By Veronica Gomez, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor
Throughout my time as a nutrition peer counselor, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with fellow aggies in regards to their health goals. Many times, the conversation has revolved around fitness and fueling for training. Sometimes it has been about getting enough food intake with such a busy school schedule. But the big chunk of conversation is still about losing weight and how to maintain a caloric deficit. Healthy aggies do not promote weight loss, point-blank. However, I’d like to touch on a common theme among students who wish to lose weight—a shared frustration beyond the UC Davis community. “I eat too much”. There is a mix of terrible emotions associated with thinking this about ourselves. It replays moments where we feel out of control with food, and it resurfaces the frustration with the inability to stop eating.
Some of the other peer counselors have written about hunger cues and intuitive eating– part of the answer to reaching a healthier lifestyle. What I want to affirm through this spiel is we cannot blame ourselves for having habits that have allowed us to survive the environments we tread. Food is comfort–as is music, as is reading, as is watching your favorite movie or television show.
Our environment is a major aspect of who we are, so as you continue your journey to wellness, please be gentle with yourself. And remember, Aggies, there are so many resources available for you, don’t be shy to invite others on this mission.
Are you looking for a healthy, simple, and delicious meal idea that’s perfect for the summer? Look no further! The BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders are a fantastic option that combines the smoky flavors of barbecue with the lightness of spaghetti squash.
1 small spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 small head of red cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
24 mini slider buns
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; line a baking sheet with foil.
Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Season the flesh generously with salt and brush with 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce. Arrange flesh-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and the squash strands are easily separated with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet
Meanwhile, whisk together the maple syrup, tomato paste, 2/3 cup of the vinegar, remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm.
Mix the mayonnaise, cabbage, onion, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
Use a fork to separate the squash strands (keep them in the skins). Mix 1 1/4 cups of the sauce between the 2 halves until the squash strands are coated—season with salt.
Slice the buns open about three-quarters of the way. Divide the cucumber slices among the buns. Fill each with a generous amount of squash and top with some slaw. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
These healthy BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders are now ready to be enjoyed! They are a great option for summer picnics, backyard barbecues, or a light lunch. The spaghetti squash provides flavorful BBQ sauce and lean protein to make a satisfying meal. Feel free to customize the sliders with your favorite toppings or serve them alongside a refreshing salad for a complete summer feast.
Give this simple and healthy recipe a try, and impress your family and friends with these mouthwatering BBQ Spaghetti Squash Sliders!
Recognizing subtle hunger cues can be difficult. Although we often think of hunger as a growling stomach, many other signs can be an indicator of hunger. Sometimes it is hard to tell a hunger cue from something else, like tiredness or fatigue, or if wanting to eat is coming from boredom, stress, or an emotion. Here are some tips for detecting and responding to more subtle hunger cues.
1. Empty stomach/growling stomach: feeling as though your stomach is empty or hearing your stomach growl is one of the more obvious hunger cues that shows up when we are hungry and need to consume food!
2.Headache: a headache is often a less obvious sign that we need food. It can be challenging to tell if the headache is coming from hunger or something else, but often it will occur when you have not eaten for a while. When you get a headache and can’t identify where it comes from, try eating a snack or a meal and see if this makes a difference!
3. Low energy/fatigue: fatigue and tiredness are other less obvious hunger cues. These can occur when the body has fewer calories than needed so begins to feel weak and tired.
4. Shakiness: Shakiness can be an indicator that your body needs food, and it may be combined with nausea or feeling grumpy. When you begin feeling this way, consuming a snack or meal with easy to digest carbohydrates can be helpful to replenish your energy quickly. Including protein will help keep hunger at bay for longer.
To test out if any of the above signs could be your body’s way of showing you it needs more food, try having a snack when these symptoms show up and see if it causes the symptoms to go away. If eating food does cause these symptoms to go away, then most likely, this is one of your body’s hunger cues!
By Erica Steinberg, UC Davis Healthy Aggies Intern
What is Matcha?
Matcha is finely powdered green tea leaves! It is a higher quality green tea that originated in the Tang Dynasty in China during the 7th-10th centuries. Powdered tea was made from steam-prepared dried tea leaves which aided monks in meditation and became a way to attain enlightenment.
