Each magazine has a ton of other great articles (FITNESS’ “Power Surge,” Self‘s “Lose weight like a guy” and Women’s Health‘s “Is your health on the line?”), so make sure you go out and snag a copy!
Have you read these issues yet? What did you like about them?
Winter season is quickly approaching and many are preparing to amp up the volume on holiday preparation and send their workout into hibernation. Don’t! I understand winter can be cold and it’s difficult to work up the motivation to go out for a run, especially when there are so many other things going on. But try to remember that you are important too, and working out is a daily present your body wants. From outer gear to mindset tactics, I have some running tips to help you plow through the season.
Bring a friend. Recruit a running buddy as often as possible. When someone else is relying on you to show up, you’re less likely to bail. Having a partner by your side will also keep you motivated when the cold air is pushing you to stop.
Be prepared. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothes when you hit the road for a workout. In the winter, layers are key. Try layering a long-sleeved Under Armour shirt under a T-shirt, and then layer a fleece over it. You want to choose a fleece sweatshirt over cotton because cotton pulls your body heat away and retains moisture — a big no-no if you get wet. Runner’s World also suggests a hat to keep your ears toasty and a scarf to block your face from stinging winds.
Prep your hands and feet. Up to 30 percent of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet, so bundling them up when you’re exercising in low temperatures is key. Swap out your traditional socks for wool ones, and wear running gloves to keep moisture off your hands. As the months get colder, consider switching to mittens. Make sure your sneakers are waterproof and if there’s room, slip a heat packet under your gloves.
Don some shades. You always remember to wear sunglasses in the summer, but what about winter? The sun’s UV rays are still strong during the colder months, so don’t forget to wear a pair of shades. The sun can also reflect off snow and potentially cause blindness — another good reason to protect your eyes.
If it gets too cold, such as the temp dropping below zero, then don’t be afraid to stay indoors. The treadmill can be tedious, but it’s better to be safe and bored than risking pneumonia.
Do you like to workout indoors or outside during the winter?
After a breakup, the first thing girls do is head to the ice cream aisle of the grocery store and pick up a pint (or half-gallon) of Ben & Jerry’s. We love chocolate, and for some reason it has magical feel-good powers when mixed with milk and cream. But does it do anything for your self-esteem? Or your waistline? Not a chance.
Guys on the other hand, often head to the gym post-breakup. They like to grunt and sweat out their frustrations. Even though this may seem intimidating at first sight, they’re on to something. Not only does working out release endorphins and trigger serotonin in your brain, which elevate your overall mood, but you’re also making yourself look hotter! So if you’re suffering from a heart-break, put down the ice cream, walk out of the store and sprint to the closest gym.
Once you’re there, you’re going to want some tunes to keep you pumping. After all, music makes you lose control. My suggestion: add a playlist to your iPod and name it something like “Badass Moves” or “Sweating My Way Sexy.” Here are some songs that will keep you moving through your workout, whether you’re running, spinning, or lifting weights.
“Hot N Cold” — Katy Perry
“Bulletproof” — La Roux
“Since U Been Gone” — Kelly Clarkson
“Ridin’ Solo” — Jason DeRulo
“Gives You Hell” — The All-American Rejects
“Take it Off” — Ke$ha
“Fighter” — Christina Aguilera
“Love the Way You Lie” — Eminem featuring Rihanna
“Not Afraid” — Eminem
“Picture to Burn” — Taylor Swift (For my country fans!)
“Best Days of Your Life” — Kellie Pickler (Again, for my country lovers!)
Enjoy these songs and watch your ex eat his (or her!) heart out next time he sees you.
What other breakup songs do you like?
The world becomes a lonely place when suffering from an eating disorder. The disease prides itself on separating you from your friends and family. It only cares about keeping you isolated because well, that’s how it thrives. During the recovery process, it is imperative that you find a friend you can lean on.
Perhaps the worst part of recovering from anorexia is the fact that it is a mental disorder, which means I can never fully recover. Instead, I’ve learned coping techniques that I turn to in times of struggle. I write down my feelings on paper, distract myself with something I enjoy doing and, most importantly, find someone I can talk to when things aren’t going well.
