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Department - Student Health

Student Health Delayed Opening on Friday, 2/27

Due to inclement weather, the Student Health Center will open at 10:30am on Friday, February 27th.

For healthcare options during closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355.

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Student Health Closed Thursday, 2/26

Due to severe weather, the Student Health Center will be closed on Thursday, February 26th.

During closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355 for health care options or nurse advice.

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Student Health Delayed Opening on Wednesday, 2/25

Due to inclement weather, the Student Health Center will open at 10:30am on Wednesday, February 25th.

For healthcare options during closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355.

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Are You a Moody Foodie?

I remember several years ago as a young adolescent my daughter and her friend dressing up in homemade Halloween costumes as “We’ve Been Dumped Girls”. The costumes consisted of PJs, bathrobes, fuzzy slippers, hair in sloppy ponytails, smeared mascara and of course empty containers of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  Creative-Yes! Accurate? Let’s see…

New research shows that people with temporary mood lows generally bounce back pretty well on their own regardless of what they may eat. Those with more prolonged mood lows may turn to food on a more regular basis for comfort but the resulting lift in spirits is generally short lived and may result in cyclical emotional eating patterns. For these folks consulting a qualified therapist for an evaluation is the best advice.

But for the majority of us who experience temporary emotional lows the “comfort” we receive from eating certain foods may have more to do with associations we have with that food than any magical mood lifting powers. For example did you and your mom (or dad) make cookies together for fun? Did you share an ice cream cone with a beloved grandparent?

 The memory of the good feelings may be what is actually helping.

Although we do know that foods high in carbohydrate temporarily make you feel better, a piece of fruit or a granola bar will do the job just as nicely as ice cream or brownies or chips—although these foods will probably not be the thing that comes to mind first.

Here is a list of some “comfort” with a healthier twist”

·         Oatmeal

·         Fresh fruit and a little nut butter

·         Nuts and dark chocolate

·         Bean soups

·         Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

·         Whole grain granola bar

Let’s face it though; sometimes you do just want a little ice cream because it tastes good. Enjoy it for that reason alone.

 

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Why Are We Celebrating Our Bodies?

Beginning next Monday, February 16th, Nutrition Services is partnering with many offices across campus to host a positive body image week.  In the past, we’ve celebrated National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but found that students are already aware of eating disorders.  Renaming the week and focusing on learning to embrace our bodies can help students to move away from some of the behaviors that might increase risk of developing disordered eating and exercise patterns.

Here’s a breakdown of the events we have going on next week, all of which are free and do not require tickets.

Monday, February 16th:

From 11am to 1pm, The Center for Multicultural Affairs is offering lunch at their Monday Motivation titled “Being Fine with Who You Are”.  At a roundtable discussion, students can discuss culture and body image with Mazella Fuller, PhD, MSW, LCSW from CAPS, J’nai Adams from the CMA and Kate Sayre, MPH, RDN from Student Health.  Courtney E. Martin will join the discussion.

Our keynote speaker’s talk and launch of our “Identity Over Image” campaign will take place at 7pm in the Nelson Music Room.  Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and TED talk presenter, will discuss how effortless perfection is harming young women.  One of her quotes that we find most powerful is “We’re a generation of young {people} who were told they could be anything and heard they had to be everything”.

Tuesday, February 17th:

Have you heard of the “fitspo” movement?  These “inspirations” to exercise can be much more damaging than helpful.  We’re hosting a “true fitspiration” event in Brodie Gym from 5-7:30pm.  Here students can focus on positive reasons why they work out.  It may be to build strength, relieve stress or be able to sleep better.  It’s important we think of these benefits rather than superficial ones.

Those of us who treat eating disorders are often asked by students how they can approach a friend who they think is struggling with disordered behaviors.  Partnering with Duke students, we’ve created a recurring event called “Is This Normal?: How to Help a Friend with Disordered Eating”.  Embody Carolina is joining us to empower our community members to help each other.  This session will start at 6:30pm in McClendon 2.

