Monday, April 16, 2007

The Blogging Experience

My first blogging experience was very different than any other writing I have done in my journalism classes. This assignment was much more open because you had to find your own voice and take a stand on the topics you discussed. There isn't a specific formula for blog writing, you have to figure it out as you progress. I think reading other blogs from my classmates and on the web served as a guide to me as a first time writer.

I decided to write about health and fitness in relation to college life and more specifically Northeastern University. I picked this subject because it is interesting to me, but I initially had a hard time coming up with four or five topics to write about each week. The last month I was more successful at thinking up original and creative ideas. At first I only covered posts directly related to working out, physical fitness, or eating well. In the beginning, I narrowed the spectrum of what I could discuss too closely and there wasn't enough to post several times a week.

I also was sick on and off since January, so this made classes more challenging in general. At one point I considered taking a leave of absence because I was getting so behind on my academics. Fortunately, I have a week left and I'm glad I stuck it out, but it definitely was a long semester. It was ironic I decided to write about health because I struggled health wise the past couple of months. I definitely learned some cool, random facts and I'm glad I stuck with this topic. I think that the more I blogged, the better my topics and writing were. I see a big difference from January to April. I think this is mostly because I found a natural way to express my views and opinions in combination with valuable information from outside sources.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Attitude Adjustment"

"Optimistic thinking leads to a longer, healthier, and happier life."
-Allure Magazine

"It's not like, put on a smiley face button and live forever. Optimistic people act differently. They do things that public health experts say are associated with good health. They eat sensibly, they don't drink senselessly, they exercise, and they get their sleep. They even tend to look better as they age because they take better care of themselves. Optimists believe good things will happen in the future because they have some sort of control over them."

The people around you influence whether you have a positive or negative outlook on life. Surround yourself with friends who will elevate your state of mind, not bring you down. Nobody likes a downer. You know that one person who constantly finds something wrong no matter what the situation. Optimists categorize things differently than pessimists. The way you view the world and your experiences significantly effects your mental health.

And don't be too modest or attribute your successes to luck. Research shows that rejoicing in your successes leads to a more optimistic outlook on life. It will keep you feeling younger, too. Positivity and happiness are linked to youthfulness, so being this way simply makes you seem younger.

I think these points are important to consider because not many individuals consider their mental or emotional health. It is just as vital to your overall health as staying in shape physically and eating right. Most people think of the physical aspect when it comes to health. When we are stressed with school and work, it is easy to overlook the way we feel. It's important to take a few minutes each day to relax by doing something you enjoy doing and want to do, not something you have to or should do. Read a book or magazine, write in a journal, go for a walk, play basketball, paint, or draw. Find a hobby that you like because it can a have a big impact on the quality of your life. When we're expected to accomplish a certain amount of tasks each day, taking time to focus on yourself isn't usually included. My point is that it should be on your priorities list.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Short White Coat"

There is a new blog called "White Coat Notes" and it's written by a Harvard University medical student named Ishani Ganguli. It was started on Tuesday, so it's in the very early stages. I found it under the Health & Fitness section of the Boston Globe. The Globe is promoting the blog on its website.

"Short White Coat is our new blog, written by first-year Harvard medical student Ishani Ganguli. A short white coat is the hip-length garment worn by medical students to signify their place in the medical hierarchy. Ishani's posts will appear here, as part of White Coat Notes. E-mail Ishani at"

Have Great Posture!

I found a really informative health blog at It discusses a wide range of topics from fighting stress to rebuilding your immune system.

A post about posture caught my eye. There are 8 important reasons to have great posture:

1. Portrays a better, more confident image
2. Breathing becomes easier and deeper
3. Improves circulation and digestion
4. Makes you look slimmer and younger
5. Your voice will sound better
6. Help your muscles and joints
7. Change your frame of mind
8. Healthy Spine

As I was reading the article I became very aware of my posture and tried to sit up straight. Many of us naturally have great posture, but if you're tall like me you may tend to slump over a little. After reading this post, I will definitely be more conscious of it and remind myself to sit up straight and tall.

According to 8 Reasons to Have Great Posture : "People are often asked to sit up straight. This rarely has permanent effect because by the time someone needs to be reminded to do so, their body has adapted to be more comfortable in the slouching position. When they attempt to sit up “straight” they actually tighten the already over-shortened frontal muscles and tendons and this causes restrictions in the ease of breathing volume; tightening these muscles even slightly to make oneself more erect causes tightness in the entire upper body and reduces the ease of deeper breathing."

Clearly, it doesn't look right if you're hunched over your computer or plate at the dinner table. I never considered the effect your posture has on breathing or the muscles in your body. Not slouching also promotes maintaining a healthy spine and back. This makes sense, but I guess I never considered this when someone says sit up straight or don't slouch. The most obvious reason to have good posture is because it looks better and portrays confidence. Sitting up straight can change your frame of mind as well. When we're happy we tend to sit up very tall. Next time you're feeling stressed or unhappy remind yourself to sit up straight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NEU Health Survey Results

Here are the questions and results from my health survey:

1. How many times a week do you go to the gym?

2. For how long do you work out?

3. How would you rate your level of fitness on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best)?

4. How long is the cardio portion of your workout?

5. Do you lift weights? How often?

6. Is it harder to workout during the winter months? Are you less motivated or does the cold weather stop you from going to the Marino Center? Why or why not?

