No time to be sick?



By: Vivian Siu, Healthy Aggies Nutrition Intern

Can you believe it’s week 7 already? With the second wave of midterms, work, internships, and everything else in between, what could be the cherry on top? It’s the feeling that you’re about to catch a cold or even worse, the flu. For me, the last thing I’d want to do is rest since I know I’d fall behind. Well, what should you do then if you find yourself with a cold or the flu? Here are some tips to help you avoid getting sick or to help you recover!

  1.     Get some rest and relax – lots of it.

As a busy college student, time is of the essence. Resting doesn’t always seem like a good use of time because that’s time that could be spent studying, working, or hanging out with friends. However, it’s important to allow your body to rest, in order to help it fight off any infections. Another benefit of resting is that you lessen the chances of passing your cold to someone else by decreasing the exposure rate to others. It’s important to relax as well, because stress can prolong the length of your illness and make you feel worse.  

  1.     Stay hydrated!

Most people believe that drinking more fluids “flushes out” the cold, but in actuality, it rebalances the electrolytes and blood volume in your body. When the body is dehydrated, the body doesn’t perform as well causing our blood to thicken. Which then makes the heart focus on improving blood circulation, instead of focusing on fighting the infection. In addition, drinking hot fluids can help soothe sore throats and congestion. Specifically, hot tea has natural bacteria-fighting compounds, and chicken soup contains an amino acid, cysteine, that is known to remedy nose congestion and persistent coughs. But if you’re looking for something more simple, just add lemon slices to your water!

  1.     Wash your hands often.

As simple as this may sound, it makes a big difference. How often do you find yourself touching your eyes, mouth, and nose? Well, these are all openings for bacteria to get in which can cause you to get sick. Bacteria from your hands can also transfer to objects such as door handles which increases the risk of infecting other people.

  1.     Eat nutrient-dense food.  

If you’re like me, I tend to lose my appetite when I’m feeling sick. However, during times of sickness, it’s even more important to have enough nutrients so you provide your body with enough energy and resources to fight off the infection. Here are some foods that I incorporate into my diet when I’m feeling sick.

  • Fruits

My personal favorite are citrus fruits because they’re so refreshing. Many people tend to go for vitamin C supplements when they’re feeling sick. However, fruits like oranges, kiwis, and lemons contain flavonoids, which can boost your immune system and speed up your recovery.

***Note, if you experience symptoms of an upset stomach, you might want to avoid citrus foods because the acidity can further irritate your stomach.

  • Ginger

Put it on anything and everything! Personally, I’m not a fan of ginger tea because of the spicy burn that accompanies it. My go-to meal is chopping up the ginger and adding it into rice porridge. I swear-by this remedy because it instantly helps me breathe better. This is because ginger is a natural expectorant, meaning it can help break down and remove mucus; thus, it clears up your sinuses and helps you breathe better.

Everyone gets sick. But eating nutrient dense foods and being active can help prevent you from getting sick often and, along with plenty of rest, help you feel better faster. Another preventative measure is to get your seasonal flu shot. For UC Davis students, you can schedule an appointment to get your flu shot over at the Student Health and Wellness Center. For more information, visit their website here.


Valentine’s Day Alternatives?

chocolate heart

By Michele Lum, Healthy Aggies Intern, UC Davis

It’s that time of the year again, where loved ones show their appreciation toward each other by enjoying a romantic dinner together or exchanging sweets. Sweets can have a negative impact on your health, so does that mean you shouldn’t eat any on this special day? Absolutely not. Although it is recommended to avoid consuming too many sweets on a daily basis, it is okay to treat yourself once in a while. At the same time, it’s good to keep some alternatives in mind. Here are 5 easy ways you can make your Valentine’s Day healthier and more meaningful.


  • Opt for Dark Chocolate


Dark chocolate has a lot of health benefits! Quality dark chocolate, which are those with a high percentage of cocoa, has less sugar and can be pretty nutritious. It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and a lot more. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which help decrease inflammation in our body. Short term inflammation can lead to acne and long-term inflammation can lead to chronic diseases. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, milk chocolate isn’t the worst option. Just be aware that it contains less nutrients and has more added sugars and creams. Going off of that, white chocolate contains no cocoa solids meaning it has none of the nutrients that dark and milk chocolate do, and is loaded with sugar and cream, making it the least healthy of the three.

2)    Chocolates that Pack a Healthier Punch

Chocolate covered fruit is another way to go. You can buy a box of strawberries or blueberries and dip them into melted chocolate; this way you can receive the nutritional values of the fruits while enjoying the harmony of flavors. If you don’t have enough time to buy fruits and melt chocolate, there’s always the option to buy fruit/nut coated chocolate.