Wednesday, February 18th:

WHOspeaks images remain powerful reminders of how we view our bodies.  The Women’s Center is hosting a showcase of these pictures as well as a discussion from 2-4pm.

Thursday, February 19th:

Me Too Monologues just wrapped up another very successful year.  We’re grateful to those who shared their stories, the actors and all in attendance.  We’re hosting a screening of past monologues that discuss body image.  Join us in the Keohane Atrium at 6:30pm.

Friday, February 20th:

To wrap up our week, we’re kicking it back at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity from 3-5pm.  Karen Kuebler, the art therapist from Veritas Collaborative, is leading an activity titled "Using Visual Language to Promote Self-Compassion and Positive Body Image". We’ll be creating individual and collective positive art and would love you to join us.  Food will be provided.

With this week of events, we’re hoping to start and continue conversation on campus of how we can better treat ourselves and our bodies.  If you aren’t able to attend the events, we ask that you do your part.  Use positive language, disallow “fat talk” in your social circles, and celebrate your body for all it is capable of.  If you’re concerned about your own behaviors, please take our anonymous screen to assess.

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Time to Rethink the Midnight Snack?

As a Duke student, I am no stranger to the late-night cram session the night before an exam, or the essay-writing marathon that stretches into the early morning hours.  For many of us in college, day and night have become flexible terms that more often than not misalign with being awake and being asleep.  When burning the midnight oil, we often crave a snack to keep us going through the night.  However, a recent study by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (reviewed here in the NY Times) suggests that these late-night nibbles may be messing with our bodies’ internal clocks.

Published this past December in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study used mice to look at the relationships between meal times, weight gain, and overall health.  Mice were allowed to eat on two different schedules – one group had access to food all day long, while the other group of mice had access to food for only 9 or 12 hours per day.  The results showed that even though all of the mice consumed the same number of daily calories, those mice that only ate during the 9 to 12 hour window were healthier, gained less weight (some obese mice even lost weight), and had more lean muscle mass than the mice that ate all day long.

Scientists believe that the results seen in the mice may have significant implications for humans too.  Although the exact mechanism is still being researched further, this study hypothesizes that meal times affect the body’s circadian rhythms, even more so than dark and light cycles.   Circadian rhythms are our bodily processes that run on an approximately 24-hour cycle, and they affect how our genes work.  This study suggests that eating only within a 12-hour time window allows for our genes and metabolic pathways to synchronize and work together more effectively, keeping our bodies leaner and stronger.  While the old adage goes, “we are what we eat,” it may be more likely that “we are when we eat. “

This being said, it can be nearly impossible to avoid those midnight cravings all the time, so it’s important to be smart when choosing a late-night snack.  To give yourself a boost of fuel at any hour, pair a carbohydrate (fresh or dried fruit, whole grain crackers, veggies) with a protein source (yogurt, cheese, nuts, hummus) – check out this Smart Snacking resource for more ideas!  Also, be sure to feed yourself well and regularly during the day to meet your daily energy needs, so when nighttime rolls around, you’re still feeling satisfied and productive.  Your body and its clock will thank you!

      

 

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Count calories? Maybe it’s better if we don’t.

It’s ironic that at a time when new legislation will demand that restaurants (having more than 20 locations), and vending machines (anyone owning more than 20) will have to disclose calorie and nutrition information, we are also learning that counting calories might be counterproductive to addressing the obesity epidemic in this country.

It’s not rocket science to figure out that calorie counting might not be working – it’s been done for years and look where it got us. Believe me, I realize that our obesity epidemic is not just about calorie counting: obesity is actually very complex, we always just want to over simplify it by bringing it back to calories in and calories out.  We now know that the source of calories consumed have different effects metabolically in our bodies.    