7. Are you happy with your physical appearance? Do you think your body reflects your level of health?

8. Do you consider yourself to be in shape?

Four out of five students said they think they are in shape, but aren't completely satisfied with their physical appearance. The majority of students said they workout about three times a week, four or five times a week being above average. Most peoples' workout routines combined cardio and lifting weights. Average workout times ranged from thirty minutes to an hour and a half. Cardio was a dominating component in peoples' routines, but lifting weights was combined in some way.

Students said it is easier to be lazy in the winter because you don't have to worry about how you look in a bathing suit. We wear alot of clothes in the winter, especially here in Boston where it's cold! Others mentioned the location of the Marino Center as a determining factor in their gym habits or lack their of. Location and weather combined have a great influence in how often we force ourselves to walk to the gym. A ten minute walk in 20 degree weather isn't very appealing, but you just have to suck it up. We're only young once and so we might as well take advantage of being healthy and having alot of energy.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Negative Cultural Obsession

"Skinny 911"! The April 2, 2007 Life and Style cover is titled "Skinny 911." Pictured are very thin celebrities, once again harping on our society's obsession with weight and image. Carrie Underwood, Mary-Kate Olsen, Star Jones, and Nicole Richie are just a few examples. According to an article about Carrie Underwood, she was a size 14 in 2005 and now is a size 2 in 2007. Apparently people are questioning if she is becoming too thin. In my opinion, she looks healthy. Someone like Nicole Richie looks anorexic. She is 5-foot-1 and weighs 90 pounds. There is nothing wrong with being thin if you're naturally built that way, but when your bones are popping out there's something wrong.

On the other hand, whose to say what weight is healthy for her. My problem is the affect female celebrities have as role models on young girls and women in general. Every time you flip through a magazine the image of a perfect body is thrown in your face. Advertisements with flawless models are abundant. I don't think the public considers the fact that pictures can be edited and air-brushed. They can be misleading and portray an image that isn't real.

It is important to be healthy and be at a weight and fitness level that is right for your body. Just because you weigh 100 pounds doesn't mean you're healthy. When you're 11 or 12 years old you look at a picture of your favorite actress and think "I want to be like them." Today we hear stories about girls who are 9 or 10 years old and suffer from severe eating disorders. It's terrible. We live in a culture completely focused on looks and physical appearance. Realistically, looks will never be completely dismissed, but the issues women have with their bodies aren't improving. How are we telling girls to feel about their bodies? It isn't okay to starve yourself and their is more to life than how you look. You want to promote inner confidence and inner beauty. Kids are very impressionable and these skinny trends due influence the way girls view themselves.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

"Buried Alive"

"Those who hoard bear the weight of their mess plus a mental disorder only now being understood. Treatment programs are just beginning."
-Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff

Go to: for the full article.

The article "Buried Alive" was published in the Boston Globe on April 2, 2007 and touches upon a weird issue. I say that it's weird because I have never heard of such a condition before. The story profiles a man who refuses to throw anything anyway and has junk piled up in his bedroom. We're not talking about a messy person here. We're talking about someone who has to save everything. It is now believed this condition is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder which affect 1 % to 2% of the population. Not much is known about this mental condition, but mental health experts have labeled it as a legitimate disorder. People who suffer from this disorder are often seen as slobs or lazy, when their intent is genuine. They don't want to be wasteful. I have never heard of such a condition, but I would think that if you're entire bedroom has a two-foot high pile of garbage and junk that there is a bigger problem then a lacking desire to clean.

Check out if you like to cook and are looking for some new ideas. The site is broken down into appetizers, main dishes, healthy salads, and side dishes. There are sixteen categories under the "Diets' headline, which include dairy-free and low-calorie. Pretty much there is something for everyone because it addresses different health concerns and issues related to food.

There is also a tab called view recipes and people can email in their recipes in this section. You can rate the recipe (five stars is the best). One thing that looks really good is the "Fabulous Fruit Salad."

1 red apple, cored and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 (8 ounce) container nonfat lemon yogurt

In a large bowl, combine red apple, Granny Smith apple, nectarine, celery, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Mix in yogurt. Chill until ready to serve.

I thought the fruit salad sounded and looked delicious. The picture definitely makes you want to try it and the idea of it in general makes me think of summer! There are hundreds of recipes on this site, so I'm sure everyone could find something they would enjoy.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Toxins in Canned Foods

I found an article posted today at about a toxic chemical that has been found in canned foods. According to the article, the Environmental Working Group found bisphenol A (BPA) in a high percentage of name-brand canned food. If you think about what you buy when you go to Shaw's, canned goods fill up some of your shopping cart. Vegetables, fruit, raviolis, dog food, and sauces are all canned.

What is BPA?
"BPA is an industrially produced chemical commonly used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA-containing resins are a common ingredient in the linings of canned goods."

One to three servings of chicken soup and instant formula can be harmful to a person. Chicken soup, instant formula and ravioli have the highest levels of BPA.

The FDA estimates that 17% of the U.S. diet comes from canned food, but there is no government safety standard regulating the amount of BPA allowed in such foods.

