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total wellness

a ucla student welfare commission publication

go global go ahead,try it: take your palate around the globe and never eat a boring meal again!

+ the guide:

staying healthy while traveling abroad this season

systems of care a look into models of healthcare abroad

the med diet what's the hype?

fall 11 | vol 11 | issue 6

editor’s note It is with great honor and pleasure that I present to you this volume's last edition of Total Wellness. Having served as the

director and editor-in-chief for the last two years, I also see this issue through a particularly unique lens: it is with this issue that I close my directorship and welcome our new director, Shannon Wongvibulsin, and our new editor-in-chief, Leigh Goodrich, into their new positions. Travel, movement, and journey are certainly no foreign concepts to me or to this magazine. Total Wellness has been passed down year after year, directorship after directorship, since the 1990's when the Student Welfare Commission first installed it as a newsletter. Since then, we've come a long way: Total Wellness is now distributed bi-quarterly all over the UCLA campus, staffed with a talented and ever-growing group of student writers and designers, supplemented with an experienced review board of health care professionals, and, most importantly, supported by thousands of readers like you. In this time, I've come to see Total Wellness as a publication that is constantly remolding itself through processes of improvement and change, and trust that it will continue this amazing course of progress.

total wellness Director & Editor-in-Chief Art Director Assistant Director Research Editor Finance Director Food & Nutrition Editor

Elizabeth Wang Karin Yuen Grace Lee Leigh Goodrich Stephan Chiu Anna Wong

Staff Writers Julia Horie, Cindy La, Nicole Lew, Trang TJ Nguyen, Jennifer Wilson, Shannon Wongvibulsin, Eric Yu, Lillian Zhang Design Chloe Booher, Amorette Jeng, Jennifer Shieh, Trang TJ Nguyen, Elizabeth Wang, Karin Yuen Advisory & Review William Aronson, MD

Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD

Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

Leah FitzGerald, RN, FNP, PhD

Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

Katherine Grubiak, RD

UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center

Dena Herman, PhD, MPH, RD

Adjunct Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Public Health

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD

Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

Melissa Magaro, PhD

Clinical Psychologist, UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services

Lilia Meltzer, RN, NP, MSN

Lecturer, California State University, Long Beach

William McCarthy, PhD

Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Public Health

It is with utmost faith and confidence that I watch this magazine move forward with new leadership. As my own journey with Total Wellness ends, and I start my own as a college graduate, I'm excited for what's ahead for the both of us. No matter what, though, I will always be one of Total Wellness's most faithful readers. In this way, our paths will surely continue to cross.

Rena Orenstein, MPH

Assistant Director, Student Health Education

Allan Pantuck, MD, MS, FACS

Associate Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Elisa Terry, NSCA-CSCS

FITWELL Services Program Director, UCLA Recreation

Alona Zerlin, MS, RD

All the best,

Elizabeth Wang Director & Editor-in-Chief

Research Dietitian, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

Total Wellness is a free, student-run, biquarterly publication published 7 times a year and is supported by advertisers, the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, the On Campus Housing Council (OCHC), the Student Welfare Commission (SWC), UCLA Recreation, and the Undergraduate Students Association (USAC).

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

Contact 308 Westwood Blvd., Kerckhoff Hall 308 Los Angeles, CA 90024 Phone 310.825.7586, Fax 310.267.4732

Total Wellness is a division of the Student Welfare Commission that is dedicated to spreading awareness of and sharing knowledge on issues of student health and health care. By providing an understanding of health and lifestyle issues, elucidating health concepts, providing recommendations for physical, mental, and social well-being, and making visible and accessible various health resources, programs, and events occurring at UCLA, Total Wellness seeks to empower students with up-todate and accurate knowledge on the appropriate management of their health.


