Have You Heard?

Department - Student Health

A Whole New World

First of all, I would like to say congrats to the class of 2018 for choosing to come to Duke!  Soon you will realize that it was the best decision you have made in your entire life; personally, I could not be happier here.

My name is Justin Johnson, and I am a rising sophomore from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home of the Krispy Kreme doughnut and Chris Paul.  I’m an alumnus of the esteemed Wilson Dorm, majoring in Economics and pursuing the Markets and Management certificate too.  Outside of the classroom, I’m on the club running team https://www.facebook.com/dukeclubrunning?ref=br_tf  and am a member of an IFC fraternity.  I graduated from a large high school where I ran Cross-Country and am proud to say that I have completed both a marathon and a half-Ironman triathlon.  So message me if you like to run, or if you don’t like to run but just want to talk.

I may have only attended school at Duke for one year thus far, but my fascination with this place goes way back to when I was just a little kid sitting in front of the TV, watching Duke dominate on the hardwood.  I grew up a Duke fan and was ecstatic to learn that I would be able to live out my dream as a student in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.  However, even though I knew Duke was the place for me, I would be lying if I said I was not a little nervous as August crept closer and closer.  I had never been to summer camp before, or even away from my family for more than a few weeks at a time, and wondered how I would adjust to living on my own in an unfamiliar town.  I wondered if I would feel overwhelmed with new classes, new people, new expectations, but I soon realized that it was all going to be alright.  If there were one piece of advice I could give you, it would be to relax.  The transition to college is similar to a roller-coaster ride, scary when you’re waiting in line but incredible once you’re strapped in. 

When you arrive at Duke a whole new world will open up to you.  That’s where True Blue comes in.  True Blue is a program sponsored by the Wellness Center designed to educate incoming students on all aspects of wellness at Duke.  We aren’t going to tell you not to drink or go to Shooters, but we will try our best to provide you the tools you need to make healthy decisions, anywhere from the Marketplace to an off-campus party.  I can’t wait to meet you all in a few weeks, but until then enjoy your summer.

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The Help

Most people do not like talking about their problems, whether they are academic, financial or emotional – especially at a place like Duke. The stigma attached to mental health issues do not mix well with the Duke community. Things become a lot more daunting when there are unrelenting expectations to be the perfect student with an immaculate academic record; this quickly tears away at one’s self-esteem and life.

When I first arrived on campus, two years ago, I was ambitious and ready to tackle whatever was thrown at me. However, following my first semester, I realized that things were not fine. I used to conquer school, but now it was conquering me. I had no one to talk to about what was going on inside my head. I thought, ‘people have their own issues to deal with’. I did not want to be a burden. Speaking about how poorly I was doing in my classes would be humiliating. In addition, being 3,000 miles away from my home did not help my situation.

No one ever thinks that they will suffer from depression until it actually happens. Before leaving for college, I always thought that I was healthy and happy with my life. I never thought that my life would spiral out of control. I isolated myself from everyone because I did not want to be perceived as crazy. I found myself unable to escape the clutches of my bed. If it was not for a close friend of mine recommending CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) to me, I am sure that I probably would have been kicked out of school.

CAPS is a beautiful thing- it really is. Before ever walking in to my first appointment, I thought that I was going to be bombarded with questions by a psychologist that thought I was crazy. That was not the case. I was asked to talk about everything that was bothering me: school, family, money, etc. I was given the opportunity to vent to someone who I knew would not judge me - they just listened and gave advice. As I continued to visit regularly, I began to feel a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I was able to breathe throughout the day with ease. Most importantly, I started to do well in school again.

If I could offer any advice to an incoming student, it would be to make an appointment at CAPS if they are ever going through some tough times. I know that the easiest thing to do is to bottle up your emotions, but that will only make things worse. Remember to always take care of yourself first.

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Giving to Gain

Hello Class of 2018! My name is Gabrielle Sawyer and I am a rising junior studying Public Policy and Markets and Management. I have just returned home to Washington, D.C. after spending a very eventful semester in SoCal with Duke in Los Angeles. In addition to taking courses with USC and Duke professors, I interned at Overbrook Entertainment on the Sony Pictures Studio lot. The decision to trade in Durham for Hollywood was an uncanny one given my calculated nature. Before leaving, I was a straight-laced pre-med student wary of exploring my lingering interests for film and media. Given the traditional nature of Duke, I never thought it possible to make a living in the entertainment industry. My perspective began to change as I connected with Duke alumni that work as successful producers, agents, and journalists. 

