Feast for the Fourth

When any holiday rolls around, there always seems to be a common misconception that the food provided HAS to be unhealthy in order to enjoy the festivities with loved ones. In honor of Fourth of July being last week, preparing meals can be fun and patriotic without sacrificing flavor. Here are some healthy alternatives covering each course that will get the crowd satisfied, without feeling the guilt.

Appetizer | Watermelon Arugula Salad and Feta Salad

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 7 oz arugula
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced very thin
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper

Directions

  1. Wash arugula and dry well.
  2. In a large bowl whisk vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss with the remaining ingredients and serve.

Main Entree | Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound recipe of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 leaves basil chopped + divided
  • 8-12 ounces brie sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries chopped
  • 3/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough 1-2 hours ahead of time.
  2. Well the dough rises make the honey balsamic glaze. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to small saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
  3. When ready to grill the pizzas preheat the grill the high heat.
  4. Add the blackberries to a bowl and add about half of the basil. Lightly mash the blackberries with a fork.
  5. Invert a baking sheet and generously dust with flour.
  6. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll each half as thin as you can, but make sure not to rip the dough. Cut the dough into 12 to 16 squares or circles (I did both). Add the olive oil to a small bowl and brush both sides of the pizza rounds with the olive oil and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Carefully add half of the pizza rounds to the hot grill and grill for no more the 2 minutes. The dough will bubble up, this is good! Remove the pizzas using tongs and repeat with the remaining pizza rounds. When all the pizzas are grilled, turn the heat on the grill down to medium.
  8. Top the grilled side of each of the pizzas with slices of brie, but make sure to leave a 1/2 inch border around the edges so the brie does not melt all over the grill. Then top with lightly mashed blackberries and the chopped strawberries. Carefully return the pizzas to the grill and grill another 3 to 5 minutes, our until the brie has melted and the pizzas are crisp. Top with the remaining fresh basil and drizzle on the honey balsamic glaze.
  9. To make the American flag pizza place the the blackberries in the left hand corner of a square pizza crisp and then push the strawberries into the brie in rows. Grill as directed above.


Dessert | Gluten Free Fruit and Yogurt Granola Cups

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • Cooking oil spray
  • 1 egg
  • 1 12-ounce bag Udi’s Gluten Free Au Naturel Granola
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Fresh berries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut oil, and egg; stir. Add granola and stir to combine.
  3. Spoon granola mixture into 10 muffin cups, filling each ¾ full. With your fingers, press the granola into the muffin cups and create a small indentation in the middle of each granola cup. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes in the muffin tin before removing.
  4. Once cooled, fill the muffin cups with yogurt and top with berries. Serve.

 

Drinks |  Blueberry Sangria

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Ingredients

  • 1-½ cups ready-to-serve blueberry juice
  • 1-½ cups chilled white wine or apple juice
  • ¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur, optional
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-½ cups chilled lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite

Directions

  1. Into a 2-quart pitcher, combine blueberry juice, wine and liqueur, if used
  2. Add orange and lemon slices and fresh blueberries
  3. Chill until ready to serve
  4. Just before serving, stir in soda
  5. Serve in tall glasses over ice cubes, if desired

 

These patriotic-themed delights are not strictly reserved for the holiday season and can be implemented into any outdoor barbecue occasion. The light and fresh ingredients of each recipe are perfect to satisfy anyone this summer season!

 

Bon Appetit!

Diana Banzon

Benefits of the Beat

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In honor of Summerfest quickly approaching us, what better way to celebrate how music brings us together than acknowledge the impact it provides for our health. Music is often disregarded as a factor that contributes to overall health and wellness, but its effect and overall message are nothing but powerful. Something as simple as sound has the capability to motivate and inspire people into living their best life. Here are a list of the benefits it has on us and why we should be constantly jamming out to our favorite beats!