Subscription, back issues, and advertising rates available on request Volume 11, Issue 6 © 2011 by Total Wellness Magazine. All rights reserved. Parts of this magazine may be reproduced only with written permission from the editor. Although every precaution has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the published material, Total Wellness cannot be held responsible for the opinions expressed or facts supplied by authors. We do not necessarily endorse products and services advertised. The information in Total Wellness is not intended as medical advice and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult a health care provider for clarification.

fall 2011

contents 2 4 5 38 39

Editor’s Note In the News Q&A Food Pick Credits

DEPARTMENTS Get Active 6 Running Right

Eat Right 8 BBQs: The Good, the Bad, and the Healthy

Mind Matters 10 The Study Drug 12 Furry Friends


14 Global Warming: Political Present and Future 16 Shortcuts to Better Health 20 Take Your Palate Around the Globe 26 Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Body 30 Systems of Care 32 The Mediterranean Diet 34 Mastering Moderation 36 Earthquakes: Science and Safety


20 Take Your Palate Around the Globe 26 The Guide: Traveling Abroad 30 Systems of Care 32 The Med Diet


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

cover: elena elisseeva/istockphoto; arseniaya pavlova/istockphoto


in the news

what’s happening in


news - updates - discoveries // by leigh goodrich | design by elizabeth wang Political debate raises controversy of HPV vaccine

As the political arena heats up for the 2012 election season, several health issues have taken center stage. At the most recent GOP debate between eight Republican candidates, the subject of the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, was disputed intensely. Texas governor Rick Perry mandated in a 2007 executive order that all 11- and 12-yearold girls in his state be vaccinated, prompting concerns over potential side effects. Another major factor pointed out is that Perry’s chief of staff Mike Toomey was also a lobbyist for the drug company Merck, which produced and profited from the vaccine Gardasil.

White fruit like apples and pears linked to decreased stroke risk

A new study published in Stroke investigated the possible correlation between the quantities of different fruit and vegetable color groups consumed and stroke incidence over a ten year period. Fruits and veggies were grouped by colors that correspond with the healthy phytochemicals and nutrients that characterize different varieties, and participants reported their intake of the various groups. The study authors found that the white category, including apples and pears, was most widely consumed and also seemed to minimize stroke risk. Eating the equivalent of a medium apple every day corresponded to a 52% decreased chance of stroke by the end of the study. Of course, this research is preliminary, and other factors besides color likely play a role in the fruits’ benefits.

FDA reveals cause of cantaloupe listeriosis outbreak

The latest food safety scare - cantaloupe contaminated with listeriosis bacteria - is the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in 25 years, causing 123 known infections and 25 deaths. An investigation by the FDA revealed that the Colorado farm where the tainted fruit originated was filled with contaminated equipment and pools of water that facilitated bacteria growth. The bacteria is thought to grow on the skin and rind of the melon, reinforcing the importance of washing all produce before eating. The CDC suggests scrubbing all melon skins, since cutting into a melon can transfer bacteria from the rind into the flesh.


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

Researchers find cancer-fighting properties in turmeric

The spice turmeric, rich in curcumin, has long been thought to have anti-cancer properties. A new study conducted at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and published in Clinical Cancer Research has highlighted the extent of this healing potential. In the study, 21 patients with head and neck cancers were tested before and one hour after ingesting 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. Compared with controls, these patients showed a reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, as tested in the saliva of the subjects. The researchers also found a suppression of a cancer growth signaling pathway among those who received the curcumin tablets.

Marijuana legalization may lead to increase in drug problems Medical marijuana legalization, which has now been passed in 16 states, is clearly controversial, and two new studies seem to point out possible negative consequences. Recent research published in Annals of Epidemiology and Drug and Alcohol Dependence has compared states with medical marijuana laws with those without them. One study found that marijuana use was higher among children ages 12-17 in states with such laws, while another found that marijuana abuse and dependence were also more likely in those states. More research is certainly warranted, as more states consider adopting similar laws. t w


25 4

percent of Americans who said they have less respect for people who smoke, compared to 14% 20 years ago

source: time magazine, inc.


average daily calories teen boys get from sugary drinks, over half the healthy weekly quota


ratio of U.S. fast food restaurants to supermarkets

top doodle: faye brown/istockphoto; pears: barry sutton/istockphoto; vaccine: hou yuxuan/istockphoto; right: imagesbybarbara/istockphoto




What is food coma and how do I prevent it?


