Earth Day- Let’s make a better place for all of us

By Jessica Bonilla, Dietitian Assistant

We are only four days away from Earth day, which makes it a perfect time to think about our actions for the past years. According to the ASCE, Americans generate around 258 million tons of material solid waste every year, only about 35% of the waste is recycled and 53% goes into landfills. What have we done so far to solve the problem about pollution and solid waste? The best way to help is to start with ourselves by making more sustainable decisions.

This year, Earth Day is dedicated to raise awareness about plastics and how to reduce them. Here are four ways to reduce our overall carbon footprint and waste:

  • Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays is a movement around the world that consists in cutting meat once a week. The purpose of this movement is to decrease the carbon and water footprint generated by the production in meat, which is generally larger than crop products. Actually, it’s estimated that one pound of meat requires more than 2,000 gallons of water for its production.

By making this shift and decreasing the amount of meat in our diet, we are not only helping the planet, but we may also reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.

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  • Eat local

Buying local is a great strategy to support sustainability. This is because we will be buying food that hasn’t traveled very far distances and therefore hasn’t emitted lots of greenhouse gases during the trip. Our food will be fresher, and we will be supporting local businesses and economy. In addition, we can also buy food cheaper because there is a high supply in the seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies out of season can have a higher price due to the distance and the number of people involved in the process.

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  • Reduce, reuse, recycle

The three R’s reduce, reuse and recycle are three actions that we all should include in our daily basis in order to decrease our overall waste and to conserve natural resources

The first R, reduce, has the purpose decrease the amount of waste that we produce in a day-to-day basis. Implement this action to your routine by avoiding disposable items, printing in both sides of paper, drinking from reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles, switching to cloth napkins for paper napkins and by decreasing consumption of products with lots of wrapping.

The second R, reuse, consists in using again older things that we have or finding them other usages than what they are intended for originally. Some examples are: using old envelopes as note pads, using old jars to store kitchen stuff, using paper that is printed already on one side, donating books and old clothes.

The last but not least is recycle, which means collecting and transforming into new products materials that would otherwise be considered as trash. Some materials that can be recycle are plastic bottles, cardboard, metal (tin, aluminum, steel), and glass.

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  • Bike more and drive less.

Riding a bike is beneficial to the environment by the simple fact that no pollution is excreted. Riding a bike will also increase your strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and can help as a stress reliever. In addition, you will save money because no oil is required. Skip traffic and try to use your bike to get from point A to point B. Luckily for us, Davis is a very bike friendly town!

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Did you know that UC Davis is planning to meet the goal of zero waste by 2020? Help to reach the goal by making sustainable choices and reducing your waste!

UC Davis Farmers Market back for spring!

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By Rebekah Shulman, Dietitian Assistant

Attention all Aggies: the UC Davis Farmers Market is back on campus for Spring Quarter! Here you will find tons of fresh produce, raw honey, bread and baked goods, UC Davis made olive oil, and much more.  The market aims to be a destination in itself, not just something students stumble upon during their commute across campus.  The Farmers Market will be at the North Quad every Wednesday from 11 am to 1:30 pm for Spring Quarter.

Here are the vendors you will find for the Spring 2018 season:

  • PURE honey
  • Ahmad Farms: fruit
  • Toledo Farms: assorted organic veggies and fruits, potatoes
  • Fruit Factory: fruits
  • Williamson Farms: Strawberries
  • Shoup Farms: avocado
  • UC Davis Student Farm: flowers, veggies
  • Gotelli Farms: cherries in May
  • Upper Crust Bakery: breads, cookies, apple tarts

Visiting the UC Davis Farmers Market is a great way to promote health and wellness in all aspects of your life.  Here are some of the benefits of taking some time out of your day to visit the market:

 

Education

In addition to buying food at the market, you can learn more about health and wellness through visiting the Student Health and Counseling Services and Healthy Aggies booths.  These organizations seek to educate individuals on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a busy college student.  Be sure to visit these booths to hear about campus resources, play fun games, get some free swag, and learn more about various nutrition and wellness topics.

 

Nutrition

The accessibility of a Farmers Market on campus makes getting your fresh fruits and vegetables even easier! Here you don’t have to worry about your produce containing pesticides, waxes, or genetic modification. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber to keep you full, energized, and nourished throughout your day.

You can find easy recipes using ingredients found at the farmers market on our website at:

https://healthy.ucdavis.edu/food-nutrition/farmers-market/recipes

 

Self-Care

The Farmers Market is able to bring the community together and create a calming environment for everyone to enjoy.  At the market you will find picnic blankets strewn across the grass where students can take a break from their busy day to relax and enjoy the sunshine.  Taking time out of your day to unwind, spend time with friends, and get some vitamin D are extremely beneficial for mental wellbeing.  These study breaks will help you retain information and focus more effectively for the rest of the day.

