Health and Wellness Blog

Read more about nutrition and health & wellness with our monthly Nutrition Newsletters!
Click here to view the September 2023 Nutrition Newsletter 
Click here to view the October 2023 Nutrition Newsletter 
Click here to view the November 2023 Nutrition Newsletter 
Click here to view the December 2023 Nutrition Newsletter
Click here to view the January 2024 Nutrition Newsletter
Click here to view the February 2024 Nutrition Newsletter
January 20th, 2021 
Creating Routine
What’s the difference between a habit vs routine?
Well both a similar in that they involve repeated behaviors, however habits happen with little or no conscious thought. Routines usually require higher degree of intention an effort. Usually repeating a routine long enough can create a habit which can increase your quality of life!
But what’s the purpose?
Routines can improve our quality of life, achieve a goal, manage time more efficiently, create more structure, create peace of mind, reduce stress and anxiety, gain confidence and feel empowered, enhance creativity, free up time for something else, and create a positive change in your life!

How to create a routine?

Step 1: What is your goal?
Is it to eat healthier? Or sleep more? Do you often skip breakfast? Maybe it’s to spend more time on self-care activities like exercise?
Be specific! Often, we give up on goals because they aren’t specific enough. Try using the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Sensitive.
Example: starting Monday, I wake up 30 minutes earlier, so I have time to eat a healthy breakfast every day. I will grocery shop on Sunday, so I have enough food to make breakfast for the week. 

Step 2: Find your motive
It keeps you on track and helps define what the outcome will be!
A bad example would be: to eat healthier
A good example would be: climbing the stairs without getting out of breath 
Step 3: Create your routine
Start with finding areas in your day to day that you can make some changes. Try writing down daily tasks with times, this can show you areas in your day that can be modified. Like most people, your days are busy, and you may be looking for options that allow for a modified routine. For example, if you don’t have time to cook every night, try prepping a few meals ahead of time. This way you know exactly what you are eating and there’s no guessing! Remember: look for options that work for your lifestyle. The end goal is to create a routine that makes your life easier and benefits YOU!
Time to test your routine:
Try to stick to it for 30 days. How does it feel? Do you need to make any adjustment? Does your schedule make sense? If not, fix it! Tweak it, keep what’s working and adjust what doesn’t. try for another 30 days and reassess. Start slow, try not to change too much at once. That is the quickest way to give up completely. Keep the changes small and measurable. 
January 27th, 2021 

Getting More Organized

Does the new year always bring about feelings of wanting to get more organized? Well us too! Here are some of our favorite organizational tips and tricks!
• Write down what you need to do every day! The busier you get the more you will have to remember. Writing down daily tasks helps you stay on top of it. Plus writing it down means you don’t need to spend mental energy on remembering it.
• Do you NEED to get that one special task done today? Try and do it first thing in the morning so it’s not on your brain the whole day.
• Try not to add to many things to one day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forgo doing the whole list if it’s too long. It’s okay to go slow and get the most important tasks done first.
Having trouble eating healthy during the week? 
• Do your best to plan. Look at your schedule and see where there are breaks, write into your calendar that this is a meal period. You will be less likely to skip out if you have it planned.
• If you are dining on campus, be sure check out the Bite app so you can plan what you like to eat. 
• If you are not dining on campus and are preparing your own meals, look at your schedule and see what days you are able to prepare your meal fresh. 
TIP: if you are cooking your own meals, try and prepare at least 2-3 portions at a time so you can save for future self. This allows you to think about the important tasks on your to do list and less about what your meal will be.
Stock up on healthy, filling snacks and take them with you so you don’t get too hungry. Getting too hungry can lead to unhealthier choices and overeating. 
Some examples of healthy satisfying snacks are: 
• Yogurt & granola with fruit
• Peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread
• Nut butter and banana on toast
• String cheese & crackers and chopped veggies
• ½ cup mixed nuts with a side of fruit 

February 3rd, 2021 

Feb 2 blog photo

All month we will be discussing heart healthy tips and trick as well as recipes and our favorite healthy foods.

Friday, February 5th is National Wear Red Day, in honor of this day, here are our favorite healthy red foods!

• Beets are full of vitamin and minerals, most notably inorganic nitrates. These have been associated with improved blood flow, increased physical performance and lower blood pressure

• Tomato’s: the most famous antioxidant found in these is lycopene. Lycopene has been linked to numerous health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. The redder the tomato, the higher lycopene content. 

• Cherries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, particularly polyphenols, which may help fight cell damage, and fight against chronic conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

• Pomegranates may help lower blood pressure; they are full of anti-inflammatory factors that may help reduce changes of breast and colon cancer!

Fun Fact: Pomegranates are technically a berry!

• Watermelon can help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. It can also help reduce muscle soreness after a great workout!

• Bell peppers: lemon isn’t the only source of Vitamin C! Bell peppers are a GREAT source of Vitamin C and they are rich in various antioxidants

What are your favorite red foods? Send us your favorite Red Food Recipe! Click here to tell us your favorite red food! 