3)    Buy Other Kinds Valentine’s Gifts

Rather than buying chocolate for your Valentine, maybe opt for a stuffed animal or roses. The stuffed animal can keep your partner company while you are out. It has also been said that plushies are able to help with anxiety and depression. The roses can spread their fragrant scent around the house and are also very appealing to the eye.

4)    Cook a Healthy Meal Together

What better way to spend time with your loved one than to cook together? It would be more economical than going out to a fancy restaurant and it could be healthier too. A lot of time for adults or college students, different things like work and school can get in the way of seeing your significant other. Spending those few hours together to cook would be a great and fun way to catch up. It will also help you learn about each other’s food preferences and different skills in the kitchen. Want to make the meal more romantic? You can set some flowers on the table, light some candles, and maybe play some Italian music.

5)    Go on a walk or hike together

Conveniently, this year’s winter in Davis is a lot warmer than usual. You should take advantage of that, grab a water bottle, put on a pair of sneakers and head out to enjoy nature’s beauty alongside your beauty. Maybe you can stroll around the arboretum or even downtown. It would be a cute way to work off some of the calories gained from the sweets or your romantic meal ; it is also the perfect time to spend time talking to each other.

Keeping these tips in mind can help enhance your Valentine’s Day experience and make it more meaningful. If you’re a late planner these tips don’t seem feasible for you, then it is perfectly fine to go out and purchase sweets for your loved ones, just remember that everything is safe in moderation.

What is happening behind all of those temporary walls in the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC)?

Guest Post by:  Deb Johnson, Director, Activities and Recreation Center, UC Davis

This may be a question you are asking yourself or hearing others discuss. We promise you that the growing pains you are experiencing with our expansion project will be worth the wait.

“Wait” is a word that is tough for all of us to swallow with our impacted schedules.  We are aware that our facility is crowded and we are working to provide a space where you will not have to wait for equipment to open up to complete your workout in a timely manner.

To meet the growing needs of students, the campus is expanding the ARC by 16,300 square feet in the existing central courtyard area.

Expanding the ARC facility will include improvements such as:

  • More strength equipment (free weights, racks, benches and Olympic weightlifting platforms)
  • More inviting and open spaces to create your own work-out space
  • The addition of new cardio equipment and increased number of our patrons favorite pieces
  • A new boxing studio
  • New day use lockers throughout first and second levels
  • Outdoor exercise space
  • Expanded cycling studio
  • Expanded cardio loft on the second floor with the addition of views facing outside
  • Enhanced energy efficiency of the building
  • The addition of Wi-Fi

The expansion will result in shorter wait times, allowing ARC members to complete their workouts and return to class, studying or work.

Student fees will not increase to fund the expansion. The project is funded from the FACE/LLEAP initiative that was passed in 1999 to build the ARC. The referendum was designed to allow for the building to be operated, maintained and renovated as it aged. Therefore, the project is being built without any increase in student fees.

We would like to ask for your help!

For the next month, we will be testing out four new pieces of cardio equipment.

  • Alpine Runner: Climb heights of famous landmarks with an incline much steeper than a traditional treadmill.



  • Spectrum: Adjustable stride 13” to 30”


  • A7xi Ascent Trainer: Advanced Sprint 8 High Intensity Interval Training program


  • Rower:  Magnetic resistance, with distance rowing and high-intensity training programs



You can find these pieces located at the Main ARC Entrance off La Rue Road on the first floor.  Please try them out and complete the comment card about your experience to help determine if we should add these new pieces to our cardio loft.

We would also like to know if there is equipment, you really enjoy that you want to see more of at the ARC or something we are missing altogether.  This is a great opportunity for you to share your ideas directly with our director, Deb Johnson.  Please email her at

Keep an eye out for those big blank walls across from the climbing wall, as they will soon have renderings of what is to come so that you too can be excited about the opportunities coming your way.


Vitamins for College Students



Vitamins are a group of organic compounds with regulatory functions. Vitamins cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by the body; therefore we must obtain them in adequate amounts from food. There are 13 universally recognized vitamins: 9 water-soluble vitamins and 4 fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in body (except Vitamin B12), and mostly are non-toxic when we intake them excessively. On the contrary, fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in body, and most of them are toxic at excessive doses. Generally it is not recommended for people without malabsorption issues to take vitamin supplements, because we can get enough through a healthy diet! While every vitamin is essential,today our emphasis is on vitamins that are beneficial to college students.