Strengthens Running Performance

Working out exerts an immense amount of energy and effort! It would only make sense to reflect that in your music of choice that pumps you up for the work you are going to endure. I personally could NEVER work out without music because I find that it gives me that extra boost of motivation that I need to pull through and finish off strong!

Enhances Sleep Quality

Unfortunately, about 30% of Americans deal with insomnia. Studies showed that students who listened to relaxing music before bed significantly experienced better rest in comparison to students who listened to an audiobook or didn’t change anything from their usual routine.

Limits Food Intake

Studies done at Georgia Tech University showed that dimming the lights and softening the music while people ate led to the consumption of fewer calories and an increase of enjoyment within their meals. Set up the ambiance and make the most out of every meal experience.

Reinforce Learning and Memory

Studies showed that music reinforces your memory but depends specifically on the person, whether or not they were a musician, and what type of music is being presented. As as a result of the research, subjects who were musicians learned and retained information better with more neutral music, as opposed to subjects who were not musicians that learned better with music of their liking. I always find myself associating songs with memories that occurred during the time I listened to that song, that it can only makes sense that one triggers the other!

Makes You Smarter

A study at York University showed that a month of music lessons involving rhythm, pitch, melody and voice contributed to an 90% increase in verbal intelligence among children between the ages 4 to 6. The music training implemented within the lesson has a “transfer effect” that enriches the children’s ability to comprehend words and their meaning.

Alleviates Pain

Music treatment such as softer genres such as classical pieces, meditative music, etc. is used for various patients that is said to reduce pain.

Ability To Shift Mood

Whether you are happy or sad, music has the ability to reflect your current mood. Various beats and messages really resonate with people and their life experiences, making the love for music so universal!

 

Diana Banzon

Combating The Daily Zzz’s

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With my new 8-5 schedule at my internship, I have finally come to terms that I am not as young as I used to be. Back then, I would be full of energy and never wanted to take naps, but now that is all I could ever dream of. Despite never being a coffee or energy drink type of person in the morning or in general, I have realized as to why so many people rely on their daily dose of caffeine to kick start their day with energy. With caffeine having the reputation of being known to contribute to negative health effects, I wanted to find alternatives that could help achieve the same end goal of staying awake and energized to finish the day strong!

First, I want to address the negative impacts on caffeine and as to why it was crucial for me to find healthier options to combat tiredness. It is considered as a natural stimulant that targets the central nervous system. Depending on the amount of caffeine, Mayo Clinic suggests that it can lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. Caffeine has the potential to cause withdrawals to those who abruptly stopped consuming it, but were previously reliant on it. Despite the negatives, caffeine does serve its benefits to people who consume it on the daily. Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, so remember that moderation is key!

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Water is an easy fix to sleepiness because dehydration is known to contribute to overall fatigue.

Get MOVING!  Staying sedentary for hours upon end only contributes to tiredness that leads to no productivity. So when you feel the z’s coming in, get up and walk around. Do anything you need to do to get your body active.

Eat to Refuel!  Low blood sugar causes mental fogginess and lethargy. Increase it by eating healthy snacks that will maintain its longevity when it comes to providing energy!

Spark Conversation! The beauty of conversation is that it can be easily done in a workplace where people usually find themselves getting tired. You are surrounded by co-workers who are busy getting their tasks done, but sometimes a chat break, where you are fully engaged, is just what you need to maintain the energy that will last you throughout the day.

TURN UP the Lights! Dim lighting is known to contribute to fatigue. Turning up the brightness within any space increases overall alertness that will shake you back into work mode!

SWITCH it UP! Doing the same task over and over, gets old whether you are tired or not. Rotate the tasks you are working on, if one in specific is burning you out. It is not beneficial to dwell on a project that is wearing you out, when you can be using that time toward something else. It will keep your mind stimulated and encourage full engagement in the projects you are working on.

Remember to stay awake and be engaged in everything you do. Life is too short to be missing out. Despite work having the tendency of draining you mentally and physically, don’t let something like tiredness hold you back from achieving your full potential!

