Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Choose to Eat Mindfully this Holiday Season

It’s already mid-November, which means finals week and the holidays are right around the corner. During this time of the year, the last thing we might be concerned about is proper nutrition. However, nutrition plays an important role in keeping our immune system strong to prevent us from getting sick. You may be thinking; how can I eat healthfully while still enjoying my favorite holiday foods? Here’s the answer: Mindful eating!

So, what exactly is mindful eating? Mindful eating is being aware of the amount of food you are eating, while using all your senses to choose satisfying and nourishing food, and acknowledging your responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral), as well as hunger and satiety cues. Overall, mindful eating encourages a positive relationship with food.
During the holidays, we can become overwhelmed with the abundance of food served at parties. By using mindfulness and incorporating light exercise, maintaining weight and enjoying the parties will be possible!
How can I eat mindfully?
  1. Remain in the Moment: Sit down and put away or turn off electronics
  2. Use Nonjudgment: Notice when you feel guilty and interrupt negative thoughts with positive self-talk
  3. Be Aware: Taste what you are chewing
  4. Savor: Identify the texture and flavor of foods, such as sweet, spicy, smooth, or crunchy
  5. Observe: Recognize what your body is telling you. Are you full? Satisfied? Stressed? Rumbling stomach?
Other helpful tips!
  • Look at all the food options and choose your favorite
  • Choose a smaller plate
  • Take smaller portions (you can always go back for more!
  • Put down your utensil(s) between bites
  • Resign from the "clean plate club)
  • Eat until you feel satisfied--your body will thank you later
  • Skipping meals before a party may cause you to overeat

Healthy Holiday alternatives you’ve got to try!
Instead of sweet potato casserole, try roasted sweet potatoes!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Thoroughly scrub potatoes before cutting into cubes.
  3.  Add sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl and combine with remaining ingredients.
  4. Lay sweet potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until fork tender.
Instead of green bean casserole, try oven-roasted green beans!

Oven Roasted Green Beans
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prepare baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until blended. Spread beans onto baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes. At 15 minutes, remove to stir. Serve immediately.
For more information about nutrition and the nutrition services provided by the Health Education Resource Center, please visit http://www.eiu.edu/herc/nutrition.php or contact the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator at herc-nutritioned@eiu.edu or (217) 581-7786.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Exercise: Healthy Habits for a Better You

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Several benefits of exercise include:
  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
How much exercise do I need?
How much daily exercise you need depends on your age. Research recommends that 2 to 5 year olds get approximately 3 to 5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Similarly, 6 to 17 year olds need about one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise activity per day. Research also suggests that 18 to 64 year olds exercise for one hour per day, alternating between aerobic exercises and strength training. The key is to make exercise a habit!
Making Exercise a Habit
·         Find a variety of activities you enjoy

·         Exercise with another person

·         Exercise in the morning or after class

·         Keep track of your progress by logging all of your exercise routines

·         Make exercise a priority

·         Reward yourself

Types of Exercises Aerobic activities are those that increase your heart and breathing rate. These activities can be either moderate or vigorous in nature. Some examples of aerobic activities include: cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, dancing, and kickboxing.

Muscle-strengthening activities are those that strengthen your muscles. These activities can work all different parts of your body including your legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms. Some examples of muscle-strengthening activities are: push-ups, squats, pull-ups, weight lifting, burpees, lunges, and crunches.

 Bone-strengthening activities are those that strengthen your bones. These activities are especially important for children and adolescents, as these exercises promote bone growth and strength. Jumping, tennis, dancing, and jogging are all examples of bone-strengthening exercises.

Balance and stretching activities, such as stretching, dancing, yoga, martial arts, and tai chi, enhance physical stability and flexibility. These exercises help keep your joints flexible, prevent stiffness, and potentially help reduce your chances of injury.
Can you over-exercise?Compulsive exercising, or over-exercising, is a problem that is seen on many college campuses. Although it may seem harmless, it’s actually just as harmful as an eating disorder. If you or a friend show any of the following signs, please seek the attention of the Health Service, or other professional provider.

·         Maintains a high level of activity and is uncomfortable with periods of rest or relaxation

·         Depends on activity for mood stabilization and self-definition

·         Schedules their life around exercising

·         Misses class or work or ditched friends to workout

·         Prioritizes exercising over relationships

EIU Student Recreation Center
The mission of the Student Recreation Center is to provide EIU students, faculty, and staff with both formal and informal recreational activities, regardless of ability. The Student Recreation Center wishes to promote a safe and enjoyable environment, encourage participation, and promote healthy lifestyles. Visit www.eiu.edu/campusrec for a complete list of individual fitness options, group fitness classes, and intramural sports. If you have additional questions or would like more information, contact the Rec at (217) 581-2821.

