A Vegetarian’s Guide to Protein

Pic for Blog- Protein for VegetariansAs a vegetarian for only a year now you’d think that being asked about my diet choice has yet to get repetitive. However, I am now used to being asked about why and how I’m a vegetarian, (sometimes more than once by the same people). When I’m asked why I’m a vegetarian I simply explain how it’s a step in the right direction to make my diet full of natural, plant-based food from the earth (and perhaps avoiding meat hanging at market stands while on a trip to Cambodia was a contributing factor as well). Whatever your reason is for being a vegetarian, you’ve probably been pitched the question, that is: “but…how do you get protein?” I’ve gotten this numerous times (even got put on the spot by my biology professor during a lecture…not an ideal situation). So if you are a vegetarian, thinking about being a vegetarian, or simply want to understand the diet of a vegetarian, here is how we do it:

Quinoa: This is the first answer I spit out when given the ol’ protein question, (except of course when I was called on in the middle of lecture and was too put on the spot to give an sufficient answer.) For those of you who do not know, quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a pseudo grain. The title “pseudo grain” is pretty misleading because technically it is a seed, so it’s also gluten free! This is an important staple to my diet because it’s one of the few plant proteins that have the 9 essential amino acids all by itself, without combining with complementary proteins. One cup of quinoa has 24 grams of protein!

  • Cook yourself a big batch in the beginning of the week and store the rest in a container to reheat throughout the week! Eat it with either veggies stirred in, avocado, eggs, or chick peas! You can also eat it like you would oatmeal, drizzle some honey on top, throw banana slices on top and sprinkle on some cinnamon!

Nuts and seeds: Almonds in particular offer the most protein compared to other tree nuts. As far as seeds go, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds offer a lot of protein as well! You can eat them alone as a snack or add them to your food! Aside from the fact that they are an easy source of protein, they are also good for our heart, support cognitive function and keeps our blood sugar in check.

Eggs: Eggs are still a part of most vegetarians’ diet. The exclusion of eggs falls under the category of Vegan rather than vegetarian. One egg has 6 grams of protein, so if you make yourself a 2 egg omelet with perhaps a side of veggies and quinoa, you’re off to a protein packed start of your day!

Soy beans: Another huge source of protein! One cup of soy beans contains 68 grams of protein, which is over the average person’s daily intake of protein. Soy beans also contain the 9 essential amino acids, so they are sufficient substitute to meat, which is why tofu is used instead of meat!

If you are a vegetarian yourself, I hope you learned something new about plant protein! If you are just curious about how vegetarians get by, I hope you learned that we don’t just live off of grilled cheese sandwiches. Even If you are a carnivore, add some of these proteins to your diet!  They are healthy and accessible!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

Fitbit Charge Review

I have been wondering what all of the hype about fitness bands has been, so I recently decided to buy a Fitbit Charge (http://www.fitbit.com/charge) to try it out for myself. The price tag of the Fitbit Charge is a little hefty at $129.99 but I got it on special at Kohl’s for $109.99. I thought writing a review as my blog would be helpful for some of you since I don’t think any of us ever have. So here it goes:

Display 

There are two main ways to display the information received from the Fitbit: on the Fitbit itself and the Fitbit app. Since the Fitbit Charge has an LED screen, it is able to display multiple categories. It is able to display the time and date, steps taken each day, how many miles you have walked, calories burned, and number of floors climbed.  In addition, you are also able to see who is calling your phone on the Fitbit display if you have them synced. You are also able to set an alarm from the Fitbit app to vibrate whenever you have it set.

App  Pic 1 for Blog Pic 2 for Blog

The Fitbit app, which is available for iPhones, Androids and Windows phones, has a much larger selection of statistics. The app has all of the options the Fitbit Charge itself can display, but you are also able to see things like active minutes and how long and well you slept. There are also things that you can enter manually like weight, food consumed, water consumed, and exercises that you completed. You are able to see more detailed statistics from previous days, weeks and months to track your progress. The app is very well designed and I personally have not had any problems with it yet.

Design

I find the design of the Fitbit Charge pretty stylish and comfortable for the most part. I am a person who always wears watches so starting to wear the Fitbit wasn’t much of a change. The only weird thing was wearing it while I sleep so I could get statistics on how well and long I am sleeping. I actually find the the Fitbit to be less noticeable since there was no watch head that restricted any of my wrist motions. There are three different sizes (http://www.fitbit.com/charge) which you are able to find dimensions to on the website. The only thing that is slightly annoying to me is that the Fitbit is sort of a rubbery material that can sometimes get caught on my long sleeve shirts and sort of pull my sleeve when I move my arm too much. Other than that, I never notice that I am even wearing it.