Make Sure You Get Enough Zzz's

It is easy to cut back on sleep when there are too many things to complete in one day or you need more time to get something done. Many medical studies stress the importance of sleep every night and describe the sleep cycles our brain experiences. "We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night's sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving."

When you lose just one hour of sleep it can have a great impact on your day. Experiencing a deep sleep helps prevent you from getting serious illnesses and produces hormones your body needs. You naturally feel tired between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. and again between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Here are some tips if you're looking to sleep better:

1. Go to bed and wake-up at the same time each day, even weekends (the weekends part may be a little difficult for some)

2. Don't exercise too late in the day.

3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

4. Don't drink alcohol before bed.

5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.

6. Don't nap after 3 p.m.

7. Relax before bed (don't watch t.v. or sit in front of the computer for an hour)

8. Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep.

Number 8 is probably the hardest to conform to in college when most people have a roommate. If you're lucky enough to have a single, it's easier to have an undisturbed sleep. The noise and distractions are unavoidable.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Fresh Air

Getting 15 minutes of fresh air is good for your body and spirit. Walking instead of driving also drops pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Less air pollution means we breathe in cleaner air. Yay! Today I walked down by the Charles with my roommate. Boston was an entirely different city this afternoon. People were out and about, biking, rollerblading, running, and walking. Others were simple relaxing by the water.

If working out at the gym with a million other people isn't appealing to you, than take advantage of spring's return. Activities like biking and rollerblading are fun for two reasons. You can get some fresh air and see Boston at the same time. There are paved paths down by the Charles where you can go.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nice Weather

The warm 50 degree weather certainly encourages a sunny outlook on your day. As the semester nears an end, your mind starts to wonder and dream about the gorgeous summer days not too far in the future. Although nice weather may distract you from class or tempt you not to go in order to enjoy the fresh air, it's definitely a mood booster.

If you wake-up to look out your bedroom window to find the sky is overcast and there isn't a speck of blue in sight, most people wouldn't be obliged to crawling back under the covers. A great sunny day without a cloud in the sky is a positive way to begin a Monday morning. I wonder if people realize the impact weather and sun can have on their mood?

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter blues, can have a big influence on many individuals. "Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that follows the seasons. The most common type of SAD is called winter depression. It usually begins in late fall or early winter and goes away by summer. A less common type of SAD, known as summer depression, usually begins in the late spring or early summer. It goes away by winter. SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight during different times of the year."

"As many as half a million people in the United States may have winter depression. Another 10% to 20% may experience mild SAD. SAD is more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn't start in people younger than 20 years of age. For adults, the risk of SAD decreases as they get older. SAD is more common in northern geographic regions."

There are a high number of people who suffer from SAD. This goes to show that the amount of sunlight you're exposed to can seriously impact your life. In Boston especially, the winters are long and there are periods where the sun hides forever. Luckily, it seems that spring is slowly rolling in.

Nice Weather

The warm 50 degree weather

Saturday, March 24, 2007


This year's BOSTON MARATHON is MONDAY APRIL 16, 2007. Expect the city to be bustling with lots of activity that weekend! It's definitely a uniting event for the city because old and young venture out and gather on the streets to cheer runners on. In order to quality, one must meet the specific time requirements for their age group. Registration for the race is closed for this year. The 2007 race will be celebrating its 111th running. The 26 mile run starts on Main Street in Hopkinton and finishes near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

Robert K. Cheruiyot (from Kenya) won the Men's Open last year with a time of 2:07:14. His time set a new record for the course. Rita Jeptoo (from Kenya also) won the Women's Open with a time of 2:23:38. is the official site of the Boston Marathon is you are looking for legitimate information on the race.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dentist

I have typed up and printed out a Northeastern University Health survey, which I will compile the results of and post about next week. Here are the questions I asked:

1. How many times a week do you go to the gym?
2. For how long do you workout?
3. How would you rate your level of fitness on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best)?
4. How long is the cardio portion of your workout?
5. Do you lift weights? How often?
6. Is it harder to workout during the winter months? Are you less motivated or does the cold weather stop you from going to Marino Center? Why or why not?
7. Are you happy with your physical appearance?
8. Do you consider yourself to be in shape?

On a separate note, the Boston Globe published a story about going to the dentist and how it is beneficial to your overall health. Most people hate their annual dentist visits or not so annual if you have bad teeth. It's painful to have a cavity filled or to get a root canal, which luckily I haven't experienced. Even when you simply get your teeth cleaned, it can be uncomfortable. My dentist at home is nice though and she's very gentle on your teeth.

Obviously, healthy teeth equal a beautiful smile and everyone wants to have a great smile. Studies have linked the early detection of gum disease to preventing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. If you have gum disease, you have a higher risk of suffering from the previous ailments.

According to the article "Advice for All Ages: Don't skip the dentist": "With pancreatic cancer, for instance, previous studies had suggested such a link, but those studies were muddied because many participants smoked, and smoking is a risk factor for both diseases. This time, even among people who never smoked, gum disease was linked to a doubling of the cancer risk, said epidemiologist Dominique Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health, the study's first author. It's still not clear, cautioned Michaud, whether that means the gum disease led to the cancer."

