Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eat This, Not That!

When you think of fast food you probably don’t think of the words healthy and affordable in the same sentence right? Nowadays there sometimes seems to be only two options: one, eat a healthy meal but break the bank, or two, save some money but end up sacrificing healthy menu options. Well now you can have a healthy meal AND have it be cheap!
The age old question: McDonald’s versus Wendy’s. On the left hand side is one of the most classic and favorite combos in the history of fast food. Unfortunately, a classic big mac with fries and a drink is not only unhealthier than the Wendy’s option, but it costs more too! With a Wendy’s baked potato, value menu sandwich (without mayonnaise), and a chili, you get not only more food, but also at less than half the fat.

Quick question you might be wondering, “why no mayonnaise on the sandwich from Wendy’s?” Did you know that sometimes the condiments on a sandwich or a salad can comprise of more fat grams than the actual meal itself?

Chick-fil-A sauce is actually 13 grams of fat per packet, that’s more fat grams than the actual chicken sandwich or nuggets that come from the meal themselves! The biggest culprit is the buttermilk ranch sauce that comes with the salads for dressing. Weighing in at 30 grams of fat, the dressing alone can make one of the healthy salad options quickly become the worst thing on the menu with the highest amount of fat.

For breakfast options, you are generally going to be stuck with something stuck a little under five dollars, but the actual health content of the food varies drastically. Chick-fil-A offers a healthier breakfast than your typical big breakfast box at McDonalds, with less than half the fat grams from the entire meal itself.

Eating at Moe’s and Chipotle for some “upscale” fast food can be a bit more expensive, but the choice can still be made better by opting for the healthier menu options. Making slight adjustments such as substituting the steak or ground beef for chick, tofu, or pork can make a huge difference. Here we have a typical nacho combo at Moe’s with queso versus any one of the three variations of Moe’s bowls with chicken, tofu, or pork.

Chick-fil-A boasts one of the healthiest menu options in the fast food industry at the moment: the chargrilled chicken sandwich at only 5g of fat. While you could substitute fries for a healthier option, I decided to keep them in to make it a fairer comparison. Even with fries, Chick-fil-A beats out the Burger King Whopper combo with less than half the fat of the meal.

Hope you guys enjoyed these comparisons and remember them next time you go for some fast food, because fast food does not always have to be unhealthy for you!

-RA Bruce Daryooni

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are You Ready?

We all know that going to college comes with a lot of unique challenges. Entering adulthood is not always as standardized as we once thought! One challenge that college students often do not acknowledge right away is that they are now a full-fledged member of society...and with that comes involvement with the Government. 

Now, most of us cringe at that thought. But the fact remains that we are all involved in some form. If you buy gas or milk, you pay taxes. Also, most of us get assistance from the government in the form of Student Loans or the Hope Scholarship! 

Now, if we get all of these benefits or costs, it is our duty as responsible citizens to be involved in the process that creates these. We do this through voting. 

This November, many of us will have our first chance to vote in Federal and State elections! But how do we go about registering to vote?

Follow these 6 easy steps and experience being an active member of society:

1) Visit and select your home state.

2) Confirm your eligibility

 3) Fill out the personalized information
 4) Confirm that all information is correct and submit your application 

4A) Register in person at designated locations in your state
If you're unable to register online, you can also register in person at the following public facilities with the same information:
Your state's voter registration office
Election offices
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Armed Service recruitment centers
Public assistance facilities, or state-funded disability centers

4B) Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to vote absentee
If you're active-duty military or are overseas for other reasons during the election and you're not yet registered, you can still register to vote by filling out the FPCA form and requesting an absentee ballot.

Fill out this form to register if you're:
Active-duty military or a dependent
A member of the Merchant Marine Service
A member of the Public Health Service
Commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A US expatriate living temporarily overseas

5) Wait and Prepare

 You should receive a voter's card in the mail shortly after you send your paperwork or submit the online application. 

Most importantly, use this time to familiarize yourself with the candidates in the upcoming election and find your polling center on the day of the election.

6) Consider registering with a national political party or organization

You can register using one of the online services provided by the various political parties to affiliate yourself with their campaigns and learn more about their candidates. While not required for general elections, some states require this registration for primary elections.

You are now ready to vote! If you plan on taking part in the democratic process, be sure to understand your candidate's position. Being a voter is important. Being an informed voter is crucial!

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's Raining, It's Pouring, College Students Are Snoring...

Days with forecasts like today (imminent rain with no sun in sight), can be awesome or seriously boring. You don't wanna play frisbee on the green because, well, it's raining. You don't want to drive anywhere because, again, it's raining. So, what IS there to do on campus on dreary days like this?? Here are some ideas to make your rainy day a little more enjoyable.

1. Catch up on Netflix!
It's Friday! Chances are you have 0 to 1 classes today. You deserve to relax! And I'm sure that O Chem lab has drained you of any brain power that you may have had at the beginning of this week. So, sit back in your comfy on-campus apartment/suite and chill. There are tons of Netflix originals that you probably have never seen. Explore!
2. Dare I say it....clean?
So, more than likely this sounds like a terrible idea, right? BUT, when else are you going to have time? (Remember that O Chem...) Even if you aren't expecting guests, your roommates will probably love you for sweeping and throwing that pizza box away that has been sitting on the counter for 2 weeks. If you're feeling extra creative on this rainy day, research how to make safe, DIY cleaning products.
3. You were waiting for this one...SLEEP!
There is no better time to sleep than on a rainy, dark, fall day. And you probably haven't been getting your recommended 8-10 hours of sleep per night. (Who does?!) Although your body doesn't really "catch up" on sleep, it's important for your body to complete the sleep cycle nightly. Why not give it the opportunity to run a couple more cycles, am I right?
4. Hit up the common spaces in your community!
No one is saying that you HAVE to stay in your apartment/suite. Grab a friend and head to your nearest common area. In KP, there are tons of video games to play in the Clubhouse. In the Suites, you can hang out in one of the many multipurpose rooms or head to the gym on the Terrace level. In the Village Centre, there are pool tables and air hockey. Last, but not least, in Austin Residence Complex, there are ping pong tables and pool tables in Town Hall. So, bring a friend and an umbrella and hang out!

So, whether you're being productive or vegging out, enjoy this peaceful, rainy Friday! 

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, 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