Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Dose Of Fruits And Veggies

You’ve heard it from just about every adult you’ve ever encountered in your lifetime—parents, grandparents, family friends, teachers. “You kids need to eat more fruits and veggies!” Their scolding bounces around in the attic of your mind like a rubber-band and sticks with you every time you reach for a Twinkie instead of an apple. And you know what? They were right all along; many of us aren’t getting the amount of fruits and vegetables we need. But as hard as it is to drop a particular habit, it’s just as hard to pick up a new one. It may even take us several months to get used to a specific routine, despite our adaptive nature. Nevertheless, when we’re concerned about our health, there’s alwaysroom for improvement.
According to an Oregon state study on the Oregon State University website from 2011, college students aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, and some aren’t even eating ONE serving a day. One of these study’s authors, Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State University, says that the take-away message is that proper eating and nutrition is not integrated enough into society.
“We are not teaching youth how to be self-sustaining…home economic classes have [gradually] disappeared from schools in K-12 systems. There is a fundamental lack of understanding on how to eat well in a very broad sense,” Cardinal says.
So how do you immerse yourself in healthy eating habits? What are some ways to make eating fruits and vegetables a less grueling task? You may want to follow these tips in order to increase your fruit and veggie intake!
· Add frozen or fresh vegetables to canned soup.
· Steam vegetables along with pasta and serve with tomato sauce.
· Think beyond the iceberg! Vary your salad greens: use spinach, romaine, watercress, chicory, or escarole.
· Serve on a bed of greens. Arrange grilled or roasted fish, chicken, or meat atop tender-crisp green beans or wilted spinach.
· Get leafy. Tuck chopped fresh spinach and other greens into sandwiches, pitas, wraps, lasagna, risotto, pasta dishes, and burritos.
· Snack on raw greens: raw broccoli spears, asparagus spears, zucchini slices, or crisp snow peas.
· Try eggplant slices in lasagna instead of lasagna noodles.
· Slice bananas into all types of cereal.
· Top cakes and frozen desserts with sliced berries or peaches.
· Use chopped fruit in breads or muffins.
· Add chopped apricots, apples, dried cranberries or pears to a green salad.

Also, Eastern will soon be providing a Fruits and Vegetable Campaign. The Health Education Resource Center (HERC) along with County Market and Housing and Dining will initiate a fruits and vegetables campaign at EIU. While raising nutritional awareness on campus, this campaign is also designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption to 5-9 servings per day among students.
Not only will there be posters and paw prints all over the dining centers, convenience markets, Union food court, and County Market, a presentation about the importance of fruits and vegetables is available on request. This is great for floor programs, student organization meetings, and much more! In addition, there will be a focus group that will complete a five week program. All participants need to be able to attend these hour long sessions once a week during the program. The group will complete a fruits and vegetables challenge, have a grocery store tour, and learn about the importance of fruits and vegetables. Space is limited, so don’t hesitate to sign up!
For more information or to sign up in the focus group, please email the Nutrition Education Coordinator at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cleanliness Is Next to Healthiness!

Kids pick their boogers, play in the dirt, put clay in their mouths, hug and hold hands with their cold-ridden classmates that are oozing with sickness, and press their faces and hands up against any surface in sight; windows, ledges, tables, and screens…you name it. And above everything, they’ll then put their fingers in their mouths and to their faces after they’ve swept up nearly every germ and particle of dust they can find! What’s worse is that as we grow, it often times gets harder to remember to clean up the vestiges from these nasty habits. We unknowingly continue to spread these germs and infectious diseases, and not just to others but we contribute to our own illnesses due to our carelessness. The importance of washing our hands should be of everyone’s concern and never undermined. While it is the simplest way to prevent spreading germs, it is something that we can all make an effort to encourage each other to do.

How should you be washing your hands?

1.      Apply a generous amount of soap onto your hands

2.      Lather them well and rub thoroughly for about 20 seconds

3.      Get beneath your fingernails and around your wrists

4.      Rinse well when you’re finished

5.      Dry yourself with a clean towel/paper towel

6.      If possible, shut off the faucet with a towel/paper towel in hand

7.      When you’re in public, and if you can, try to open the door with a paper towel in hand


When should you be washing your hands?

1.      Before, during, and after preparing meals

2.      Before you eat food

3.      Before and after you care for someone who is sick

4.      After treating a cut/wound

5.      After using the toilet

6.      Before and after dealing with dirty diapers

7.      After you blow your nose, sneeze, or cough

8.      Before and after you care for/bathe an animal

9.      After you deal with garbage

10.  Before and after putting in/taking out contact lenses

11. After dealing with household/garden chemicals or cleaning soiled shoes
Also, keep a pocket hand sanitizer with you at all times. If there happens to be a hand sanitizing dispenser in sight, take advantage of it and use it. However, keep in mind that hand sanitizer does not work efficiently if your hands are visibly dirty, so don’t use it if that’s the case. Wash your hands instead. You should use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol. Just squeeze a generous amount into the palm of your hand and rub together; make sure you get every spot on your hands. You don’t have to use a towel to dry them off as you would after you wash your hands. It’s best to just let them air dry.

When should you use hand sanitizer?