 

Diana Banzon

Watermelon is the Way to GO!

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What fruit is prominent within this scorching summer season, that just so happens to be the best way to cool yourself off and satisfy your hunger? Watermelon of course! As I am here at my job munching on some for breakfast, I wanted to thoroughly investigate in what exactly I am putting into my body, since I know I will be eating it a lot this summer. With all the water and sweetness that comes with every bite of the fruit, I can’t help but think that I am only indulging and not providing any benefits for my body. Fortunately, I was proved very wrong in my assumption!

With the summer heat getting the best of us, our chances of dehydration are more likely. Luckily, watermelon is known to release hydrating properties to the body. I mean are you surprised? It directly states it in the name! In fact, the fruit is made out of 92% water. With having this much water in combination to fiber, it essentially tricks our bodies into thinking we are full, without obtaining a significant amount of calories.

Heart disease is ranked as the number one cause of death worldwide. Anything to reduce the chances of falling under this demographic should be taken into serious consideration. The lycopene found in watermelon can help lower cholesterol and prevent additional damage to it. In regard to blood pressure, the lycopene helps lower it and the citrulline increases the levels of  nitric oxide, which helps your blood vessels expand that results in lower blood pressure.

Aside from solely benefiting internal health, the vitamins watermelon provides benefits hair and skin! Vitamin C found in the fruit make collagen, which contributes to strong hair and supple skin. As for Vitamin A, it assists in the creation and restoration of skin cells that prevent it from looking dry and flaky. Lycopene and beta-carotene helps prevent your skin from sunburn, which is convenient during this sunny summer season when all we want to do is be outside and show off some skin. When people said that beauty started from within, they weren’t lying!

These are only a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t feel guilty in indulging watermelon this summer. Take advantage of it being in season and enjoy it while it is at its most ripe and abundant. Click here for recipes to change up the way you eat watermelon throughout this sunny season.

Happy eating!

Diana Banzon

 

How To Make Your Health Less Ruff

Dog Heart

In honor of the Pup Rally that took place today, June 5, 2018, on Marquette’s very own campus, I felt as though it was most appropriate to post some puppy appreciation. It is no secret that therapy dogs are used heavily around campus, since the college culture has its tendencies of causing a stressful atmosphere. Aside from obviously being cute and cuddly, did you know that there is a science behind why their existence betters our overall health and well being?

The responsibility of owning a dog, comes along with the responsibility of having to take them on frequent walks to let them do their business. Therefore, whether you plan on jogging or walking as your source of a workout for the day, you will always have company and will never have to do it alone. Walking your dog will attract the best kind of attention from others, igniting conversation and bringing joy to anyone you may encounter. The beauty of it all is that you are doing all of this, without even noticing that you are meeting your obligations of staying fit and active for yourself and and your health!

Marquette’s utilization of therapy dogs throughout campus is a great investment to the community surrounding it. With the atmosphere of college always bringing out the worst when it comes to stress, dogs have the ability to lower anxiety and blood pressure, while increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play significant part being in calm and maintaining overall well being. Spending as little as a few minutes, has the capability of causing immediate relief and brightening up your day filled with newfound happiness and motivation.

Despite the popular belief of dog’s being harmful to the well-being of children back then, recent research has proved that it does the exact opposite. Pets are known to help reduce allergies found among children, in addition to strengthening their immune systems when being exposed to a furry friend within the household at a young age.

Dogs’ presence alone has the ability to add more meaning and a purpose to your life, so today appreciate a pup, whether that be through embracing your own, donating to a humane society, or adopting today. The world can use more loving owners to creatures that give the same amount of love back!

Diana Banzon

Eye Health to avoid the Sun’s Stealth

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The sun and its heat have its way of being more prevalent during the summer season. Despite the common misconnection, the sun and its rays take no vacation and have its effects on us year-round, even when the clouds are blocking the direct sunlight itself. Many associate its harmful rays to only damaging the largest organ of our body, our skin, when in reality, its effects go much beyond that.

