Health

How to Make Your Own Infused Waters

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Healthy Waterimage source 

It’s no surprise that my Pinterest feed these past few weeks have consisted of colorful bikinis, floral prints, pastel colors, and spring décor. But my favorite trend of the season? Infused water.

For the longest time I couldn’t bring myself to drink water, it was just so bland compared to my favorite fizzy soda pop flavors. However, last semester a friend of mine introduced me to infused water, and I was instantly hooked. Infused water helps make staying hydrated fun, offers a dose of essential vitamins, gently cleanses your body and works as a natural skin care. But, the best part about it all? It’s such a quick and easy process, it takes just under 5 minutes to prepare!

Making your own infused water is quick and simple! Here’s how to make your own infused water:

Step 1: Fill a pitcher with water,

Step 2: add thinly sliced fruits, herbs or spices and ice

Step 3: chill in the refrigerator.

For stronger flavored water, prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight before drinking, The fruit should stay fresh as long as you keep your water refrigerated, and should be consumed in 3-5 days. That’s it! No fancy gadgets or confusing recipe cards, it’s simple as 1,2,3.

Here are a some infused water recipes that make will make your taste buds sing…

 - Raspberry +  lemon  +  mint

 - Strawberry  +  Kiwi

- Lemon  +  cucumber  +  mint

 - Blackberry  +  cherry  +  lime

 - Orange  +  lemon  +  lime

 - Strawberry + Lime + Mint

We’re always on the hunt for new flavor combinations, so snap a photo of your beautiful beverage on Instagram or tweet us your favorite recipe on twitter by using #tastebuddanceparty

 

Cheers!

Fruit Infused Waterimage source

Beating the Wintertime Blues

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winter bluesAs winter approaches and the sun slowly disappears, many students begin to struggle with a variety of problems. Whether it’s being away from home, a ridiculous workload of homework, general stress or just a combination of all these things, every student suffers from some form of wintertime blues. Here’s a few suggestions to help you relax and see the light again.

Relax. The absolute most important thing to remember is to just relax. Believe it or not, stress happens to everyone. Sometimes the best way to deal with problems is to take a step back and look at them from the outside. Go out with friends, do something you love or find a new hobby. Whatever you choose to do, just let yourself forget your problems for a bit and come back to them with a fresh mind.

Meditating. A lot of people assume that meditation consists of deep thinking. For the most part, this isn’t true. Most meditation practices actually help to free your mind from your thoughts and your obsessions. Find a flat surface, sit up and focus on your breathing. As you sit still, try to manually relax each muscle in your body. Strive towards the goal of absolute silence…meaning no thoughts or emotions. I promise you it’s absurdly relaxing!

Meet new people. Another great way to get a new perspective on your world is to meet some new people. Get to know them and see what their views are. It’s very refreshing, and you never know who you’ll meet!

Clean. Try tidying up your dorm or apartment. Many times, a clustered room or environment can cause clustered thoughts and emotions. If you couldn’t tell, it’s not a good thing.

Get off campus. Sometimes a change in surroundings can help more than you can imagine. It sounds weird, but it really does work. Go to the mall or to a hiking trail nearby. Exercise is also a great way to perk up, so get moving! Do whatever you can to explore and get out of your cramped dorm.

While trying any of these suggestions, just make sure you remember that you are not alone in this. College isn’t exactly the easiest time in a person’s life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun. If you have any other ideas or methods of relaxing and staying cheery, let us know!

Surviving a Sick Day in College

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sick day college meme

For our whole lives, our parents have been telling us to eat healthy and to not do things that are bad for our health. However, when you go away to college, you call the shots. You get to do what you want, when you want, and no one can tell you not to (other than your common sense, of course). Although finally being in charge of your own life is exciting, you can’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can stay at your prime. Here are some helpful tips to keep you healthy this year:

If you’re contagious, don’t go. This doesn’t mean if you have a headache or a hangnail you should skip class. However, if you’re running a fever or running to the bathroom a lot, stay home. Your professors will appreciate it. As a side note, always get a doctor’s note. Many professors will deduct points for absences if you don’t have a written excuse. Read this guide for more tips on college sick days.

