Posts Tagged 'healthy living'

The Pros and Cons of a Pescatarian Diet

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In the spirit of Lent, it is tradition that Catholics are expected to refrain from meat on Fridays. The tradition eludes back to the significance of fasting in correspondence to Jesus’ sacrifice when he died on the cross. Technically, “warm-blooded” animals were considered to be off limits, because they were considered to be an animal that was “sacrificed its life for us,” explains Michael Foley, an associate professor at Baylor University and author of Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Friday? The importance of consuming fish for sacred holidays also plays a role as to why it is implemented in tradition, even during pre-Christian times. In regard to being forced to avoid meat every Friday throughout Lent leading up to Easter, I was curious as to the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining a pescatarian diet outside of purely religious restrictions.

It is widely known that consuming seafood provides numerous health benefits when implemented into any diet. Fish, in specific, is low in fat, yet high in protein, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids only do wonders for boosting the brain and helping encourage its development. It play a significant role, since our bodies are unable to produce these fats naturally and can’t live without them. It decreases our chances of dying from heart attack, by reducing inflammation, regulating the heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, relaxing the artery walls, and ensuring blood is less likely to clot. Heart problems are ranked as the most common way to die in the United States, with statistics showing that it is kills one in four people among men and women. Taking precautionary measures, is the best way to avoid falling into this common statistic and ensuring a longer, healthier life.

As for the disadvantages of a pescatarian diet, it is no surprise that is it will be more difficult finding ways to gain nutrients that meat is known to heavily provide. Pescatarians need to be more cautious in making sure they have enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 implemented within their diet. Making sure that pescatarains are consuming the correct amount tends to be a more difficult task due to how expensive they can be in the market. It makes sense since the world’s supply is so limited. According to Dr. David Jenkins, University of Toronto professor who is a Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism, “If we continue to consume fish at our current rate “we’ll run out by 2050”. Farmed fish don’t always have the same benefits, due to having a bigger chance of catching disease, in comparison to wild fish who feed off of algae, as oppose to being fed fish meal. Mercury contamination is a bigger concern among larger fish, that is why it is advised to eat fish that lower in the food chain, such as sardines or anchovies, which rely on algae as a main source for their diet.

As you can see, not all diets are perfect. There will always be benefits and disadvantages, no matter how healthy the options may seem. It is a matter of choosing a diet that fits YOUR lifestyle. Most importantly, a diet that is easy to maintain that you know you are capable of keeping up with and having the constant motivation to stick with it.

 

Happy Lenten Season to All,

Diana Banzon

Get Your Heart Pumping

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I hope you have all started moving for the Go Move challenge. If not, there is still time, the challenge is taking place throughout the month of February. Get started today, and recruit your friends and colleagues to move with you! Moving is so important to our overall health, and especially necessary to keep our hearts in good shape.

And when it comes to your heart rate, just like exercising, eating right, or anything else, you need to find your sweet spot. One of those cliche sayings that actually holds so much merit is, “everything in moderation.” There is a point where we can exercise too much, there is a point where we could be exercising too little (or not at all). There is a point where we can eat too much of one thing, even if it is healthy. When it comes to all of these things, there is a target we should all be aiming for. And just like these other parallels, there is a target spot for where our heart rates should be at when resting, and when exercising. The key to all of these “sweet spots”, is that they are different for everybody. It all depends on your age, gender, and of course any health conditions. The neat part is that you can find out where your heart rate should be while resting, and exercising, and then monitor it to ensure you are reaching your targets. And with modern day gadgets, you can use a smart watch or a Fitbit, or similar tool to monitor it for you, and of course you still have the option to accomplish this the old-fashioned way as well.

So, it’s great to know what your target heart rate should be, and that you can reach it with exercise. But maybe you cannot bring yourself to exercise, or you dread every single one of your workouts, or you make excuses. Hey, if this sounds like you, I promise you are not alone. It is great to be able to say that we understand we need to get moving and get our heart rate up, but it’s a whole different story to actually want to do these things. I would like to offer some advice: find something you love to do. There are so many options to getting in some physical activity, so there is bound to be at least one workout out there for everybody. Do some experimenting to find what works for you. There are fitness studios and clubs popping up everywhere, go to a class! Register for Try It Night, February 13th from 4 pm to 6 pm, to test out 3 different classes in one night. And don’t be afraid to experiment, love your body so that your body will love you back.