It's great how much information we have in the medical world today, but sometimes there are too many facts and statistics to process. Everyday the news has a new report on what is bad for you, what causes cancer, and what prevents this disease. At times the information can be contradicting. I guess there is still alot we don't know about diseases and finding cures for serious sicknesses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Sexy to Deadly"

It is funny that my last post was about cigarette smoking. I found a related article in today's issue of New York Times.

The famous surgeon's general warning was manufactured on cigarettes thirty years ago, but health historians believe the impact of this warning took many decades to influence smokers. According to the article Tracing the Cigarette's Path From Sexy to Deadly, "In contrast to the symbol of death and disease it is today, from the early 1900s to the 1960s the cigarette was a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure-a highly prized commodity for one out of two Americans."

Advertising in the past conveyed a sexy, cool image of people who smoked. Think about old western movies or any old movies for that matter. Smoking cigarettes said alot about the character, often linking smoking and being rebellious in a good way. There was certainly a positive connotation connected to smoking, while today I think a negative stigma is becoming dominant. If you look at old cigarette ads from the 1930s, they are scary. Camel used the slogan "More Doctors Smoke Camel." How scary is that??!!

"In the 1980s, scientists established the revolutionary concept that nicotine is extremely addictive. The tobacco companies publicly rejected such claims, even as they took advantage of cigarettes' addictive potential by routinely spiking them with extra nicotine to make it harder to quit smoking. And their marketing memorandums document advertising campaigns aimed at youngsters to hook whole new generations of smokers."

In 2007 the general public is well aware of the health hazards of smoking, but many people choose to ignore these dangerous truths. I do not hold anything against smokers and it does not change what I think about someone. My dad smokes and my mom did for a long time. All I am trying to say is that America needs to make an effort to encourage kids to find a different habit, one that won't give them lung cancer at 40 years old. I'm sure many people reading this would bring up alcohol. Studies show drinking in moderation is safe and there are even health benefits of drinking wine occasionally. I have never read one positive affect of smoking cigarettes. It helps you de-stress? Actually, it puts more stress on your heart and body.

Visit the following site: It has cigarette advertisements from the 1940s and 1950s, along with the texts of the ads. I can't believe the information the companies are promoting. Some of the ads not only suggest, but state that smoking could have health benefits such as healing a scratchy throat.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Smoking Ban

As time passes, smoking becomes less and less accepted by society. Obviously, a large number of the American population smoke, but the law has made changes to keep smoking a private habit. Five or ten years ago you would go to a restaurant and the host or hostess would ask you "Smoking or non-smoking?". I remember this clearly as a young kid because my parents smoked. Today, research shows that second-hand smoke is more devastating to your health than being a smoker yourself.

Only 19 states don't ban smoking in public as of 2007. The following states permit smoking in public areas: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, etc. Massachusetts doesn't allow cigarette smoking in public, but it does have some smoking bars such as cigar bars. There are a number of fancy cigar bars in the North End. The majority of states in the northeast have made it illegal, while certain regions haven't passed any legislation yet.

Everyone knows the health risks of smoking, but it is up to individuals whether they choose to or not. I don't think it's fair for people to be forced to be in a smoking environment at a restaurant. If you smoke, you can go outside for a cigarette or wait until you're finished with your meal. As is, we are constantly exposed to a great deal of pollution and toxins in our environment, especially if you live in the city.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Break

Unlike the many people walking around with amazing tans, any color I have is the result of tanning at Campus Tan seldomly. The "fake tan" isn't nearly the same as a tan from laying on the beach in Jamaica for a week. It's funny because everyone who went somewhere warm and tropical was bearing alot of skin today in the 50 degree weather. Yeah, it was warm for Boston and it was a lovely day. I don't thing 50 degrees calls for shorts and flip-flops. Maybe I wish I was that tan, but the truth is short and tee-shirt weather hasn't arrived yet.

I went home to New York over break and had two co-op interviews. I was offered a job at a local tv station, but I missed my interview for Fox News because I was sick. I am going home Thursday night and I have the re-scheduled interview Friday morning. Besides my interview, I went to the gym pretty often, caught up on sleep, and played guitar hero. My little brother got it for his birthday. I had never played before, but I was surprised how fun it is. I don't play video games often, but I played it quite a bit at home. I also had some homework to do, so I tried to finish whatever I needed to and even get ahead on some work. I saw some of my old friends, but most people have a different spring break. I wish I had the same time off as everyone else. Our semester ends early as well and no one is home then. Northeastern is on a weird schedule.

Although I was bored at times, the break went by fast. Hopefully, next year I can go away because I have never vacationed for break. Until then, these are the only memories I have of myself relaxing at the beach.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

FiT Tv

The next biggest thing: Fit TV. If you go to the website, there is an alphabetical listing of all the shows. You can tell by the name that the station is based on fitness, but they cover the topic from a variety of angles. There are some reality shows narrated by fitness trainers and all the drama we see on normal television. I watched a show last night, which followed the lives of personal trainers all working at the same gym. It profiled each of the people as they went through their daily routines at work, helping clients. It also displayed alot of the animosity that occurs in the workplace. Besides these silly shows, which are a source of entertainment when you're bored, there are serious instructed fitness programs. Here are some helpful shows to watch if you're looking for some guidance:
All Star Workouts
Gilad's Bodies in Motion
Total Body Sculpt with Gilad
Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limit
Namaste Yoga

Go to for a complete list of shows and their times because the list goes on forever! Some of the programs are geared towards serious gym goers, but a fair amount offer simple workouts you can do in your living room. If you're going to watch tv, you might as well be active while doing it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stressful Times

Hmm.... I couldn't come up with anything too exciting for this post. I created a survey about the basic workout habits of Northeastern students, so I'll have those results soon. I think it will be interesting to see how often individuals workout and how the winter affects their normal fitness routines.