Does your school have a gym? Utilize it. Many universities have their own gym and swimming facilities that are open for student use and are often included in tuition. Even if you’re a commuter student, you can still use the facilities any time you like. Staying active through exercise prevents illness. And it sure beats paying for a doctor’s visit!

Get a good night’s rest. Some people can function on five or fewer hours of sleep, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Make sure you get at least six hours of sleep each night to keep your immune system at its best (and to keep you at your best throughout the day). Going to class and doing homework doesn’t seem so terrible when you’re not sleep deprived!

Got any other tips for us? Let us know in the comment section below!

The “No Time” Workout Routine

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dorm workout

You force yourself out of bed, your toes reluctantly coming awake as you prepare to get up and embark on another long journey through campus – from Starbucks, to class, and then on to the gym. Sound familiar? The daily routine of a college student can be exhausting. Whether you’re an undergraduate or have already embarked on a pre-professional path, good health is essential to your peace of mind. However, many put their physical well-being and their workout routine on the back burner for school success due to a simple lack of time. In fact, this is the most common excuse you will receive from someone who has begun slacking on his or her workout routine.

Although it can be difficult, you can’t make excuses! To be successful you need to first be healthy. Simple at-home workout routines can be interesting and efficient. Many individuals think that expensive equipment or a costly gym membership is necessary to get a perfect bod and stay healthy. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The “no time” excuse is also easily disputed. An effective workout routine does not depend on how long it is – but rather, on its intensity and execution. A 20-minute at-home workout that engages your whole body and challenges you will burn just as many calories as an hour spent on a treadmill staring at the hot guy standing in front of you. Just remember, how are you supposed to go to class and be successful in school if you’re sick all the time? Regular exercise improves the function of your immune system and will help you stay at your best so you can always do your best.

If you’re looking for a time-saving alternative or simply hate going to the gym at busy “rush” times, consider constructing an effective at home workout plan that will get you sweating and keep you healthy. Sometimes you really do benefit from staying home!

Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle

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The link between looking good and feeling good is a widely contested one. Some believe that superficiality is hopelessly entwined in the threads of today’s society and that we tend to place an undue focus on appearance as a measure of worth. Of course, I’m not here to preach about the subliminal evils of the advertising industry and demonize the media for its unrealistic spin on human events, though I’ve done it before (see “Hollywood News”). At the surface level, everyone gets a little confidence boost from improving their physical appearance, whether it be through diet, exercise or cosmetic procedures. Young people need not shy away from lending some attention to the way they look, because such awareness does carry certain benefits.

Yoga

The healthiest and most useful way to change one’s lifestyle positively is by adding a workout routine. Simply put – more motion! Exercise battles stagnancy, triggers the release of dopamine in the brain and aids proper development. While your muscles develop, your mind doesn’t lag behind. A morning weight-lifting session or an evening run has never failed to crystallize my thoughts or quell bubbling anger. It is a known fact that one can simply not go wrong with adding more activity to their routine.

In the midst of a stressful semester or on the doorstep of a new challenge, channeling anxiety into exercise can work to stabilize your mood and mentally tune you for success. To think positively, one must act positively – it is more than just a cliché. When you’re sedentary and holed up inside on a summer day, notice your outlook. The world seems insurmountable and you take on an ant’s point of view. Entering a positive mindset is a mission in itself. It requires courage, patience, and, most of all, action. So go out there and make proactive changes. Look good, feel good, think well, and carry yourself accordingly.

Your Weekly Exercise: Squats

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What are squats? Squats are very beneficial for both males and females. Squats work out many different body parts at the same time. Squats, just like the bench press, are a powerhouse of a workout and if done correctly you can really gain some serious muscle and, or strength.