And trust me when I say grab a buddy! A lot of times it is easier to stick to something new when you have someone else there to encourage you, after all, we are all in this together. Let’s all set out on a mission to get moving, find what we love, and get our heart pumping! Have a wonderful, productive, and active week, Marquette. Go move!

Alicia Diedrich

Wellbeing biography: Diana Banzon

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Hello Marquette employees! My name is Diana Banzon and I am a sophomore studying Public Relations and Marketing. I was originally born in the Philippines, but moved to Rochester, Minnesota at the age of 2, which is where I currently call home. Words can’t express my excitement for joining a team that promotes overall health and wellness. I am whole-heartedly honored to be representing an organization that holds strong beliefs toward achieving the hope to inspire others in a life long journey to living the best life they possibly can. It is a mindset that is applicable to anyone, sometimes you just need a little motivation to get on the right track.

The importance of health played a significant role in my community growing up back at home, due to living in the same city where the world-renowned hospital of the Mayo Clinic’s original headquarters resides. It was convenient during times when I needed medical attention, which unfortunately, was often when I was younger. One day, I was shopping at my city’s local mall when I decided to throw my hair up in a ponytail. My brother immediately pointed out that I had a significant bald patch that extended from my left side wrapping its way around to the back of my head. When I finally had access to a mirror, I was in immediate tears. I had never felt so ugly in my life, knowing that my current state of health was reflecting the way I looked on the outside. Immediately, my mom scheduled a visit to the doctor, where she eventually came to the conclusion that I was suffering with a condition called Alopecia, which is when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.

Hearing the validation through the diagnosis of the condition made it feel very real. She eluded that the cause was still considered to be uncertain, but has been clinically linked to stress. I connected the potential cause to some bullying that I was experiencing at school during my early years as a child. It made finding myself beautiful, when I had no self- confidence or self-love to begin with, near impossible, especially with finding out about my current state of health that affected my physical appearance.

I knew that there needed to be change. I discovered a more untraditional approach to the idea of wellness, that many seem to disregard, or simply just find it to be superficial. It went back to how I viewed myself. I started to style my hair and really made an effort to make myself feel beautiful through the process of putting myself together every morning before school. Most importantly, I made an effort to no longer let the disease define me. That was when I finally started seeing results. It genuinely translated through my newfound self-confidence, and the way I dealt with the bullying to have it never let it get to me again. My hair eventually all grew back and I beat my Alopecia.

It just goes to show that everyone’s journey to a state of health and well-being differs because there are so many components that contribute to it, aside from solely just exercise and diet. I am by no means a full expert when it comes to health. I am a normal college student who goes through those unhealthy, late night cravings and disregards sleep when it comes to procrastination to eagerly get my homework done. Despite this, you are never too late to recover by setting aside priorities that provoke stress, and focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Taking the first step to do so, has the potential to inspire self-assurance that can open the doors to greater success. Personally, getting myself all dolled up for the day and picking out an outfit that gives me confidence translates well into my overall happiness and performance in everything I do. What’s yours?

My wellness journey has only begun. Join me in continuing to find new ways to maintain and inspire others throughout this process to overall health and well-being. It doesn’t have to be done alone because we are striving for the same goal and we all in this together as a team!

Diana Banzon

Challenge Yourself

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We are one week into the Spring 2018 semester. I am excited to be back writing for all of you for my last semester here at Marquette, and even more excited to share that a new intern will be joining us this semester. You will be hearing from her very soon. And, I have to say that I have been thinking about writing this blog post ever since winter break started. Back at the end of the fall semester, I left you off with the December Kindness post. This post, along with New Year’s gave me the idea to challenge myself, and to challenge you to challenge yourself.

With a new year, a lot of us make New Year’s resolutions that we ultimately do not end up keeping. Some of us might still be going strong, while others of us might have fallen off the train already. I want to remind you, that it doesn’t need t be the beginning of the year to set new goals, or to work on bettering yourself. This is something we should all be doing each and every day. Having a minor setback during your workout goals, or healthy eating goals is not the end of the world. I repeat, this is not the end of the world. This sort of thing happens to all of us. If you skip a day, or just happen to have the perfect excuses, that is okay. I have a solution for all of us.