There are many theories as to how food coma (or more technically “post-prandial somnolence”) comes about. The most commonly believed theory is that blood flow is redistributed from the brain to the stomach in order to help digestion. However, your body consistently strives to keep the blood flow in the brain strictly constant at all times. So then how is food coma produced? Researchers still aren’t exactly sure, but there are a few proposed hypotheses. According to a 2009 meta-analysis published in Bioscience Hypotheses, post-prandial somnolence may be caused by satiety signals directly and indirectly activating the sleep centers in the brain. Preoptic hypothalamic regions of the brain contain the major parts that control our sleep. One of the ways that the hypothalamus in your brain detects satiety is through peptides that the gut secretes when food enters the stomach. Gut peptide secretion varies depending on the type of food eaten. This may explain why different proportions of the major macromolecules (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) may contribute to food coma. These gut peptides may then signal to the preoptic hypothalamus regions, activating sleep centers.

// by anna wong | design by amorette jeng

To possibly prevent the feeling of sleepiness after eating, Grubiak recommends getting the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat during a meal. In general, 15-25% of your calories should come from protein, 50-60% from carbohydrates, and 20-35% from fat. However, it’s important to note that what may make one person sleepy could make another person feel more energized. Thus, it may be helpful to note what kinds of foods tend to make you drowsy and adjust the right balanced combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates accordingly. t w

got a question? We love curious readers. Send

your question over to and the answer may appear in a future issue.

According to Katherine Grubiak, registered dietitian at the UCLA Arthur Ashe Center, a combination of the volume of food and the type of food eaten can heavily influence the drowsiness experienced after eating. Foods high in carbohydrates, for example, cause the pancreas to release more insulin with the purpose of lowering blood sugar. The more insulin secreted, the more hormonal messages for the body to store the carbohydrates as fat and prevent stored fat from being burned. High insulin levels suppress two important hormones: glucagon, which promotes fat and sugar burning, and growth hormone, which is needed for building new muscle mass. The parasympathetic nervous system is also activated with a high carbohydrate diet, therefore slowing down digestion. Sleepiness after a high carbohydrate meal could be a result of triggering such hormone and nervous system responses.

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get active

running right // by eric yu | design by amorette jeng We generally master the act of walking and running


jonathan haste/istockphoto; right: original illustration by trang tj nguyen

total wellness â–Ş fall 2011

before we can even utter a complete sentence. Hence, most of us do not scrutinize the way we run with the same amount of attention that we give exercises such as squats or pushups. As a result, you might be making some frequent mistakes in your running form that could compromise the efficiency of your morning jog and increase the risk of injuries. Of course, injury prevention in exercise can be mediated by stretching, warming up, proper rest, and proper diet. However, correcting your form can also help significantly in the long run. With that in mind, here are a few commonly made running errors and how you can fix them:


knees and hip alignment

Injuries to the spinal cord from running occur more frequently than you might think. While maintaining an upright position is generally accepted as an efficient posture for running, lower back injuries from repeated stress can occur if you tense up your lower back muscles. Additionally, leaning forward with your body for momentum can further exacerbate this. Mid to upper back injuries can also occur if you pump your arms too vigorously (i.e. swinging them across your body or past your chest), forcing the muscles of your shoulders to tense up which subsequently pulls on and stresses back muscles. To prevent back injuries, focus on relaxing your torso and shoulder muscles and using your hips, knees, and ankles rather than your body weight for forward momentum. Furthermore, make sure that the strides you take are not excessively lengthy for your size since excess rotation of your pelvis can also affect your spine. For the same purpose, also check the symmetry of your running stride to make sure that you are not rotating in excess on one side. According to fitness trainer Darren Lo, "the core and abdomen should be square and always face forwards without any forward hunch, and all movements should come from joints that have high ranges of motion, including hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles."

Unless you've experienced a knee injury, most of us take our knee joints for granted. While our knees joints can generally withstand quite a lot of impact throughout the day, mistakes in running form can increase the chances of knee injuries. One of the more commonplace mistakes that may lead to this is running with inwardly collapsed knees. While running, your hips and knees are supposed to be in line with each other. However, if your hips are not strong enough to support your body weight, the force of your weight will fall on your knees instead, causing a slight inward collapse. Over a long period of time, this can be detrimental to joint health. To work on a straighter knee and hip alignment, you should gear your exercises toward strengthening the buttock muscles (with emphasis on the posterior gluteus medius and gluteus maximus). Additionally, there are a number of other ways to prevent such knee injuries. These include stretching, using proper running gear, utilizing shoe inserts if you have flat feet, and avoiding running straight downhill.