Battery

There is a battery that is rechargeable. I have found that I have to charge the Fitbit about once every 5 days or so. I have been checking it a lot more than I feel I will in the future though since it is new, which drains the battery. It charges in less than an hour so I have been getting in the habit of just charging it while I go take a shower since it cannot be taken into the shower. But I have not had a problem with it dying on me yet.

Add-ons

There are also many other cool add-ons you can get to use with your Fitbit app like a scale which is recorded daily and tells you how well you are making progress. There are also fun, motivational badges you get whenever you break personal records and goals. You can compete against friends to see who is the most active as well, which is a pretty cool feature to help push yourself.

My Opinion

While wearing my Fitbit Charge I honestly find myself walking more and challenging myself to reach my goals every day. I take stairs rather than elevators and have learned things that I never really thought about, such as how lazy I can be some days and how much sleep I don’t get on others. It’s nice to know when someone is calling and whom he or she is without running to get my phone when it isn’t on me or when I don’t want to pull it out of my pocket.

There are only a few things that I do not like about the Fitbit. I do wish that I was able to wear it in the shower, but it is recommended that you do not. It would also be nice if it were solar charged so I wouldn’t have to ever charge it, but charging it isn’t the biggest burden. The last problem is it getting caught on my long sleeve clothing.

Overall, I do really like the Fitbit. It really helps me be more active because I feel more rewarded seeing all of the steps and active minutes I am putting into each day. It helps me feel guiltier when I take elevators and escalators too. If you can spare the $129.99 for a personal trainer on your wrist I would recommend a Fitbit Charge to you!

Let me know if you have a Fitbit, and if so, how you like it!

“Yesterday you said tomorrow.”

- Eric Hess

Why Choose Meditation

With the turn of the New Year everyone has his or her new resolutions and goals. Most people aim to lose weight, eat better, or workout everyday. The truth is though, if this isn’t something you normally already do, keeping those resolutions can be extremely difficult. Aiming for small changes may not seem like a huge resolution, but it can be potentially more beneficial in the long run if you actually keep to it. Something that gets overlooked a lot is the power of meditation.

Pic for Blog-Why Choose MeditationThe definition of meditation from the Webster Dictionary is, “To spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation.” This may not seem like a hard task, but with our increasingly busy lives we often forget to take time out and gather our thoughts.  Meditation not only benefits you with relaxation but there are also many health benefits that go along with regular meditation.

According to the Art of Living website, some physical benefits that meditation could bring you include; Lowering you blood pressure, reducing anxiety attacks, decreases tension pain, improves mood and behavior, improves immune system, and increases you energy levels. Considering that meditation is not a physically demanding activity, all can enjoy these benefits if they commit the time.

Along with physical benefits the Art of Living also put together a list of mental benefits that meditation offers. That list includes; decrease of anxiety, emotional stability, creativity increases, intuition developments, peace of mind, and sharpens the mind.

Along with those benefits meditation can lead you to become more self-aware and make better health choices. When you reflect on yourself everyday you can discover who you are and what your values are. One testimony that the Huffington post wrote about was a man suffering from anger issues. Through the power of meditation, he was able to recognize his anger and detach himself from it. This allowed him to clear his mind and calm himself instead of acting violent towards someone.

Meditation isn’t something that people talk about often, and even more rarely make their New Years resolution.  But, if you’re looking to make a small change with large benefits, meditation may be the perfect outlet. This is an activity that everyone can do and not feel overwhelmed with.

To set the perfect meditation mood, start with finding a quiet area. Since it is winter, indoors might be the best option for now. Draw your curtains, light some candles, and dim the lights. Setting the perfect meditation mood will make your overall experience that much better and keep you dedicated to it. Remember, for all the best benefits constant practice is necessary.

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

- Mary Marren

Inside > Outside

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After a lot of thinking, which was probably sparked by the hours of Grey’s Anatomy I’ve been watching on Netflix lately, I have been wondering how an average college students’ lifestyle affects the body. This time, though, I am not going to blog on the basic “freshman 15” or the lack of exercise students typically get. Rather, I want to focus on one thing: inside the human body.