While Matcha is derived from the same plant as “green tea”, it is prepared differently. The powder is loaded with nutrients from the entire green tea leaf – this results in a higher quality and amount of caffeine. Recently, Matcha powder has become very popular in specific drinks, cooking, and desserts.
Are there Health Benefits to drinking Matcha?
A Cleaner Energy Source
Matcha contains a form of caffeine that gives a “boost” of energy, without the jitters. Many people wonder if drinking Matcha is better for you than coffee. Interestingly enough, Matcha tea has a compound called L-theanine which changes the way the caffeine is digested throughout the body. Unlike coffee, this compound in Matcha encourages calmness, relaxed joints and promotes an alert brain for up to 8 hours. The body processes Matcha much slower than most energy drinks and other sources of caffeine.
Improve Mood and Increase Memory
It has been suggested that drinking Matcha can lower anxiety and promote a sense of relaxation and happiness within a half hour of ingestion. Matcha encourages balanced brain level activity because of its several key vitamin and trace minerals; as well, L-theanine seems to sharpen memory and shorten reaction times. Matcha might be an option to drink before a stressful day or huge test!
Protect Immunity and Health
Matcha helps to manage cholesterol levels through a natural process. Research suggests that people who drink Matcha tea have lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as higher HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels in their blood. The antioxidants, caffeine, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals combine to boost and promote heart health and strengthen the immune system. Some research indicates that people who drink Matcha are 11% less likely to develop heart disease, then non-Matcha drinkers.
Yummy Matcha Recipes!
What do you love about using Matcha? Tell us in the comments.
By Sarina Lin, UC Davis Healthy Aggies Coordinator
“Eating local honey will help your allergies.” Heard of this statement? As a person who has seasonal allergies, I heard from a young age that eating local honey would help with allergies. I believed in this statement growing up, but as I grew older, I started to think about the mechanisms of how honey helps with allergies. I decided to look up why it helps, and to my surprise, I found that it was a myth.
Unfortunately, eating honey does not help with seasonal allergies. Many studies have been conducted and the majority of studies agree that honey does not help with allergies. In theory, honey, which is made from pollen, is supposed to help the body grow more immune to pollen so that the body does not have an allergic reaction. This theory is not true because the pollen that people are typically allergic to are not used to make honey. The pollen that is used to make honey are from wildflowers, but the pollen that people are allergic to are from trees, grass, and weeds. Studies have shown that there was no improvement of symptoms in people who had consumed honey. Commercial honey is processed and contains an unknown amount of pollen anyway, and it would be hard to adjust for dosage and measure effectiveness. Unprocessed, local, raw, honey may contain contaminants such as mold, and bacterial spores. Be sure to choose a reputable vendor.
Are there any foods that would help treat seasonal allergies then? Consuming foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger and fish with omega-3 fatty acids, may help with symptoms. Although there are no foods that act as a direct cure for allergies, adopting a balanced, healthy diet can improve your symptoms.
By Leanna Sanchez, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor
Inflammatory bowel disease. A disease I have had to live with for about 6 years now, with hardly any remission or symptom relief. Being a college student with IBD is difficult and there isn’t much support or resources available for IBD students. I’m here to give a little inside scoop on how you can support someone with IBD and provide some helpful tips if you have IBD.I will be mostly focusing on ulcerative colitis since it is the type I was diagnosed with. But first a little bit about IBD in case you aren’t familiar with the condition.
Inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. There are two forms of IBD: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease manifests itself throughout the whole digestive system in patches. Ulcerative colitis is chronic ulceration in the large intestine and rectum. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include bloody stools, urgency, diarrhea, pain and abdominal cramping, mouth ulcers, and multiple bowel movements a day (15+). Together these symptoms can lead to anemia, malabsorption, decreased appetite, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, etc. The worst symptoms in my opinion are pain, urgency, and extreme fatigue. The best way I can describe the pain of UC is the feeling that a blender went off inside your intestines. 
Flare-ups (when your symptoms are exaggerated) are really difficult to manage. The best way I have learned to manage is to eat mostly bland, and soft foods that don’t cause pain or urgency. Heating pads are very comforting and help ease some of the pain.
Flares can make it extremely difficult to attend classes or work on homework since your body is fatigued from going to the bathroomall day and experiencing some malnutrition. I have gone 3-4 weeks practically bedridden and unable to eat or drink anything but fruit smoothies, broth, applesauce, and rice.