There are times where calorie counting may be beneficial; such as to offer perspective on energy intake, when someone has no idea of how much they are eating. Our food label information, for instance, is currently based on a 2000 calorie diet and for many this means very little. Perhaps counting calories for a day might assist in increasing awareness of how our intake compares.  However, that is more or less where it ends. Counting calories, or counting nutrient values for that matter, diminishes the food we eat to a numeric value.  Inherently that removes the pleasure, joy and satisfaction we derive from eating only to have it replaced with worry, guilt and an overall unsatisfying dining experience.  If you look at countries that are not struggling with weight issues, or hadn’t until recently, it’s not because they’ve been counting calories all these years.  Perhaps it is because they eat food and not nutrients, they appreciate the flavor, color, texture and origins of the food that they are eating and enjoy the company of the people they are eating with. It’s really not about calories, it’s about balance, and it’s just taking us a little longer to realize that.

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The Flu Forecast

The forecast isn’t great for the flu season this year.  It started a little earlier than usual; one of the strains that is going around – H3N2 – is a little more aggressive than usual; and even though this year’s vaccine targets H3N2, it isn’t a great match for the strain that’s actually going around.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and people who have it usually experience the sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and occasionally nausea and vomiting.

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away through droplets made when they cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. You can avoid spreading the flu to yourself and others by staying away from sick people and avoiding others if you are sick. Covering your cough and washing your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also a good idea.

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get your flu vaccine, even during seasons like this one when there is a less than ideal match for one virus. (Flu clinic: Wednesday, 1/21, from 5-8pm in Wilson Rec.) The vaccine may protect against the other viruses floating around, and antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses.

All Duke Students can get a flu shot at the Student Health Center or one of the flu shot clinics we offer around campus.

Luckily for most Duke Students, the flu will resolve on its own after a few days of feeling crummy with the help of rest, fluids and over the counter pain and fever reducers.  However, there are prescription medications that can shorten the duration of the illness in severe cases if started early enough. If you are worried that you might have the flu, call the Student Health Center to speak to one of our nurses or make an appointment to see one of our health care providers.  We are here to keep you healthy!

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Eat to Remember and Remember to Eat

The semester is rapidly coming to an end, and we all know what that means……. yup, time to study for finals. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could offer you some secret eating tips to help boost your memory? Well we don’t have any magic formulas but we do have some good advice.

Think Healthy Fats

There is strong evidence that the same anti-inflammatory properties that help protect your heart can improve memory. These fats include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil and flax.

Where to find them on campus*:

·         Try the guacamole on your burrito bowl at Penn

·         Look for salmon and tuna or other fish on café menus  (Div café offers a salmon wrap, Café DeNovo offers a Tuna Nicoise salad, Penn serves salmon at dinner frequently, Perk has a salmon salad)

·         Add avocado or hummus to sandwiches and salads (ABP and other cafés)

·         Snack on nuts (available in the Lobby Shop, Quenchers and The East Campus Store), sprinkle sunflower seeds on your salad at salad bars

·         Pick up some individual containers of peanut butter and some fruit  for a healthy energizing snack

·         Try a grab and go hummus snack plate which is found at many cafés on campus

Devour Dark Fruits and Veggies

Fruits like blueberries, strawberries and dark green veggies like spinach, broccoli and collards are full of phytonutrients (dark greens include vitamin E and folate) with memory boosting properties.

Where to Find On Campus*:                            

·         Fruit cups are widely available at grab and go locations , also check out the fruit bar at Quenchers

·         Look for spinach and other dark greens at salad bars and as side dishes in many cafés

·         Add broccoli to your stir fry

Enjoy Whole Grain Goodness

Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, etc. are an integral part of an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet. This type of diet plan promotes increased blood flow to the brain and has been linked to improved memory.

Where to Find on Campus*:

·         Look for whole grain salads at salad bars around campus

·         Many cafés have whole grain side dishes

·         Choose whole grain breads for sandwiches and create a satisfying breakfast with some oatmeal (Marketplace, Penn, Café Edens, Div  Café, ABP just to name a few)

 

Remember we don’t eat nutrients in isolation so for best results include these foods as part of a healthy eating pattern and remember to eat regularly throughout the day and stay hydrated.

