Category: Health


Are You Too Chicken?

Most people say “ew” to soy before they even try it.  They think soy meat is gross tasting and weird, but I would say that factory farmed meat is gross and weird.  I try to convince people that veggie burgers taste just like meat, but they don’t believe me.  I recently just started buying Quorn meatless, soyless chicken products and trust me when I say this—it tastes like chicken! But Quorn isn’t even made out of soy; it is made from mycoprotein, the main ingredient in all Quorn products.  Made from the same family that mushrooms and truffles come from, mycoprotein is high in dietary fiber and has essential amino acids and no trans fat whatsoever.  Plus, you get all the protein of real meat without the fat, cholesterol, and other unknown products that can find its way into the meat during factory production. In addition, since it has no soy in it, you don’t have to worry about stomach problems, which can happen if you aren’t used to eating soy.

Quorn tastes like the good old chicken nuggets you had as a kid.  And since most of us worry about our weight and nutrition more than we did as kids, it’s a good thing that Quorn is a lot healthier than regular chicken nuggets.  Four Quorn chicken nuggets has 180 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol. On the other hand, Tyson chicken nuggets’ serving size of five has 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 40 mg of cholesterol.

For some extra protein in my lunch, I usually top my salads with Quorn chicken nuggets.  Instead of defrosting them, I just place the frozen chicken nuggets in a container, and by the time I eat lunch (about two to three hours later) they are fully thawed and ready to put on top of my salad.  Because they are meatless, I don’t have to worry about the meat getting all funky if it sits out in tupperware for a few hours.  It is nice to have that same chicken taste on my salad without worrying about health scares.

I dare you to try these chicken nuggets out, along with all other Quorn products: meatless meatballs, chicken patties, garlic and herb chicken cutlets, turkey burgers, chicken tenders, turkey roast and cranberry and goat cheese chicken cutlets.  All meatless, soyless, low calorie and low fat.  I even served my friends these chicken nuggets and didn’t tell them they were meatless.  They thought they were real chicken nuggets and loved them. When I told them what they were, they said they were definitely buying those from now on instead of the Tyson nuggets.  Hopefully this will convince others out there to try this great chicken nugget alternative!

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This is for all the people who have ever looked in a mirror and listed off numerous flaws with their bodies.  This is for every person who strongly believes he or she is not good enough.  This is for anyone who feels that the world would be better off without his or her body “taking up space.” This is for me and for you and for everyone else who does not believe they are perfect enough.

We live in a society that pushes perfectionism, and an extreme perfectionism at that.  For women, the ideal beauty is a thin but curvy frame.  For men, their ideal figure is strong, masculine and tan.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates 8 million Americans (7 million women and 1 million men) suffer from some form of an eating disorder.  From anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Despite popular belief, eating disorders are about more than just the desire to be thin.   They are an all-encompassing illness that stems from low self-esteem and the desire to be perfect.

It is a heartbreaking disorder, one that some people don’t understand unless they have been personally affected.  As someone who suffers from an eating disorder, I have experienced the consuming cycle of eating and not eating as I try to achieve perfectionism. I have lost friends during my battle, and I have lost time. I have skipped parties because I was concerned with either not eating anything or eating everything in sight.  So much energy and time have been wasted over the past five years.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starts today, February 20, and goes on through February 26.  It is a time for light to be shed on an mental disorder that many people do not fully understand.

A few events are being held this week at UNC.  The movie Thin, a documentary about eating disorders, will be shown in Room 3411 at the Student Union tonight at 5:30 P.M.  Viewers will also be able to ask Dr Anna-Bardone Cone, a UNC psychology professor specializing in eating disorder research, questions.

On Monday, February 21, McAllister’s Deli on Franklin Street will donate 10% of its revenue from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. to Carolina House, an eating disorder treatment center located in Durham.  Make sure to print off the flyer. Interactive Theatre Carolina will also be performing skits on eating disorders in the Union Cabaret on Tuesday, February 22, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Even after Tuesday, bringing awareness to eating disorders should not end.  If you have friends who are suffering, let them know that you are there for them. And if they don’t have treatment, help them find it.