the foot strike In general, the heel-foot strikes (rearfoot running) stretch the calf muscle, relieving stress on calf muscles and Achilles tendons. However, it can lead to over-striding, slower running, and knee/back pain. Mid-foot strikes lead to less stress on the knee and the back, but more stress on calf muscles and Achilles tendons. Toe-foot strikes (forefoot running) place less stress on the knees and ankle while facilitating faster running and preventing over-striding. However, toe-foot strikes also put more stress on calf muscles and Achilles tendons while contributing to shin splints and muscle pulls.

Which kind of foot strike (heel-, mid-, or toe-) is the most efficient and least prone to injury is still the subject of many debates. However, there is a general consensus that the kind of shoes you wear, the shape of your foot arch, and the strength of certain muscles affect how different foot strikes will affect your running experience. No matter which style you choose to run in, it is important to make sure that your feet are landing underneath and not in front of your body. t w


total wellness â–Ş fall 2011

Your feet withstand a lot of the impact of your body weight as you run. Thus, it is not a surprise that many running injuries occur in the foot. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy since everyone has their own running styles that suit their individual needs. For example, rear-foot runners put more force on the rear end of their feet as opposed to fore-foot runners who strike harder on the front part of their feet. While faster and efficient for sprints, fore-foot running is not recommended if you're planning on running for a distance or your feet are not strong enough to support your weight.

eat right

possible sources of carcinogens in barbecues The combustion and burning of charcoal produce hydrocarbons and particulates that can be carcinogenic after enough bodily exposure. For example, a 2002 study published in The Science of the Total Environment analyzed the chemical content of charcoal emissions, and found that glowing charcoals emit one such chemical called benzene. Benzene is a known carcinogen derived from crude oil. Additionally, fumes from lighter fluids, commonly used to expedite the process of heating up charcoals, contain other harmful chemical inhalants such as propane and butane.

the good, the bad, and the healthy

total wellness â–Ş fall 2011

LA is known to be perpetually sunny, so

for many, bringing out the grill is a frequent tradition. However, recent investigations in barbecues have indicated repercussions to our well-being that might not be so healthy. Fortunately, there are some ways to offset these side effects. Here are some reasons that barbecues may be detrimental to our bodies, and how you can grill while being conscious of your health.

// by eric yu | design by amorette jeng 8

barbecues can accelerate the aging process Generally, the cooking temperature used to cook meats for barbecuing meat is between 232-260°F. These high temperatures and long cooking times facilitate the formation of harmful chemicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) when proteins and sugars in the meat react together. A series of studies on the effects of AGEs on cellular functions, reviewed in a 2010 publication in Journals of Gerontology, indicate that the accumulation of these chemicals accelerates processes of cellular decline associated with aging. Additionally, a 2004 investigation published in Cardiovascular Research examined the effects of AGEs in diabetic patients and found that high AGEs intake is associated with increased blood levels of inflammatory compounds related to cardiovascular complications as well as harmful cholesterol levels.

markgillow/istockphoto; right: thomas perkins/istockphoto


More importantly, grilling meats, especially those with high fat content, can form potential carcinogens as a result of the high heat and vaporized fats. Two such compounds, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heterocyclic amines (HCA), have been implicated in this process by research in the late 20th century. These studies analyzed the chemical content of red meats prepared by various cooking methods, while numerous follow-up studies focused on the health impact of PAH and HCA exposure. Current research reports a strong correlation between high intake of these compounds (in the form of fried and barbecued meats) and various types of cancers. For example, in a 2003 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, analysis of colon cancer patients and meat intake utilizing sophisticated regression models (categorized by estimated levels of HCA, cooking methods, and level of doneness), reported correlations between red meat consumption and incidences of colon cancer.

how to have it the healthy way Despite the discouraging nature of these findings, there are many ways to offset the health detriments that barbecuing may expose you to. Here are some ways that you can barbecue the healthy way:


Be conscious about the way you set up and use the grill.

