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Supporting students in achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

December 2010

Holiday Feasts Avoid the overdose!

Take 5

Preserving sanity under stress

Damage Control Healthier cooking

TH Tu ERA es P w Y hat day FL ,D U ca ec F F n co happiest learlle 7th IES 10 AR n ge a E earthplace fr stude m- BA 2p C o m K! m the n ts o n

healthy hol Here are some ways to cut the big offenders— sugar, salt, and fat—in half.


ut sugar, add flavor. When making pumpkin pie or eggnog, reduce the amount of sugar by half and enhance “sweetness” by adding a bit more vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. You can also use stevia instead of sugar in baking, eliminating those calories altogether. If recipes call for sugary toppings like frosting, jams and syrup, use fresh fruit instead.


hake the salt out. Go easy on salty condiments, such as pickles, catsup, mustard and soy sauce. Instead offer cucumber slices and fresh tomato or fruit salsas. Or try lowersodium versions of mustard and soy sauce. And instead of serving cured ham, try a fresh pork loin roast with herbs.

liday eating T

rim the fat. In baked goods you can cut the fat by about half and replace it with unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana. Instead of full-fat condensed milk, use condensed skim in pumpkin pie and eggnog. For gravy, heat fatfree, low-sodium broth (or drippings with the fat removed); mix flour into cold skim milk and pour slowly into broth, stir until thickened and season to your liking.


uy the healthier alternatives. Compare labels and select items that are organic, non-GMO, and don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or massive amounts of sodium. Many processed food items are packed full of chemicals to improve shelf life and cut costs, only to take a toll on health. Stick to the produce section of the grocery store or shop at a local farmer’s market in order to start with as many fresht ingredients as possible.


leaner cooking. Steam or grill your vegetables instead of sautĂŠing them in butter.

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With the frenzy of f inal exams and family get-togethers, a quiet moment alone may be the one thing you need most, but where can you f ind it? Within! There are two sides to your skin. On the outside exists everything that is happening around you (school, work, and household activities). On the inside exists everything that is happening inside you (thoughts, feelings, and other cellular activity). Balancing internal pressures under the forces of the outside world can be diff icult. To keep the inner peace, take a time out. Unplug from all of the hustling and bustling you’re doing out there, and tune in to your Self. This practice of listening in call it meditation, ref lection, awareness will allow you to maintain maximum internal eff iciency, so that you are most effective in all aspects of life. Here are some simple, f ive-minute exercises you can do to strengthen your insides: •- Deep breathing •- Listen to music •- Doodle •- Make a list of things you are grateful for •- Sing or dance •- Stretch •- Be aware of your thoughts and release your attachment to anything less than joyful •- Take a short walk •- Contract and relax each muscle in your body in succession •- Write in a journal Your [problem set] is a direct ref lection of your state of mind; when you’re clashing with reality, meditation and reflection can help you regain your focus and sense of alignment. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, make some personal space. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

what college students c from the h Several thoughts went through my head when asked to write about what American college students can learn from the happiest place on earth – which according to several surveys appears to be Denmark, my home country. I could stick to facts about Denmark to answer the question, but I would rather go into the reflections my American students have displayed through our debates during their semester at The Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. The following is thus bits and pieces of such conversations and I know that these do not represent neither what America nor Denmark is, but tendencies of what American college students revealed to me and learned while here. First of all Danes do not come across as the happiest people in the world. But our 50-70% tax buys us something that goes beyond free healthcare, paid educations and social welfare for the unemployed, ill and retired: Because although no system is perfect and the waiting lists in Danish hospitals as well as our immigrant policies are causing heated debates, the high tax buys us a sense of security, a safety net. And the more worry free life this creates for us is priceless, really. I am always noticing how much and hard students, staff and faculty work in colleges in the US, how many hours the girl behind the counter in the convenience store spends there every day. I hear about double majors, triple majors and on top of that how students volunteer in various important and altruistic organizations and I admire that. But I also hear about too few hours of sleep, stress, high levels of expectations, ambition, anxiety, and last but not least I hear about diagnoses and medications that are distributed faster than a teenager gets in a bad mood at age 14. There is no doubt that both America and Denmark have many stressed out citizens, as there is no doubt that both Americans and Danes pursue a good life, but the routes we take in our effort to obtain a good life are indeed different. So speaking from the little window I have had to both cultures through my nationality and my American students, I think the most important thing that American college students can learn from Denmark is the right to stop (No, really stop!) and notice that:

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You can define for yourself what a good life is for you. Even though it is challenging, think critically about why you do what you do—and for whose sake. There are many good reasons for taking your happiness, your stress levels and yourself equally seriously.