Good luck and Happy Holiday eating.

*The cafes listed are only a sample of where you may find these foods on campus.  For a more thorough list refer to The Devil’s Advocate.

 

 

 

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On the greatness of counseling

Let me be entirely honest and open in what I’m about to say. Honesty after all, is so little found in conversations about mental health and yet so powerful when it is. I have, like 1 in 4 other young people my age, struggled with my mental health on and off. There have been times when I’ve been sick with hopelessness and misery, consumed with self-loathing and hatred. Likewise, there have times when I’ve been ecstatically happy and grateful. My emotional health is a mental rollercoaster and contains the best and worst memories for me. But it is not all of me.

There was however, a point this semester when it got a little too much. I was exhausted with faking positivity to myself every day and pep-talking myself out of bed, throwing on smiles when all I wanted to do was cry. My sense of self-worth was at an all time low and life at Duke seemed unbearably overwhelming. I made an appointment at CAPS. It was not the first time. I had talked to woman once my freshmen year, when things had gotten particularly stressful. There seemed however, a difference to me between a one-time chat and regularly seeing a counselor with the intention of understanding yourself. And I decided that I was tired of having the emotional lows but no real answers. I was tired of believing in untruths about myself that led me to think in despairing ways.

So I decided to sign myself into regular counseling sessions. It was both frightening and liberating. A part of me was angry and afraid that I needed help in the first place – what was wrong with me? Another part of me was relieved because, for the first time, there was another option, one that validated my emotions instead of dismissing them.

I’m about five sessions in now, and I think going into counseling has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has surprised me and taught me how little I really knew about myself. If anything, it’s been an independent study in my own persona, to work out how I react to situations and why I react that way. This is information I feel that anyone young and uncertain can use because it has yielded insights richer than I could have hoped. How much do we really think about our ways of coping? Or whether the way we see ourselves is accurate? Or whether we need, sometimes, to catch ourselves when we self-hate and reassess the situation?

Counseling is not simply lying on a couch and talking about how you feel, like every film Hollywood makes. It’s an intimate leap into your own mind and it’s uncomfortable sometimes and it’s confronting. It’s shown me how little I truly know about myself, and helped me determine my values and priorities. It’s showing me slowly how to be happier. And it’s great.

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Burger Blog?

You’ve come to the right place, yes, this is the nutrition blog.  It may seem like a juxtaposition that a dietitian is writing about burgers, but a good burger is one of my favorite things to eat.  A local burger joint recently posted that they were having a Thanksgiving contest.  One and all were welcomed to enter the contest for the best themed burger.  The plan was for judges to choose the top 3 recipes and then taste test to pick the winner.  Rules of the competition were that it had to be a turkey burger and include cranberries, sweet potatoes, stuffing or all 3.  As I enjoy cooking and a challenge, I decided to enter.

I have to admit that I generally do not choose a turkey burger over a beef burger.  If a turkey burger is not made correctly, it can be a dry hockey puck.  So I knew that I had to give some love to the patty itself for my entry.  I didn’t want to include stuffing, as I already had carbohydrates in the bun and the sweet potato fries that came on the side.  To capture the flavor of stuffing (I do realize some of y’all may call it “dressing” but it’s stuffing in my house), I took the prominent spices, sage and thyme, and mixed it into the meat.  Thanksgiving turkey must have cranberry sauce, so I also incorporated dried cranberries into the meat mixture.  Using light and dark ground turkey instead of ground turkey breast without the skin helped with the moisture factor.  To further invoke tastes of the annual meal, I topped my burger with gravy.  In a nod to green bean casseroles around the country, I also added fried onions to it along with Brie.

I enjoyed being creative with the recipe and didn’t think much of my entry after the fact so you can imagine my surprise when I saw that not only did my burger make it into the taste testing round, but that I was the winner!  There were over 30 entries so I was pretty shocked.  The recipe was featured as the special for the day so my husband and close friends stopped by to grab one.  Luckily, we got there just in time as they ran out after we ordered.  Even my boss texted me to say that she was able to get one and really liked it.