If you are currently suffering, please seek help.  There are people out there that care for your well-being.  Even I am here to help support you, so don’t be afraid to contact me.  I have been in your shoes, and I still am.

There is one last thing I want to leave.  You are beautiful or you are handsome just the way you are.  You have been shaped into the way you were meant to be. You were given a unique body and your own mind.  Perfectionism is just an idea. It is never tangible.  Accept yourself and others for who they are, and remember that imperfections are what is truly perfect.

-Hillary Rose Owens

Sources:

National Eating Disorders

Mirasol

Something Fishy

Facebook Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Fitness Lines

How to Combat Adult Acne

Adult acne can be more than just an unsightly annoyance, depending on its severity. You’d think after the awkward pubescent high school years have passed that the pimples would disappear and reveal a flawless face the way braces are removed to expose gorgeous, straight teeth. The same should apply to acne, right? Unfortunately, acne does not always go away after the teen years, and sometimes lasts into adulthood. Sometimes women may find that their acne is related to unbalanced hormones. When acne persists and becomes untreatable with over-the-counter medicine such as Clean and Clear or Neutrogena, women can go to their doctor or dermatologist and get a blood test taken to determine hormone levels.

If imbalances are detected, sometimes birth control pills are prescribed as an effective treatment. There is a major downside of taking birth control for acne, however. Many women find that it is an excellent treatment option when they are on the pill, but a few months after they decide to get off the pill, acne usually comes back with vengeance, worse than ever. Women may feel pressured to stay on the pill for years because they worry that once they stop taking it, the red, bumpy pustules and sometimes painful cystic acne will return.

If your acne is not related to a hormone imbalance, it may be useful to develop a good skin care regimen. I suffered with adult acne for many months, which caused me immense emotional distress and physical discomfort from the cystic growths along my jawline. I tried all the products available in both drug stores and high-end department stores. I spent hours doing research on the Internet and ordered books at the library, until I stumbled upon the site acne.org. This site proved to be a tremendous tool and helped answer some of my questions and alleviate some of my emotional turmoil. I was able to compare products reviewed by other members on the site, and learn what works for majority of people and what doesn’t. I finally decided to order some products off of acne.org, whose founder, Daniel W. Kern, also suffered with severe acne. I ordered the cleanser, moisturizer, and treatment in large 16-ounce bottles, because I knew that it was the most cost-effective option.

Once you establish a skin care regimen, it is important to stick with it. No matter how comfy you get cuddling with your significant other, do not doze off without washing cosmetics off of your face. If he’s good enough for you he will still think you’re beautiful without a stitch of make-up on, so please ladies, wash your face before bed. Then, pat your face dry with a clean face towel and make sure to change the linens that touch your face (face towel, pillow case) once a week because dirt and oils from dirty laundry can cause acne flare-ups. I then moisturize and wait until it’s dry before applying treatment all over my face. Some people may prefer to apply treatment first, and then moisturize. The advantage of acne.org’s treatment is that once it has dried, it’s completely clear and does not leave a filmy residue on the face. I wash my face, moisturize, and apply treatment once in the morning and once at night.

In the morning after the treatment has dried, I can apply facial makeup with ease. I recommend a mineral powder applied with a clean brush (wash your brush once a week because bacteria and dirt build up lead to acne!). After I established this regimen in addition to taking Yaz birth control for my hormonal imbalance, I noticed a huge change in my results. Strangers and friends would come up to me to admire my nearly poreless complexion. I have finally found a host of products that work for me and even though my regimen may sound complex, it means the difference between a face with unattractive and sometimes painful bumps and grooves, and a smooth, confident appearance.

Here’s a list of products that work in my experience:

  • Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask (dries up acne pimples; rated 4.5 out of 5 stars when Googled)
  • Retin-A (Available with prescription. Makes acne much worse for the first couple months, but then uncovers beautiful, nearly flawless skin. Drawback is once treatment is stopped altogether, acne returns.)
  • Acne.org products – I cannot give enough praise to the treatment. Some prescription treatments burn the skin, making it unbearably sensitive, but acne.org’s treatment works just as effectively as prescription without the physical suffering, costs much less, and comes in large quantities.)