The power of having someone to talk to in times of need is a priceless commodity. But finding a person I can trust to share all of my thoughts with is something that can be difficult. Especially as a college student living on campus, it can be quite difficult to find someone of the same age to talk to without fear that they will share my information with all of their friends. The thought that every piece of information I share with someone could eventually be unveiled during a drunken Saturday night is something I have to take into account when deciding who I confide in.
Lately, I’ve decided that the person I could trust the most is one of my housemates. He is someone who has been through similar mental troubles in his past, and therefore has been able to give me advice that I really take to heart. Talking to someone who’s experienced this before really made me feel better. I know he will always be willing to talk to me whenever I need it.
When I chose to confide in my housemate, I took into account the fact that I didn’t just meet him, but rather have known him for years. After all, it doesn’t make sense to spill my life story to someone I’ve known for less than a semester. They would feel more awkward than anything and would probably have nothing beneficial to say.
Personally, I wouldn’t trust the college counselors on campus either. It’s not my intent to bash them or say they’re inadequate because that’s really not what I think. However, it must be acknowledged that they aren’t like the traditional counselors found in a local community. Yes, if you really need to, a college counselor could be helpful. However, keep in mind that their only job isn’t to help just you. They are responsible for talking to hundreds, maybe thousands, of college students who all have different problems. Most college campuses don’t have counselors who specialize in eating disorders either, so they aren’t the best outlet to turn to.
College counselors don’t partake in one-on-one meetings very often either (in my experience), therefore forcing students to attend group sessions. This would be fine if everyone in the group was there for the same problem, but that often isn’t the case. Students could be there for alcohol problems, relationship troubles, test anxiety and other college life stressors. Therefore, the meeting can’t possibly have the therapeutic effect that it should. I was very troubled when I learned that I couldn’t receive personal counseling. I wasn’t scared to share my story with other students, but I wanted them to at least be in the same position I was in. How would an alcoholic understand the position I am in? And how could I possibly do the same for him or her? It just can’t happen.
It definitely is tough to approach a friend with all of this personal information. But a good friend will be more than willing to sit down and listen. After all, isn’t that what friends are for? It’s not just about the parties, the social hours, and living the good life. Friends are there for you in times of struggle, and fighting an eating disorder is when you need your friends the most.
It reminds me of the song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. You just call on me brother, when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on. I just might have a problem that you’d understand. We all need somebody to lean on.
And if any of you need to talk, just remember, you’ve got a friend in me.
– Post written by Mike Kraft and edited by Samantha Shelton
For all you Gleeks, here’s the Glee version of “Lean on Me.” Enjoy!
“I can’t wait to get started on my workout tomorrow! I’m going to get up before work so I have time to fit everything in!”
We’ve all been there before — we have a lot of motivation late at night to start our fitness regime bright and early the next morning. But once morning rolls around, something seriously derails our efforts. Especially as college students, we often find ourselves wondering how we’re supposed to fit it into our schedules. The average college student doesn’t just go to class anymore. There’s four or five classes on the docket, one or two part-time jobs, and clubs and organizations. When it’s boiled down to what can be fit into a day’s work, physical fitness is usually the first to be crossed off the list.
Believe me though, you want to make time now that we’re moving fast into those winter months. Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly suffer less from severe colds. Don’t have time to be sick? Avoid these three habits and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.
1. Hitting the snooze button.
After all, what’s an extra five minutes going to do for you? It isn’t enough time for your body to fall back into an effective sleep stage, and you’re submitting yourself to unnecessary side effects because you’re interrupting sleep patterns. Those who constantly hit the snooze button can suffer from tiredness (obviously), headaches, mood swings and agitation.
Oversleeping can also mess with your metabolism. According to Health Watch Center, reaching for that small little button can lead to weight increase because you’re altering your sleep patterns, thus throwing your metabolism out of whack. So wouldn’t it be more beneficial to just hop out of bed and drag your butt to the gym? You’ll feel better later, and be glad you went. After all, how many people actually regret going to the gym?