Additional On-Campus Resources
Health Service
(217) 581-3013

Health Education Resource Center
(217) 581-7786

Counseling Center
(217) 581-3413

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nutrition Analysis

It’s never too early to start caring about your health. Recent statistics show trends in the typical college students’ diet includes frequently skipping meals, lack of fruits and vegetables and high consumption of calories from fat. College is often the time when stress can influence when and where we eat, as well as our physical activity habits.  
Nutritional Analysis
Do you feel your diet is unbalanced, and you’re not sure how to make it better? Check out the Health Education Resource Center’s FREE Nutrition Analysis program! You can meet one-on-one with the Nutrition Promotion Coordinator and address any of your nutritional concerns. Whether you are looking to lose or gain weight, improve the quality of your diet, or need help with meal planning, she would be happy to guide you!
 Benefits of completing the Nutrition Analysis program
  • You will get specific results about the trends of your diet
  • The information will be individualized for your goals
  • Setting goals is the first step in changing a nutrition behavior
  • The atmosphere is friendly and non-judgmental
  • It’s FREE
Visit the HERC's webpage to preview the Nutrition Analysis packet that will be used for your appointment.

What is a Registered Dietitian?
A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who specializes in nutrition for wellness, as well as disease. The Nutrition Promotion Coordinator is a graduate student studying to be a registered dietitian. She looks forward to meeting and assisting fellow Panthers in reaching their nutrition goals for a healthier lifestyle.
To set up an appointment, please contact her via e-mail at herc-nutritioned@eiu.edu, call (217) 581-7786, or by requesting a consultation through our webpage.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Breast Self-Exams for Her

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert a healthcare professional if there are any changes. Both men and women are encouraged to perform a self exam at least once a month.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 40,290 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2015 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
Are You at Greater Risk?
  1. Gender: Although men can develop breast cancer, it is more common in women.
  2. Age: The risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer increases as you age.
  3. Genetics: Your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer doubles if your mother, sister, or daughter has had either types of these cancers.
How to Exam Yourself:
There are multiple ways to perform a self examination. Please see the instructions provided below for each technique.
In the Shower:
  • Put your right arm behind your head and with your left hand check your right breast for lumps or thickenings.
  • Choose 1 of the 3 patterns. With the fingers of your left hand, apply 3 levels of pressure--light, medium and firm--in overlapping, dime sized, circular motions to feel entire breast tissue, including underarm. Examine the underarm with your arm only slightly raised.
  • Put your left arm behind your head and repeat steps with your right hand on the left breast and underarm. Also, look in a mirror for changes in shape, size, or skin texture of breast. Check the nipples for changes, including unusual discharge.
Laying Down:
To examine your right breast, place your right hand behind your head. Follow the same technique as in the shower. Check for lumps, knots, or thickenings. Then put your left arm behind your head, and repeat with your right hand.
Before A Mirror:
With hands firmly pressing down on hips, check for changes in shape, size, or texture of your breasts.

Make an Appointment:
If you feel as though you need to see a medical provider, contact EIU Health Service at (217) 581-3013, visit www.eiu.edu/health, or stop by the Human Services building and see an Appointment Clerk to set up a visit.





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Think Before You Drink

Alcohol intoxication, sometimes known as alcohol poisoning, is a serious and sometimes deadly consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning is closely correlated with high risk drinking.  High risk drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks in one setting in the past 2 weeks for women and 5 or more drinks in one setting in the past 2 weeks for men. Drinking too much in a short period of time can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex. This can cause the user to go into a coma and potentially lead to death. Despite the risks, more than 38 million Americans report binge drinking more than 4 times a month and consume an average of 8 drinks per binge (CDC, 2012).