Of course all organs are vital and should be taken care of regularly.  However, as college students, we don’t quite think about how our lifestyle affects our liver, heart, intestines, etc.  Instead, we tend to care much more about the quick and easy components such as: What will make us fat? How do we stay up all night?  What is the best hangover cure? But what if we all actually started caring about our organs, the inside of our bodies that people can’t see, rather than always worrying about the parts that people can see?

First, let’s talk about the liver. We all know that the more we drink, the more it affects our liver. However, a night out on the town doesn’t just stop us from eating healthy, working out the next day, or feeling at our best.  It also can lead to many forms of cancer, most commonly of the liver.

Studies have found that about 60.2% of college students drink heavily compared to 51.9% of individuals around the same age that are not in college. The long-term effects of drinking lead to an increased chance of liver disease, which may eventually lead to liver cancer. No one ever really understands what that means until they know the symptoms, which include weakness and fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and yellow discoloration of the skin (jaundice). Think twice when you are looking for a night of fun. Does alcohol have to be involved?

Up next, the intestines. This also leads to discussion of the bowel. I should start first by establishing the fact that EVERYONE POOPS. Okay, now that you understand that, as a college student, or at any point in your life really, you need to make sure you are consuming the correct foods that your bowel and intestines will appreciate. Did you know that cheese constipates the normal digestive system and that spicy foods disturb it? If you like spicy foods, though, you may already know that well from first-hand experience. In college, hot wings and pizza are staples in our diets; foods that are full of intestine blocking and irritating ingredients.

Making sure you eat the right foods to keep your inner-self happy and clean is important. A lot people are full of sh*t, but no one wants to literally be FULL of sh*t. The best foods to keep your digestive system happy and your intestines and bowels clean are: fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.  These are full of fiber, which in short, helps you poop and keeps you clean.  You may also want to try replacing unhealthy oils by cooking with olive oil.

Lastly, the heart: The most important organ in the human body. Without your heart, you have no life. One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to exercise. Not just once in a blue moon, but regularly. Habits are formed best when we are young, so by forming the habit to exercise 3-4 days a week now, it will be easier to make it an important aspect of life in the future. Another way to keep the heart healthy as a college student is to avoid the greasy foods because they are high in calories and saturated fat. Eating these types of foods can lead to a blockage of blood flow to the heart, which can then lead to a heart attack.

So yes, you are always being told to eat healthy because it genuinely keeps you healthy. Now you know that not eating healthy can lead to serious long-term heart issues, and without the heart, we can’t survive.

Hopefully this topic was a little more interesting than the basic “eat healthy and exercise” topics usually forced upon you as a college student. Your organs are important. If you are someone that can eat whatever they want and it doesn’t affect you externally so you don’t think it affects you at all, think again.

Your liver, intestines, heart, and every other organ in your body are important.  Unless you start forming healthy habits now, it will be harder later in life, and could even be too late. The time is now, so READY, SET, GO!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going.”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: Alcohol Facts and StatisticsLiver DiseaseConstipationSix Healthy Tips for College Students7 Foods for a Healthy Heart

You Got that Wintertime, Wintertime Sadness

Pic for Blog We all have a favorite season or certain time of year that makes us feel our best. For some its fall because of the cozy sweaters and warm colored leaves and for some its spring because of the vibrant flowers and newly green grass. While we all have personal preference on what kind of weather and time of year we enjoy, did you ever think that a season could be unhealthy for you? From the diagnosed disorder SAD (seasonal affective disorder) to simple wintertime blues, this cold time of year can take a toll on your mood. Therefore it is important to know how to beat the blues!

1.)    Keep yourself in a consistent rhythm!

Now that a lot of us are on winter break, we have a lot of time to lay around and watch Netflix and sleep. Nothing wrong with relaxing! We all deserve it after finals after all, but too many lazy days will put you in a slump. Creating a solid routine for yourself such as going to the gym in the morning, go to work or any commitment you have during the day, and then set tasks and chores to complete that night will help you tackle the day with a purpose. Being lazy is a nice contrast from a hectic semester, but doing nothing but laying in your bed every day will do nothing for your health or your mood.

2.)    Eat like its summer

Leave the colorless, and bland gloominess for outside and fill your plate with vibrancy! The complex carbohydrates in fresh produce will increase levels of serotonin in the brain, whereas fats and refined sugars, reduce brain-derived neurotropic factor, which is a protein that protects against being in a bad mood and even depression. So out with the pasta and holiday casseroles and in with the foods that make you feel like you’re vacationing in the Caribbean!