Giving up pre-med has been one of the most uncomfortable and stressful decisions I have made so far at Duke. Giving up the security of a stable career track has really pushed the boundaries of myself and of my family. I sometimes worry that by not becoming a doctor, I am throwing away this extraordinary opportunity to study at such a prestigious university.

Finding that spark and that passion may not come as easy for some. I am evidence of this. It is okay to be fearful of the future. Just don’t let that fear keep you from building a life full of vigor and energy.  The worst possible thing you can do during your four years at Duke is to choose a career path that does not make you happy nor challenges your abilities as an intelligent and creative human being.
This is YOUR time. Live these four years up AND make wise decisions. Have fun!

On that note, I can’t wait to meet you all! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

-Gabby

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True Blue Gloria Adedoyin

Hey folks! I'm Gloria Adedoyin. I am from Greensboro, North Carolina, and I have one older sister who graduated from Carolina. I'm a Biology/History double major with dreams of becoming a pharmacist when I graduate. I really love history especially American and pre-modern Russian history so if you are interested in that kind of thing come talk to me! I played lacrosse in high school and still love to play. I'm director of programming for DukeAfrica so stick with me, and I'll show you some really cool events we have planned related to the Continent. I am also a member of Brownstone Selective Living Group.

My experience at Duke has been incredible so far. I've had the opportunity to study abroad for two summers in both Germany & Australia, respectively. Travel is another one of my biggest interests; being able to visit new places and get credit at the same time was great. When you visit different countries or even interact with different kinds of people you find that the things that seem to be large differences between you are really only subtle nuances. It's really enlightening to find that we are all a lot more connected than we might first anticipate. ALSO, If you happen to travel to Berlin, Germany I highly recommend you visit Mustafa's for the best döner you've ever had.
 
Fun Fact: Until I received my acceptance, I was a total UNC fan. Please forgive me for my long-term lapse in judgement. I was corrupted by my sister. However, after visiting Duke on Blue Devil Days and discovering the magic that is the Gothic Wonderland, I soon realized how wrong I'd been. Aside from how pretty the campus is, East Campus and Duke's position as a leading institution of biological research were two other, major factors contributing to my decision to come here.

I remember watching True Blue as a freshman and being somewhat skeptical about the performance. I've seen enough adults attempting to convey serious messages to teenagers in "cool" "hip" or "relevant" ways only for it to come off corny and silly rather than informational. True Blue surprised me though. Students were delivering the message. Students were leading the discussions. Students that had personally (or through friends) experienced first-hand the things they were talking about and talking about them in a fun, casual way. That resonated with me a lot more deeply than some of the other information about college I'd received. And, for once I could ask questions about things I was too embarrassed or too nervous to ask. For me, True Blue delivered the most relevant advice and information because it came straight from students like me and you. I joined the True Blue cast so I could actively help in shaping that message. True Blue is there to provide you with information to make informed, decisions.

Long story short: True Blue exists to help you have the most kickass freshman (and future!) experience at Duke in the safest, healthiest way possible.

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Eating on Vacation

Vacation-time to relax and indulge, right?  Relax, yes.  Indulge?  Somewhat.  If you use this time to feel like you can really let go, then perhaps you want to ask yourself, “what is it that I want to let go of?”. Because our days are often overscheduled and demanding, we look to our vacation as a time of no scheduling and no demands -- including food.  Although doing this for a day or two may be fine, a whole week or more of “freedom eating” might present its challenges. It’s important to exhibit balance, which includes some indulgences that you like, to meet your nutritional needs.  To continue good habits while traveling, here are a few tips.

·         Aim for balance.  When eating, try to include some protein so that your meal or snack is more satisfying.  If you can include some vegetables, that’s an added bonus!  Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions once in a while (raw or cooked vegetables or fruit salad as a side, etc.).

·         Don’t “save” your calories.  It’s important to eat healthy throughout the day if you’re planning on having a heavier meal later.  If you allow yourself to become too hungry beforehand, you’ll likely overeat.

·         Be aware of portion distortion.  Many servings at restaurants are much larger than what we need.  Listen to your fullness cues and eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

·         Alcohol counts!  If you remember from our previous blogs, alcohol can be a significant source of calories.  Limit the amount you’re consuming by setting a drink limit before events.  If you need more than 2 drinks per hour, you may need to reevaluate why you’re drinking.