Challenge yourself. How can you do this and stick to it you ask? It’s easier than you think. First, you need to define your goals. And by this, I mean you need to make your goals as specific as possible. Saying that you are going to “eat healthy” is not setting yourself up for success. Define what you mean by eating healthy. Do research, define your goals and motives behind it. If you want to “workout more,” what do you mean by that? Specify how many times a week, set a routine, stick to it. And the most important part to sticking to your goals, is KEEPING YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE. I do this by keeping a journal. I write down my goals, I define them, I give them a specific time frame, and I keep track of my progress along the way. This really works, I promise! Sometimes conquering goals can be pretty tough, but working towards goals and feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride is always worth it.

One simple way to start a new goal is to challenge yourself with a one-month challenge. These can be anything from only taking the stairs, eating vegetables everyday, or starting up meditation, or writing poetry. If you have a goal, there is bound to already be a 30-day challenge out there to help you reach that goal. You can Google 30-day challenges including health challenges, hobby challenges, mindfulness challenges, spirituality challenges, anything you want to challenge yourself to, do it. I want all of us here at Marquette to challenge yourself to something new and positive in 2018, and at the end of the year, be able to say that we are happier and healthier than we were at the beginning of the year.

We take our lives one day at a time, one decision at a time, and we have the power to make those moments what we want them to be. Challenge yourself to a new, and improved self this year.

Alicia Diedrich

Lifestyle is everything

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Welcome back from Thanksgiving break, Marquette! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, a relaxing, rejuvenating break, and some much needed family time. My short break was all of those things and more, just not long enough. But that brings me to my next thought though, there’s only a few weeks left of the semester. Less than two weeks of classes, and then we are into finals week. I cannot believe how quickly it has gone by, and I am sure you are thinking the same thing. And with that thought, comes some impending anxiety about the last push. In my case, all of the projects and presentations, all of the papers, and all of the exams. Maybe for you, all of the grading, or all of the other deadlines approaching.

I know I have said it before, but it is more important now than ever: step back and destress. Now crunch times can be stressful for anyone, but having anxiety can make deadlines and pressure all that more stressful. We are lucky to have some wonderful campus resources for dealing with anxiety, and other mental health struggles. Now, I completely understand that even thinking about talking to someone about anxiety would just give you even more anxiety, but I assure you, it shouldn’t. There are a lot of misconceptions about anxiety (or any mental health concern in general) that give it a stigma, making it seem like a bad thing, like struggling with mental health makes you weak. But these misconceptions are just that, they are wrong, and it is worth talking about. And, according to David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, “avoidance is not a good strategy.” Even I could have told you that, but when it comes from an expert on the subject, it reassures the idea even further. I have spent a lot of time running from my anxiety, but when I recognized and acknowledged it, I was then able to also recognize and acknowledge some great ways to help live my everyday life more fully and freely.

I am a big advocate for making lifestyle changes in order to deal with health related issues. This includes my struggle with an autoimmune disease, depression, and anxiety. And a lot has changed since I wrote that first blog over a year ago. I have come to terms with what I can do for myself through my lifestyle. There are more connections between lifestyle and health and wellness than people realize. When your body is given the proper care it needs and deserves, it is amazing what it will return to you. Eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of your spiritual and emotional wellness won’t solve everything, it isn’t a miracle cure. It seems as though many people expect it to be, and that makes it difficult to follow through on a lifestyle change. It can be disheartening to start eating healthy or to begin a new exercise routine and to not see results right away. It can take a while, but I assure you it is worth it. You may not see immediate changes in your health or how your body feels. In fact, you may even feel worse for a while, maybe you will be tired and groggy, or you will get headaches since your body is used to a lot of sugar, and other harmful ingredients. So, in spirit of what I assured at the beginning of the semester, let’s do this together and make this our best year yet with a lifestyle change.

You don’t have to do anything crazy or drastic if you don’t want to. Start off small to make it easy. Make a small change: eat more fruits and vegetables, cut your daily bowl of ice cream to once a week, get up in the morning and go for a walk or do some yoga, and don’t be afraid to get help from others, because we are not on this earth alone and we do care. Have a productive, but stress-free week, and I will talk to you next Tuesday.