In my opinion, I do not think that a poor diet causes acne, but I do know that when I eat greasy foods and chocolate and then touch my face, I will get a pimple. So make sure to keep your hands away from your face, or develop the habit of washing your hands as soon as you finish snacks. Carry sanitizer or hand wipes in your purse when a sink isn’t handy, such as when taking long road trips. It is important to keep your body hydrated with water because it flushes out toxins that may otherwise result in skin problems. Also, sweating flushes away toxins, contributing to better skin. So try to make exercising a priority.

I hope these tips help you in your battle for a clear complexion and remember to browse acne.org for more information and advice!

-Kristen Cubero

From Gym Newbie to Gym Connoisseur

I’m going to be honest. I have a girl crush on Shakira. That woman is fierce, and her “hips don’t lie.” I dream of one day attaining abs like hers. Crunches after crunches and planks after planks, I envision having a smoking set of toned abs that will rival Shakira’s. (I am hoping to meet this goal by this year’s spring break.)

To reach this goal is going to take dedication and lots of working out. Thankfully, I am a big fan of the gym. Three, sometimes four or five, days of the week, I don my cute workout clothes, grab my iPod and hit the gym. While I am either warming up with cardio or lifting weights, I find my self zoning out and forgetting my never-ending to-do list. My time at the gym is solely “Hillary time.”

Lately, however, navigating the gym has proven to be a near-impossible task. Thanks to everyone’s New Years resolutions to workout, the gym is jam-packed. And while I applaud these people, I also despise them. Moving through these gym-newbies is like navigating through molasses. It’s frustrating.

One afternoon, I walked into the gym, saw the gym-newbies and walked right out. I couldn’t deal with it. Every cardio machine was taken, and every slot was completely filled. There were groups of men staring at themselves as they are attempting to lift weights.

It’s too much to handle. And I know this chaos is what drives the gym-newbies away after two weeks, the gym connoisseurs into hiding.

Then there are the gym-newbies who get frustrated and bored because they aren’t seeing immediate results. Well, I hate to break it you, but moving up in rank from a gym-newbie to a gym-connoisseur takes dedication. But I promise, working out gets better if you stick with it.

First of all, you should not start out at full force. No marathon runner starts the race running at top speed. If one does, one will quickly become tired and won’t be able to finish strong.

It takes baby steps. Start with a brisk walk on the treadmill and build your way up to running. When it comes to weightlifting, just because you are a man (or even a woman), it doesn’t mean you can immediately bench press 400 pounds. You’ll hurt yourself.

Start small (maybe even just trying to lift the bar, because I promise it’s pretty heavy), and as your muscles grow, add more weight. Becoming a gym-connoisseur takes patience and dedication. It’s the same for my fitness goal of achieving Shakira-abs. I have to keep working and crunching and improving. I’ll get there. And so will you, gym-newbie.

(As for those annoyed gym-connoisseurs, give it three more weeks.)

-Hillary Owens

Get ‘Er Done… Today

You log into Facebook and read friends’ wall posts, when you know you should be reading Lolita for class. You start organizing the clothes in your closet by color, and even start folding your delicate unmentionables, placing them inside your top drawer in careful squares. You’re so desperate for anything else to do, instead of diligently working on the seven-page English paper that is due in three days. Now you’re watching reruns on Hulu, and then you may pause Hulu, respond to your Facebook updates, replay the youtube clip of “Marcel the Shell with Shoes on” for the umpteenth time, laughing hysterically with your roommate and quote the shell as if the words he utters express your new religion. You begin to unravel a tangled necklace, and wonder when motivation will find you; maybe you will have an epiphany while peeling apart your split ends. More likely, you will have to face the facts: you’ve boarded a one way train to Procrastinationopolis, located in the heart of Distractionville. Feeling hopeless and stranded? Don’t worry: that’s only more wasted time. Be proactive, take simple actions and you will be striding down Productive Street with effortless swag.