·         Include exercise.  Tour a town you’re visiting by foot, go for a stroll at sunset on the beach or swim in a pool or body of water for physical activity.

·         Stay hydrated.  Traveling in general can be dehydrating and warmer climates only exacerbate that.  Carry a water bottle with you and drink throughout the day.

·         Think of the 80/20 rule-if 80% of your overall diet is pretty healthy, it’s fine that 20% consists of higher calorie or “fun foods”.

Eating is all about balance-meeting your nutrient needs while including items that you really enjoy.  You can “recover” from an unhealthy day by getting on track the next day-eating meals that include all the food groups and being physically active.  Have questions?  Make an appointment with one of the dietitians at Student Health by going online or calling 919-681-9355.

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True Blue Peer For You

Hi Class of 2018! Congratulations on your recent graduations – now all that’s standing between you and Duke is a few months of summer!

My name is Ali Preston. I grew up in Tampa, FL, and graduated from Plant High School. After a freshman year spent taking Political Science, Religion, Finance, and German classes, along with an amazing Writing 101 class, I decided to dive – blind and headfirst – into a Psychology major and haven’t looked back.

I’ve recently placed myself in a somewhat unusual situation. I arrived at Duke with the Class of 2016, but I will leave with the Class of 2015. I decided that my college experience was meant to be shorter than the usual college experience, for a variety of personal reasons that have very little to do with the quality of my priceless Duke experience and very much to do with me and my future plans.

No matter how much time you spend at Duke, this chapter of your life can be absolutely incredible and simultaneously challenging/stressful – both academically and socially. I want to help you take advantage of everything Duke has to offer while preserving or even improving your physical and mental health. The mental health side of this mission is especially close to my heart. I am on the leadership team of Peer For You. We not only provide an anonymous messaging service through which students can share stories of struggle and receive empathetic (if not also helpful) responses from Peer Responders, but we also try to reach out to students on a daily basis with messages of resilience, empathy, and hope, all in an effort to transform campus culture to promote trust, vulnerability, community, and connection. We are here for you from the very beginning. (I’m a TED addict, so I just thought I’d include one of my relevant favorites for your viewing pleasure.)

Through True Blue, I hope to give you some tools to make your time at Duke into the best experience of your life thus far. Know that part of navigating your Duke experience is figuring out what the “best experience” means for you.  I’m very excited about and thankful for the opportunity to welcome you all to Duke, beginning this summer and continuing through Orientation Week. Looking forward to meeting you all in August.

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Dreaming is envisioning

My parents told me that when I was a young toddler, I wanted to be a doctor, dancer, writer, flight attendant, singer, and actor all at once. I was constantly envisioning myself as a new person each time I came up with a new profession; I was always living in the future. I could never pinpoint what I wanted to do. Duke changed that.

Duke, what’s up?! My name is Hanan (rhymes with the bomb.com), and I’m a dreamer.

When I dream, I not only escape my reality, but I imagine my life in a new way. I like to stretch reality—why can’t I be a dancing doctor who writes while being a singing flight attendant that acts on the side? The truth is—I can do all of these things, and it all begins with a simple dream. I find dreaming incredibly empowering—I am in complete control, I decide, I conquer, I achieve.

Dreaming is envisioning. While my future is still a bit fuzzy, it’s slowly manifesting itself. As a Public Policy and Global Health double major at Duke, I see myself using my health policy education to become a global citizen in the world. I hope to utilize the skills I’ve gained in the classroom to contribute to our ever-changing world. My main interest lies in humanitarian work, with an emphasis on social justice/human rights issues, women’s health, and global development.

My heart lies in Africa. I’ve traveled to Africa six different times and traveled to four different countries in the continent (hopefully more countries in the future). While some may feel like they know Africa, in reality, many people’s understanding of Africa is very limited, due to the media’s negative portrayal of the continent. Mass media fails to provide a dynamic perspective of the continent, and instead unfairly emphasizing the dysfunctions of Africa. As Mos Def once said, “if Africa stands in good stead, then the globe will be positively affected.” Thus, it’s vital for people to realize the beauty of the continent, and not be so wrapped up in the media’s narrow portrayal of Africa. Africa has a special place in me—I love its rich history, culture, traditions, and diversity. It’s why I constantly find myself gravitating towards the continent; I enjoy spending weeks on end in African countries at any chance I get.