Alicia Diedrich

Marquette Wellness Ambassadors

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As promised at the beginning of the semester, Marquette University Employee Wellness has some exciting new changes and improvements going on. We already celebrated the grand opening of the new employee wellness space! And now we are excited to bring you the news of the formation of Marquette University Wellness Ambassadors.

The Wellness Ambassadors program was formed with the vision of being able to better promote, support and encourage healthy choices. I have always been a firm believer that it is so much easier to make better choices for yourself when you have great support from others backing you. For me it is so much easier to stick to my fitness goals and really push myself when everyone around me is doing so too, this is why I find having workout buddies or going to the gym where everyone around you is working out to be so beneficial. The same thing holds true when we are talking about making healthy food choices or discussing our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. And this is why it is so difficult to maintain our healthy eating habits around the holidays: everyone is eating cookies, cakes and unhealthy snacks. It is extremely difficult to maintain healthy choices when we give way to social eating or “I’ll just have one.” This is why support systems with healthy intentions and encouragement are so vital to our own healthy choices.

The Marquette Wellness Ambassadors (MWA) will work to create these networks of support and encouragement. The goal for the ambassadors is to help others work towards healthy lifestyle choices at work, identify environmental supports to influence and enhance co-workers healthy lifestyle, create peer support networks and other wellness and health related topics. If you are passionate about wellness, or just want to take on a new challenge for yourself and your peers, the Ambassador team is looking for individuals who can be enthusiastic and inspiring in a wellness role and lead by example. Our motto here is BE THE HEALTHY DIFFERENCE. If this sounds like you, you can fill out the application or contact Kristin Kipp at kristin.kipp@mu.edu for more information on the Marquette Wellness Ambassadors program.

Even if you decide not to become a MWA I still urge you to make a healthy difference in your own life and those around you. We all have to power and ability to make healthy choices and changes in our lives. Choose to do that now and you will thank yourself later.

Alicia Diedrich

The difference between dieting and disorder

Since this past week marked the beginning of the Lenten season, many of us have either been thinking about or hearing a lot about people around us giving up certain pleasures of life as an act of self-discipline. For many people, their observation comes in the form of cutting out certain foods, avoiding staples ranging from brownies to bread. While hearing about people’s new 40-day diets, though, I cannot help but be a bit concerned that these individuals are still taking care of their bodies effectively.

For me, it all started from stress-induced stomach ulcers in high school. I was put on a strict diet and had to avoid eating all the good stuff that you and I love these days, like excessive sugar, coffee, greasy foods, dairy and, wait for it… CHOCOLATE (jaw drop**). Let me tell you, the first few weeks, it was tough and rice never tasted so bland in my life, but after I saw the effects it had on my body, I began to not mind so much. With my stomach to blame, eating nearly nothing became an easy habit to get into and a terrifying one to break. By avoiding so many foods that I felt were “not good for me,” I began to seriously lack nutrients that I needed to live regularly.

Now, the remainder of this story I will supply another day, but for now I just want it to serve as evidence that I understand first hand what it can be like to suddenly obsess over avoiding the consumption of foods that can generally be seen as bad for you. The point is, giving up specific foods for Lent or dieting is admirable, but being safe and healthy while doing so is where the real value lies.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, nearly 10 million Americans have an eating disorder. Education, though, can be an excellent method of prevention. By understanding how your body works and the importance of even sugars and fats, you are less likely to diet in a way that hurts your body and more likely to effectively maintain healthier food habits. It isn’t about eating less; it is about eating smarter.

Everyone’s body needs a certain amount of energy in order to function correctly daily. So if you’ve decided to give up carbs or meat for Lent or if your new diet consists of drinking only juice, think about how your body will take in the nutrients it needs to work how it needs to. Finding alternative healthy calorie options to replace those that you have cut out is important. Even if you are trying to lose weight, your body still needs the energy, the nutrients and the vitamins only found in food.

Ok, so fear not. This story has a happy ending. I’m doing great, and if you were to be looking for me, you would probably find me at a buffet at this moment. Many people struggle with eating disorders still, though. If you are unsure about healthy diet methods, or even if you are really damaging your body through your Easter-season fasting, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. The Marquette Employee Counseling Center has many resources for those suffering from eating disorders, as well. Also, if you or any loved ones show signs of an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to contact the National Eating Disorder helpline.

By raising awareness of healthy dieting habits, we can diminish the prevalence of these debilitating eating disorders.


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