 

Supporting Local Business

As large agribusiness is increasingly dominating U.S. food production, a great benefit of the Farmers Market is the ability to directly support local growers and businesses.  Instead of buying produce harvested before ripeness halfway across the globe, your money is directly supporting family farms in the Yolo County area.  This also benefits the environment through reducing the amount of fossil fuels used to transport produce from farm to consumer.

 

 

In summary, visiting the UC Davis Farmers Market is a quick and easy way to support a healthy lifestyle.  Be sure to head to the North Quad on Wednesdays between 11 am and 1:30 pm to buy fresh produce and take a break from your busy day.

 

Healthy Aggies Promotion:   the market will be giving away $10 bundles in market dollars to the first 10 people who visit the Market Information Booth on April 11 and say “I read about $10 in free vouchers on the Healthy Aggies blog”! While supplies last!

 

You can find up-to-date information on the UC Davis Farmers Market and subscribe to their weekly newsletter at: https://healthy.ucdavis.edu/food-nutrition/farmers-market

Boost your Mental Health! … Exercise!!

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By: Michele Lum, Healthy Aggies Intern

After another 10 weeks of classes and 1 horrifying finals week, we’ve finally reached what we have all been waiting for: Spring Break!!! We can finally let go of those organic chemistry mechanisms (briefly) and think about other things. It may be hard to think about much else if you neglected your mental health during finals; however if you’re looking for a simple, healthy, and inexpensive cure for your finals hangover, I’ve got the solution for you! Studies have shown that exercise is a great way to improve mental health below you’ll find 5 ways on how it can help!

 

  • Mood Enhancement

 

When you exercise, feel-good endorphins and dopamine (natural cannabis-like brain chemicals) are released in the brain. They improve your mood and make you feel happier. Concentrating on exercise also helps get your mind off worries and other negative thoughts that may feed into depression or anxiety. Research has shown that people who were previously active and then became inactive were more prone to depression than those who maintained their activity throughout the study.

 

  • Boost Brainpower

 

Physical activity can also boost your memory and increase your ability to learn new things. When you sweat, it stimulates the production of cells in the hippocampus: the part of your brain responsible for memory and learning. Cardiovascular exercise in particular has been shown to improve brain processes such as decision making, higher thinking and learning. If you have trouble memorizing material for your quizzes or midterms, exercising regularly can help out with that!

 

  • Increase Productivity

 

Feel lethargic or sleepy while studying? Exercise helps boost your energy and allows you to be more productive and less sleepy throughout the day so you can get more work done. There is also an increase in blood flow, which improves your awareness and alertness. This allows you to complete tasks more efficiently and possibly with higher quality.

 

  • Illness Prevention

 

One of the most common known benefits to exercise is illness prevention. When you are sick, it is hard to juggle attending all your classes while giving your body time to recover. During a fast paced 10 week quarter system, missing class can really put you behind. Exercising routinely can help develop a stronger immune system, which protects you from getting sick during flu season. The increase in blood flow during exercise helps release accumulated toxins and exercising regularly can improve your heart health, endurance.  Additionally burning that energy can aid in weight loss, which then reduces your risk for heart disease and diabetes in the long run. It can also improve muscle strength and endurance.

 

  • Improve Self-Confidence

 

A lot of the activities at the gym are not easy. Running may seem simple, but for some running even a mile is a killer. Working out routinely and improving on different activities gives you a sense of accomplishment that builds self-confidence. It demonstrates that as long as you put effort into a goal, it can be attained. In addition, the enhancement that exercise brings forth in mood, brainpower, and productivity encourages a more positive and confident version of yourself.

Exercise is customizable. You can go outside for a jog, use the elliptical or lift weights. There is no one correct way to do it, so grab your running shoes, put on your workout clothes and get moving. Track your physical and mental health progress over a few weeks. If you’ve noticed some improvement in your mental health, then you will know that it really did work out.

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

https://www.goal-setting-guide.com/ways-exercise-improve-self-confidence/

 

Does Eating really fix the problem?

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Source: OcusFocus/Getty Images

By: Vivian Siu, Healthy Aggies Nutrition Intern

Why do we eat? Besides the obvious reason that we need fuel to keep us healthy and moving, we eat because food is yummy. There’s a form of happiness that comes from eating a warm, fudgy brownie. Eating is also important during celebrations, reunions, or simply hanging out. With so much cultural diversity in this town, there are so many food choices available that make it that much harder to find an excuse to not go eat. However, there’s another reason why some of us eat. We refer to it as ‘snacking’ but sometimes it is a coping mechanism – then it is stress or emotional eating.

