Blog Archives

An Artificial Awakening

I saw a meme the other day that made me both chuckle and think about my habits during my first semester as a graduate student. It was from a fellow classmate after we finished with our last final and it said, “Caffeine, you’re on the bench. Alcohol, suit up.” I’m sure it was funny to the majority of my classmates. It made me reflect on my study habits and my cycles of “self-medicating.” Both caffeine and alcohol are indeed drugs, legal ones, but too many people have developed a dependency on them.

I can remember a few tests this semester where I had more caffeine than I should have while studying. I knew skipping coffee on any day would make me feel unproductive. I associated mental arousal with that irresistible hot black beverage. I even went on a caffeine detox for a week and I felt horrible during the first couple of days.
After those tests were done, I often found myself wanting some sort of alcoholic beverage just to relax. I didn’t want to go to parties and binge drink my brain away, but rather enjoy the effects of a drink or two in solitude. See, my mind was so overstimulated from the caffeine that the depressive effects of alcohol seemed to balance it out. I needed one drug to counteract the effects of another. I thought I was being smart, only having one or two drinks on Friday evening. My mindset was “I’m old enough to legally drink; I’m doing so responsibly, there is nothing wrong here.”

Many will argue that caffeine and alcohol are fine in moderate amounts and in appropriate situations; however, I do believe we need to get out of the vicious substance controlled undulation of our state of minds. Instead of relying on caffeine to heighten our senses, we should be altering our lifestyles in a manner that brings more balance. Instead of unwinding with a drink after a week of taxing our minds with caffeine and dull textbooks, we should be seeking out positive and enriching experiences outside school. I’m not going to be giving up on my green tea anytime soon, but I will avoid using it solely as a means to be more attentive.

Sleep More, Achieve More!

As I write this, I’m thinking about my bed and wishing the day was over so I could crawl into bed. However, when the time comes, sleep doesn’t come as easily as I would like. I toss and turn and sometimes count sheep before I finally doze off. Not only does it take a while to fall asleep, there isn’t a night that passes that I don’t wake up to use the bathroom. This drives me crazy. Research has shown direct connections to the importance of sleep and the effect on academic success. In order to get a good night sleep there are certain tips that should be followed.

• Keep a regular sleep schedule
It’s important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Try to sleep the same number of hours every day, at the same time. When I sleep for less than 7 hours a night – the next day is awful! I’m rundown, yawning, find myself thinking of bed and in general, I’m not a happy or friendly person. It messes up my day.

• Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, and reading a book are all examples of a relaxing bedtime routine. Activities that help tell your body it’s time to sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Whenever I need to unwind, I take a warm bath and relax which ultimately makes me sleepy. Avoid activities like watching TV or homework right before bed because it can keep you awake by stimulating your mind. Even the bright light emitted from the television or computer can wreak havoc with your sleep. Turn off your electronics a couple of hours before bed to ensure they don’t ruin your rest. Give your brain a chance to wind down from the day.

• Get comfy
One thing about college is that controlling your sleep environment is very difficult. However, do your best to get comfortable. If you are in a residence halls with a noisy roommate, who stays up late with the light on, get eye masks and ear plugs. Ensure your side of the room looks appealing and relaxing. Finding comfortable sheets can create a pleasant bedtime experience, too. The room should be dark and you could do this by hanging up a black sheet around your bed or hanging up dark curtains. Keep the temperature down – it should be between 68-70F.

• Limit daytime naps to 10-30 minutes
No matter how tired I am I try avoiding naps during the day and when it’s absolutely necessary, never for more than 30 minutes, and ideally before 3pm. An early afternoon nap may help you get through your day.

• Turn off your electronics at least 30 minutes before falling asleep
There have been numerous studies showing that using a light-emitting device before bed, like a phone, TV, or laptop, stimulates the brain, creating a false alertness and stimulation, making it harder to sleep. I usually try and turn off my phone or put it on silent and put it face down, even if it’s on, so I will not be disturbed by the light.

• Use your bed for sleep and sex only
I know this may be difficult to do especially when you are in the residence halls, but avoid using your bed for homework or other activities especially ones that cause stress and anxiety. This will help strengthen the association between your bed and sleep.

• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime
I love drinking chocolate drinks, but I try to limit my intake after 4pm. This is because caffeine (found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate) is a stimulant and causes your body to be more alert. It can stay in the body for an average of three to five hours. Even if you don’t think caffeine affects you, it is likely to hinder your sleep quality. Although many people use alcohol as a sleep aid, it actually decreases sleep quality by increasing night time awakenings. This leads to a night of lighter sleep that is less restful. Nicotine is a stimulant, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. When tobacco users go to sleep, withdrawal symptoms can also cause poor sleep. Nicotine can also cause problems waking up in the morning and causing nightmares. Avoid nicotine 2 hours before bedtime.

If you want more information, please contact the Health & Wellness Hub on the main floor of the Memorial Union. Enjoy your sleep!

Drunkorexia

This week the Health & Wellness Hub will be having a display case in the Memorial Union in honor of education about drunkorexia.

Drunkorexia is a slang, non-medical term that refers to a person or persons who excessively restrict their food calorie intake in order to make more room for the calories of alcohol. Many do this in a number of different ways, but in most cases it involves purging. A number of studies have shown that 30% of women between the ages of 18 to 23 restrict their calories throughout the day in order to make more room for calories from alcohol. This is a new and shocking discovery considering the known risks that this can involve. These behaviors often occur from the fear of weight gain from both drinking and eating. Often times this is seen in college-aged women, but on the other hand, it can also be seen in men. Too often, in many extreme cases, this can be related to medical terms such as anorexia and or bulimia. In such extreme cases vomiting is mostly seen, and alcohol is used to make that process easier.

Combining both binge drinking and eating disorders can have a huge impact on one’s health. These are some of the risks associated with this behavior:

• Drinking on an empty stomach increases the rate at which alcohol reaches the blood stream, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will be raised quickly and self-control will decrease.
• Binge eating may also be experienced because the person is extremely hungry and may be unable to control their urges.
• Purging often follows after these spurts of binging on food.
• Reducing food caloric intake puts a person at risk for not getting the nutrients needed to function properly.

Ways to find balance and stay healthy:

• Moderation instead of elimination: Eating throughout the day and making sure to have three meals a day and plenty of healthy snacks, can help prevent excessive hunger and overeating. This can also help oneself manage their alcoholic beverages with the addition of nutrients in the system.

• Knowing your own limits: Make sure to plan ahead so you are able to manage your alcohol intake. Keep in mind that binge drinking is considered to be 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men in one sitting.  Also, make sure to keep track of the amount of drinking that you are doing throughout one sitting. Alternate water or non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic beverages.

Drinks

• Seek Support: Seeking support, understanding, and advice from loved ones who support a healthy lifestyle can help you get on track as well. Even though drunkorexia is not a medical term and there may not be many support groups, there are groups that do support those with specific eating disorders and alcohol abuse and these together can help one get on the right track when seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Support

Sources:
“Drunkorexia?” Drunkorexia. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

The Line Continued Out the Door…

The line continued out the door– I was sure that we would run out of root beer and t-shirts by the end of the night. Having the opportunity to share many different messages regarding both alcohol and drug use, and sexual assault was extremely rewarding. The Health & Wellness Hub was very excited to be doing this for the second year in a row at Pi Kappa Alpha. It’s safe to say the House Party tour was a huge hit last week and we reached over 400 UND students!

Did you miss out on the party? Here’s what happened… Both student employees of the Health & Wellness Hub and volunteers from Housing, Fraternity/Sorority Life, and the OT program acted out scenes of a house party, including public urination, sexual violence, vomiting, alcohol overdose, and marijuana, as students were guided through the house to see every scene.  With assistance, the University’s Police department was in attendance helping act out the public urination scene, as well.

House Party

Taegan & I had a great time at the House Party!

We are super excited to celebrate the success of our event. Here’s what UND students told us they learned from attending the House Party:

  1. 87.5% of UND students agreed or strongly agreed that the House Party increased their understanding of the negative effects of binge drinking;
  2. 90.7% of UND students agreed or strongly agreed that the House Party increased their understanding of the North Dakota Medical Amnesty Act;
  3. 90.2% of UND students agreed or strongly agreed that the House Party increased their awareness of UND campus and Grand Forks community alcohol and drug resources;
  4. 89.7% of UND students agreed or strongly agreed that the House Party increased their understanding of the relationship between alcohol and sexual violence.

Thanks to all those who helped support us in our second annual House Party! If you missed it, we hope to see you next year.