I mentioned in a post several weeks ago that I've been sick on and off this entire semester. Finally, the last week and a half I was beginning to feel back to myself. My roommate was very sick with a stomach virus last week. I spent as much time as I could out of the room, hoping I wouldn't get sick myself.

This doesn't change the fact we sleep in the say bedroom, so I knew there was a good chance I would catch the bug. And I did! I woke up this morning very sick. The worst part is that I had an interview for a co-op position at FOX News in NYC and had to miss it. I was able to re-schedule the interview thankfully, but being sick becomes exhausting. I think I speak for a majority of Northeastern students, when I say the co-op process combined with school is very stressful. At a typical four-year college, student aren't concerned with preparing for competitive internships, tough interviews, or living arrangements in another city. I believe the co-op program is an excellent opportunity, but I wouldn't consider the lifestyle of Northeastern students ordinary according to the stereotypical definition of college life.

I have no problem working hard for everything I do. I'm not trying to argue that college students should have the luxury of being lazy and barely slide by without attending class and partying constantly. I'm a very hard working individual and I like to be challenged. If everything was handed to you on a silver platter, you wouldn't learn important life lessons. Simultaneously, I think certain personalities are impacted by stress more than others. I am one of those people who worry alot and become stressed fairly easily. I am conscious of this problem and I constantly remind myself to do what I can do. I do wonder how this affects our health? How many college students are walking around like robots trying to complete daily tasks, fueled by stress and pressure? I know I fall somewhere in the middle on the continuim because there are people who are far more obsessed with achieveing perfection and what is expected of them than myself. When you think about it, anxiety never helps you complete something faster, it just makes you unhappy.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Energy Drinks cont.

A recent article on focused on an energy drink called "Cocaine." The drink was pulled from the shelves of 7-Eleven in Dallas, Texas because of the products name. The reason it is called cocaine is because of the white writing and lines on the can.

According to "7-Eleven Store Pulls Cocaine Energy Drink":
"Each 8.4-fluid ounce can contains 280 milligrams of caffeine _ more jolt than a cup of coffee, a can of Coca-Cola or the leading energy drink, Red Bull _ but no cocaine."

The creators of the drink wanted a provocative name and I think "Cocaine" fulfills their demand to be noticed. I personally never heard of the drink, before I read the article. The issue is difficult because where do we draw the line as consumers. I'm sure young people got a kick out of the name and bought the drink solely for its appearance. This wasn't a national decision to remove the drink from shelves, only 7-Elevens based out of Dallas.

"Our merchandising team believes the product's name promotes an image which we didn't want to be associated with," said Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven. According to this statement, the reason 7-Eleven didn't want to sell the drink because it was afraid for their reputation. If I was the owner, I wouldn't want to be associated with the word cocaine in anyway.

The drink's main website is is entitled "The Legal Alternative." There is one section of the site devoted to "Rumors." According to the site, "We don't advocate drug use. What you do with your drink is completely up to you!" The company also claims there is no crash with this drink and it isn't as sweet as other energy drinks. I guess the only way to find out is to have one.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mid-terms continued, gym habits, and RED BULL

Yesterday I was complaining about this past week and how it has been so stressful. I observed that alot of people still make time to go to the gym. I spoke to a few gym goers and they all explained they still make time to work out regardless of their hectic schedules. If you think about all the things you want to accomplish in a day, the gym is just something else to add to the long list. For me, working out helps relieve stress. The hardest part is finding the time to get over to Marino or go for a run if the weather is strangely warm.

A significant part of this issue is the need for a change of scenery. How much time do you spend cooped up in the library or in your apartment doing homework and studying? Sometimes you need to breathe in some fresh air, although during the winter you don't want to remain outside for too long. A change of scenery is always nice.

My roommate, Stacey, goes to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. She usually brings her gym clothes with her to class and heads over directly after her classes. I think this is a smart idea for two reasons: It saves you another trip into the frigid winter wonderland of Boston, when the weather is extremely cold. Secondly, you make efficient use of your time because you don't go home and procrastinate. According to Stacey, working out helps to alleviate stress. I agree with her because exercising makes you feel better immediately afterwards. Even if you're tired, you have a natural energy boost for a few hours. It's healthier than drinking a can of Red Bull.

