Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Don't Put Junk In The Trunk

It is widely understood that eating healthier food leads to a well-balanced lifestyle. So just eat healthy and you’ll be fine. Simple enough, right? Wrong.
When the time comes to go grocery shopping again, that’s when the issues of price, flavor and variety seem to arise. My philosophy on how I control what I eat is that if I don’t buy it, then I won’t eat it. Once we get into a habitual practice of resisting the urge to empty out our pockets for the sake of junk food, turning down unhealthy options becomes an easy feat.

As uneventful as these decisions initially appear, the meal choices that are made daily impact the function of our bodies, both physically and mentally. According to NCHPAD.org, a deficiency in Thiamine (vitamin B1), which is found in legumes, fortified grains, and some seeds, can lead to depression, weakness and irritability. Folate, also known at vitamin B9, is found in fortified grains, legumes, and leafy greens, and it is “essential for supporting red blood cell production, helping to prevent homocysteine build-up in your blood, and allowing nerves to function properly.” A deficiency in Folate can also lead to depression and a number of other side effects such as fatigue, apathy, poor concentration, and poor sleep. Deciding to eat one sweet treat won’t be the end of the world, but making it a ritual to indulge is where the problem sets in. The decision is to eat is not a mere decision to taste and enjoy, it’s the supplementation of fuel to our bodies, and one of the ultimate determinants to our overall health and wellbeing.

So the next time that you feel a craving an unhealthy meal, remember that you have to pack what you snack, and if you never purchase it or accept it, it’s never going to be yours. It all comes down to self-control and awareness.

Here are some healthier recipes that can replace popular meals:
3) Mixed fruit smoothie (replace sugary beverages)
·      Blend your favorite frozen fruits (my favorite combination is strawberry, banana, peach, & dark cherry) along with some leafy greens (if you’re feeling lucky), water, then blend it all up and you’re all set!
6) All-Natural Oatmeal (replace sugary cereals)
·      Start with plain rolled oats. You can use water or milk as your base. (Milk gives it a sweeter, more familiar taste)
·      Prepare as usual, but this time add almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, banana slices, etc. Be creative! Your taste buds will thank you.

*If you don’t have a food processor or Himalayan salt handy, you can add EVOO or any other “good oil” to get the consistency of butter. Honey can also be used to add more flavor.
**Unsalted natural peanut or almond butter would be a healthier option to cut down on sodium intake.
***Tastes delicious with almond milk! Adjust the recipe as you wish.
****Vanilla or plain Greek Yogurt can be used instead       

                                                                                              -RA Toni-Ann

Monday, September 15, 2014

Z's Get Degrees [Busting Myths About Sleep]

Myth 1: Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning. 
You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.

Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. 
Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by one–two hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.

Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue. The quantity of sleep you get is important, sure, but it's the quality of your sleep that you really have to pay attention to. Some people sleep eight or nine hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.

Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends. 
Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.

The Power of Sleep

Many of us try to sleep as little as possible. There are so many things that seem more interesting or important than getting a few more hours of sleep, but just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Lack of Sleep

While it may seem like losing sleep isn't such a big deal, sleep deprivation has a wide range of negative effects that go way beyond daytime drowsiness. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being intoxicated.
The effects include:

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
Sweet dreams!

-Anthony Burnette

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pay It Forward : Walt Disney World

What Visiting Walt Disney World Can Teach You About Life

I have the unique privilege of having grandparents who work for Walt Disney World and can get free tickets for my family. This made visiting Walt Disney World our usual family vacation until I was about 15. For spring break this year, my brother and I decided to go back one more time before he went to college and I got a real job. While the trip was very relaxing and a ton of fun, I learned that there is more magic to these parks than how I magically emptied my wallet. These parks have hidden life lessons everywhere you look.

The Best Things In Life Are Worth Waiting For

Anyone who has been to Disney can attest to the long wait times in the Florida sun to get on a two-minute ride. The folks fortunate enough to get fast passes before they run out can also attest to the luxury of a fast pass and cutting the line in front of droves of impatient tourists. I discovered during this trip that the lines help build anticipation and appreciation for the small things—much like in life. When I did use a fast pass, the ride wasn’t as fun. There wasn’t much time for imagination, we just walked on the ride and off we went. I didn’t appreciate the ride as much because I didn’t have to wait for it. In life it’s easy to take for granted the things that come easily to us. Learn to appreciate the wait; for after all, life is not all about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Don’t Follow Your Dreams, Live Them. You’ll Achieve More

While on a Hollywood Studios tour ride I learned that Walt Disney World almost didn’t happen. Florida initially denied Walt Disney from purchasing the Orlando property that Disney now sits on. The Disney Corporation had to purchase the land in big chunks by giving board members money to purchase the land individually as part of a secret project. After the land was purchased, the board members gave the land over to Disney and construction began.  The theme parks now play a major role in Orlando’s economy. I would be willing to bet that Florida isn’t too upset that the parks are now there. The lesson to take away here is that Walt Disney did not follow his dreams, but rather, he lived them. In life you can follow your dreams forever, but you’ll never get to reap the benefits until you live your life centered around those dreams.

People Are RUDE! But Smile Anyway

They say that Disney World is the “happiest place on Earth,” but if you take a look around in a Disney Park will find that 10% of people that can find something to frown about. The thing I’ve learned over the years is that those types of people exist everywhere. You find them at work, at school, in your clubs, in your family and even yourself sometimes. So how do you deal with people like that? Find a reason to smile. Even when it’s hard, find a reason to smile. Not only to try to make the other person smile, but for yourself. The world can be kind of a hard place to live, and taking a second to stop and smile makes the world a better place. Granted there’s a time and a place, probably not at a funeral, but the next time you have to deal with someone who’s in a bad mood, try to smile.

Life is Not All About You

Disney parks are expensive. Let’s just face it. It costs $1209.84 for a family of four to go to Disney World for four days and visit only one park per day. That doesn’t include meals or a place to sleep.  I think that some parents would much rather go to the beach for free, bring some drinks, an umbrella, a comfy chair and relax. Instead they’re paying crazy expensive prices and standing on their feet all day so that the kids can have a good time. Life is not all about you, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do, and sometimes that can be expensive.  It reminded me that my childhood is over and soon I will be taking on the world by myself, just as my parents did, and soon I will be paying those prices for my kids, who after 4 hours in the park will likely be falling asleep, but I will do it for them just as my parents did for me because life is not always about me. Sometimes you do things for others out of the goodness of your heart because it’s just the right thing to do.

- RA Braden

Monday, May 19, 2014

College life: Go HAM on a Budget!

GROUPON should be your best friend. Do not go anywhere or purchase anything (luxury or necessity) without having a discount in hand. I PROMISE they are everywhere for everything.
Quick tip 2: ALWAYS ASK IF THERE IS A DISCOUNT FOR STUDENTS – there usually is)


You don’t have to eat Ramen everyday if you didn’t spend so much gas money driving around town. “Where should we go?” “What should we do?”
Instead, HAVE A PLAN and TRADE-OFF who drives. (Don’t forget free transportation exists too- Thanks B.O.B!)


Know when Taco Bell offers $1 items every day (2-5pm) and Steak n Shake half-price milkshakes are available. You can wait. It is okay to be “that kid,” I promise.
Also, shop the sale rack. It is still new to you and rumor has it: you are typically more excited about items you got on sale than the ones you regretfully paid full price.


Haven’t used it or worn it since you moved? Sell it to Plato’s closet, FB “For Sale” groups, or your friends.