Some of the most common signs of alcohol poisoning are:
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Slow breathing (less than 8 breathes per minute)
  • Blue tongue or pale skin
  • Passing out
If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. 
In the United States, a standard drink is one that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:

12 ounces of beer
5 ounces of wine
1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor

Virtually all students will be exposed to drinking directly or indirectly at some point in their college careers. Four out of five college aged students consume alcohol. There are many alarming statistics associated with the use of alcohol especially in this college age range of 18-24 (NIAAA, 2016). Many of these statistics are due to a lack of knowledge and experience when consuming alcohol.
  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol.
  • Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual abuse.
  • Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Academic Problems: Approximately 25% of college students report academic consequences from their drinking behaviors (including: missing class, falling behind, poor paper and exam scores, and overall lower grades).
  • Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and 1.5% of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
What Can We Do For You?
Request a Presentation
Request a presentation today and the HERC staff will come to you! Whether it be for a residence hall, a Registered Student Organization, class, or other groups, the staff will provide tips, information, and interactive discussions about alcohol, related risks, and how to be safe when consuming alcohol. Visit
http://www.eiu.edu/herc and fill out the form under “Request Form.”

EIU Collegiate Recovery Community
The EIU CRC provides an empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The EIU CRC mission is to help students maintain a sober and health lifestyle in order to fully engage in their academic, social, and personal pursuits.  In the service of this mission, our aim is to:

  • Provide a safe, supportive space for students with alcohol and drug issues to engage in sober activities with other recovering students
  • Raise awareness about long-term recovery as a viable goal for students who struggle with addiction, as well as combat the stigma associated with alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Foster supportive relationships with the friends, allies, and family members of those who struggle with addiction
For more information about the CRC, please visit http://www.eiu.edu/herc/CRC.php or contact Amanda Harvey at (217) 581-7786 or ajharvey2@eiu.edu.
Additional On-Campus Resources
Health Education Resource Center (HERC)


Health Service
Counseling Center

 Student Standards

Monday, October 10, 2016

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Addicts often times do not realize or believe they are addicted, even if they show all the signs.

Drug addiction includes: the inability to control drug use, even when it causes bodily harm, a constant, intense craving for the drug(s), and potential harm to both the body and mind.

  • Loss of control
  • Neglecting other activities
  • Risk taking
  • Relationship issues
  • Secrecy
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Increased tolerance to drug(s)
  • Withdrawals

1. Family History of Addiction

Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves genetic predisposition. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with a drug problem, you are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.

2. Being Male

Men are more likely to have problems with drug abuse than women are. However, progression of addictive disorders is known to be quicker in females.

3. Having a Mental Health Disorder

If you have a mental health disorder such as depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, you are more likely to become dependent on drugs.

4. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs, particularly for young people. Research confirms that most adolescent drug users are introduced to this behavior by friends or people that they know.

5. Lack of Family Involvement

Difficult family situations or a lack of a bond with parents and/or siblings may increase the risk of addiction.

6. Taking a Highly Addictive Drug

Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine, or painkillers, may result in faster development of addiction than other drugs.

*Information found at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/risk-factors/con-20020970


There are several options to choose from when considering the types of treatment and support available to substance users. Some of those options include:

EIU Counseling Center
EIU’s Counseling Center offers addiction counseling to EIU students. Addiction counselors can help patients resist the temptation to keep using or for recovering addicts to use again. To make an appointment, visit www.eiu.edu/counsctr or call (217) 581-3413.
EIU Collegiate Recovery Community
The EIU CRC provides an empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The EIU CRC mission is to help students maintain a sober and healthy lifestyle in order to fully engage in their academic, social, and personal pursuits. If you are interested in joining the CRC, contact the Health Education Resource Center at (217) 581-7786 or e-mail herc@eiu.edu.
Treatment Programs
Depending on the severity of the addiction, inpatient or outpatient treatment programs may be beneficial. These programs often offer recovery from the effects of addiction through individual and group counseling, as well as provide social support to maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Additional information regarding drug addiction may be found at http://www.eiu.edu/herc/otherdruginformation.php.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Flu Myths

It’s that time of year again! Aside from cold weather, winter is often accompanied by sniffles, coughs, and a variety of other illnesses.  While we try our hardest to avoid fall and winter’s vicious illnesses, sometimes it is unavoidable. This is why it is important to cover all of our bases and remain healthy and safe, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. 

The flu, or influenza, is “a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages causing fever, severe aching, and catarrh, and often occurring in epidemics” (Oxford Dictionaries). Fortunately, with the flu shot, our chances of catching the flu decreases drastically. The flu shot not only protects ourselves, but also our community from spreading a potentially harmful epidemic. Flu shot season is October through January. However, the earlier you get it, the better your chances are of NOT catching the flu and spreading it to others.

When and where do we get the flu shot?
Luckily for EIU students and staff, a flu shot clinic will be offered on October 12th from 9 AM to 4 PM in the MLK Union. Faculty, staff, and retiree shots will be given by the Coles County Health Department in the Bridge Lounge. Student shots will be provided by EIU Health Service in the University Ballroom. Be sure to bring your Panther Card to take advantage of this FREE opportunity!