Reasons we eat outside of hunger

  1. We relate ‘Food’ to ‘pleasure’.

At the end of a tiring, long day what is one thing you can look forward to? A plate of fries or maybe a bowl of ice cream? Both can give you a temporary feeling of happiness, and if you’re like me, those types of comfort food are often associated with feelings of bliss, at least at first.  

But, instead of associating food that sense of pleasure and then suffering the consequences of too much junk, not enough nutrients, or just eating more food than you need, try using different activities to accomplish the bliss goal. What about that painting class you always wanted to take or learning how to play the guitar to serenade your cat and enjoy some music when you arrive home after a hard day?   This will feel especially doable if you’ve been practicing good, adequate eating habits throughout your day and are not famished! Having other activities besides eating to look forward to can cause you feel that same bliss.

  1. To avoid difficult situations and/or feelings.

During time of hardships and challenges, for many of us – including myself, we tend to avoid feelings. Avoiding feelings makes us more likely to seek out temporary fixes such as eating that feel good during the moment, but are very temporary, in fact may make things worse.  

One important fact to remember is that it’s okay to feel sad, mad, and frustrated. If it wasn’t for these feelings, would we know what happiness really is? Learning how to talk about your feelings, whether it be in the form of journaling, calling a hotline, or talking to a friend, can help you realize the deeper rooted problem that is causing you to want to turn to food for comfort.

  1.     Physiological Response.

One thing I’ve learned from my 2 ½ years of college so far is that there are days where I can be swamped with work, class, assignments, studying, you get the idea, right? If I don’t take the time to feed myself, lovingly throughout the day, I find myself more irritable and more susceptible to my cravings/eating more junk food because I’m “hangry” when I finally get home.

Having a regular and nutritious meal schedule is important to staying healthy and lessening the likelihood of emotional eating.

  1.     Self-Image.

Society has led most to believe that beautiful means thin and skinny, with flat tummies.

Our lives are filled with some of the most innovative and connected technology, it can be hard to avoid societal influences of what beauty is. In reality, beauty is something that cannot be defined, at least not by society. Beauty is more than just appearances. It can be seen through the actions of taking care of yourself, being true to who you are, being kind to friends, family, and strangers, taking care of the earth, and the list could go on. If taking care of yourself means indulging in some sweets once in a while, that’s perfectly fine. Just remember that eating as a temporary fix for whatever challenge you may be facing is okay, but it’s important to remember that addressing the problem can pave the way to a more permanent solution.

National Nutrition Month 2018!

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By: Johanna Yao, Healthy Aggies intern

“I am going to eat healthier starting tomorrow,” I say for the hundredth time this quarter after I feel sick indulging in a bunch of Girl Scouts Cookies. We tend to have these bursts of motivation to become healthier after days of bad eating, however motivation is often lost once the next meal comes around. Eating healthy is challenging, especially as a college student. Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate goals towards developing healthier eating habits! Here are 5 tips I follow to be healthier:

 

  • Swap unhealthy snacks for something better

 

Instead of opting to eat junk food such as cookies, candy and chips,  pack some fruit or veggies instead. Examples of fruit that can be tossed in your lunchbag include apples, tangerines or bananas; and as for veggie snacks, go for celery and peanut butter or baby carrots with hummus. These choices not only provide vitamins and minerals but also help you fulfill the daily MyPlate portions!

 

  • Practice portion control!

 

We have all experienced the “shock” after we eat half a bag of chips without even realizing it. Eating from a bag promotes mindless eating, and you end up consuming massive amount of calories without even thinking.  Alternatively, place one serving of chips in a bowl. Now you are in control of your portion size, and will be less tempted to overeat.

 

  • Bring your reusable water bottle everywhere you go!

 

Carrying your reusable water bottle around with you is not only a reminder to stay hydrated, it will also help curb your cravings for sugary drinks! Instead of buying bottles of sugar heavy drinks, choose to refill your water bottle and carry on with your day!

 

  • Meal Prep!

 

Though it can be hassle to cook (since we could be using that time to study), setting aside 1-2 hours during the weekend to make meals for the rest of the week is not only more time efficient but often healthier and cheaper. This way, you know exactly what is going on your plate and you can alter proportions and taste to your to your liking. Additionally, planning ahead is more budget friendly than buying food for each meal.

 

  • Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!