Now for the nutrition part!  I didn’t have many non-starchy vegetables on my plate at this meal.  For me, this evokes the 80/20 rule.  If 80% of my meals are balanced, my body will be just fine when 20% are less balanced.  As for turkey versus beef?  If you choose ground turkey breast without the skin, it has less saturated fat.  Both options are high in other nutrients, too.  Turkey is a source of niacin, selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc while beef is a source these as well as vitamin B12 and iron.

Whatever you choose, know that eating should be not only about meeting your nutrient needs, but also include items you enjoy.  For this nutritionist, that includes an occasional burger.

 

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Student Health Closed for Thanksgiving

The Student Health Center will be closed for Thanksgiving beginning at 12:30pm on Wednesday, 11/26, and will re-open at 8:30am on Monday, December 1st.

For after-hours care, please call us at 919-681-9355.

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What I Learned from the SNAP Challenge

Four dollars.  On Duke’s campus, that could get you a single bowl of soup at the Loop.  Most of us spend far more than four dollars on each meal we eat, with Duke’s minimum meal plan allotting $20 per day.  However, for a great number of North Carolinians, four dollars is all they have to feed themselves each and every day.  Four dollars is the daily allowance given by North Carolina’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also formerly known as Food Stamps.  In the month of October in Durham County alone, over 44,000 individuals were utilizing SNAP.  Hunger and concern for where one’s next meal will come from is a daily reality for too many. 

 

To shed light on how challenging it can be to eat on so restricted a budget, I chose to participate in the Duke SNAP Challenge, hosted this past Wednesday through Friday by UCAE.  Armed with my $12, I started my challenge at Harris Teeter, knowing there’d be no way to feed myself on food points with so little.  Despite not having much to spend, that trip to the grocery store was one of the longest I’ve taken in a while.  Instead of mindlessly browsing the aisles, sipping my Starbucks and throwing whatever looked good into my cart, I spent over an hour scouring the weekly coupon flyer and scanning the shelves for special savings offers.  I stood in front of the canned goods for over five minutes, adding together different totals in my head to find the best deal.  I circled through the store at least twice, having to take some things back out of my basket to stay under budget and sadly avoiding the fresh produce section in favor of the quantity I could purchase in boxes and cans.  At the register, I ended up with a large container of oatmeal, two bags of frozen vegetables, three bananas, two large cans of chicken, a jar of applesauce, two boxes of rice and beans mix, and 70 cents left over.  For the three days of the challenge, my single bag of groceries allowed me a banana and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast each morning and a serving of veggies with a bowl of beans, rice, and chicken for each lunch and dinner.  In between meals, I snacked occasionally out of my applesauce jar. 

 

By Friday evening I was in no way starving, but after three days of eating the same three, simple meals, I couldn’t help but think of the variety I would be able to indulge in over the weekend after the challenge was over.  I quickly caught myself though as I remembered that what I was treating as a 72-hour “challenge” is a reality that over 1.5 million North Carolinians face 365 days out of the year.  While I pile up my veggies in the salad bar line at Penn and swipe my DukeCard at the register without even asking about my total, thousands of families are struggling to put a meal on the table for dinner, let alone three daily nutritious and balanced ones.  It’s so easy to fall into the habits of mindless consumption and instant gratification, taking for granted the convenience and variety of food we have surrounding us at Duke.  We are quick to grumble about the ABP sandwich line but we fail to recognize that it’s a privilege just to be able to satisfy an afternoon snack craving, that the latte so many of us have consumed before 9am costs more than what a fellow Durhamite might be able to spend on food all day.  We’re constantly complaining to one another about how much stress we’re under with all of our exams and final papers, but imagine adding to that the stress of meticulously pinching every penny just to afford lunch, of getting nervous every time you approach the register because maybe you’ll have to leave the line to put something back, of not being able to focus on your work because your stomach is growling but eating is not an option. 