3.)      Expand your day

The sun may only be making an appearance til 5 or so but it doesn’t mean you need to put your day halt. Wake up early and make use of the day! Waking up in the middle of the day will allow you to be up when the sun is for only a few hours which contributes to a Vitamin D deficiency. Get up, bundle up and go for a brisk walk and soak in the sun, even in if the air is cold!

  • What is SAD?

These tips are helpful for anyone who wants to boost their mood during the winter, but being affected by the season can take more to beat the blues if you think you have Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have signs of depression that make an appearance every year during the year but leave during the spring, it is important to see a doctor and discuss how to treat it. Ways to treat it include investing in a light box, exercise and proper diet, and investing in a negative ion generator which purifies indoor air, which can reduce SAD systems.

While we all love this time of year because of the Holidays, it is important that we know how to take care of ourselves and don’t let our mood go into a slump after the ‘holiday high’. Whether its simple wintertime blues where you can prevent getting into a potential depression or if you think you have symptoms that match up with SAD, it is important to know how to take care of yourself and keep yourself at your healthiest and happiest, year round!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero ♡

New Year,New You

As the year 2014 is wrapping up, we all know what is coming next; you need to pick a New Years resolution for 2015. We all do it and only about 30% of us are actually able to stick to that resolution. The most important thing to realize when deciding what you want to change about yourself in 2015, is make sure that it is realistic and don’t go for the usual “workout more” or “eat healthier”.pic for blog

This year, try thinking of a resolution that will change you for the better. Of course we always think we do, but below are some areas that will truly help make you a better person in 2015.

Mental: Once January 1, 2015, comes around, start treating yourself with respect. There is nothing more important than loving who you are. Speak nicely about yourself. If you are confident in yourself, others will see that and think confidently about you as well. If you speak nicely about yourself, other will also do the same. So in 2015, every day before you go to bed, write down something that you love about yourself. Not only will it probably make you smile, but also for days when you need a little pick-me-up, read what you’ve written. It’s like getting compliments from yourself, how perfect!

Physical: This is where you can “workout every day” although skip the every day part. Make time for yourself at least  3 days a week. The best part about making yourself better physically is that being physically active also increases your mood, mentality, and over-all well being.

Emotional: In 2015, start telling people how you feel. If someone says something that bothers you, tell him or her. If you like someone, why wait? Tell them! Getting your emotions out is very important in order to be 100% yourself. People that hold their feelings up inside of them are known to not be as happy. So once the New Year comes around, be an open book. People might think it is weird at first, but after awhile people will appreciate it, especially if it is good feelings.

Intellectual: Learn something new every day and I don’t mean in class. Find a fun fact every day and share it with people. I actually started doing this in the middle of the summer. Every day I get the National holidays emailed to me (National Holiday Calendar). I absolutely love it because I have a fact to share with people. Maybe that seems weird to you, so how about just watching the news? Learning new information make you a well rounded person. Try it!

So when you finally decide, when you finally pick what you want to change in 2015, write it down and stick to it! There are all different myths about how many days it takes to do something until it becomes a habit. Who really cares though, because once you decide what your New Years resolution is going to be, just do it everyday. From day 1, make it a habit.

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Finals Week Stress Relief

picTrying to stay sane during finals may be one of the hardest tasks you will need to undergo within your college career. With all of the cramming of everything you’ve learned all semester in all of your classes in such a short amount of time can really take a toll on a person’s normality. One thing you should remember to do during these stressful last weeks is to make sure to make time to work out. There are so many different types of exercising and working out that have been proven time and time again to reduce stress.

Something as simple as breathing exercises can help you relax and become less stressed. Slow, deep, regular breathing is a sign of relaxation within itself. The deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the hearth rate and by lowering blood pressure.

Yoga is also proven to reduce anxiety and manage stress. When we get stressed out, our body creates a hormone called cortisol. We need cortisol in real emergencies, such as breaking a bone and other severe incidents, but when we are creating it due to stress, there is excess cortisol and this is what can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, bone density loss, and can also completely mess with your immune system. Yoga helps by the deep breathing that it entails. The specific breathing patterns called pranayama, helps get rid of access cortisol and therefore helps out become less stressed. I previously wrote a blog on my experience of yoga and how challenging it really can be. Check it out and leave me a comment of what you think!

Aerobic exercise not only brings benefits to your body, but also your metabolism, hearth, spirits, and stress levels. The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis and reduce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Any time if exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce these negative hormones and you can help you see the benefits.