Spring into Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

It is hard to believe that spring is here (literally). With the start of a new season means different fruits and vegetables are in season as well. As far as fruits and vegetables go, spring is considered to be March, April and May. When a fruit or vegetable is in season it means is at its peak of flavor or harvest. Not only will the flavor be optimal the price will be the cheapest. Next time you head out to the grocery store be sure to try some of the following items that are in season right now!

strawberriessnow peasmango

Remember, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round by using fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice – it all counts!

Apricots 
Artichokes 
Asparagus 
Barbados Cherries
Belgian Endive
Bitter Melon
Broccoli
Butter Lettuce
Cactus
Chayote Squash 
Cherimoya
Chives
Collard Greens
Corn
Fava Beans
Fennel
Fiddlehead Ferns
Green Beans
Honeydew
Jackfruit
Limes
Lychee 
Mango
Manoa Lettuce
Morel Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Oranges 
Pea Pods
Peas
Pineapple
Purple Asparagus
Radicchio
Ramps
Red Leaf Lettuce
Rhubarb 
Snow Peas
Sorrel
Spinach
Spring Baby Lettuce
Strawberries
Swiss Chard
Vidalia Onions
Watercress
White Asparagus
 
limesartichokeswiss chardpineapple

Reference: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com

 

Drunkorexia

Drunkorexia is a fairly new phenomenon where an individual limits daily calorie intake in order to be able to “drink” their calories.  Usually, this is done in an effort to drink alcohol without gaining weight. There are multiple risks associated with drunkorexia.  Drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster, but this in turn reduces self-control and can lead to a night of making bad decisions.  Binge eating, however, may follow because the individual is extremely hungry and having trouble controlling urges.  Unfortunately, purging frequently follows the binge eating session. By limiting your daily calorie intake, individuals may not be getting nutrients needed to function properly during every day activities. 

If you find yourself struggling with drunkorexia, here are some helpful tips: Martini

Moderation: Eat in moderation and you will not have to worry about limiting your calories in order to enjoy a drink or two.

Limits: Set limits on how much you will drink, and keep track of how many drinks you consume throughout an evening. (As a general rule for low-risk drinking, try to keep it to no more than three drinks in one sitting).

Choices: Choose drinks with a lower calorie content. Many mixed drinks are filled with sugar and loaded with calories.There are many options for low calorie beer.

Healthy Lifestyle: Eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis are the best ways to manage weight- you do not need to deprive yourself a meal!

Support: If you find yourself struggling ask family, friends, or seek professional help.  UND offers free counseling services to students.

UND offers many resources to students beyond the University Counseling Center.  These resources include: Student Health Services, Residence Services, University Police Department, Dean of Students (CARE team).  If you would like to find out more information about these services look under the alcohol tab on the Heath & Wellness Hub homepage (http://und.edu/health-wellness/hub/alcohol.cfm).

National Nutrition Month

Coming to the end of February means that National Nutrition Month is just around the corner. Every March is National Nutrition Month and every year UND celebrates March with many nutrition related activities. This year UND is offering a recipe contest, Student Iron Chef, Lunch and Learn, food drive, grocery bingo, and a wellness screening.

NNM 14

The Delicious and Nutritious Recipe Contest will be going on the majority of the month. The recipe submission deadline is March 21; to find out details about this event click on the following link.

http://und.edu/health-wellness/wellness/nutrition/index.cfm

recipes

Student Iron Chef Contest Semi-final dates of the competition are March 3rd and March 4th. The final competition will take place on March 11th. Groups of students will be creating a dish consisting of Alaskan Salmon, YUM.

UND student iron chef

A food drive will take place for the whole month of March. Non-perishable food items and personal care products are appreciated. Donation boxes will be placed throughout the campus.

 food drive

Grocery Bingo will take place on March 28th at 9pm in the loading dock. It is free to all students and it’s a great way to win free groceries and meet students.

 grocery bingo

A lunch ‘N learn will be held on March 26th in Gamble Hall from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in room 225. This event is part of the Deans for wellness initiative; it is open to all staff, faculty, spouses and partners of the College of Business and Public Administration. You can RSVP to this email:

 laura.dvorak@und.edu

The wellness screening will be held at the EERC on March 5th. It is open to faculty, staff, partners and spouses. This is an appointment only event to make an appointment click the following link.

www.und.edu/workwell

Hookah Myths and Misperceptions

Hookah LungsWord of mouth has led people to believe in many different things, such as big foot, the loch ness monster, and mermaids. However, these aren’t the only things we have been led to believe because of what we have heard from others. In the early 1600’s the hookah was created by a physician as a “safer” method to use tobacco- that same misperception has been upheld today. Although the hookah was created as a “safer” method to use tobacco, it has been proven that the same harmful ingredients are still present in comparison to cigarettes.