Vitamins D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and has many functions that help people stay healthy. Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin from the sun, and helps the body absorb calcium. Along with calcium, vitamin D helps to keep our bones healthy and strong. Vitamin D also plays an important role in our immune system, which protects us from illness and infections. Good food sources of vitamin D include: liver, beef, veal, eggs, dairy, some saltwater fish, and foods fortified with vitamin D. College students have large amounts of physical activities, so intaking enough vitamin D can help students have healthy bones to do daily activities.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is another fat-soluble vitamin, and it is stored in the liver. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy eyes, keeping the immune system strong and helping cells function properly. There two forms of vitamin A: retinoids and provitamin A, also known as carotenoids. Retinoids are found in animal products such as liver, dairy, eggs, fish oils, tuna, and sardines. Carotenoids are found in plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables that are bright colors to yellow, orange and red. Since we have stressful academic works everyday, it is really important to take adequate vitamin A to protect our vision.

B Vitamins

B vitamins include a group of 8 water-soluble vitamins called the vitamin B-complex. Vitamin B-complex has a very important role in energy releasing. One or more B vitamins are involved in every aspect of catabolic process, and provide energy to us by breaking down molecules through process. Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins in this process. Vitamin B12 also has functions in the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. Good food sources of vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products. We also can choose foods that are fortified with vitamin B12.

All 13 vitamins are essential for our health, so it is important to follow the “My Plate” template and choose a wide range of foods to get enough vitamins, as long as they are not in any serious diseases or conditions.–vitamin-d-deficiency-


Importance of Study Breaks


By Kristen Lok, Nutrition Student, UC Davis

As college students returning to school, many of us have made goals to improve our academic performance in this new year. However, knowing how to budget our time and focus between studying and other responsibilities is not as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, it takes a toll on us physically and mentally. Taking breaks from the hustle of the college student life allows us to recharge, boost our productivity and increase our focus. But how to make breaks the most effective? How long should breaks be? Find answers with these 7 study break tips!


  • Be Active


Exercise has been proven to recharge the mind, and reduce stress and fatigue.  The break doesn’t have to be strenuous; low intensity exercises such as stretching, walking or doing jumping jacks all have the same effects.


  • Take a Nap


Naps improves memory, increase productivity and creativity, and reboot mind. Taking short 25-30 minute naps are most effective for a quick energy boost.  


  • Avoid Opening Social Media


Scrolling through social media during study breaks doesn’t allow you to maximize your rest time. Opening social media increases the chance of losing track of time and fails to boost energy.  


  • Meditate or Deep Breathing Exercises


Meditation and deep breathing de-stresses and clears your mind. These practices will allow you to return to any task relaxed and focused.


  • Stay Hydrated


Drinking water has been proven to increase academic performance. Staying hydrated increases memory, keeps one focused and reduces anxiety. So, keep a water bottle close by when studying or go get water during study breaks to combine activity with staying hydrated.


  • Make a Study Plan


Creating a schedule or plan for your day will allow you to better balance your time. Break studying and projects into smaller tasks.  Having set times for these smaller pieces allows a decrease in stress and more efficient performance.    


  • Study in 50-60 Minute Intervals


Working for long periods of time reduces focus and effectiveness. Taking 10-15 minute breaks after every hour of studying allows your mind to refocus and recharge.

Practice implementing these tips to create a pleasant environment and maintain a healthy mind this winter quarter!  

Kitchen Hacks: Which Ones Work?

Rustic Kitchen Display

By: Joely Zeng, Nutrition Peer Counselor, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness Center

Wondering if the kitchen and food hacks you see on Facebook videos and Buzzfeed articles actually work? I’m going to test five popular hacks and give my opinion on if its a successful tool to aid you in your future cooking endeavors or not.

My criteria is based on:

  • How easy the hack was
  • Effectiveness
  • How often can this hack be used

The Hacks

1. Remove strawberry stems with straws

D3A6CEB6-1644-4BAB-8E73-19DDB067C7F3Overall Score: 3/10

Unfortunately the hack just doesn’t really work! I tried two types of straws in which the red one was slightly wider and stronger and two sizes of strawberries, but both straws just simply pierced through the strawberries. Three points are given for the easiness of the hack and the possibility of using this hack often. It’s also possible that maybe the straw size just has to perfectly match the width of the stem for the hack to work, but no higher score can be given as it just wouldn’t be an easy hack anymore. 

2. Make scrambled eggs in the microwave

img_6276.jpgOverall Score: 5/10

May be a bit intuitive but scrambled eggs can be made in the microwave! It’s also quicker and more hassle free than using a pan which indicates that the hack can be used often. The downfall of the hack though is that the taste and texture of the eggs suffered. The eggs didn’t taste like eggs and had become rubbery. Personally, I would rather go through the hassle of using a pan.