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid:
Prioritize your life by using the K.I.S.S. Method. When you Keep It Simple, Stupid, the main benefit is that you will be finished with whatever basic task or goal your extravagant ideas were inhibiting you from completing on time. We should never give up on our dreams to expand upon lavish projects we long to accomplish, but for the purposes of excelling in school, we must prioritize. Get simple projects out of the way first, and leave a block of time to work on a bigger project, little by little everyday. This means, if I have simple homework assignment due on the computer by 11pm, and a difficult essay due in 2 weeks, I should do my computer homework first, and then work on a little bit of the essay every single day for 2 weeks. Do not leave all of your assigned textbook reading until the day before and the morning of the test. To do so would be breaking the K.I.S.S method.

Change your study environment
… to a place with minimal distractions. Since I associate my bedroom as my sanctuary to get away from the daily grind, I am psychologically incapable of studying in that particular space. My sheets call for me to get under them, and all of a sudden every electronic I own is spread out on my bed (laptop, mp3 player, kindle, cell phone, sometimes even my camera) all turned on; my mind turned off to studying altogether! An intelligent way to fix this scenario is to leave the bedroom and go to a quiet place where other students are studying. If like me, you are a lazy-bone to the core, so do not sit in a big, comfy chair; this will only remind you of your bed, it may be even cozier than your bed (depending if you have a residence hall mattress, ouch.) and you will be dreaming in no time. Instead sit at a desk, with other people sitting next to you. They are intently focused and studying, and suddenly your competitive edge comes out and you want to excel along with your peers in the library. Wilson, Undergraduate, and Davis libraries are all great places to buckle down, with no distractions.

Put away your communicative electronics
…in small increments each day.
It may be challenging to wean yourself from engaging in facebook, texts, BBM, skype, Windows Live Messenger, emails, and phone calls, but if you can manage to go just one hour one day, and two hours the next, you will eventually be able to focus on the present moment. This may even make you a better friend, because you will become a better listener to your friends without having to respond to a half-dozen forms of social media. You will definitely become a better student because you will not have distractions to take you away from your interesting studies. Let the words in your textbook talk to you.

If you must listen to music
…listen to calming music with a slow beat. So save your fist pumping Tiesto mega mix for the club, and instead download songs with a serene, laid-back beat. The I-tunes store has a whole list of music to listen to while studying. A few of my personal favorite tracks to study to include, Desree—You Gotta Be, Mellowdrone—Orange Marmalade, The Wallflowers—One Headlight, Cutting Crew—I just Died in Your Arms, Sade— And I Miss You (Okay, pretty much all alternative music from the 90s is going to make your time studying the most relaxing task you accomplish within your day!)

Get a planner, and use it.
If you already have one, take it out of your junk drawer. Most smart phones come with applications for taking down notes, and to do lists. These come in handy for short term goals, but make sure to write down long term obligations in your planner, and refer to the dates ahead of time so you don’t have to waste memory space thinking of everything that has to be done. Some successful individuals even keep post it notes everywhere throughout the house, so that if an idea pops in mind, you never forget and the constant visual reminders will help you “get er’ done.” I have a digital post it note on my desktop, which reads: Stop Procrastinating! It serves as a great reminder for every time I sit down with my laptop. Post-Its reinforce making a decision to waste time or use it to your advantage.

These tips will enable you to stop avoiding hitting the books, and make a productive student out of even the worst procrastinator, me. (Hey, did anyone catch that writing this blog is a form of procrastination from schoolwork on my part!) It would be wise if I start taking my own advice.

– Kristen Cubero

Anne Kreuser is blogging while studying abroad in London this semester.

I’m living with 13 other people this semester.  13!  This means there’s a fair representation of vegetarians in the bunch.  I’ve read enough Michael Pollan to know that simply reducing your meat intake is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint, so this veg-influence has got my culinary mind whirring. I found a recipe for eggless double chocolate cookies that are called World Peace Cookies for a reason.  I’ve successfully completed the majority of my shopping at the farmers market on Saturday mornings.  But as the weather turns chillier, I want to feel warm and full and satisfied.  And I’ve found the perfect ingredient.