Close social relations across cultures, gender, age and social status seems to be the most crucial factor for well-being and happiness.

can learn happiest place on earth “But I do not have time, I have to finish my paper, our society is so competitive and it is so hard to get a job right now…” Yes, indeed, but research shows that human beings who often find themselves in a positive state of mind are better performers, find better solutions to challenges, are more resilient, live up to 10 years longer and even have higher salaries. My experience with American students encouraged me to make these arguments, but I wish that it was not necessary to make convincing arguments for taking time off to spend with your loved ones. Or to allow yourself a little get away in solitude to save chunks of all the energy you give your busy society every day for yourself - in order to return with more contemplation, balance and less hyperventilation. I see so much courage, reflection and resilience among the American students I have met, but it worries me to also see their reactions to the much stronger tendency of too much pressure, anxiety and stressful ways of living. It is as if it is not legitimate to take your time to feel good. It is only legitimate to take time to do good. I know it is easy and can come across as arrogant for me as a Dane from the so happy country to say: Relax, take time off, spend time with the people you love, when I do not have to pay for my medical bill. But we chose to pay for this in a different way. And then there is the argument of the “death bed test.” When we lie there one day – knowing that the moment is fast approaching, what will make us leave this life with as much peace as possible? I think it is one of our most important tasks to life our life in a way so that we have as little as possible to regret when we evaluate our life in those last minutes before it leaves us. Having said all this, one thing is what the American students I have taught in Denmark can learn from visiting this odd little country; another thing is what the students can actually change when they return to the US. Should they wish to take with them some of the ways of living, approaches, and epiphanies they experienced during their semester abroad, they have to start with what they can do as one human being situated in a culture and a set of norms. It can feel like a tiny voice when in a society as big as the US. But I think change in general, however small, is never wasted.

Dr. Helle Harnisch

Assistant Professor and Academic Consultant Danish Institute for Study Abroad

Fancy-Free Feasting The holidays: famous for great cheer, merriment, and destruction of diets. Even the healthiest eaters often suffer from food-induced maladies during this magical time of year. From pie to potatoes, in the twinkle of an eye you are stuffed fuller than the turkey—and equally immobilized. Here are some tips to help prevent digestive detriment (and let you party with friends and family in peace).

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Maintain healthy intentions. Think in terms of feeling good and managing temptation in a positive manner. Don’t let one slip trigger a landslide. To curb the force of your feasting, snack on healthy food throughout the day so that you don’t show up to the table starving.

Moderate. With this golden rule, you don’t have to miss the fun. You can taste a little bit of anything that strikes your fancy. If you limit yourself to one bite, you’ll find that less is more: that first bite will taste better than the 5th, and much better than the 15th.

Keep it moving. Instead of sitting around the living room, take your loved-ones for a walk around the block. This is also a great way to stimulate digestion after a meal. With your free time, exercise! Find a hiking trail, hit the gym, run on the beach, play a sport, or dance.

Cook with care. The way Aunt Sally used to make it—with a pound of butter—is actually quite out-dated. Review your cooking methods to get the latest in grilling, roasting, and steaming. See article on page 2 for more information.

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Think ahead. If you have some big nights out and meals planned over the holiday season, try and compensate by having some healthy eating days leading up to the event. Make a festive plate with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Take smaller portions of the rich, starchy foods. And when you go back for seconds, stick to healthy items.

Just say no. Don’t feel as though you have to accept every offering of food and drink. If you are not hungry, simply say so. And despite what your parents may have drummed into you as a child, don’t feel obliged to clear your plate. When you feel full, stop eating.

Center for

Ethics & Spirituality The Center for Ethics and Spirituality provides students with secular counseling, discussion, and education programs relating to spiritual, moral, and ethical issues and questions that may arise within the UCSD community of students, scholars, workers, and campus affiliates.

What can CES provide for me? A connection to spiritual organizations on campus and information about their programs and services Non-denominational spiritual and secular counseling, religious/spiritual services and education A safe and supportive context for you to pursue your spiritual interests by sponsoring non-sectarian programs to stimulate dialogue and promote religious freedom and tolerance Opportunities for involvement in community outreach programs Quarterly lectures through the Burke Lecture Series on issues relating to ethics, spirituality, social norms, and morality A place for campus spiritual groups to participate in interfaith collaboration

Center for Ethics and Spirituality 201 University Center Phone: (858) 534-2521 Fax: (858) 534-5848

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LiveWell December '10  

Learn how to achieve a more balanced and healthy lifestyle in the areas of intellectual, physical, occupational, emotional, social, spiritua...