Duke helped wipe the mist off the foggy lens that is my future, but spots of fuzziness still remains. I’m confident that things will clear up by the end of my time at Duke. And your future will clear up to; everything will work out the way it should, when it should.

Stay dreamin’
Hanan

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Diversity, Change, and You

Hello! First, I would like to give you a warm welcome into the Duke community and congratulate you for making the best decision of your life by choosing to call Duke your home for the next few years.

My name is Milton Padilla, and I am originally from the greater Philadelphia area. I am a rising sophomore double majoring in Economics and Public Policy with every intention of going to law school and running for political office (Padilla 2032!). I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel across the country and compete with Duke’s Mock Trial team and I am so excited to be a member of the True Blue cast this fall.

College both attracts diversity and breeds change. I used to consider myself as diverse as they come; I’m Puerto Rican and Scottish, I live in a suburban town a stone’s throw away from one of the biggest cities in the country, I listen to everything from rap to alternative, yet I was amazed by the diversity of Duke’s student population. At college, you are exposed to so many different people, ideas, and interests that your worldview will assuredly change.
So for me, True blue is not just about sticking to your core values and beliefs, but also being open to the good kinds of change that college fosters. I emphasize “good” because attending college brings just as many temptations as it does freedoms.

Pressures come frequently, and even from unexpected sources. I can remember several Saturday nights when I chose to stay in and finish homework while my parents and friends back home were messaging me things like “Where’s the party tonight?” or “I’m sure you’re out with friends.” The stereotypes surrounding the college experience will stress you out at one point or another, and that is why the Duke Wellness Center is here, to support your efforts to stay healthy and balanced while you traverse the rigorous landscape of college.

It will NOT be easy, and it will test your character and your beliefs, but if you stick to your True Blue, I can assure you it will be rewarding, and a lot of fun! Good luck!

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From a small graduating class to Duke

Hi! My name’s Brooke Beason and I’m a rising sophomore from Alabama majoring in political science.  I’m super excited about being a part of the True Blue team this year. True Blue is something unique to Duke that supports freshmen through the transition to college life.

I came to Duke not really knowing what to expect at the beginning of freshman year. I had read my Blue Book and had kept mostly up to date on (read: checked constantly) the Class of 2017 Facebook page, but that didn’t prepare me for how I would feel when I arrived on campus August 20th.

Coming from a high school graduating class of 17 students (Yes, you are reading that correctly.) to a new class of 1,700 was the single most drastic change of my life. I remember looking around the first day of orientation week. I wondered to myself how some people already seemed to have surrounded themselves with new friends while I had only met my roommate and RA.

It took a little bit of time for me to adjust to college life, but eventually I settled in and had a better first year than I ever could have imagined. As classes started, I realized that having the most (or least) orientation week friends wasn’t going to make or break my Duke experience. I got more involved in the performing arts community in Pegram and made some of the best friends of my life.

That’s why I am so enthusiastic about True Blue. I remember True Blue as being a time when older students reminded me that everyone has their niche at Duke. The True Blue program tells students about transitioning into all facets of college life; it’s not just a program about alcohol safety and sexual health, although those things are important, too. It promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging students to eat healthy food, be active, and get enough sleep (arguably the most difficult part of college). I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to present this information to incoming freshmen and to support them as they begin their Duke careers. See you in August!

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A Red-Headed Devil Turned Blue

My 9th grade history teacher would tease me by calling me a “red-headed devil” due to my energetic personality, and the fact that I have curly, red hair.  …Plus, he had my brothers before me - you younger siblings out there know what I mean -, but I DIGRESS!  Little did I know that three years later I would go from being a red-headed devil to a Blue Devil.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Fate?  Yes!  Just like it is fate that you all were chosen to come to Duke!  Welcome Class of 2018!

To introduce myself… My name is Morgan Irons, and I am a rising sophomore.  I hail from the Historical Triangle, specifically Yorktown, Virginia, where all you see are trees and people dressed in 18th century garb!  If you ever need to know about colonial history, I got you!  Currently, I am deciding between a biophysics and an environmental science major to go along with my premed track.  I also participate in many activities on campus, from TEDxDuke to the campus beautification organization I created called The Campus Keepers.  However, even with everything that I do on campus, I still find time to hang out with friends and explore the Durham and Raleigh areas.  I promise you, you will feel more at home if you explore your surroundings.