2. Waiting until tomorrow.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” After all, doesn’t tomorrow never come? If you keep postponing your workout session, you’re going to end up kicking yourself. Remember, working out releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that help you de-stress and unwind. Not to mention you can snag some alone time away from all of the technological devices that consume today’s society.
Working out today will also keep you healthy — Mayo Clinic says “aerobic activity activates your immune system,” leaving you stronger and less susceptible to illness. So stop waiting and hit the ground running!
3. Skipping meals.
Skipping meals, particularly breakfast, is never a smart idea. However, most of us bolt out the door without putting anything in our stomachs, or with just a measly granola bar. Don’t get me wrong, a granola bar would be sufficient if you ate shortly after, but how many of us wait four to five hours before eating again? I know I fall victim to that sometimes.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that skipping meals also contributes to obesity.The longer you wait to eat, the more your metabolism slows down. Signals are sent to the brain, essentially stating “I’m starving, hang onto everything you can because I don’t know when I’m being fed again.” What’s the first thing the body hangs on to? Fat. So try waking up a few minutes earlier (not hitting that snooze button!) so you can fit in a healthy breakfast to kick-start your day and get your body running right.
What are some of your fitness pitfalls?
“Broomball? Um, what is that?”
That was my initial response three years ago when my new friend, Hannah, asked my roommate, neighbors and I to play in a broomball league throughout a portion of the semester. I had no idea what this game was, nor had I ever heard of it. But did that stop me from playing? Not a chance.
Broomball, she explained in a less efficient manner, is a game similar to ice hockey. There are two teams consisting of six players, including the goaltender. The object of the game is to score more goals than the other team. Sounds simple, right? Well, take off those ice skates and put on sneakers, and instead of a hockey stick, replace it with a “broom.” Oh, and you get a miniature ball (about the size of the balls you use when you play basketball in your room, with the hoop attached to the back of the door) instead of a puck.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the game. We played various teams at around 11 p.m. every week, providing a relief from homework. My friends and I were so psyched about it, we even planned to sign up every year for the rest of our college career. It was freshman year then.
It’s senior year now and I played broomball again for the first time last night since freshman year. College got in the way — suddenly my classes were harder, I had to work more hours and homework became more prevalent than gallivanting across the ice. Last night, however, kicked off a fierce competition between the employees at Campus Recreation and Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers. Although every member of my team (the fitness centers) hadn’t played in the same amount of time as myself or longer, and Campus Rec plays nearly every day, we couldn’t say no when they challenged us. So I put the homework aside for an hour and shuffled onto the ice once more.
After two 20-minute periods of a lot of falling and checking into the boards, Campus Rec added their first tally to the win column with a 5-0 victory. However, they believe that this was a one-time deal. What they don’t realize is that we don’t give up that easily. I have a feeling that I’ll be on the ice much more often this semester, whether I like it or not. My co-workers and boss might get upset if I don’t.
Broomball originated in Canada, but is now played across the world, particularly in the U.S., Australia and Japan. It’s a recreational sport, but play can often get intense. By the end of the game, I was sweating through my face mask and my shirt had subtle sweat stains. Not bad when I was playing in a freezing hockey rink and I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants. It definitely made up for my lack of a workout yesterday; I burned about 476 calories in an hour. So if you ever hear broomball being promoted in your area, don’t be afraid to give it a shot!
Have you ever heard of or played broomball before? What do you think about the sport?
On the latest episode of The Biggest Loser, the contestants were whisked away to one of the boot camps for the U.S. Marines. The contestants, still split into teams of black and blue, raced through an intense obstacle course and the first ones to finish received a phone call from home.
Who did you root for?
Personally, I root for team blue during every challenge and at every weigh-in. Not only because Aaron Thompkins, my favorite contestant, is on that team, but also because the black team is way too into game play and they whine all the time. Brendan Donovan makes me angry when he tries to act completely innocent, and the same goes for Frado Dinten when he apologizes at the weigh-in before the scale even shows his current weight. Not to mention Brendan’s new bald head isn’t flattering in the least bit.
Sorry for my rant there, but I needed to get that out of my system.