 

You’ve heard this before, but research has shown that being hungry can have an effect on the way we shop.  When hungry, a hormone is produced that enhances your impulsiveness and hinders your ability to make rational decisions. If you go into a grocery store hungry, you are more likely to buy foods that you crave at the moment, but wouldn’t buy normally. Eating something before shopping can help prevent you from impulsively buying foods that are not on your list.

Becoming healthy can seem like a long and never ending journey, but making small changes in your everyday habits can make a big difference in the long run. By implementing these small but attainable goals, taking care of your body is a lot easier!

Self-injury Awareness

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Self-injury is not uncommon among people, especially in adolescents and young adults. The results can be very serious. Appropriate treatment can help people recover from self-harming behaviors, so it is important to increase awareness of the problem. Here are some clues and tips of how to tell if someone is self-harming, and what can we do to help them.

 

What is Self-harm?

 

Self-harm or self-injury is when people hurt themselves on purpose. Most common self-harm injuries are cuts made by knives, but they can range to extreme injuries like broken bones. Self-injury is a sign of mental distress, and people often use self-injury as a way to get rid of negative emotions. Self-injury may also lead to the feeling of guilt or shame, and when this feeling is intense, they may hurt themselves again.

 

By observing carefully how people act and what they say, we can be more aware if this person is considering self-harm . For example, if you find someone who is always saying something negative and complaining about everything around him/her; or are always wearing long sleeves even in very hot weather to potentially hide self-harm scars and/or fresh wounds, this person may be hurting him/herself.

 

What can you do to help?

 

When you notice this behavior, you can go through the process of “ALGEE to help them. ALGEE is an acronym explaining how best to approach a situation where someone may be self-harming.  A means Assess the situation for risk of suicide or harm; L means Listen to nonjudgmentally; G means Give reassurance and information; E means Encourage appropriate professional help, and again for Encourage self-help and other support.

 

Treatment and coping

 

For people who are considering self-harm, information below details the treatments and coping mechanisms:

 

    • Psychotherapy
      • Talking to a trusted confidant is the first step of treatment. This person could be a parent, friend, medical professional, or the best option would be a psychologist. During the conversation, a psychologist can explore their past experiences and emotions, and help people to release the pressure they put on themselves.  

 

    • Medication
      • Depending on the severity of the situation, doctors may prescribe medication to help overcome different emotions and emotional changes.

 

What are some resources on campus? Online?

 

If you are worried someone is suffering from this behavior, and you cannot give them proper help, here is contact information for professional support:

 

    • Student Health and Counseling Services: (530) 752-2349
    • Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency: (530) 666-8630
      • 24-hour Crisis Line: 888- 965-6647
    • Suicide prevention 24-hour helpline
      • 1-888-233-0228

 

Resources:

https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/related-conditions/self-harm

Body Positive

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By Kristen Lok, Healthy Aggies Nutrition intern

In our current society it’s easy to believe that looks are everything. From advertisements to Instagram models it is difficult to escape the societal pressure of having the “perfect body” or the idea that “the thinner the better”. In light of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I’ve been reflecting on whether our appearances really hold such importance to me and have decided the answer is no. I personally have felt the pressure of these expectations, plaguing myself with thoughts like “Am I too skinny?”, “Am I too fat?” or “Am I enough?”. I think our worth is not dependent on looks, but rather our actions, words and hearts that speak so much about the true beauty within us. Furthermore, I believe our bodies are something that we, alone, have the power to change, not society. We should be proud of and comfortable in our bodies. But in all honesty at times, it’s still hard to love our bodies. So how do we learn to accept and love our bodies? Here are some strategies I find helpful to stay body positive:

  1. Focus on what you love about yourself

                It’s easy to look in the mirror and see the things we think we don’t like about our physical appearance. The more we linger on these thoughts the more uncomfortable and negative we are towards our bodies. Instead, focus on the things you love about yourself both inside and out. This positive thinking can lead to a path of acceptance and comfort in our bodies.   

  1. Be wary of the messages on social media and advertisements

      Not everything we see from the media is what it seems to be. Many advertisements and magazines alter their photos. This gives us unrealistic expectations of what our bodies should and can be. Setting these expectations for ourselves will only leave us disappointed and feeling like a failure. So try filtering out companies or media accounts that body shame. Focusing and supporting body inclusive brands will spread more positivity.

  1. Try to stop comparing yourself to others

      We all have unique body shapes and sizes. Diversity is what makes us different and special. So embrace everything that makes up your body, because it is what makes you, “you”.  

I hope this week, you are able to reflect not only on how to stay body positive but also how to spread body positivity. Everyone struggles with loving their bodies. Therefore, being able to create a safe and accepting community will encourage us to feel confident and comfortable in our own skin. Look for the best in people because it not only inspires others to love their body but helps you too!