Weight lifting is the same way as other exercises. The heavy strain that you put on your muscles produces endorphins in a fast period of time. The bigger the muscle group that you are working out and the more muscles at once, the more endorphins you are going to produce during and after the workout. Three great exercises are bench press, squats and leg press.

And remember to make time to relax, drink some tea, hang out with your friends or do something you really enjoy doing. You are going to go absolutely insane if you are studying for weeks straight. Sometimes exactly what you need is a laugh or something to help you get in the correct state of mind to continue your fun-filled studies.

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Operation Adopt a Family

picAs this week approaches, it only takes a concluded Thanksgiving dinner and one look at Christmas decorations at the mall while black Friday shopping to get excited for the holidays. As much as we like to let ourselves get caught up in the midst of commercialized excitement, we need to give ourselves a much needed boarderline-cheesey reality check about the true meaning of Christmas. What does this entitle? Well, I could refer you to any hallmark Christmas movie, but instead I’ll give it further explanation here. As we count our blessings and give thanks over thanksgiving dinner, it is important to acknowledge how privileged we really are. Just as we approach Christmas we need to recognize those who do not give in to the commercialized part of the holidays as we do, or focus on what they don’t have but instead focus on what they do, family.

With that cheesy, straight from A Christmas Carol Christmas message being said, I’m going to share with you a way that we can all give our self that good ‘ol “true meaning of Christmas” reminder, and that is to give!

Therefore, in honor of the Warhawk Fitness Pay it Forward Project, we are participating in Operation Adopt a Family 2014. Last year Warhwak Fitness and Aquatics adopted a local Whitewater family for the Christmas Holiday. We donated over two truckloads of goodies to a family. We hope to repeat this success with our adopted family this year! To do so we need your help!

Operation Adopt a Family 2014: This year to partake in Operation Adopt a Family 2014, put some creativity to play! Our designated family for this year will be receiving gifts for children who fall either in young kids to tween to teen age group. Think gender specific gifts or gender neutral fun games or toys for everyone to enjoy! Also, general household items that will help out the whole family are appreciated as well!

Some Ideas:

  • “Pedicure in a Jar” or “Warm and Cozy Mistle Toes”
  • A jar of goodies with pedicure supplies and warm socks, perfect for a girl of any age!
  • A basket of household items, Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, febreeze, silverware, dishware, and other necessities! Maybe throw in a couple fun things like candles or decoration!
  • As far as boy gifts go, you can’t go wrong with Legos, nerf gun, or board games!
  • General gifts: mittens, hats, blankets, pillows, jackets, or anything to keep them cozy this winter!

Get creative and have fun with it, and this time when you go black Friday shopping keep your eyes out for some good gifts and pay it forward! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero

Looking to make apple pie this year? Here’s a healthy option to try!

apple-pieMary Marren made her first vlog (video blog) which is a step by step video of how to make a healthy apple pie. Check it out below, this is a blog you won’t want to miss!

Are you drinking sports drinks for the right reasons?

picUnless you are exercising intensely for over sixty minutes, sports drinks are nothing that you should be consuming. Exercising for less than sixty minutes doesn’t deplete our carbohydrate or electrolyte storages enough to require supplements such as Gatorade or Powerade. Instead simply drinking water will be plenty good for you.

The amount of calories, sugars, carbs and sodium in sports drinks are very high.

Gatorade:

Calories: 80

Carbs: 21g

Sodium: 160mg

Sugars: 21g

Powerade:

Calories: 100

Carbs: 25g

Sodium: 100mg

Sugars: 20g

People assume that since Gatorade is a “sports drink” that it is healthy for you. In reality putting this amount of unneeded sugars and everything else in your body can be the exact opposite of what you want after a light to medium workout. There has been research done that proves that these sports drinks are as unhealthy as soda!

Calories, sugars and sodium are all three big things that most of us could afford to cut back on as it is and drinking water rather than sports drinks is a very good way to do so. The average American consumes almost double the amount of sodium that is recommended for daily consumption.

There are more watered down forms of Gatorade (G2) and Powerade (Powerade Zero) that are much healthier for you if you need a sports drink, but are looking for a healthier option.

Other healthier options would include:

  • Adding a fresh lemon or lime into you water
  • Natural flavored water
  • Mixing natural juice with water
  • Adding berries, basil or mint to your water
  • Coconut water
  • And a bunch of other healthier recipes here 

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess