Category Archives: Environmental

Environmental wellness is an awareness of the state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. Although you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the numerous environmental issues, every little change you make does count. If everyone made individual adjustments in their life, the impact on the environment would be great.

Let It Go without Letting It Go

psst… Did you get the title? I guess I had to be a part of the cool kids and reference the latest craze. Truthfully- I haven’t seen the movie yet. I only heard John T butchered Idina’s name. (And to be fair, I would’ve probably said something similar. Wouldn’t you?)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly about weight loss, self image, and the journey that I’ve been on for a dozen years (WOW- it’s been that long?! I feel old). When I was 16, I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. I didn’t see a “big person,” and it was honestly confusing to me to hold up my clothes and accept the fact that I not only filled them, but I challenged many of the seams’ thread power.

As I said, those days are long gone. A lot of hard work and much better lifestyle choices have helped me maintain my 100+ pound weight loss. I’d be lying if I told you that it has been easy. I think at some point it did get easier, but I.still.struggle.every.day. If I’m not finding it hard to say no to a pound of peanut M&Ms, I’m daunted with the task of looking in the mirror and not only accepting, but loving my loose skin and remnants of stretch marks.

Did you know that we all have bad days? Mine might look different than yours, but even the most successful people run into challenging moments that sometimes end in defeat.

The age of social media has somewhat muted our ability to accept that it’s OK to be anything less than perfect. There’s a funny picture I recently saw that has a couple happily posing while on a hike; underneath was a picture of them fighting with the title “3 seconds earlier.” Social Media allows us to share our highlight reel with the world… and if you’re anything like me, it also creates an unnecessary perception of pressure to continue “one upping” yourself or those around you.

A few weeks ago, I sat and at a pound of peanut M&Ms. Yes, an ENTIRE POUND. By myself. Just watching tv, relaxing (OK- well maybe it was a combination of stress and emotional eating a little bit, too). Anyway. When my hand hit the bottom of the bag, I was MORTIFIED at what I had done. I couldn’t believe that “I was so weak”…  in my head there were much harsher adjectives I was using in reference to my moment of weakness. Let’s just say- I was not being a nice person, and I went from a moment of pure bliss and enjoyment in the form of sweet and salty crunchiness to complete defeat and horror.

The next day I woke up still mad at myself and began plotting the things I would HAVE to do to make sure that pound of peanut M&Ms didn’t end in a 100 pound weight gain. I would HAVE to spend at least 5 hours at the gym. I would HAVE to eat one meal and nothing else. I would HAVE to not see anyone because they would surely smell the chocolate and peanuts seeping out of my pores…

HOLD UP. STOP THE BUS. 

Do you hear how ridiculous that all sounds? Reflecting back on it, I do! At the time it seemed very rational though. (And for the record- I did my normal time at the gym and ate my normal 2 meals and 14 snacks, and I saw several friends/family members. haha!)

Here’s the thing. Sometimes you’re going to have a moment of weakness. A bad day. A tough decision. And sometimes the best option won’t be the one that you choose to make. But that’s OK. Just as important as it can be to make a good choice, it is equally as important to forgive yourself for being human. As I read in a book the other day,

“Don’t let a Lapse become a Relapse.”

As both an emotional and stress eater, I know all-too-well how easy it is to fall off the tracks. One “bad” bite can lead to a “bad” meal can lead to a “bad” day can lead to a “bad” week… and pretty soon I’ve given up the gym and my 10 heads of lettuce a week.

Now I’m working on a different mindset. For too many years following my weight loss, I had a “good or bad” mentality. Everything was black and white.
Good= lots of exercise, fruits, vegetables, no fat, smaller clothing sizes…
Bad= ice cream, peanut M&Ms, not exercising, a plateau or increase in clothing sizes, marshmallows…

I was missing out on SO.MUCH. and it finally got to the point that I felt deprived and was ready to rebel by eating every “Bad” thing in sight. I’ve since learned to Let it Go once in a while… to enjoy a nice treat. I put in a lot of effort into eating healthy and exercise.  And now I’m working on loving what I see in the mirror. After all, I’ve worked really hard for the body I have for a really long time, and considering what I’ve put it through, it DESERVES love!

Think about your own life. Do you allow yourself to fail lovingly? Are you willing to forgive yourself, learn from the situation, and move on when things don’t happen according to plan?

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

 

Kick the Butts’ Butt

On Wednesday, March 19th, anti-tobacco activists everywhere will be acknowledging the annual “Kick Butts Day.” Kick Butts Day is a day focused on standing up and speaking out against both tobacco use and the tobacco industry. All across the world, people will be holding all kinds of different anti-tobacco related events.  The primary goal of most of these events is to encourage current tobacco users to quit using tobacco for good. whatisincig

The benefits of quitting tobacco use are numerous, and it is important to investigate the options out there for helping you quit if you choose. Here at UND, there are plenty of resources. At the Health and Wellness Hub, located in the Memorial Union, users will find “Quit Kits” available.  Users can also check out Student Health Services to discuss the process of quitting tobacco, and perhaps get a check up to see how at risk you might be for tobacco induced health problems. Across North Dakota, the Department of Health has also established the “ND Quits” campaign.  Users interested in quitting can check out the campaign’s website or dial the toll free number to get access to free resources available for quitting.

The good news is that all across the U.S., tobacco use is decreasing. Compared to 42% of the population reporting regular tobacco use in 1965, in 2012, the percentage was reported to be 10%. (kickbuttsday.org) So, if you’re interested in quitting, please do your lungs a favor and check out these fabulous resources!

www.kickbuttsday.org (the official website for “Kick Butts Day”)

http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/  (the official website for the ND Quits campaign)

1.800.784.8669 (ND Quits hotline)

701-777-2605 (UND Student Health Services)

Lettuce Eat Green

As I drove to work, I realized I had no visible green on so I quickly thought about what I could do to avoid being pinched all day (stick a green post-it note on my shirt? tell people they just can’t see my green? take a green sharpie to my skin? convince people my eyes are green?) . So far, I’ve successfully dodged each playful reminder of St. Patty’s Day.

Truthfully though? Seeing all of this green makes me hungry.
(Well, a lot of things have that same effect on me… but green really gets me.)

You see, I.Love.Vegetables.

If you opened my fridge on a Sunday night (the day I usually grocery shop), you might find an average of 10 heads of lettuce. Yes, TEN. (Please pick your jaw off the keyboard.) I bet I’m one of the few people that gets asked “Are you having a party?” every time I go through the checkout with all of my green goodness. Sometimes I’ll come up with different tall tales that I could tell the cashier to avoid telling them that they are actually just for me. Other times, I could not care less!

When I was 16 and 300 pounds, I could finish off a large Pizza Corner pizza by myself. A bag of Doritos or container of Oreos was about an hour’s worth of a TV show…. I guess my point is that my appetite has always been rather large.

I tell people that even though I’ve lost 100 pounds, my stomach hasn’t shrunk. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m going to work harder at portion control, but that usually ends by lunch time when I’m chowing down on my head of lettuce. My husband jokes that I can make anything into a salad.
And he’s right.

If you aren’t the most fond of vegetables, I speak from experience when I tell you that lettuce can be a great way to ease into this colorful, nutritious world of goodness. It is refreshing, crispy, and most kinds don’t carry too much flavor- a great way to “bulk up” a meal.

LETTUCE have some Fun:

  • Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family and was discovered as a weed growing around the Mediterranean.
  • Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the Americas.
  • In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable. Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That’s about five times more than what we ate in the early 1900′s.

LETTUCE eat More!

  • Lettuce provides fiber and vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and copper.
  • The most abundant nutrient in iceberg lettuce is water (over 90%), so it can help to keep you hydrated as the temperatures go up (I mean, it’s bound to get warmer eventually).
  • The darker the green color is, the more nutrition the salad greens contain.
  • A head of Iceberg lettuce will last longer if you wrap it in a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag in your fridge.

To me, the best part about working with lettuce as an ingredient is the creativity involved. I have yet to find something that I do not enjoy on a bed of greens (I even invented a little dish I like to call “soup IN a salad,” and it is exactly what it sounds like- 100% delish!). While dressings can be a delicious addition, be sure to read your nutrition label, as the calories and fat add up quickly (thus defeating the purpose).

The weather is starting to improve and I think it’s all giving us a brighter outlook; a great time to start taking steps to feel better- inside and out. And as with all things, even baby steps add up! Have a Healthy, Happy GREEN St. Patty’s Day!

 Baby Steps

Source: http://www.extension.umn.edu

What do you do when you’re sick with the flu?

We all get sick from time to time. Sometime it is just a minor cold – which is expected when living in this frozen tundra. Sometimes, however, it is the flu (AKA influenza) – a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is usually spread by people coughing and sneezing around you. The virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you touch a contaminated surface like a phone or a doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth.

Adults are contagious one day before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill which means that you can spread the flu virus not even knowing that you are infected. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu each year.

So how do you know it is flu? The most common symptoms of the flu are:

- Fever: 100-102°F lasting 3-4 days

- Headaches

- Muscle or body aches

- Fatigue/weakness lasting 2-3 weeks

- Extreme exhaustion at onset of virus

- Chest discomfort and cough, especially if it becomes severe

- Rare: vomiting or diarrhea

- Occasional symptoms might include stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat. However, these symptoms are more likely to be the common cold rather than flu.

Complications of the flu can be life threatening, such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection, dehydration, or worsening of chronic medical conditions like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die annually because of flu in the United States, according to NIH.

To avoid these unpleasant symptoms and terrible complications that can prevent you from studying and having social life, there are a couple of things you can do to recover faster:

1. Blow your nose often and right away: gently blow while plugging the other nostril to avoid irritation.

2. Stay rested: sleeping and relaxing helps the body direct energy toward the immunity battle internally.

3. Gargle: moistens a sore throat and brings temporary relief, 1 tsp. of salt per cup of water 4 times per day.

4. Drink hot liquids: relieves nasal congestion and helps prevent dehydration, soothes inflamed membranes that line the nose and throat.

5. Take a steamy shower: moisturizes your nasal passages and relaxes you.

6. Apply hot/cold packs around congested sinuses: either temperature may help you feel more comfortable.

7. Sleep with an extra pillow under your head: helps drain nasal passages.

8. Don’t fly unless necessary: added air pressure puts more stress on your respiratory system.

9. Stay at home and rest 24 hours AFTER a fever has broken: prevent the spread of the flu!

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated early! Flu season usually starts in October and it takes about two weeks for the protective properties of the vaccine to take effect. By being vaccinated, you help your body to build antibodies to fight off the infection easier. To schedule your appointment, call Student Health at (701)777-4500.

Also, don’t forget to wash your hands, eat healthy, exercise, and clean your work space. It will greatly reduce your risk of getting the flu. Stay healthy and away from this virus!

Winter: You WIN.

I’m going nuts. (Like, even more crazy than the norm.)

This winter is breaking my will. Yesterday I did so many “laps” around my house trying to find something to occupy my time that I started crying- CRYING!! After a series of questions from my husband and tissues, we determined that I’m stir crazy and just tired of being so cold.all.the.time. (Seems like a logical reason to cry, amIright?!)

My story is not unique. I think pretty much all have nearly reached breaking points in what has turned out to be a long, polar-vortex-ridden winter. It’s March and we’re still waking up to ridiculous-below-zero temperatures.

My friends… as much as we hate to hear it, to think it, or to believe it… we must press on and hold on to hope that warmer weather is on its way. And not just a “temporary warm up,” I’m talking about lasting above zero temps. In the meantime, I think it’s important that we take care of ourselves and each other.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and perhaps even more prominent this year. People suffering from SAD often feel tired, moody, or depressed for a length of time on an annual basis. It’s more common to see SAD around the winter months, but it may also be experienced in Spring/Summer. Treatments include light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.

If you aren’t diagnosed with SAD, you might still feel the symptoms (and if you’re like me, you can add stir crazy and anxious to the list). This is the part where taking good care of yourself becomes really important:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep flushing out your body and avoid dehydration. Establish and then keep a consistent sleep schedule- even on the weekends (make sure it’s enough).
  • Fruits and vegetables are also an important part of staying healthy; vitamins and minerals from these foods will help you- inside and out, head to toe.
  • Get off the couch and MOVE. When it’s -50 outside, the last thing anyone wants to do is jump in the car and go workout, but trust me on this one: just get there. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take a days off because of the cold, but I can tell you I’ve never regretted going. I’ve also “treated” myself to some new workout DVDs (dancing ones are my favorite, because we’re all dance stars in our living rooms) for those days where it is absolutely impossible to go anywhere (we’ve had our share of those as well).
  • Do what delights you. Find your creative outlet and go wild. I’ve gotten quite a few puzzles put together this winter, and I couldn’t be more excited every time I open up a new one. (And if puzzles don’t scream “go wild,” I’m not sure that anything does!)
  • Think positive. I know, this is one of thee HARDEST things to do when you live in a place where it hurts to breathe… but do your best. Surely there are GOOD things in your life that give you reason to be thankful and smile? If not- look harder.
  • Make sure you are keeping in contact with the people who make you happy. Find fun reasons to get together and laugh (gym dates? trying a new sport like cross country skiing using equipment from the Outpost? lunch dates? book club?). Talk about life, or the Olympics, or the latest award show, or whatever you enjoy. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed social butterfly, there have been long spurts of time in the past few months when I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone besides my husband and our dog- and even that was a struggle. In those moments, I’ve been thankful for the gentle nudges and lunch dates with friends and family- something that I could look forward to.

I’ve given you a few things to help you get through the final stretch of this crazy winter we’ve been having…

Now tell me: What would You add to the list?

 

But how do I know?

Last time you heard from me, I talked about change; specifically, why I resist it with everything inside of me. I’ve never really been a risk taker, and so far it’s led me down a pretty decent “safe” path.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I have moments of “Let’s do this!” They come out of nowhere, leaving a giant pit in my stomach, and shortness of breath, and a desire to move. Sometimes those moments are for little things, like deciding to workout when I don’t feel like it or trying a new recipe. And sometimes those moments are for big things, like zip lining through a rainforest* or starting a new job. (*Full disclosure: I’ve never ziplined through a forest. Let’s be real.)

A few months ago, I decided to try something new in my professional life. I have a very unconventional path when it comes to the workplace. I graduated with a degree in Dietetics (the science of food) after dabbling in secondary English education. My first “real job” was as a NDSU Extension Agent in Benson County, focusing on things like youth development, living on a budget, overall health, and 4-H. It was a great mix of teaching and wellness.

About 2 years later, I took the job as the first Executive Director of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals. This was a brand new arena for me, filled with new obstacles and experiences. I joked that I was still using my degree, because I had many coffee and lunch meetings, so I was still involved in the “food part.”

Two weeks ago I started a new position as Events Coordinator for Scheels in Grand Forks. A much larger store is opening in June, and it’s my job to find fun and useful ways for our store to be a part of the community. I have to be honest; this is another BRAND NEW place for me to be. As Executive Director, I did get some experience in event planning and execution, but I have a feeling this will be a bit different.

While attending a pretty intense job training recently, it hit me:

This feels right.

We all wait for that moment after deciding to try new things because of that possibility of failure. Sitting in the unknown can be almost unbearable, so when the moment of “ahhh…” hits, it’s pretty awesome.

I feel fortunate for my newest professional opportunity, and even more for that “ahhh…” moment. For several months I’ve thought “I THINK this is the right move… But how will I know??!” It has taught me patience, the beauty in courage, and confidence in myself and my abilities.

I can’t promise you every ending to a new adventure will be smooth or comfortable or even pretty. But unless you take a chance every now and then, you never have the opportunity to grow!

When was the last time you had an “ahhh…” moment?

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

I don’t do Change. Well, maybe.

I am a creature of habit, and a craver of routine.

I find ways to make peace and feel balanced in my day-to-day, and when it “works,” I stick to it.

I’ve heard over and over that it’s better to “mix it up” at the gym, but I was hesitant. I like my elliptical- it’s safe, it’s predictable, and I can watch all of my crappy reality TV shows while working out.

This winter brought a few “bubbles” in my routine- via blizzards, vacations, and boredom.

The first time the Wellness Center closed because of weather, my heart dropped. It was totally throwing off my routine and I had no clue what to do. (I realize that this sounds totally ridiculous now, but I’m not known for always being real “mellow.”) I decided to dust on my Zumba DVDs and get my groove on.

AND IT WAS FUN!

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I’ve made a commitment to staying healthy, and until it’s nice enough to hit the ski trails or go for a walk outdoors, I have to continue finding ways to keep my word.

As this seemingly-never-ending winter continues, my elliptical boredom is starting to set in. I decided to dust off another set of DVDs I had yet to even open after purchasing them over a year ago. Well, the new DVDs KICKED.MY.BUTT (and I like to think I’m in pretty good shape)! We’re talking dripping sweat in 1/2 the time of my machine routine. Not only that, but I was hurting the next morning- a great indication that I was effectively working out.

I started thinking about why it took me so long to open the package of those new workout DVDs. The answer rang loud and clear:

Change.

I struggle with it. It might be uncomfortable, or hard, or not as safe, or unsuccessful…

But seriously, who cares? If I fail, I will just have to find another way. And if you never try, you’ll never know.

So tell me, how are YOU going to shake up your healthy lifestyle routine this month?

Get tested UND!

Free HIV Testing February 7th

Did you know that February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day?

To help raise awareness of the day, UND Multicultural Center, Health & Wellness Hub, and Ten Percent Society are hosting a FREE HIV testing at the Loading Dock from 11am-2pm on February 7th, 2014.

All UND students, faculty, and staff are welcome to get tested for a virus that can show no symptoms for up to 10 years or more. No matter what race, gender, or sexual orientation you are, everyone can contract HIV/AIDS.  HIV is primarily spread through unprotected sex and intravenous drug use. This virus attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS, the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers.

Did you know that every year in the United States, the Center for Disease Control will identify 50,000 new cases of HIV? Within these new cases, 39% of them are young adults ranging from the ages of 13 to 29.  Getting tested is a great way to know your status and to keep yourself and others out of the statistics.

Along with the FREE HIV testing, there will also be FREE FOOD and a Q & A table for anyone who would like more information on HIV/AIDS to keep you busy while you are waiting for a quick 20 minute test result.

Bring a friend and get a FREE HIV test and FREE FOOD!  For more information on the event please click on the link below: http://und.edu/calendar/index.php/view/event/detail/25819/free-hiv-testing

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