February 10th, 2021

BeetsLooking for foods to promote heart health? Try beets! 
Beetroot is a great source of fiber, folate, manganese, vitamin C, iron, and potassium. These root veggies are also rich in dietary nitrates which help dilate blood vessels. Beets have been associated with improved blood flow, increased athletic performance, and decreased blood pressure. 
While the produce isle may lead you to believe that the only types of beets are red, this is certainly not the case. While the deep red beets may be the most popular, beets come in a range of sizes and colors from reds to yellows and even a fun candy-cane striped pattern (Chioggia beets)! 

February 17th, 2021

5 ways to improve heart health

5 Ways to Improve Heart Health

1) Get Moving

    a) Exercising for as little as 60 minutes a week can help improve heart function 

2) Include a variety of plant-based foods 

    a) No need to completely switch to a vegetarian diet! But plenty of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals helps reduce         cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and increase heart function. 

3) Eat healthy foods

    a) Include foods such as salmon, avocado, olive oil, nuts & seeds into your meals. These have all shown to help your heart         muscles perform better. 

4) Manage Stress 

    a) Try meditation, exercise or just reading a book. Most things that make you feel relaxed help with your body's response to         stress.  

5) Stop smoking 

       a) This is a give-in! Smoking harms every cell in your body, especially the muscles of your heart and lungs.  

February 24th, 2021

Eating Disorder Week

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 22nd through the 28th. This years theme is: Every Body Has a Seat at the Table. From @NEDA: "In a field where marginalized communities continue to be underrepresented, we welcome conversations on raising awareness, challenging systemic biases and sharing stories from all backgrounds and experiences."

Eating disorders affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States. Eating disorders are not limited to age, gender or socio-economic status. 

If you or a friend are struggling with an eating disorder know that you do not have to recover alone. Creating a team, a support system, with friends, family, a therapist, and a dietitian will help you learn, grow, and develop through recovery.

If you are looking for a resource please visit the National Eating Disorder Association at


NostalgiaEver wonder why you feel a sense of nostalgia or a warm and satisfying feeling after eating certain foods? Well, psychologists looked into why this is a real feeling and how your five senses and the food you eat, can bring about specific memories or moments in time. Nostalgia is the yearning or attachment to the past and a feeling that the past was somewhat better than the present time.
Some common examples of foods that elicit feelings of nostalgia would be:
- Corn dogs at a fair or carnival
- Hot dogs at baseball games
- Desserts like “Hoodsie cups” and “Dunkaroos” on a warm summer day
- Mac and cheese
- Dinosaur chicken nuggets
- Smiley face french fries
The reason these memories come about, are so prevalent, and remain for so long is because all five senses are involved in the memory making process, with smell being the most powerful memory generator! For example, if you smell popcorn when you’re walking around the city or at the mall, it is likely because your brain associates that smell with memories and feelings of happiness from going to the movies when you were younger and probably ate popcorn. However, taste comes in a close second to smell with memory generation because how a food actually tastes, can bring you back to the first moment you ate the food and the feelings associated with it. Our other senses come into play as well, how the food looks, feels and even sounds can trigger a memory.
A reminder when eating these yummy foods is to be mindful and aware of what your body wants. Meaning, if you smell a certain food associated with a good memory such as freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that remind you of your grandmother, don’t feel guilty overeating a cookie or two. These foods are meant to bring joy, allow yourself to feel happy when eating foods that remind you of loved ones.
Although food can bring up very good emotions and memories of great times from the past, food nostalgia also can show its negative effects too. For example, if you eat a certain food and get very sick after, your mind will then associate that food with a negative memory and you will likely develop a dislike for the food for either an extensive amount of time or forever.
So, next time you smell or taste a food that brings you back in time, know that it’s your brain working with all your five senses to bring up great memories from the past!

March 10th, 2021 

Power Up Breakfast

Power Up Your Breakfast
Have you ever had a pastry, muffin, or sugary cereal for breakfast and then an hour later you are hungry again? Well there’s a few reasons why!
Even though these foods taste good, they don’t have much to them. They are usually made with sugar and white flour, which contain very little fiber or protein. 
To get the most out of your breakfast, keep these tips in mind:
Go for protein
  • Add foods such as eggs, ham, cheese, yogurt, or beans to your breakfast! Protein helps you stay fuller for longer and help you feel satisfied after your meal. 
Add whole grains
  • Add fiber full whole grains to your breakfast, this includes whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat bread. The fiber in these foods won’t lead to the crash that most sugar laden breakfasts do.
Add fruits and veggies
  • Adding fruit and vegetables to breakfast helps add fiber and nutrients to your meal. These both aid in overall health and keep you fuller for longer!
Don’t forget your water
  • After a long night sleep (or a long study session) your body is dehydrated, make sure you include water at breakfast to help replenish your bodies hydration stores, and keep drinking water all day long!

March 30th, 2021

coco oilCoconut oil is a food that has received a lot of glory, but has also gotten somewhat of a bad reputation in the nutrition world in the past. This is because coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, which is fat that when consumed in excess, can lead to plaque buildup in arteries, possibly increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, the saturated fat that has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease, inflammation, and “bad” cholesterol levels (low density lipoproteins or LDL), is the saturated fat that comes from animal-based sources. Saturated fats are typically liquid when heated and solid at room temperature which is why coconut oil is solid when chilled and once heated, turns into a consistency similar to olive oil.