Instructions:  I would absolutely recommend a spotter or partner while doing this exercise. I say this because this tends to be a workout that without a spotter you can hurt yourself very easily. You may also use a squat rack if you do not have a spotter with you. You first want to get in position where you will put the barbell on your upper back. You then want to bend down with your buttocks sticking out as you go down. Your head should be slightly up as well. At this point you should have a tight grip, head slightly up, knees bent and buttocks out. Then you want to rise up, and continue the same sequence for as many as you desire.

Primary Muscles Worked: Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads.

Your Weekly Exercise: Pull Downs

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What are Lat Pull Down? Pull downs are a back exercise, specifically focusing on the upper back, the lats.

Instructions: There are different variations of pull downs including close grip, medium grip, wide grip, overhand, or even backhand. The wider your go the bigger your back will get. You want to first sit down at the machine with your knees tightly placed underneath the grip that keeps you secure to pull down. Set your weight and grab the bar. As I stated before you can grip it however you want close, medium, wide, overhand, or backhand. You grip the bar tightly as you bring it right down to your chest. Slowly let the bar go back up while still with a tight grip so you do not let go. Follow these steps bringing the bar down and letting it go back up. As always do whatever repetitions are good for you. A spotter isn’t necessary but it could always be beneficial especially because if you are having a hard time bringing the weight down.

Primary Muscles Worked: Upper Back/Lats

Secondary Muscles Worked: Biceps

College Student Probs: Balancing College and the Need for Real Food

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(photo source: collegeplanningadvisors.wordpress.com)

Ramen noodles. Easy Mac. Frozen pizza. Pop tarts. What do these have in common? Ohhh yeah, the infamous college cuisine.

So here’s a question: Is it physically realistic or even possible to eat healthy, decent meals in college?

Before I answer…

First of all, since I lived in a dorm last year, I automatically had a meal plan, which included about one meal a day and $300 for restaurants on campus. So, I usually grabbed a breakfast bar on the way to class, ate a meatball marinara from Subway for lunch, and ate in a school cafeteria for dinner. 

This year, living off campus in an apartment, I do not have a meal plan. I figured I would do the same for breakfast and lunch, but at least cook dinner. I soon learned that I barely had time for this! I spend the majority of the hours I’m actually at my apartment sleeping. I resort to fast food or restaurants on campus when I don’t have time to return to my apartment. And when I do have about 10-15 minutes to make dinner, it’s a simple pasta or some macaroni (but made on the stove, of course).

So here is my answer: It can be realistic and possible, both if you have a meal plan/live on campus or not. But it can be a challenge and may require schedule readjustments. 

  • If you have a meal plan or are stuck on campus:
    • Go to the restaurants available that offer the healthiest choices. For example, don’t get greasy pizza when you can choose a grilled chicken salad. Also, go for water instead of soda. Saves you money, too.
    • If you can, take back fruits or healthy snacks from the cafeterias. Save them for later. Again, this saves you money you could’ve spent at the vending machine full of Grippos and cookies.
    • If you don’t have a meal plan or are not on campus:
      • Personally, I find this more challenging because the cafeterias are more expensive than buying groceries. But cooking is more time consuming, and you have to be in your apartment or home to cook. So, the first step is spending more time in your apartment; do some homework once in a while there instead of in the library.
      • Try waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual a few times a week to pack yourself lunch.
      • Try taking out 30 minutes out of watching T.V. with your friends or out of nap time (which is an impossible request for me) to cook yourself some dinner, and maybe for you and your friends if you’re at their place; basically, dedicate some time in your schedule for, well, food.
      • When you do cook, cook something that will last more than one day in the fridge and make a lot of it.
      • Buy some healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit; even if you’re not too proud of your meals, you can try to take in some nutrients in small doses throughout the day.

And I saved the best for last: The best option, especially in the beginning and end of the school year? Find events for free food on campus!

 -What are some things you do to get wholesome meals during college?