The following are some links reviewing the nutrition value of energy drinks:

This link gives a chemical analysis of the ingredients in energy drinks. It discusses taurine, a common ingredient used:

Read the article "Energy drinks pack a punch, but is it too much?" on It's several years old, but provides some smart information for consumers:

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This week hasn't been fun for most Northeastern students due to mid-terms. Not quite as terrible as finals week, mid-terms cause stress levels to increase greatly. I had a mid-term on Monday and Tuesday. I have a philosophy paper due tomorrow, which I will be spending the entire night writing. Then, I am home free. I think most people will need spring break to re-cooperate and charge their battery in order to fight through the remaining six weeks of the semester. I am certain I will. You have to ask yourself: What affect does minimal sleep and staring at a computer screen for six consecutive hours, busting out that last paper have on your physical and mental health? As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't do much good. I hate being in front of the computer all the time. In today's world, you can't function without a computer. Alot of your schoolwork is done on here, especially because of the internet.

Furthermore, email, talking online, myspace, and facebook have all stolen the attention of young people. How many hours a day do you spend in front of the computer? How does this influence your posture and eye sight? I don't think there is a simple solution to spending a minimal amount of time on the computer and honestly I don't believe most people mind. I am not personally a computer nerd, although I don't go a day without checking my email. Computers have developed into a powerful social and academic tool.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Are you tired of eating the same old frozen vegetables or is the only "vegetable" you've had lately a french fry? I encourage you to buy some fresh vegetables next time you go food shopping at Shaw's. Asparagus, broccoli rob, and string beans are great to buy fresh. To make the string beans you have to snap off the ends and then wash them. You can make them on the stove or in the microwave with spices and bread crumbs. Never heard of asparagus?! I used to hate them when I was a kid. My mom insisted I eat them and eventually I developed a liking for them.
Today, I eat most vegetables because my parents encouraged me to eat them at a young age and I developed a taste for them. You make asparagus in the microwave with water, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Cook them for about 3 minutes. They're really good for you! In the food store, broccoli rob looks like lettuce. It's big and leafy, but it shrinks down when you cook it. It's cooked on the stove with garlic and olive oil. My favorite! A good dish to make is broccoli rob and sausage.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I was perusing the internet for some blogs related to the topics of health and fitness. The website promoted some good discussions. Although the blog isn't devoted to college students, it talks about important issues for a range of audiences. One post on the presence of fitness magazines in print and online says they encourage people to get in shape. According to the article, "Indeed, there could be no better way to acquire the right information and facts about health and fitness like what fitness magazines can provide. It is definitely your one-stop health journal in a snap."

I agree the information in fitness magazines is probably very accurate and could steer a clueless individual in the right direction. At the same time, the covers of these magazines are very misleading. Women on the cover of Shape and Fitness have flawless bodies, hair, skin, and are absolutely beautiful. For the average person, this image is unattainable. This issue relates to many problems within American society and our obsession with weight, beauty, and overall physical appearance. Being a healthy person doesn't mean looking like the girls on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Survey News

I mentioned in my previous post that you may be interested in taking the survey yourself or reading more information about it. I didn't realize that there is a fee of $500 for taking the 300 question survey. I was going to do it myself and comment on the experience. Once I realized that the cost was ridiculous, I changed my mind. Apparently, you receive feedback about your health status in return for filling out and paying for the lengthy questionnaire. I don't think it's necessarily worth $500. The ACHA should pay us to do it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

College Health Survey

The National College Health Assessment, organized by the ACHA, provides information about college students through surveys in the following areas: alcohol use, tobacco use, drug use, sexual health, weight, nutrition, exercise, mental health, injury prevention, personal safety, and violence. The first question on the survey asks "Considering your age, how would you describe your general health?" The responses range from excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, and I don't know. The questions are very specific and in depth. They don't simply ask "Do you consume alcohol?" The survey asks how many hours you drank for, how many drinks you had over a specific period of time, how many times you have had 5 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting, and a range of others. The survey goes into great detail regarding alcohol use, drug use, and sexual health. The purpose of this information is to map results over a period of time and recognize patterns. It can benefit your college campus in order to:

"-identify the most common risks to academic performance and retention
-better understand students' health trends and determine the health areas of highest priority
-report on campus behavioral norms
-allocate monetary and staffing resources
-design new health programs and evaluate current strategies
-compare your specific campus data with national, aggregate ACHA-NCHA data"

The survey raises siginificant questions and speculation about the lifestyles of college students. By fall 2005, 261,035 students from 424 colleges nationwide participated in this survey. If you're interested in filling out the survey or learning more go to

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Healthy Eating Tips

An article from discusses 8 ways to cut calories from your diet and ultimately eat healthier. Some of the suggestions are pretty clever and they aren't hard to incorporate into your everyday routine. Alot of times dieting advice is impossible to integrate into daily exercising and eating habits unless you have a personal trainer and a cook. Here are the tips from the article "Smart Ways to Slash 100 (or More) Calories":

"1 Leave behind three or four bites of your meal. Research shows that people usually polish off everything they're served, even if they're not hungry.
2 Skin your chicken after cooking it. You'll retain moisture yet still strip away 148 calories and 13 grams of fat.
3 Blend your smoothie for at least five minutes. According to a Pennsylvania State University study, people who drank a breakfast smoothie mixed to twice its initial volume ate about 100 fewer calories at lunch than when they drank the same smoothie at the original volume. The extra air makes you feel fuller, say researchers.
4 Eat your sandwiches and burgers open-faced, with one slice of bread instead of two.
5 Order a cup of soup as an appetizer. People who fill up on soup (that's broth- or tomato-based, not cream-based) consume about 100 fewer calories during the rest of the meal, says a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
6 swap your chocolate bar (235 calories) for a glass of light chocolate soy milk (120 calories).
7 use butter-flavored nonstick spray, not a tablespoon of margarine or butter, to make grilled-cheese sandwiches and eggs.
8 Order a white-wine spritzer (80 calories) instead of a mixed drink (about 180 calories)."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Finding the Right Doctor