Coming to Duke is a scary, intimidating transition, especially after you hear current Duke Students talk about all the stuff they do.  But, do not give into the insecurities and doubts that come with a new environment.  Life at Duke is more than what GPA you have, or how many activities you can pack into your schedule.  Believe me, I found myself wondering how I was chosen to attend Duke after hearing about my fellow classmates during Orientation Week.  But, my first year led me to find new meaning in my life.  I realized that who I become as a student, person, and friend is defined and created by me and my actions.  Just as you are coming into the time of your life where you can make decisions about your future, you now have the power to take the quirks and talents that you have and shape them into the version of yourself you want.  It may seem cliché to say, but no one is alike and that is one reason why you were chosen to come to Duke.  You are bringing something to the table that only you can bring.

True Blue is here to help you realize your potential and show you the wonderful Duke community you are entering.  We want you to have the best times of your life!  Just as I heard my first year when I saw the True Blue cast:  no matter the decisions you make or the pressures you feel here at Duke, stick to your True Blue!  Welcome to a place where your dreams become reality!  (That sounded mildly Disney-like.)  See you soon!

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Body type or Body Hype?

Reading the Huffington Post this week, I found yet another diet plan making its rounds.  This strategy asks that the user decide what type of body they have and then follow the recommendations of what to eat before, during and after a workout depending on his or her goals (weight loss, muscle gain, etc.).  So really it’s a diet plan masked as an exercise plan.  Now deciding on body type isn’t the most straightforward thing.  On a “good day” you may feel like an “ectomorph” but on the days where you don’t like your weight as much, you may estimate that you’re an “endomorph”.  Leaving it up to each person to make this decision leads to a wide range of recommendations.  There is certainly truth to the fact that certain types of bodies may have different nutrient needs because fundamentally this has to do with muscle mass. Some types are more prone to be muscular and because muscle burns calories far better than fat does, it would make sense that lean individuals may inherently eat a bit differently. Having said that, there are pros and cons to everything so after discussing with the nutrition team, here is what we’ve concluded.  We’ll start with the positives.

  • It emphasizes eating whole foods.
  • It isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition, but rather accounts for some variation in body type.
  • It encourages portion size using realistic measurements rather than focusing on calories.  For example, using your palm to measure protein and your thumb to measure fat accounts for larger individuals having larger needs.  Think of it as nature’s measuring cups!

Here are a few points that we’d like readers to be wary of:

 

  • Each person’s needs are highly individualized.  Unfortunately, much like the old Blood Type Diet, we can’t fit everyone into 3 or 4 categories.  If you’re unsure of your needs, speak with a student health dietitian and we can make a plan specifically for your needs.
  • This diet, like most, is not age-specific.  Most college students are at the age where they’re still growing, maturing, laying down bone mass, etc., so they have higher needs than the general public.
  • The plan is low in starches, which are important for energy for your muscles as well as your brain.  Starches also aid in allowing tryptophan to go through the blood brain barrier which then becomes serotonin and can positively affect mood.


So what’s the take-home message?  Unless you’re following a plan that is made specifically for you, generalized diets can be lacking in nutrients and do not address dietary preferences, cultural diversity and economic constraints when it comes to meal planning.  We’re all different, thank goodness – let’s stop trying to label us or put us in categories but rather celebrate our differences.

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Taking Nutrition on the Road

You did it, finals are over and it is time for a couple of months away from the books. Whether you are working, taking a summer course, or have an internship lined up, chances are you will be traveling at some point during the summer months.

Let’s face it when traveling there isn’t an abundance of appetizing and energizing snack options, also eating on the road can be a budget buster. With a little advanced planning you can satisfy your taste buds and save yourself some time and money.

Here are our top picks for energizing snacks that travel well:
• Nuts and trail mix (without added salt)
• Granola or cereal bars that have some protein and fiber (look for those with at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber)
• Dried fruit or fruit leathers ( a small handful will do)
• Small juice box sized flavored milk travel well and don’t need refrigeration (either dairy or soy are a great source of protein and taste good to boot) but certainly taste better cold.
• Nut butters and whole grain crackers
• Fresh fruit such as apples, clementines, oranges and most other fruits don’t need refrigeration and travel well.
• Consider Jerky—although high in sodium it packs a hunger satisfying protein punch and truly travels well.
• If you have access to cooler, pack some string cheese, hummus and veggies or even yogurt (although hard to eat if you are the driver—eat this while visiting a rest area), sandwiches.