To decrease exposure to inhalants from barbecue grills, choose an area (if barbecuing indoors) with plenty of ventilation and natural charcoal brands that release fewer harmful emissions such as benzene. Examples of natural charcoal brands include Noram de Mexico's Sierra Madre, Greenlink, and Lazzari, all of which manufacture environmentally friendly hardwood charcoal that release less greenhouse gases and soot emissions. The formation of carcinogenic compounds and AGEs during cooking often occurs in high heat environments, which is why levels of compounds like HCA are low to absent in boiled or baked foods. Close monitoring of heat level and cooking times can slow the formation of compounds like HCA and AGEs while also yielding better tasting (and more tender) meals. Flipping meat often while keeping it at least six inches away from the flame can also help keep the internal temperature of the meat in the optimum range. Make sure to use a spatula or clamp to avoid poking the meat during flipping, which can drain out meat juices and start a flame. Moreover, microwaving hamburgers for 2-3 minutes and chicken/ribs for 5-15 minutes before grilling has been shown to cut HCA content by as much as 90%.


Add some spices to your life (and the food you're about to grill).

It has been recently discovered that even just a quick dip in marinade and spices before cooking meats can reduce HCA levels significantly. One source of these anti-cancer properties lies in a thick oil and sugar barrier, common in most marinades, which can block chemical processes that form carcinogenic compounds. More importantly, spices and herbs have been shown by studies dating as far back as 1955 to have antioxidative properties. Follow-up research in the recent decade has quantified the efficacy of anti-carcinogenic properties in spices (measured as “antioxidant capacity”), and implicated a number of them rich in antioxidants:


Choose or prepare healthier foods to minimize exposure to carcinogens and AGEs.

Before placing meats on the grill, remove visible pieces of fats that can react with the charcoal and form harmful compounds. Additionally, fish and seafood are great low-fat alternatives to the traditional steak or hamburger.

Unlike meat, vegetables do not contain the proteins that interact with sugar at high heats to form carcinogenic compounds. As a result, grilled vegetables generally contain low to absent levels of HCAs and PAHs. Moreover, vegetables contain more nutrients, including antioxidants, that help fight cancer and promote overall health than meats. It is recommended to grill some vegetables to go with your meal, or opt for grilling a veggie burger once in a while.

Carbohydrate-based foods such as grains, mushrooms, and starchy vegetables are part of food groups that contain the lowest amount of AGEs. Meanwhile, proteinheavy foods contain the highest AGEs values, with cheese, beef, and poultry topping the chart. Unsurprisingly, tofu and fish are on the lower spectrum of these groups' range of AGEs concentration, another reason to consider the addition of these alternatives to your grilling repertoire.

A 2003 publication in The Journal of Nutrition comparing antioxidant levels amongst 34 different fresh herbs and spices found that oregano, sage, peppermint, lemon balm, cloves, and cinnamon contained the highest antioxidant capacities.

Put a shine on that grill.

Last but not least, maintain the cleanliness of the grill – residues in the form of black gunk contain high concentrations of hydrocarbons that promote the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Regularly removing them decreases exposure to compounds like HCA during subsequent barbecuing sessions, and maintains the sanitation of what you're cooking with. t w


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

Other common spices to consider adding to your meal include garlic, onions, and peppers, all of which come with a host of health benefits such as boosted cardiovascular and immune system functions. Moreover, a recent 2011 publication by the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles investigated differences in antioxidant capacities between fresh and processed forms of common herbs such as basil, chili, cilantro, oregano, ginger, and parsley. The study determined that most herbs processed into a dry or paste form maintained a significant level of antioxidants. Two exceptions to this trend are dried garlic and lemongrass in either dried or fresh forms, so try to stick with fresh garlic, garlic paste, and lemongrass paste.


mind matters what is adderall?

Adderall, technically a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. As a central nervous system stimulant, it acts on the brain to change the levels of dopamine to affect impulse control and concentration. Adderall is made as either a tablet or an extended-release capsule form, and is typically taken two to three times daily in ADHD patients.

what are the risks?



drug // by leigh goodrich | design by trang t.j. nguyen

Even for people who are prescribed Adderall, there are risks associated with the drug. Some side effects include difficulty falling asleep, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Because Adderall affects thinking and reaction time, it can be dangerous to drive or perform other tasks that require alertness. Possible risks become increasingly serious in cases of drug overuse or misuse. Large doses can cause serious problems, including personality and behavior changes, hyperactivity, and even serious heart problems and sudden death. Additionally, because the drug is habitforming, overuse can increase tolerance to the medication, and users may have to increase their dose to feel the same effect.