Your Weekly Exercise:Push Ups

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What are Push Ups? We should all know what push ups are as we have been doing them for years. I remember way back in elementary school during gym class we were first taught how to do push ups. This may possibly be one of the most underrated exercises ever. This is a phenomenal exercise to build up the chest. Maybe people don’t realize the impact because they are not using weights but that is certainly not the case. Set a target with these, and hit that target daily or even every other day and you are certain to build your chest along with your triceps.

Instructions: No weights needed here, unless you are very strong in that case some people put weights on their back. A spotter or partner is not needed for this exercise either. You want to have your feet very close together. You also want your arms to your side lined up right about at your shoulders. You simply push up, and right back down. There are various different ways to do pushups though. You can do the diamond type in where you put your hands flat on the floor in the shape of a diamond and push up, and back down. These are a lot harder than normal pushups. You can also do a wide push up where you put your hands flat on the ground but wider. You can even do incline and decline pushups. You can do these by either having your feet raised up on a chair or any raised object and do your push up. You can also have your feet flat on the ground and your hands on an object or chair. If you do a circuit of all these different types of pushups you are guaranteed an excellent workout.

Primary Muscles Worked: Chest

Secondary Muscles Worked: Triceps

 

Your Guide to Groceries: Good for Your Wallet and Waistline

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How many times have you made a trip to your local grocery story, only to leave feeling incredibly guilty for throwing that pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream in your cart, or for spending $20 more than you had anticipated? If you’re anything like me, this is a regular occurrence. Maybe it’s just my unwavering love for food, but browsing the aisles of Whole Foods or Trader Joes, chock full of sweet and savory flavors, just gets me way too excited.

Recently though, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more strategic with my grocery shopping, in an attempt to save on money and calories. I put together a little list of rules for myself, and have definitely noticed a difference in my wallet and waist. Here are my five best tips:

1. Shop the perimeters. Literally. You see, the perimeter of most grocery stores is home to the healthiest foods. On one end, you have your fresh produce and dairy like skim milk and Greek yogurt, and on the other end you have your lean proteins (hello turkey and chicken breast), and your freshly baked whole grain bread. Those aisles in the middle of the store are full of chemically processed cakes, cookies, and chips. So keep to those edges and the scale will thank you!

2. Take advantage of farmers markets. One of my favorite things about the warmer seasons are the awesome weekly farmers markets around town. It’s unbelievable the difference fresh, locally grown produce has in making fruits and veggies so flavorful. Every Saturday morning, I set out for the market downtown with a crisp $20 bill in my purse, and nothing else. This way, I’ll stick to my budget, and don’t get carried away buying every tasty thing I see. I find that I can get a lot more produce for my money at a farmer’s market. Always at the top of my list? Freshly baked breads, sweet corn, juicy heirloom tomatoes, and crisp red apples.

3. Shop with a grocery list, and stick to it! I know, I know, this is the oldest trick in the book- but for good reason! Because you’re only shopping for one, it’s easy to fill your cart with too much food that will end up going bad and being thrown out. Before you head to the store, sit down and think about the meals you’ll make that week. A lot of times, I’ll make a few pieces of grilled chicken or fish on Sunday, that I can use on salads throughout the week. Group similar food items together (produce, dairy, meats, etc.) to make it easier once you get to the store.

4. Read the nutrition label. This might seem like an obvious way to choose healthy foods, but a lot of times people are looking for the wrong things. Instead of going straight to the calorie count, try reading the ingredients. A good rule of thumb- if it contains something that you couldn’t grow yourself, don’t buy it. For example, a lot of packaged foods contain “partially hydrogenated oil.” Instead, look for simple ingredients like sprouted whole wheat, sea salt, barley, etc.

5. Treat yourself. Depriving yourself of the things you love most is never the answer. Stick to a diet of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein, but a taste of your favorite ice cream or salty treat every once in awhile won’t hurt. You deserve it!

Happy shopping!