Don’t forget some water and your GPS.

What do you pack to snack on (if anything) when you travel? Let us know we’d love to hear from you!

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It’s a Celebration!

You’ve worked hard and deserve to celebrate milestones-whether it is the last day of classes (LDOC), graduation, or your birthday.  I’m a big fan of celebrating these events and am a believer in calories not counting on your birthday (birthDAY, not birthMONTH).  One day of celebratory eating does not mean that you’ve “fallen off the wagon” but can rather be part of an overall balanced and healthy diet.  That being said, there are so many good things in life that it’s important to know how to enjoy events while keeping your health goals in mind.

  • Aim for balance.  When eating, aim to include some protein so that your meal or snack is more satisfying.  If you can include some vegetables, that’s an added bonus!
  • Don’t “save” your calories.  It’s important to eat healthy throughout the day before going to the celebration.  If you allow yourself to become too hungry beforehand, you’ll likely overeat.
  • Listen to your fullness cues. Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Alcohol counts!  If you remember from our previous blogs, alcohol can be a significant source of calories.  Limit the amount you’re consuming by setting a drink limit before events.  If you need more than 2 drinks per hour, you may need to reevaluate why you’re drinking. 
  • Think of the 80/20 rule-if 80% of your overall diet is pretty healthy, it’s fine that 20% consists of higher calorie or “fun foods”.

Eating is all about balance-meeting your nutrient needs while including items that you really enjoy.  You can “recover” from an unhealthy day by getting on track the next day-eating meals that include all the food groups and being physically active.  Have questions?  Make an appointment with one of the dietitians at Student Health by going online or calling 919-681-9355. 

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Student Health Services, Graduation, and Summer Health Fees

Congratulations to all graduating students!

The Student Health Fee for Spring Semester 2014 EXPIRES at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 16th. This means that all Duke students who have paid the Spring Fee can continue to use the Student Health Center (SHC) through May 16th. Depending on your status at Duke, there are different rules that apply after that date. If you are:

Graduating on May 11th – After May 16th, you can no longer be seen as a patient at the SHC. You must find another source for health care. The only exception to this is if your SHC provider requests that you follow up for a condition for which you were seen prior to May 16th.

Taking summer classes at Duke – Students who are taking summer classes pay the Summer Health Fee each term.

            Summer Term I                        May 14 – June 26                    $109.25

            Summer Term II                      June 30 – August 10                $109.25

            Summer Term I and II             May 14 – August 10                $218.50

If you are taking classes for the first term or both terms, you can continue to use the SHC uninterrupted. If you are taking classes during the second term only, you must elect to pay the first term health fee to be allowed to use the SHC between May 16th and the start of the second summer term. Likewise, if you are only taking classes during the first term, you must elect to pay the second term health fee to continue to use the SHC throughout the whole summer.

Not taking classes, but staying in the area – Students who will return to Duke for Fall Semester but are not taking summer classes can elect to pay the Summer Health Fee, utilizing the SHC uninterrupted between Spring and Fall Semesters.

Prescriptions, Refills:

Prescriptions can be renewed at the discretion of the prescribing provider for up to 30 days after graduation (e.g. June 11, 2014). After June 11th, only returning students can have prescriptions written or phoned in by SHC providers.

Medical Records:

Students may request that copies of their records be forwarded to other providers. Appropriate release will be required. For more information, visit our website:  http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth, click on Forms & Policies and look under the “Clinical Forms” section. Alternatively, you may call 681-WELL (681-9355) and press menu option 6.

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How is Your Microbiota?

Excuse me? When was the last time someone asked you about YOUR microbiota?  Most people don’t realize that our bodies are made up of more bacterial cells than human cells. “We are walking ecosystems, as our bodies are colonized from top to bottom by microbes that, not happy with behaving like guests, are actually integrated into our biology. “They help us digest food, shape our immune system, alter our metabolism and evidence is even starting to show that they affect the nervous system, influencing our mood and behaviour,” explains Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University (USA).”