 

I’ll be the first to shamefully admit that I fall into these habits and make these complaints all too regularly.  I also know my mere participation in the SNAP challenge does nothing to change the face of hunger in North Carolina or the daily lived realities of SNAP enrollees.  It’s what happens now that the challenge is over that matters – approaching my meals with more mindfulness and gratitude, trying harder to eliminate my food waste, spending my food points more sparingly so I can also buy food to donate to Durham’s local food pantries and soup kitchens.  As we approach the holiday season, a time that too often celebrates consumption over concern for others, I would invite all of you to do your own SNAP challenge.  Or even better, volunteer to take action against hunger in Durham or your hometown.  At the very least, challenge yourself to be more mindful and thankful – so when you go to post that foodstagram of your Thanksgiving plate with your #blessed caption, think twice about how fortunate we truly are.  

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Student Health Closing Early 11/20

The Student Health Center will close at 3:45pm on Thursday, 11/20. We will re-open with normal operating hours at 8:30am on Friday, 11/21.

For after hours care, please call us at 919-681-9355. 

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Friendships, Stuck on the Disney Channel

(Entry #3 in the series) Recently, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Associate Director for Outreach and Development Programming for CAPS and all-around nice guy Gary Glass. The topic: relationships. Relationships in general, with no particular person in mind. It was the first time I'd discussed the topic at length, ever. My conclusion? We should do this more often. Here's #3! Read entries #1 and #2.

It was 2007. Gary stood with a group of students, asking them to move to the “True” or “False” side of the room in response to a few statements.

If a peer had been struggling, you’d want them to know they could come to you.
Everyone in the room moved to “True” side of the room.

If you were struggling, you would go to a peer for support.
Everyone in the room moved to the “False” side of the room.

Well that’s awkward. Everyone wanted to help. No one wanted to ask for help.

Fast forward to 2014 where, fortunately, some things have changed. We still have great people on campus. And we definitely, definitely still have problems (though you probably didn’t need me to tell you that). The difference, according to Gary? We’re admitting it now.  

Woohoo personal issues!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the best way to get rid of a problem is pretend it doesn’t exist. You’ve just been dumped, and you don’t want to give the satisfaction to that @$#&%! that you’re thinking about him/her enough to feel sad? Fake the pride and self-preservation. It will feel real soon enough. Or how about the oh-so-relatable experience of conversing in small talk (more like “ugh” talk) during SLG/Sorority/Fraternity Rush? Fake the confidence. It's not really fake confidence. It’s in there somewhere (and for good reason).

But sometimes you can’t fake it to make it. You have to dive in—heart first, fear second—with a trusted friend by your side. Gary told me that a healthy relationship had “mutual vulnerability.” Maybe another way to think about it is that happy, healthy relationships have, by definition, unhappy moments. Without that, they’d be stuck on the Disney channel.

I’ll end with a moment.

It was the night that commemorated my brother’s death. And still, 11 years later, the day shook 20-year-old me more than the 9-year-old me could have imagined. The tears came slowly at first. I wiped them away. Would my Duke friends even get it? Probably not. But all the same, the tears became many. And I sobbed. For a long time. And sure, perhaps they didn’t “know” what I was feeling. And I imagine they were uncomfortable, or at a minimum lost for words. But they held me. They heard me. And they loved me through every moment of that pain.

They’ve been my best friends ever since.

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Happy (Healthy) Holidays!

It’s mid-November – chances are you’ve adapted pretty well to your school eating routines by now – whether it’s eating with friends or grabbing a bite on the way to the next class or meeting. But wouldn’t you know it, the holidays are just around the corner and everything is about to change again.  The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but they are usually associated with a lot of food and eating: for some this can be challenging. Consider using some of the following tips to stay well and focused during this time.