Large doses can cause personality and behavior changes, hyperactivity, and even serious heart problems and sudden death.

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

In a college culture that

emphasizes achievement and productivity, it’s no wonder that a substance marketed and hyped as a “study drug” has caught on quickly. Adderall is widely and often casually used, but this reputation on campus contrasts its classification by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Schedule II drug, meaning it falls into the same category as cocaine and meth.


Despite these risks, use of Adderall and other neuroenhancing drugs is only increasing. A recent NBC Today Show exposé highlighted the use of Adderall on college campuses as a study aid. An undercover video filmed in a university library found drug sales occurring between the library book stacks, with an undercover correspondent being able to find an Adderall source within 30 seconds of entering the building. A 2008 informal survey of readers published in the journal Nature found that 20 percent of respondents reported having used neuroenhancers for non-medical reasons (most commonly for improved concentration and focus), and use was highest in students aged 18-25. About half of users reported having experienced unpleasant side effects. And the tendency to use neuroenhancing drugs may have more to do with being a student than being of a certain age. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, reported that full-time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 were more than twice as likely to have used Adderall without a prescription than their peers who were not full-time students.


how prevalent is its use?

is adderall addictive?

Interestingly, the addictive properties of Adderall have been somewhat debated. The FDA classification as a Schedule II narcotic is based on the drug’s habit-forming and addictive properties. However, the pharmaceutical industry refused to acknowledge these claims for quite some time. A New York Times article from 2005 reports Shire Pharmaceuticals Group, the makers of Adderall, as saying that medical research found no potential for addiction. While off-label use of neuroenhancing drugs has been vastly understudied, one noteworthy correlation was found in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Nonmedical users of Adderall were significantly more likely than non-users to have also used marijuana, cocaine, prescription tranquilizers, prescription pain relievers, and alcohol heavily. While this may simply indicate that those students who already use other drugs are more likely to resort to a drug for academic purposes, it may also indicate a similarity in the way that Adderall and other drugs affect behavior and the brain.

what other issues surround adderall use?

Besides the health issues that have been raised, the majority of the objections to using neuroenhancing drugs deal with ethical questions. In an increasingly competitive society, any potential advantage is quickly seized. But, is this advantage unfair? Some go so far as to propose random drug testing before exams, or the outlawing of Adderall in general. Others say the drug is a positive thing – allowing below-average students to reach their full potential. Indeed, studies suggest that the drug has the greatest effect on students with some level of impairment, and the least effect on students who are already above-average. The question, ultimately, is whether the use of neuroenhancing drugs will someday become so ubiquitous that they are no longer questioned. Just as vitamin C tablets are taken to enhance immunity, with Adderall be given to children the day of a big test along with their breakfast?

the take-home:

total wellness | fall 11 coming in november

marathon power up! fall into marathon season with the ultimate runner's guide to marathon training 11

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

Only more research will be able to determine whether neuroenhancing drugs are safe, effective, and ethical. Due to the widespread availability, however, students have easy access, regardless of the lack of research. The safest approach, of course, is to trust your own abilities to get work done. Think of everything you have accomplished without the help of a stimulant. And, considering the lack of research on health consequences, try to put things in perspective and realize that no assignment, exam, or project is worth risking your health. t w

mind matters

furry friends // by leigh goodrich | design by karin yuen Sure, Sparky is a great

A growing body of research suggests several health benefits of owning pets and interacting with animals. This is good news for the majority of families who own at least one pet. According to the 2011 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 62% of American households own a pet. In 2011, Americans will spend an estimated $50.8 billion on their pets. So, what are people getting from their furry companions?


left and right: eric isselée/

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

companion. He can’t get enough of you, especially when you’re playing fetch, and he’s always there when you need a pal. We all know how puppy love can warm the heart, so might this have some effect on health?

finding furry love

While most students probably aren’t in any position to buy a pet and keep it on their own, they can certainly take comfort in the benefits their family pets confer. And they can still reap the benefits of stress relief during the Furry Friends for Finals program. For additional animal interaction, students can also volunteer at local animal shelters.


stress relief:

A dog is known as man’s best friend – just ask Charlie Brown. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the humananimal bond is a solid one. The association describes this bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship” that affects both human and community health. This bond has existed for thousands of years and contributes to the emotional and psychological health of people and animals.