Keeping the microbiome, or the environment that the bacteria live in, optimal is key. As you might have guessed, this brings us to the discussion of our diets. Our GI bacteria, although very adaptive, love plant materials and fiber.   Those who follow vegan and vegetarian diets have different combinations of colonies in their guts, than carnivores, the bacteria in our colon actually help break down the fiber that other enzymes cannot.

Stress negatively impacts the health of our bacteria, for many reasons, but often due to poor dietary choices. Bacteria, or our bodies in general, don’t like the highly processed, highly sugared foods – (although they may taste great in the moment) they’re actually inflammatory. However these are often the types of foods we reach for when we are stressed. If you want to keep your microbioata happy, be selective with your diet. These microbes produce 95% percent of the body’s serotonin. Yes, serotonin – that neurotransmitter that can make us “sleepy” or “relax” us. Eating a diet that is rich in plant materials and dietary fiber is a good way to nurture your microbiome.  Consider yogurt and Kefir and even sauerkraut, yes sauerkraut to help keep a healthy environment. Just don’t lose sight of balance in the diet. Plant materials may be important but protein and fats are equally as important. Just living on salads is also not the answer.

So the next time you’re stressing, like right now or in the upcoming weeks, remember to be kind to your microbiota by eating well; have some yogurt with “live culture” bacteria, along with some granola and fruit, consider some hummus and raw veggies for a snack, sandwich on a whole grain bun along with some minestrone or vegetable soup at lunch, cheese and whole grain crackers as a mid-afternoon treat and maybe some schnitzel and sauerkraut for dinner.
Want to learn more: Follow http://www.gutmicrobiotawatch.org/

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What’s Eating You?

If you’ve never heard the term ‘mindless eating’, you are not alone. Mindless eating is much more common than you would think especially in college students.

What is mindless eating?
When you eat an amount of food large or small in quantity (usually large) while not paying attention to the food or how your body feels as you eat it.

Mindless eating typically occurs:
Late at night after long periods of studying, watching TV
● If you have gone long periods of time without eating
When you finally eat you are so hungry you consume a large amount of food quickly which can lead to overeating.

So how can you prevent mindless eating? Good question!
It is important to know there are two pieces to help you avoid mindless eating; physical and emotional.

Physical:
• Eat regularly throughout the day (three meals and snacks in-between as needed). This will help prevent you missing meals and then becoming too hungry later in the day.
• Try to identify your own personal hunger cues (they aren’t the same for everyone). Physical hunger can be your stomach talking to you (growling) and feels empty or you begin to feel weak and low on energy, you may lose concentration or become cranky (“hangry”). Those are all signals your body uses to tell you it needs fuel and you need to eat. It is important to honor these cues by eating either a meal or snack.

Emotional:
• Learn to cope during periods of higher stress in your life. During periods of higher stress many of us turn to food for comfort whether it is for reward, or coping with stress and anxiety. When you catch yourself wandering to the vending machine or fridge or that box of cereal sitting in your room, and you don’t feel physically hungry you are about to mindlessly consume whatever is the next thing you eat.
• There are many ways you can cope with periods of stress in your life. Attending a yoga class, meditating, deep breathing, talking to a friend, taking a walk, working on a puzzle or doing moderate (45-60min) exercise at the Wilson Recreation Center can help. If you feel you need more help and want to talk to someone, Duke Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) can help.

On the flipside you also want to be a mindful eater
Pay attention to what you are eating
● Notice the tastes, feels, and smells of foods
● Notice how the food makes your body feel
● What type of mood are you in before you begin eating?
Positive moods make it easier to eat mindfully versus negative or sad moods make it difficulty to eat mindfully.
● Do you get hungry soon after eating these foods; do you feel energized or sleepy after eating?
● Pay attention to how well the food you eat makes you feel. And most of all enjoy your meals.

If you would like to talk to a nutrition professional in more depth about how you can become a mindful eater visit Duke’s Student Health Nutrition Website.  You can email any of our Registered Dietitians and make an appointment. This service is included in your tuition and does not cost extra.

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Where’s the Fire Now? Anti-inflammatory Eating Updates

Yes we have covered this topic before back in the fall of 2012 Inflammation-Where's the Fire?.

Back then we were presenting to you a proposed list of anti-inflammatory food to include in your diet.

These foods included healthy fats, spices, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and of course dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more).

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has highlighted what we have known for quite some time, many of us eat more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet and this may be contributing to heart disease.