3. Open a tight jar lid with duct tape 

IMG_9663Overall score: 7/10

This was actually a hack I’ve never heard of before and good news! The duct tape was successful at removing the lid. However a few points were deducted for trickiness I did not anticipate. For example, I accidentally taped the lid on the right side (pictured above) when it should have been taped on the left side to follow the “lefty loosey and tighty righty” trick when pulling the tape from the roll. Another good thing to note is that the lid might fly off like the cork of a champagne bottle, so make sure you’re not wearing any white shirts!

4. Separate eggs with an empty plastic water bottleIMG_0271Overall score: 9/10

This hack is pretty popular but I’ve never bothered to try it out because I was quite content using egg shells. Overall I was pretty amazed by this hack! After playing around with it, I realized that it was a more efficient method if you’re trying to separate a few or more egg yolks. Also, it’s super fun and difficult to break the yolk. One downfall I found is that plastic bottles aren’t an item I have usually in my kitchen and they’re more wasteful than just using the egg shell.

5. Put a ziploc bag around ice cream to leave it staying soft in the freezerIMG_6426Overall Score: 4/10

I was pretty excited to try this hack because of the raves from my friend! Unfortunately, I was left disappointed. The scooping of the ice cream wasn’t any more soft than my ice cream not placed in a plastic baggie. I did notice that it wasn’t as icy as usual but this may be due to length of stay in the freezer and the higher quality ice cream. Points were awarded for how easy and do-able it would be if the hack worked. I don’t want to give up on this hack though and will in the future compare with different quality ice creams and varying amounts of air left in the ziploc bag to come to a final conclusion if the hack works or not.

Sustaining Your New Year’s Resolution


By Jackie Ahern

It’s a little over a week into 2018: a perfect time to reflect on the successes and struggles of those pesky New Year’s resolutions we all seem to make. For those of you that have stuck to your goal of going to the gym more often, or eating more leafy greens, congratulations! Research has shown it takes 21 days to make something a habit, so you’re halfway there! For those of you that haven’t been so successful, you’re absolutely not alone.

New Year’s resolutions are tough. For one, there are a lot of expectations and hype surrounding becoming a newer, better version of yourself, al starting on January 1st (or the 2nd if that NYE party was a real rager); however, in reality, time is relative. There’s no difference between starting a new habit on January 1st or June 1st, other than those 6 months. Granted you live for at least 20 more years (here’s hoping), 6 months is a pretty small fraction. What I’m trying to say is that January 1st isn’t the end-all-be-all for changing your life for the better. If you aren’t able to stick to your first resolution for whatever reason, whether it be that it’s too expensive, too time-consuming or just too difficult to keep up, that’s okay. You don’t have to abandon the resolution; just modify it. When an engineer designs a building but it gets painted the wrong color, they don’t tear down the whole building. They just repaint it.

A good New Year’s resolution, or any lifestyle change for that matter, needs to be something you can see yourself being able to continue for the rest, or most, of your life. For example, I know I cannot completely cut out desert forever (have you ever had ice cream?) but what I could do is cut down on my portion size, or only have it a couple times a week instead of every night. Additionally as a student, working out every day at 7am isn’t exactly sustainable, but working out after class 3 or 4 times a week could be. If down the line you find yourself suddenly hating ice cream, or craving more workouts, you can definitely switch some things up, but in the beginning, its best to start small with more attainable goals.

So what is a good way to assess an attainable, smart goal? Well, there’s a convenient acronym for that. It’s called SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Specific refers to a clear definition of the goal, such as “I will take a 30-minute walk in the morning, 3 times a week” versus just, “I will get in shape.” Measurable means having a way to evaluate how thoroughly the goal has been met, such as marking exercise days on a calendar or keeping a food journal. Achievable means the goal must be within the realm of possibility; for example, “I will lose 1 pound a week” instead of, “I will lose 20 pounds this month.” Talking to a professional like a doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer can help to navigate how achievable a health-related goal is. Relevant refers to how much the goal fits in with your lifestyle and other pursuits. For example, while in school, a resolution such as “I will learn how to swim” may be more relevant than “I will learn how to scuba dive.” Lastly, timely means that the goal should have some defined checkpoint or endpoint, such as “I will eventually be able to meditate for 20 minutes by adding 5 minutes to my meditation every 2 weeks.” Of course, from there you can decide to modify the goal.

And finally… Think about where you were 3 months ago. If you had made just a small lifestyle change then, today could a very different day. With time flying by the way that it does, who knows where you could be in just a few months by taking a small step towards a healthier future, today.