Needless to say, team blue came out on top and they received their coveted phone calls. After being cut off from everybody in their lives for more than six weeks, I’d say all of the contestants deserve to talk to their loved ones. But alas, it’s still a game, so dangling phone calls as a prize only pushes the contestants to work harder. Watching Aaron talk to his adorable little boy and Lisa Mosley choke up while she talked to her little ones was so heart-wrenching; it makes me cry nearly every time. It truly is the icing on the cake –no pun intended.
While the contestants spent their week with the Marines, they faced another challenge: they didn’t have any control over what they ate. There was no way for them to measure their portions or stay away from certain foods because they had to eat what was given to them. As a result, three of the contestants gained weight at the weigh-in, and the rest lost less than five pounds. Aaron was the only one who lost a massive amount of weight still, adding 14 pounds to his total weight loss (Another reason he’s my first pick to win). Jillian Michaels was surprisingly nice about it and blamed the circumstances the contestants were under, but Bob Harper was clearly pissed. Hopefully we’ll see both trainers kick some major butt in the gym next week.
The black team lost the weigh-in and were forced to eliminate another player from their team. It was obvious that game play and alliances were put into action during this time. Elizabeth Ruiz, who has never lost more than five pounds in a week and is never a valuable asset in the challenges, allows Brendan and Frado to shelter her, just like her brothers did when she was growing up. It never allowed her to gain strength and stand up for herself, and now it lets her slide by from week to week without actually changing her life.
As a result, Anna Wright was sent home. Yes, she also struggles during the challenges, but she works hard and needs to be there to work through emotional and mental issues — her three-year-old son died from cancer and she never fully allowed herself to heal. Talk about a big cry for help to focus on yourself and finally heal from something so traumatic. Unfortunately though, Frado and Brendan are very persuasive and sent Anna packing.
What did you think about this week’s episode? I’d love to hear from people rooting for the black team! Which contestant would you like to win?
October is over and with it goes the constant flooding of pink surrounding every street you cross and every corner you turn. But does that mean you should forget about cancer research fundraising and all of the passion you invest into the cause during that month? I don’t think so.
I’m just like the rest of you – once October hits, something inside me goes stir crazy and I find myself constantly getting involved with anything related to breast cancer awareness. I’ve turned my Facebook profile picture pink, worn pink clothing and died my hair pink, all to raise awareness so people will remember to fight for the cause. Because who doesn’t want to live in a world where cancer doesn’t exist anymore?
Although raising awareness is great, donating money to the cause is even better. After all, if researchers don’t have money then they can’t keep breaking scientific barriers to bring them one step closer to a cure. So I crammed as many fundraising efforts into my schedule as I possibly could, and essentially broke my wallet in the process. But it’s worth it if people I love don’t have to suffer from this disease anymore.
First on the calendar was the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Syracuse! This was such a fun day. My roommate, Meghan, and fellow Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) member, Kyle, woke up at 6:30 a.m. to make the 45-minute commute over there and leave plenty of time for browsing tents and spending more money.
For only four hours of my Saturday, I was one of 6,000 walkers who helped raise $400,000 for the American Cancer Society! Not to mention I had to support Betsy Barrett, the new coordinator of Making Strides and my former ACS partner who helped coordinate Relay for Life!
Upping the ante on the fitness level, I participated in the Great Pumpkin 5K Run sponsored by the Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers that I work at. We raised $800 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and had 222 participants — more than double last year and the most we’ve ever had! (Quick pat on the back for my promo skills on that one!)
My CAC chapter always sells breast cancer awareness shirts during October to raise funds for ACS, too. This year, we brought back the “Fight Like a Girl” slogan and added some new designs. So far, we’ve sold over 200 shirts. We know October is over, but like I said before, we don’t stop fighting for the cure when the month ends. We’ll be selling more shirts throughout the week. So if you’re in Oswego, we’ll be in the Campus Center Wednesday and Thursday selling them! Even if you’re not, let me know and I can fill out an order form for you. One for $12 or two for $20, and they come in a variety of colors!
What have you done for Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I’d love to hear your stories!