Flu Shot Myths vs. Facts
Immunizations, specifically the flu shot, have been a hot topic in the media over the past year. Unfortunately, many people have been given “facts” about the shot that are not actually accurate.  These "facts" can sabotage our perceptions of immunizations and ultimately effect our decision to get the shot. Let's talk more about those "facts" in detail.

MYTH: "The flu is just like a bad cold."
FACT: Influenza (flu) is far more dangerous than a bad cold. It's a disease of the lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia. Each year about 114,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and about 20,000 people die because of the flu. The flu poses the largest risk to children age 2 or younger and adults age 65 or older.

FACT: Flu vaccines are made from killed influenza viruses. These viruses cannot give you the flu.

MYTH: "Even if I get a flu shot, I can still get the flu."
FACT: This can happen, but the flu shot usually protects most people from getting ill. It's is important to note that the flu shot will not protect you from other viruses, even if those illnesses have flu-like symptoms.

MYTH: "The vaccine isn't 100% effective, so I'm better off getting the flu."
FACT: No vaccine is 100% effective. However, if you get a flu shot but still get the flu, you are at a significantly decreased risk to get sick than you would be without protection. 

MYTH: The side effects are worse than the flu."
The worst side effect you're likely to experience is a sore arm. Allergic reactions to the flu shot are rare and often far less severe than complications from influenza.

FACT: "Not everyone can take the flu shot."
If you are allergic to eggs (used in making the vaccine); are very ill with a high fever; or have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, a flu shot may not be in your best interest.

MYTH: "Only the very old and sick need the flu shot."
FACT: Both adults and children who are in good health need a flu shot to stay healthy. Even if you aren't at high risk of complications, you should get a flu shot to prevent the flu and to protect everyone you live with and  come in contact with.

MYTH:  "December is too late to get a flu shot."
FACT: The flu shot can be given before or during the flu season.  While the best time to get a flu shot is October or November, a flu shot in December will still protect you against the flu.





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Benefits of Napping

As college students, our sleep cycles are often not consistent and sometimes we need to take a nap during the day.  Naps can be great for you; they can help us with our memory, learning more information, and enhance our overall performance.

Memory:  We can take in and retain more information after we have napped.  Our memory strength improves because after we nap, it helps our brain solidify our memories by storing them to the cerebral cortex so it is more permanent, leaving room to learn more.
Learning: Since napping clears your temporary storage, you are ready to absorb new information.  Research has shown that taking a midday nap allows students to perform better even a few hours later.  Cramming the night before doesn’t help your brain absorb as much so make sure you are getting enough sleep the night before.

Don’t burn yourself out: Napping can be a great stress relief from overloading your brain and burning yourself out.  Napping can also improve your visual abilities from being exhausted and allow you to perform at a higher level. 
How long should I nap for?
It is recommended that naps are kept short, about 20-30 minutes.  This can make us feel significantly better and won’t leave us feeling groggy or interfere with our nighttime sleep.

*Image from The Wall Street Journal
How do I get the most out of napping?
If we can learn how long it takes us to fall asleep, we factor that into our nap time too.  If you have a sleep app or fitness tracker, you can get a general idea of how long it takes.  Setting an alarm on our phone can be another help tip, add about 5-10 minutes to your time to allow for how long it takes you to fall asleep.  You’ll be able to relax more knowing you won’t sleep too long and become groggy.
Choose the right time of day to get the best nap, usually after lunch works for a lot of people, assuming it fits into your class schedule.  This helps you get a better nap since your energy levels are naturally decreased and you won’t feel like you are struggling to relax during the day.
Practice can definitely help too!  What college student doesn’t want to hear that practice the art of napping is a good thing?  Over time, you will begin to know what works for you—change up your time of day, nap length, or different ways to wake up.
Don’t think you’ll be able to fall asleep?
That’s okay, it’s beneficial just to rest for 10 minutes, it can help improve mood regardless of whether or not someone falls asleep.
Snoozin’ Like a Panther
Come to our open session about healthy sleep habits and how restful sleep can impact your life personally, professionally, and academically.
October 17th: Martinsville Room of the MLK Union at 6:30pm
You may request a presentation for your residence hall floor or RSO by clicking here. For additional information on sleep, call the HERC at (217) 581-7756 or email the Health Promotion Coordination’s at herc-hlthpromo@eiu.edu or herc-genhlth@eiu.edu