  1. Set reasonable goals. This usually isn’t the time of year to work on any type of weight loss goals, so aim instead to maintain your weight.
  2. Try not to let yourself get too hungry. Your holiday meal will likely have a bunch of delicious foods to indulge in. Before you head out, try to eat a light, balanced snack, such as a piece of fruit with some yogurt or peanut butter, a granola bar, half of a sandwich, or some soup about an hour before leaving. That way you have better control over food selections and portion sizes at the party.
  3. Avoid skipping meals. We may think skipping meals is a good idea when we know we have a big holiday meal to look forward to, but chances are if you skip meals you will be over hungry when it’s meal time and will likely overeat.
  4. Choose your foods wisely: There will be plenty of options, but if you’re trying to choose healthier options, choose more of the fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and seafood. This will allow room for a holiday dessert!
  5. Mindful Eating: If you are concerned about overeating, remember to eat slowly and savor these special holiday foods – some of which you only get to eat once a year. Eating slowly will allow you to appreciate these foods and recognize when you’re full. A helpful tip to eat slower is to have a conversation with a friend or family member, take smaller portions, and consciously sip your drink throughout. (This is a great tip year-round!)
  6. Eat a balanced meal: Aim for a good source of protein, such as turkey, chicken, fish and tofu, and balance it with a healthy starch, such as whole grain bread, sweet potatoes or brown rice. The protein slows digestion to help you feel satisfied, and keep you fuller longer.
  7. Chill out: Try to not get stressed out by family and friends you haven’t seen in a while. Try to manage your stress with activities other than eating – take a walk, visit a friend, or put on some music.
  8. Exercise: You may find being home for holidays allows you more time to move – try to get exercise most mornings before the days get too crazy. Even a brisk walk or stroll will help with digestion, stress relief, and fitness. However, don’t overdo just because you have more time. Remember, if you wish to continue exercising regularly, it will need to fit into your routine at school.
  9. Enjoy: remember being home for the holidays usually means no homework! Focus on your friends and family and try to not over-think your food.
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Smile Your Way to Staying Well

You’ve heard it circulating for weeks now like bad background music – the symphony of sneezes in your stat lecture, the cacophony of coughs in comp-sci, the serenade of sniffles on the C1.  Everywhere you turn, Duke seems to be coming down with something, be it the never-ending cold, the dreaded flu, or some unnamed combination of sore throat, runny nose, and congestion.  Toss in the stress of impending midterms and busy weekend plans and it may seem imminent that you’ll be next in line at Student Health.  But before you get too resigned to the idea of getting sick this season, remember to SMILE and follow these tips for keeping your immune system in top shape:

Sleep – Getting a full night’s worth of shut-eye is important for fighting off sickness.  Sleeping less than the recommended 8 hours per night has been shown to reduce your immune resistance and make you more susceptible to contagious illnesses like the flu.  While it may sometimes seem impossible to get enough sleep with a heavy Duke workload, prioritizing a good night’s sleep will make you healthier, happier, and more productive during the day.  

Move – Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week to keep your stress levels low and your immunity high.  Those who are regularly physically active are less susceptible to upper respiratory infections and colds.  More is not always better, however, as over-exercise or strenuous exercise while sick can lead to increased fatigue and vulnerability to bacteria and illness.  Listen to your body when deciding on your workout day-to-day.  Just going for a walk can improve your mood and immunity! 

Invest in Rest & Well-Being – If you’re already feeling under the weather, give yourself and your body a break. Take conscious time to care for yourself physically and mentally – let yourself nap, take a break from the gym, get plenty of fluids and nutrients, stay in on the weekend to watch a movie, read a book, or catch up on sleep.  It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of life at Duke, but making an effort to slow down once in a while can have great benefits for your stress levels and your immune system. 

Lots of Soap! – Washing your hands frequently, especially before eating, is the most important thing you can do to prevent getting sick.  Keep hand sanitizer accessible, but also be sure to wash with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.  Washing between your fingers and under your nails is also important to eliminate illness-causing germs and bacteria.