Northeastern's Health Center is a convenient place to go when you're sick. But, I don't think you get the same level of care as you do from your personal physician at home or the doctor you have been seeing since you were a child. Sometimes going to the Health Center isn't enough to cure your sickness. Although I am in my third year of school at Northeastern, I don't have a doctor here in Boston I can go to and I wish I did. When I don't have an ordinary sore throat or cold, I feel like I need to see a regular doctor. I think it's something important every freshmen should look into upon arriving in Boston. Even if you're older, I think it's a smart thing to take care of. Most students attend Northeastern for a period of five years, moving back and forth depending on their co-op. You don't have to search for a physician the moment you have a problem or serious illness.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Best Times to Work Out

What are the worst times to work out at the Marino Center? This is a tough question because it always seems to be bustling with energetic students and the occasional professor. Between the hours of 5 pm and 8 pm during the week, the gym is packed. I wouldn't advise you to go at these times if you usually go on the elliptical or treadmill. You'll end up waiting a long time!! I have found the best times to go are Saturdays and Sundays. It starts to get a little crowded by early evening on a Saturday, but it's empty for the most part all day Sunday. I went last Sunday night around 7 pm and no one was there. I guess Sunday is a day of rest for most people. It is even busy during the day from Monday to Friday. So, weekends are good anytime. As far as weekdays go, before 5 pm and after 8 pm are your best bet.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Energy Drinks: a Devil in Disguise

The Boston Globe published an article about energy drinks today. Sometimes energy drinks can be a quick fix during mid-terms and finals. How many times have you seen companies giving away free samples on Northeastern's campus?? The few times I have had an energy drink, I wasn't impressed. I couldn't sit still and it definitely didn't help me focus. You have a crazy sugar high and then your body just crashes. The aim of the story was that caffeine and energy drinks aren't healthy. The amount of caffeine in most drinks is more than the FDA limit. I'm not a big fan of Red Bull, but if it gets you through finals week that's great. Don't make a habit out of drinking them. If you're drinking three or four Red Bulls to get through the day then I think you need help!!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Cure Your Headache!

We all know having a terrible headache or waking up with a headache is a bummer. The simple answer is to take several Tylenol or Advil. The following blog offers an aromatherapy solution: According to the blog, chamomile, lavender, peppermint, neroli, and marjoram are an excellent natural cure for headaches. I don't expect anyone to have these herbs laying around their dorm room, but for someone who constantly suffers from stress headaches, this could be an answer.

According to a post about reading nutrition labels: "In order to plan a healthy diet, we must know how to read a food label. They show us if a food has a little or a lot of certain nutrients. Just look on the side of a product to find the Nutrition Facts title." I know I don't typically read food labels before I buy everything, but I guess it's a good idea. You don't have to make-over your life with all the suggestions this blog discusses, but it can't hurt to become a smarter consumer.

Another Blog to Check Out

The following blog discusses many important topics related to health and fitness:

The blog includes alot of specifics about studies and surveys done in health-related areas. The latest posting talks about American eating habits and how to beat the system. The site is for a company called GetFitSource, which sells fitness equipment as well as supplies fitness information and news. Their sources appear to be reliable experts, knowledgeable about fitness topics. According to GetFitSource, Michael Pollan recommends to cook your own food, pay more to eat less, shop at "farmer's markets" rather than chain grocery stores, and practice calorie restriction.

The blog also addresses many tabu topics not often talked about. A post from November is titled "Study: Exercise Cuts Snoring." The posting is based on a study, proving snoring leads to poor sleep habits, which in turn causes obesity. I didn't know any of this prior to reading the blog. This is just one example of links studies have to particular health benefits or harmful habits to avoid. I think everyone could read something that will have a positive influence on their overall well-being.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Breakfast is Good!

When you were little, your parents would always tell you to eat breakfast, at least my mom did. I was never hungry enough to eat at 6:30 in the morning and I didn't believe it would make a difference, either way. This semester my earliest class is 9:50. I make an effort to wake-up a little earlier, so I can eat in the morning. I have been sick the last month and still am not 100% better. Basically, I need all the energy I can get to make it through the day. Eating a breakfast, which consists of more than a Nutri-Grain bar or a donut, can have a positive impact on your daily life. If you're lacking energy, maybe coffee isn't the best decision!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Laugh Often

According to an article in Glamour Magazine, people who have a sense of humor about life have lower rates of heart disease and an overall happier life. You don't have to be laughing out loud hysterically for it to count, either. Just laughing to yourself, while watching t.v. or a movie has an impact on the quality of your life. I'm one of those people, who takes everything seriously. Sometimes you need to laugh off the confusion or stress you're under. It really makes you feel better.