If you’re struggling to attend classes or experience urgency during exams please ensure you make an appointment with the Student Disability Center to determine any accommodations that may be helpful.
Know the bathroom locations in your classroom buildings in advance in case you experience urgency.
Accepting permanent lifestyle changes:
Being a college student, one of the most difficult temptations is wanting to go out with my friends and drink. I often feel left out, always being the designated driver. However, I have had to accept that drinking isn’t worth the pain or bloodiness I’ll experience later.
Finding foods that make symptoms worse and experimenting with eliminating foods may make a difference in your symptoms. Personally, I have discovered bread products, sugary foods, lots of artificial sweeteners, and coffee can be triggering. I also try to add lots of anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, and probiotic foods to my diet such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, Greek yogurt, fatty fish, and fruits.
In case of urgency, I highly recommend keeping an extra change of clothes, a large pad, or a portable toilet in your car for times you might not make it to the bathroom in time.
One of the biggest and least discussed “side effects” in my opinion. The stress and anxiety of constantly not nknowing when your symptoms will flare, worrying where the closest bathroomis, and always being fatigued, is a lot to handle. Having someone to provide emotional support during flare-ups makes life a bit easier. Dealing with the symptoms and pain of IBD adds more anxiety on top of the stress we experience as college students. For many years I was embarrassed to explain to people I have IBD. Unfortunately, it will never go away so learning to advocate for myself has made navigating my classes much easier.
If you would like to hear more on IBD leave a comment or if you would like to discuss IBD more feel free to reach out.
By: Mer Temple Allen, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor
As Spring quarter gets into action, spending time outdoors is a great way to get sunshine while being active. It is also great for those who do not enjoy working out at the gym or prefer to be outdoors. This can include walking or running through the UC Davis arboretum, the Davis Putah Creek trail or Olive Tree Lane. The UC Davis quad and UC Davis Hutchison Intramural field are also great places to use for outdoor exercise or to play sports with friends.
That being said, there are a few key points to remember while exercising outdoors when it comes to weather, hydration, and adequate nourishment before, during, and after your workout.
1.Time of day
Be cautious about what time of day to avoid working out when it is too hot. Exercising outdoors when over 90 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous, so wait until it cools down. On warmer days, find time in the morning or early evening to avoid excessive heat!
When working out on warmer days, staying adequately hydrated is essential! Drink 8 ounces (1 cup) of water every 15-20 minutes during the workout. Be careful about drinking large amounts less frequently, as this can cause you to feel full and make exercising uncomfortable. Water is the best source of hydration during exercises that last one hour or less. Energy drinks can be helpful for those who plan to work out for over an hour at a high intensity. This is because working out for long periods causes excessive sweating, which can dehydrate the body causing loss of electrolytes. Energy drinks add calories for Energy and nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, replenishing the body’s electrolytes.
3. What to eat before a workout
Eating before a workout will give you adequate energy throughout your workout. It is best to consume a full meal about three hours before a workout and a small carbohydrate-heavy snack about thirty minutes beforehand. Some ideas for snacks could be oats, a protein shake, fresh fruit, a banana, or an energy bar!
4. Maintaining energy during a workout
For those who plan on working out for an hour or less, consuming food for energy alongside the workout is unnecessary. However, eating food throughout the training is recommended for those who plan to work out at higher intensity for over an hour. Eating in small amounts (about 50-100 calories) every half hour is best to avoid cramping from eating too much. Focus on consuming carbohydrate-heavy foods or drinks, such as an energy bar, a fruit smoothie, or a banana, are good options.
5. What to eat after a workout
After your workout and to help your muscles recover, eat a meal containing carbohydrates and protein no more than one hour after your workout. This meal should be slightly more carbohydrate-heavy as this will help replenish the energy lost during exercise! For example, mixing whole grains with meat or tofu or eating an egg on toast could be great options. These are just a few ideas, but any meal that combines carbohydrates and protein will work well for replenishing energy and for muscle repair.
Lastly, make sure to wear sunscreen when exercising outside to avoid getting sunburnt! And make sure to spend time outdoors as the weather gets warmer to boost your mood and get more vitamin D.