Some animal based sources of saturated fat include:

❖ Fatty beef

❖ Cheese

❖ Lamb

❖ Pork

❖ Butter and lard

❖ Poultry with skin

However, coconut oil has received some really great recognition in recent years for some of the good it can do in our body! Since it is a plant-based source of saturated fat, it acts differently in the body than an animal-based source of saturated fat like butter, for example. According to a study done in 2018, participants consumed either olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.  Coconut oil was shown to have similar effects on cholesterol as olive oil, with butter having the most detrimental effects. Coconut oil showed to significantly increase “good” cholesterol levels (high density lipoproteins or HDL) in addition to not raising LDL levels at all. This was found to be because coconut oil is comprised mostly of lauric acid with little amounts of palmitic and stearic acids unlike butter. Palmitic acid raises LDL cholesterol but does not have any effect of HDL cholesterol, meaning it will most likely increase the risk for heart disease and not show any beneficial effects.

In another study done in 2018, researchers found that having patients with Alzheimer’s disease consume a Mediterranean style diet with high amounts of coconut oil showed improvements in episodic, temporal orientation, and semantic memory observation. These improvements proved that the way coconut oil is used by the body can decrease the severity of some of the side effects that come with Alzheimer’s Disease. This is because coconut oil produces ketone bodies which act a source of energy for brain cells that have likely been damaged from Alzheimer's Disease, when the preferred energy source--glucose--no longer can be used. The Mediterranean Diet is a diet that is characterized by high amounts of plant-based proteins as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, with lower amounts of animal-based proteins, saturated fats, and highly processed/refined grain. If you are unsure of what monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are as well as some sources of them, check out our post on “Healthy Fats!”

May 19th, 2021

Healthy or Hearsay

Some health tips have value; others are a waste of time.

Everywhere we turn these days, it seems there’s a social media feed, newspaper article, or friend touting a new supplement, diet plan, or exercise you should try. Some of these tips have merit, and some are just, dare we say, fake health news. Here are seven popular health trends, demystified:

  1. Include probiotics in your diet. Probiotics are microorganisms that help balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in your gut). Mahmoud Ghannoum, PhD, author of Total Gut Health, says consuming probiotics is a good idea, especially for people who take (or have taken) antibiotics. “Probiotics also appear to break the digestive plaque that can cause disease,” he says. To get probiotics, you can take a probiotic supplement. Or, you can get them from some fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, and sourdough bread. 
  1. Take a multi-vitamin for maximum health and immunity. It’s best to get nutrition from food. But for the many people who don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need from their diets, a daily multivitamin supplement can help provide nutritional insurance. And for most people, they are safe. Ultimately, it’s best to talk to your health care provider about whether a multivitamin is a good idea for you.
  1. Always stretch before you exercise. “It depends on the type of exercise you are about to do, you, your goals, and the type of stretching you’re doing,” says manual therapist and movement coach Aaron Alexander. According to the American Council on Exercise, static stretching (the kind you did before gym in high school, like hamstring stretches and child’s pose), are best done after exercise, when your body is warm.  Alexander also reminds people to stretch throughout the day. “Every time you squat down to pick something up or reach high to get something out of a cabinet, stretch,” he says. 
  1. Weigh yourself every day. It depends. Some people avoid daily weigh-ins because they get discouraged when the number on the scale doesn’t change. Actions as simple as drinking (or skipping) a glass of water can cause day-to-day variation in your weight. But if you’re trying to drop pounds, research shows hopping on the scale once a day may be a good idea. In one study, researchers followed 1,042 adults for one year. They found those who weighed themselves once a week did not lose weight, and those who stepped on the scale six to seven times a week averaged a weight loss of 1.7 percent. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, weigh yourself daily. If you’re not, you can hop on the scale less frequently.
  1. The best time of day to work out is morning. Not only will you burn more stored fat when you work out in the a.m., you’ll also set yourself up for habitual exercise. A recent study published in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising at 7 a.m. shifts your body clock earlier, making you feel more alert in the morning and sleepier earlier in the evening, which sets you up for a good night’s sleep. With a full night of zzzs, you’ll be more apt to get up early and do it all over again. The same study also found it’s easier to stick to healthy habits when you do them in the morning hours.
  1. It’s better to eat egg whites than the whole egg. Not true, says Jackson-Hole-based functional and integrative medicine physician Mark Menolascino. “Eggs have been demonized,” he says. He notes there’s an important difference between the factory-farmed pale yellow eggs you get at a chain restaurant and the clean, bright orange, high omega-3 eggs you get at an organic grocery store. “Unless you have an egg sensitivity, high quality eggs—in their whole form—can be a valuable part of your nutrition plan,” he says.
  1. It’s important to include a ‘rest day’ in your exercise plan. Not so, says Alexander. Instead, he recommends an active, switch-it-up day. “If you usually lift weights, instead, go for a hike, play tennis, or take a yoga class—keep your body moving, but do it in a different way,” he says.