1.      After shaking hands

2.      After touching surfaces others have touched (door knobs, handrails, telephones, keyboard/mouse, etc.)

3.      After handling money

4.      After blowing your nose

5.      After sneezing and coughing into your hands

It is essential that you try to keep your hands clean and wash them dutifully. We do everything with our hands: handle money, passing papers, typing on keyboards. It’s one of the best and most effective ways to prevent illnesses. The last thing we need especially during flu season is everyone catching germs from one another. Remember: Cleanliness is next to healthiness!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Can't Cheat Sleep

Let’s face it: you can’t cheat sleep. We spend a majority of our lives doing it and that’s nature. But certainly you’ve heard someone say something before like, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” and maybe even the occasional shouts of a parent on a Saturday, indignantly accusing you of being a lazy bum because, “It is already TWO in the afternoon and you’ve  slept your day away!” However, what many fail to understand is that sleeping is not a luxury but a necessity. All that talk about being sneaky and tricking your body out of its natural sleeping rhythm so you can GO GO GO, is a complete myth, and not to mention, also extremely unhealthy. Sleep for you should be what water is to fish. Eventually, you’ve got to make time to sleep enough hours one way or another. But be honest, sometimes you just don’t know how to manage your time or how to make the effort to catch up on those Z’s. And being a busy college student, you’ll really want to try and fit in as many of those as you can. One of the most important factors of being successful in college and performing well is getting in the necessary hours of sleep you need (and besides, it’s never attractive to show up to class looking like an extra from Thriller).

Understandably, our bodies are probably still stuck in an entirely different time zone: “Summer Mode”. And after a few months we’re bound to get adjusted to our wacky sleeping hours. We’re creatures of habit, right? But here are several frightening effects due to lack of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is linked to a number of problematic disorders and conditions such as diabetes and even depression; it can also lead to hazardous, even fatal consequences. Motor vehicle and machinery related crashes/accidents are two of the possible outcomes due to insufficient sleep. Can you imagine a campus with its streets swarming with traffic of sleepily nodding drivers? It’s the perfect combination for a disastrous nightmare.

Also, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, college students represent one of the most sleep-deprived segments of the population. So the big question you should ask yourself here is this: How can I fix what’s wrong here? Well, in order to do that, you have to pinpoint first what you’re doing wrong in the first place.

Number one: If you’re hitting the gym within a 3-hour time span before going to bed, that’s one of the big no-no’s. This doesn’t mean that you can just bail out on your workout routine in total, but you can always start off your day with a good workout rather than waiting late at night to kick around with Tae bo. If you’ve seen Legally Blonde, according to the vivacious Miss Elle Woods, exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t kill their spouses.
Number two: Any other time, responsibly, Sir Jack Daniels and Mike’s Hard Lemonade might be your usual party accompaniers. But drinking before you hit the hay disturbs your natural sleep cycle. Usually, your body goes through several phases before you fall into a deep sleep. If you’re relying on the bottle for that tipsy feeling to lull you to sleep, your body is bound to miss out on some of the most important phases while you sleep; thus, significantly hindering the quality of your sleep.
Number three: Time to siesta! Cat naps, power naps—whatever you want to call them. If at any time during the day after class or before work you’re feeling drowsy, take a nap. And no, this is not code for go ahead and pass out for 4 hours. You’ll wake up feeling just as awful as you did before that ridiculously long nap. Instead, limit your nap to 20 or 30 minutes, usually before 2 pm. Just kick back, relax, think relaxing thoughts, and enjoy your cat nap. So you see? A power nap is the perfect substitute for those energy booster drinks. Because quite frankly, Redbull and its magical wings won’t necessarily help you get a passing grade or prevent a nasty accident.

 Number four: Worrying. No. Some people say that the right time to sit alone with your thoughts to reflect is at night. Contrariwise, others might just say, “Sleep on it.” Your best bet is to go with the second piece of advice. Bedtime is sleepy-time. True, everyone’s worries aren’t the same and your worries may be, more or less, grave. Nevertheless, transform your bedroom solely into a stress-free environment. Kick those books off of the bed, turn off the lights (and yes, that does include the little glow coming from your phone for all of you chronic texting sufferers) and make it a place for relaxation and sleeping.  Keep cozy pillows around and soft blankets. Maintain your room clean and filled with soothing incenses. Add mellow, relaxing colors around your bed like tones of blue.
Do with your sleeping environment whatever you will. Make it soft, make it mellow, make it Zen, make it new, and make it you. Oh, and above all things, remember my fellow insomniacs: Fret not and have sweet dreamZzz... J

Friday, January 20, 2012


Welcome to the Health Education Resource Center's (HERC) blog. This blog is part of the HERC's effort to stay connected to the campus and the community. With health being a "hot topic" year after year, it is vital to understand, learn and discover new ways to stay well. Here, we will blog about current health concerns and trends, the HERC's wellness and education programs, tips on staying well throughout the year and more. Readers are encouraged to question and engage with us through commenting. The hope of this blog is to not only provide another resource for the EIU community to engage in health topics, but to receive feedback on the HERC and Health Service's programming, services and projects. So, please read, enjoy and share this blog with others on campus and off. Our hope is that while we keep you in the loop with current health topics and projects, you'll keep us in the loop with your thoughts and opinions on them! Thanks for reading, and we will look forward to continued blogging and listening.