What does this mean for us?  Not only should we consume anti-inflammatory foods every day but there are also some foods that we should try to limit our intake of as well.  If you eat too much simple sugar cutting back on the amount in your diet is important in the effort to fight chronic disease, which can be attributed to inflammation on the cellular level. Most recent studies refer to heart disease in particular.

Not everyone needs to decrease their sugar intake but if you feel that you are eating too much of the sweet stuff and you are looking for areas to cut back, consider the following:

·         Don’t Drink Your Fruit- opt for whole fruit instead of fruit juices and you will significantly decrease your intake of simple sugars and increase your intake of healthy fibers.

·         Avoid Sugar Sweetened Beverages- replace sodas, fruit flavored drinks, and sweet teas with water. Can’t give them up? Go “halfsies” by mixing half sweetened with half sugar free, unsweetened or water.

·         Be a Wise Consumer of your Favorite Hot Beverage- many coffee and tea drinks are loaded with sugar, each pump of syrup has about 5 grams of sugar, so limit the number of pumps or better yet go for a simple latte sans syrup.

·         When Baking- you can easily reduce the amount of sugar called for by ¼- 1/3 without sacrificing taste.

·         Share Desserts- if you eat them regularly. Otherwise eat what you enjoy but do so less often.

·         Enjoy!

The take home message here is you don't need to totally avoid sugar, just eat it in moderation and make the real thing count.

 

 

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Student Health Closed Saturday 3/8

The Student Health Center will be closed on Saturday, 3/8, due to Spring Break.

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

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Peer For You Peer Responder Applications Open

Peer For You is now welcoming applications for Peer Responders to serve Duke students for next year.

Applications due March 16. Apply now.

We are a student-run resource that provides the space for undergraduate students to reach out for support and referrals in times of struggle. Any Duke student can send an anonymous message to one of our Peer Responders about a struggle or challenge that they are currently facing. The approached Peer Responder will respond to the message within 24 hours.

Peer responders are trained through CAPS personnel and facilitate the sharing of personal experiences and encourage students to make use of existing, supportive resources. The role of the Responder crucially is to provide an open, non-judgemental, open ear for students to express their stress. Ever felt alone at Duke? Inadequate? Marginalized? If you've experienced challenges at Duke in any way, consider applying to be a Peer Responder.

Visit the Peer For You website for more information.

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Alcohol and Spring Break

“It is wise to bring some water, when one goes out to look for water.” This is not a recent Tweet or Facebook status update, but rather, wisdom from an Arab proverb.  What does this have to do with your life as a Duke student, you say? With spring break approaching, there are many choices on what to do, whether that be traveling to Peru with the Duke Alternative Spring Break Program; canoeing and kayaking with Duke Recreation; hanging out at home; or, jaunting to the coast to catch some rays.  For some, activities will include the use of alcohol.  While most students will be responsible with the amount they consume, 42% of college students get drunk at least once during spring break (Litt et al. 2013).

The combination of drinking alcohol and possibly being in warmer weather easily brings about dehydration. Warmer temperatures aside, when someone has a standard drink (12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor in a mixed drink), he or she urinates a greater amount of water than is contained in the drink. This happens because alcohol inhibits the body’s anti-diuretic hormone (it also inhibits judgment but that is another article altogether. I would recommend making strategic decisions about how much and what to drink prior to consumption).  This leads to more water coming out than going in, even if water is included when having some drinks. In addition to the alcohol, remember that warmer temperatures promote sweating, and we need fluids to sweat. Being dehydrated and spending time in the sun, can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends drinking one nonalcoholic drink for every alcoholic drink consumed: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/SummerSafety/SummerSafety.htm. The nonalcoholic drink should not contain caffeine for two reasons: 1) caffeine is a diuretic, and 2) drinking caffeine increases the urge to move more (it is a stimulant). Alcohol decreases physical motor coordination.  The combination of increased motor activity and decreased coordination will not end well. It would be wise to keep sugar out of it, too, as drinking alcohol influences the body’s sugar levels. You can learn more about this here.  You may also want to check out the environmental-dependent tolerance section in this article.

As you consider Spring Break during these dreary months of winter, keep in mind that the goal of a break is to have fun and enjoy life!  Feeling bad because of the negative effects of alcohol takes away from the joy of vacation.  So, when headed toward warmer climates, please drink some water, replenish your electrolytes, eat a full meal prior to drinking, and have fun.  I will leave you with this:

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.” (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

 

 

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