Quinoa is a grain that is actually related to spinach.  It’s packed with protein, magnesium and iron, making it the perfect addition to anyone’s diet, especially a vegetarian’s. Taking only minutes to cook, it’s a snap to make, and its mild, nutty flavor pairs extremely well with savory and sweet dishes.  Pick some up next time you’re grocery shopping, and try out these vegetarian recipe ideas.

Quinoa with mushrooms and onions

1 yellow onion, diced

1 package shitake mushrooms, sliced

1 t. fresh thyme

1 c. white wine (can substitute vegetable stock)

1 c. quinoa

2 c. water

1 t. olive oil

Bring water to a boil, add quinoa and cook until slightly underdone.  Quinoa should still have a bite, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, sautee onion in large skillet in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and thyme.  Cook until mushrooms are browned and tender.  Add cooked quinoa and white wine.  Cook and stir until quinoa has absorbed most of the white wine and the pan becomes dry, about 5 minutes.

Quinoa parfait

1 c. Greek yogurt

2 T. honey

½ c. cooked and cooled quinoa

Hand full of fresh berries

Layer ingredients in a wine glass for a beautiful presentation, or pack away in a reusable plastic container for a morning pick-me-up between classes.

– Anne Kreuser

Healthy ways to relax and release stress

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re on the 6th floor of Davis Library, chugging Red Bulls and cramming for the test and presentation you have tomorrow – or is it today?

This scenario is a common one on campus.  With midterms and papers fast approaching, many students are nearing the breaking point.  At this point in the semester, it’s easy to become completely consumed by stress, which can affect your eating habits, exercise routine, sleeping patterns and mental health.  In times of stress, it’s important to stay calm, focused and optimistic. But have no fear – there are countless easy ways to relax and unwind.

Exercise

Working out is a great way to let off steam.  Do yoga in the quiet of your dorm room, go for a run around campus or participate in a group exercise class like Zumba or Cardio Pump. You’ll be able to briefly take your mind off of the things causing you stress while also doing something productive and healthy.  The endorphins exercise releases are known to improve mood, too.

Drink something

I’m not talking about alcoholic beverages.  Enjoying a warm drink on a chilly day can be a soothing treat. If possible, escape from the library for a few moments to clear your head and refuel.  Hot chocolate, lattes and green tea are just a few options.  I never feel calmer than when drinking coffee and people-watching in the Pit.

Forest Theatre

Spending time outside is a wonderful way to alleviate stress.  Fresh air and sunshine will make any bad day seem better. Whether walking through Coker Arboretum, sunbathing in Polk Place or sitting outside of the Daily Grind, stress will seem to drift away with the autumn breeze.

Sleep

Although we tend to get by on much less, it’s crucial that college students sleep for at least seven or eight hours per night.  Being well rested has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and academic performance.  Getting enough sleep is also necessary in that it helps to stabilize mood.  For example, sleep deprivation has been linked to depression.  It’s almost always better to study a little less if it means you can sleep a little more.

Take a break

If you’ve been studying for hours and think you will spontaneously combust if forced to read another sentence, it’s probably time for a study break.  Grab a healthy snack, watch a few minutes of TV or play a game. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are my personal favorites, but any other entertaining game or puzzle will suffice.  Just be careful your five-minute break doesn’t turn into an hour-long YouTube or Facebook session.

Listen to soothing music

Turn on your favorite channel on Pandora.com or go to stereomood.com, a website at which you can pick a playlist that corresponds to an emotion you’re feeling. Make a list of go-to songs in times of intense stress.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and tune into the sound of the music.  When I’m a bundle of nerves, I listen to “Breathe Me” by Sia in order to release tension.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by stress, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  If balancing academic pressure, extracurricular responsibilities and a social life is about to give you a mental breakdown, step back for a moment.  Do something that makes you feel calm, whether that may be walking around campus, reading a novel or listening to a favorite song. Before you know it, midterms will be over.

And then you can worry about finals.

– Georgia Cavanaugh