Eat your Fruits, Veggies & Fats – Eating 5-9 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day will provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to best fight disease and infection.  Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and flax seeds are also crucial to stimulating your white blood cells that literally eat up germs!

With a little extra mindfulness put towards your physical and mental wellbeing, you’ll greatly increase your chances of staying cold and flu-free this fall and winter.  Aim to be your healthiest and happiest self this season and you’ll no doubt reap the benefits in your studies and your social life - it’s an investment well worth your while.   

 

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“Soy” What?

As a dietitian I am often asked questions about soy foods acting like estrogen in the body, are they safe? Do they contribute to causing breast cancer? I will admit over the years the information has been varied, but for the past several years researchers have found more and more information confirming that eating soy in moderation even as a breast cancer survivor is not a problem.

Since it is breast cancer awareness month I decided to do some additional research and explain for you in more detail.

First of all let’s think about where you might find soy in the diet, the following is a list of dietary sources:

·         edamame (raw soy beans),

·         soy milk, soy cheeses, soy yogurts

·         tofu (which is made from the bean curd)

·         tempeh (fermented soy)

·         miso (a Japanese flavoring made from fermented soybeans)

·         vegetarian foods like veggies burgers

The parts of the soy bean that are in question when it comes to breast cancer are the phytoestrogens (estrogen hormone-similar chemicals found in plants) known as isoflavones. There are two types of isoflavones in soy, genestein and daidzen. It is important to know that although these compounds can act like estrogen, they are only slightly as potent as the real stuff.

Large population studies of healthy women who reported details about their usual diet and were followed for many years, have shown no association between moderate soy intake and breast cancer rates.  Studies in Asian women have found a lower risk of breast cancer rates with higher soy consumption (4 or more servings per day), whereas studies in the U.S. have not found any association between how much soy a woman consumes and her risk of breast cancer.   Other things to consider are lifelong dietary and lifestyle patterns not noted in these studies.

What about soy intake for breast cancer surviviors? There are studies that show that small amounts of soy are safe and may be protective for surviors. However the best advice is to discuss the pros and cons with your health care provider until more conslusive data is available.

When it comes to taking supplements research is finding mixed results, basically the jury is out and the recommendation is to “avoid concentrated sources of soy such as soy-containing pills or powders, or supplements containing high amounts of isoflavones.” (American Cancer Society).

When making the decision to consume soy or not, remember that tofu and other soy foods have considerable health benefits and are linked to lower rates of heart disease. Because they are excellent sources of protein, soy foods may replace other less healthy foods in the diet and therefore help lower cholesterol. Also soy is an excellent good quality protein alternative for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Bottom line: avoid pill and powdered soy supplements and enjoy soy foods in moderation.

Resources:

The American Institute of Cancer Research (www.aicr.org) and The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)

 

 

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Student Health Closed Saturday 10/11

The Student Health Center will be closed on Saturday, 10/11, for Fall Break. We will re-open with normal operating hours on Monday, October 13th, at 8:30am.

For after hours health care options, please call us at 919-681-9355.

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More carbs! Less carbs! No carbs! More protein! Less protein! No protein?

Swimming in a sea of conflicting nutrition advice? Have no fear! “The Big Three” are here!

“The Big Three” tutorials are streamlined guides to understanding carbs, proteins, and fats. Complete with colorful pictures (featuring some of your fellow Dukies!) and “take-home messages,” these user-friendly tutorials offer the basics on the 3 essential macronutrients - what they are, where to find them, why they’re important, and how much our bodies need to succeed!

“The Big Three” tutorials will hopefully serve as a springboard for more extensive discussion in the “Nutrition in a Nutshell” series, coming soon!

Hungry for more??

Follow Duke Student Health Nutrition Services on  Facebook and Twitter for nifty tips, nutrition myth-busters, and news on awesome foodie events (like “Meatless Monday” specials at Penn and Marketplace for Vegetarian Awareness Month). 

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