The hookah was originally made for men in the Middle East, but when the additive flavors were added to the tobacco, it then attracted women and young adults, as well. The revolution of the hookah has continually attracted young adults and has been presented as harmless in nature. Due to the nature of socially smoking hookah, individuals are actually more likely to take in a larger quantity of tobacco in one sitting than they would in just smoking a single cigarette. This demonstrates just one way in which hookah is even more harmful than cigarettes.

The lack of advertisements or publication of the negative effects of hookah has kept the belief alive that it is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Although word of mouth has led many to believe that it is “safer” than cigarettes, this perception is flawed and is potentially very harmful to those believing it.

If you or someone you know is trying to quit, the following resources are available through UND Health & Wellness and ND Quits:

•Free telephone, online or mobile app cessation support (ND Quits)
•Free nicotine replacement therapy (ND Quits)
•Free quit kits at the Health & Wellness Hub and Student
Health Services
•Provider visits at Student Health Services, which are covered by student fees
•Quit medications available for purchase at the Student Health Services pharmacy

http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/
http://und.edu/health-wellness/hub/tobacco_content.cfm
http://und.edu/health-wellness/student-health/index.cfm

Oh no! Not the Candy!

Many of you will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14th with a significant other or maybe just a friend. Instead of going for the candy this Valentine’s Day, indulge your sweetheart with a heart healthy gift or date.

During this time of year stores are filled with red, pink, and heart shaped candies in all flavors and sizes. If you cannot resist eating candy this Valentine’s Day, here is a candy that outshines the others when it comes to nutritional value. Dark Chocolate with 65% cocoa has been shown to have heart-helping flavanols when ate in moderation. So if you are looking for a candy fix look for the dark chocolate.

healthy-hearts-valentines-day-recipe-photo-420-FF0208EFCA501

A few things to make this Valentine’s Day heart healthy include; cooking at home, getting a fruit basket, and portioning your treats.

Cooking at home is heart healthy because you can control the amount of food you eat. Another advantage is you can cut out sodium from recipes; swap spices for salt and avoid prepackaged seasonings. If cooking at home isn’t meant for you then remember to avoid fried foods, creamy sauces and gravies. Restaurants serve large portions; sharing an entree can control how much you eat.

Even though it is still winter you can bundle up and do something active such as sledding, ice skating, indoor Rockwall, or Northern Air. These are all great date ideas that get your heart racing. If you are sick of the cold like many of us are, checking out a local cooking class would be a great idea too. Culinary Corner in the Wellness center is offering DeLightful Desserts on Thursday February 13th from 8-9pm.

brownie

If you still don’t know what to do check out the sites below. They have lovely ideas to make sure your Valentine’s is sweet as can be.

http://spoonful.com/recipes/healthy-hearts

http://spoonful.com/valentines-day

http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/holidays/featured/valentines-day/25-valentines-day-ideas-for-couples

References:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/5-best-worst-valentines-day-candies-pictures.htm

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Heart-Healthy-Valentines-Day-Tips_UCM_322023_Article.jsp

Super Bowl Food Makeover

The Super Bowl is this Sunday February 2nd and many of us make it an excuse to eat a lot of snack food. The typical snack foods of the Super Bowl consists of; nachos, wings, chili, chips, dip, and much more. Here are some ways you can makeover these typical high calorie foods for this years Super Bowl.

When making chili or any other dish that calls for hamburger use lean ground turkey or lean ground sirloin. This substitution lowers the saturated fat content.
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When making Nachos use pork tenderloin and bacon- studded beans. As for cheese you should use the fat-free kind. To make these nachos even more flavorful add salsa and chunks of avocado; this way you can skip the sour cream and cheese sauce.

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When it comes to those tasty dips make sure you avoid the mayonnaise and cheese. Creamy dips that contain these ingredients usually have many hidden fats. A way to make a better dip for the Super Bowl is to puree white beans, onions, garlic, black beans, green chilies and parmesan cheese together. You can modify the dips to your liking too.

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To see some great Super Bowl food makeovers check out the following sites.
http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/low-fat-super-bowl-recipes-00400000063811/page6.html

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20338949,00.html

References:
http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/holidays-occasions/low-fat-super-bowl-recipes-00400000063811/page6.html

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