It is also a wise idea to forgive and forget because holding onto negative emotions hurts your health over time. "Constant bad feelings are like pollutants in your body, triggering inflammation, just like cigarette smoke does," says study author Rosalind Wright, M.D."

Monday, January 29, 2007


It's funny I decided to write a blog on the topic of health and fitness. I plan to discuss ways to stay in shape, fun ideas for working out, tips on fighting the flu and colds, healthy and simple recipe ideas, and how to keep your immune system strong during the winter. The ironic part is that I have been sick myself the last several weeks. I haven't had the typical cold, sore throat, and cough, but have felt very exhausted. Hopefully, once I am 100% better, I can use everything I have written about to keep myself healthy! Life is harder, when you're not feeling well. There are a great deal of tasks to complete in one day: homework, classes, errands, work, food shopping, laundry, and the list goes on. Being sick slows you down significantly. That's why it's important to make the extra effort and prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Food Network

If you go to, they offer a number fast dinner ideas. For those of you tired of eating the cafeteria food and aren't talented cooks, they offer some good suggestions. There's a section which tells you the best fruits and vegetables to get during the winter season and then recipes to go along with them. Part of staying healthy is definitely eating right. The site has a section with twenty-five winter wellness recipes, which I thought was pretty cool. Not only can you stay healthy, but cooking could be a fun indoor activity. The Food Network also recommends the "Top Ten Foods for Better Health": berries, citrus, vegetables, wholes grains, salmon, legumes (beans, peas, nuts, and lentils), nuts, seeds, lean proteins, tea, and olive oil. You can easily find recipes for all the foods on the list within the website. I haven't tried any recipes yet, but I definitely plan to. I'll keep you updated on the ones I reccomend!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Winter Wellness

When I think of this weekend's weather, two words come to mind. ABSOLUTELY FREEZING!!! Smart people opted to spend their Friday inside, where it's nice and warm. My friends and I still went out, but decided the walk to the T-stop would be too painful. So, we took a cab out and back home. Our formerly mild winter has taken a turn for the worst. Temperatures in the low single digits combined with a wind chill make it brutal to step outside.

It is important to dress warm and take the necessary steps to avoid getting sick! All Boston students still have to walk from destination to destination, regardless of the outside conditions. Dressing appropriately, meaning don't walk to the gym in shorts, (no matter how tough you are) is a good rule to live by. Wash your hands often, rest when you're sick, wear a hat, and take your vitamins. The following sites offer useful tips on how to survive winter:,1072,0_312_3683,00.html

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Health Tips

"He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything."-Arabian Proverb

I found an interesting article about improving your health at The article discusses ten ways to be a healthier person. Some of the tips are common sense, while others are ideas I never considered. For example, they mention there is a direct connection with living a long life and flossing your teeth frequently. Who would have known?! Other suggestions are more obvious: Don't drink excessively. This could be a potential problem for some college students because a majority of the social scene is linked to drinking and alcohol. The article encouraged people to have a positive mental outlook because there's a strong connection between living well and thinking positively. The best way to stay active is to choose the stairs rather than taking the elevator. Everyone knows the elevator is a tempting option, even if you only live on the third floor!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fitness Classes

The Marino Center offers group fitness classes as well. There are cardio, muscle conditioning, cardio and muscle conditioning, pilates, yoga, cycle and cardiobox classes. The schedule varies from month to month, but classes are offered seven days a week. The fee is fifty dollars for the semester and you're allowed to take an unlimited number of classes. Just some food for thought!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Intramural Sports

Northeastern's registration for spring intramural sports has a deadline of February 23. The following sports teams are offered:

1. 3-on-3 Basketball
2. 5-on-5 Basketball
3. 6-on-6 Volleyball
4. Co-ed Broomball
5. Co-ed Dodgeball
6. Ice Hockey
7. Indoor Soccer
8. Mini Lacrosse

Check out for more information. I think intramural sports are a fun way to stay active if you don't like working out by yourself or can't stand running on the treadmill. I played intramural basketball last year and I really liked it. The players are enthusiastic, but not overly competitive. You have the option of forming your own team and then registering. If you don't have friends you want to play with, you can sign yourself up as a free agent and a team will pick you up. There is also a option on Northeastern's Campus Recreation site to search for a tennis, squash or raquetball partner. People can post messages about their skill level and leave their email if anyone is interested in playing. I never saw this before and I thought it was a neat idea. The Marino Center offers alot of activities and outlets for staying fit and expanding your social network simultaneously.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


My name is Ami and I am a junior, journalism major at Northeastern University. I have chosen to focus my blog on health and fitness, more specifically incorporating these ideas into a busy college lifestyle. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between, work, school, studying, social activities, exercising, eating right, and getting enough rest. I think everyone is always looking for new ideas and advice about staying fit, losing weight, getting in shape, and most importantly living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

During the wintertime in Boston, the frigid weather makes you want to hibernate indoors until the spring. The hardest part about going to the Marino Center to work out is battling the cold. Also, you don't always have enough time to work out as often as you would like. I want to offer workout ideas you can do in your dorm or apartment and fun ways to stay active. I hope to suggest pointers to make the most out the time you do spend at the gym.

Two good websites to look at are and They have a variety of articles and information on getting fit and eating healthy.