As a Sunglass Hut associate, I heavily advocate the benefits of investing in quality eyewear to protect the most delicate region of our bodies, our eyes! We tend to disregard the importance of the ability to see and the area that surrounds our source of vision. Here are a couple effects the sun has on eyes along with the area surrounding it, giving us more of reason to protect this area!

Eye diseases are a serious matter. Too much exposure from the UV light emitted by the sun has the potential to cause cataracts, growths on the eye, and forms of cancer. Although these conditions take a while to develop, preventative measures such as unitizing broad brimmed headwear and sunglasses make a world of a difference no matter how old you are.

With the area around the eyes being the most thin and delicate, it also happens to be the most prone to show the first signs of aging. Sun exposure decreases the collagen found in skin that essentially provides its moisture and elasticity. In result is causes eye wrinkles known as “crow’s feet”, eye puffiness, and undereye bags. To help combat this issue, utilizing facial moisturizer that contains SPF helps to counteract this damage.  To really target the situation, utilizing richer eye creams will hydrate the area affected and is also recommended to be applied nightly for those who are 30 and older. Preventative measures are always the best way to help decrease the issue in the first place by avoiding physical trauma such as rubbing the eye or having a heavy hand when applying or removing makeup.

Despite all these scary claims of the damage sun can do, the exposure can actually be beneficial to the eyes when done in moderation or when it doesn’t have direct in contact with its UV rays. Seeing natural sunlight can promote better function in the brain. This brings me back to the point where we shouldn’t be afraid of the sun, just be aware of our limitations when exposed to it.

 

Diana Banzon

 

 

The Royal Treatment

Hello Marquette Employees,

Due to Alicia moving on to the next chapter of her life and finishing up her time with us at Employee Wellness, I am pleased to announce that I will be taking over for this summer season! It was gratifying to see her develop and grow throughout her wellness journey, and I am more than thrilled to continue sharing mine. I will be posting about all aspects of health and wellness motivated by what intrigues me and what I genuinely find useful. I could only hope that my content has the potential to let us all grow in our wellness journey together.

Anyways as promised, today’s blog is an inside look on the diet preparations Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had to go through in time for their royal wedding that recently took place on May 19, 2018. Since June is just around the corner, that only means one thing. Wedding season is upon us! Whether you are attending a wedding this coming month or summer as a guest, a part of the entourage, or as the celebrant yourself, there has never been a better excuse to look your best, since the pictures that will be taken that day will remain as a long-lived memory for whoever takes part in it.

Meghan Markle is a firm believer in the concept of balance and moderation. Although she supports a more plant-based diet and limits her meat intake, she allows herself to a little more flexible in the weekends. In correspondence to her plant-based diet, she relies on fresh food to keep her fueled throughout the day such as smoothies, mixing it with beneficial ingredients such as almond milk, chia seeds, to really boost its nutrients. She likes to resort to green juice as alternative source instead of coffee to kickstart her day. Diet aside, she couldn’t have gotten into the shape she is today without sweating. The fitness routine she swears by is Lagree Fitness Method on the Megaformer machine. The regimen gives you a full body workout with quick and effective results that incorporates cardio, strength-training, and flexibility. To change her routine up a bit, she likes to alternate with yoga. Her consistency is responsible for how she was able to maintain the shape she has today, without feeling the need do much work in preparation for the big day.

As for Prince Harry, his preparation did not vary too much from Meghan, since she has been cracking down on staying within a routine. His diet involved a lower carb and meat intake and cutting out unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking. Meghan’s influence has led to his new smoothie obsession. He has been supplementing his diet by working out every day to stay toned and fit for the wedding.

Diet is not a one size fits all. You don’t need to be royal to have access to a life of health and wellness. Although Meghan has influenced Harry to make some improvements when it comes to eating habits, she encourages that “It’s not a diet; it’s lifestyle eating.”

Long live the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!

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Diana Banzon

 


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