There’s a reason why the Furry Friends for Finals program put on during Finals Week on the Hill is so successful – animals can help relieve stress. A 2002 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that when subjects were exposed to stressful conditions (a mental arithmetic test and submerging a hand in ice water), the presence of their pet led to smaller increases in stress, as measured through heart rate and blood pressure. Surprisingly, the presence of a pet did more to lower reactivity and increase recovery from the stressor than the presence of a subject’s spouse.

In fact, many households that own pets experience the impact that a pet can have on a family dynamic. A recent 2011 article in The New York Times explored how a pet can act as an “emotional power broker of the modern family.” The strength of the humananimal connection can result in owners truly thinking of their pets as people. Of course, attitudes and relationships with pets vary widely between families, but animals undoubtedly make an impact.

Pets are also thought to help more serious forms of stress in cases of mild or moderate depression. Pets can improve mood by providing unconditional love, and attention, and combating loneliness. Also, taking care of a pet can bring meaning to a person’s life and take the focus off their problems. Pets can serve as a nonjudgmental, unbiased social support for owners.

blood pressure reduction: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. As previously stated, the presence of a pet can have positive impacts on reducing stress. A 2001 study published in Hypertension found that among hypertensive participants, introducing a pet lowered blood pressure responses to mental stress. This was compared to the use of an ACE inhibitor drug, which was only successful in lowering resting blood pressure levels. Of course, it is important to note that simply adopting a dog will not drastically reduce blood pressure. In a 2003 review published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, the author writes “although pets can be an important adjunct to drug therapy, a person with high blood pressure should never consider a pet as a replacement for a prescribed medication.”

exercise: You might not think that taking a dog for a walk impacts activity levels that much, but as it turns out, owning a pet is associated with significant increases in exercise. A 2008 article published in The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that getting a dog increased the amount of average walking by 30 minutes a week. A recent 2011 study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health found that not only was dog walking associated with more physical activity, but dog owners who walked their pets were also more likely to engage in leisure-time physical activity. Researchers hypothesize that pets, and especially dogs, encourage physical activity because they constantly encourage their owners to get up and move. They also provide a companion for exercise. t w

total wellness ▪ fall 2011



global warming: political present and future Most college students are aware of the growing

Negotiating treaties amongst various countries poses many challenges, especially when compromise comes with such high economic stakes. It becomes difficult to align national interests with world interests, especially when the latter seems to conflict. It is difficult to manage and figure out what is fair for global treaties. There are stark contrasts between cultures, economies, and politics of participating countries. But international leaders say a global industrial recession is just the thing necessary to stimulate spending in innovative and sustainable technology.

global warming problem and thus have developed a green conscience, often doing their part by recycling. It is not difficult to see that the thought of reversing years of environmental damage might seem daunting and impossible to solve on an individual basis. Because of this, and the sheer enormity of the problem, efficient global agreements must be implemented.

continues to contribute to rising temperatures, as well as added consequences of climate chance such as greater risks of droughts and flooding. Climate change is arguably one of the greatest threats facing the planet, and sub-national and national solutions alone are not comprehensive enough to address concerns. Changes cannot be implemented without a collaborated effort, making it necessary for cooperation among nations in order to speed up the global response. While skeptics remain, the predictions of what might happen if carbon emissions are not controlled are frightening enough to prompt swift governmental reaction. Global collaboration is a sign of the sense of urgency needed to deal with the environmental threats facing our planet. This growing worldwide concern has led to the signing of multinational


Greenhouse emissions have continued to rise over the past decades. While the world has seen greater efforts made towards environmental sustainability, the trends of rising temperatures continue to spiral due to high industrial production and energy demand. The problem, then, lies in assessing liability and risk.

environmental treaties —products of negotiations among groups of countries trying to promote sustainable measures. More than 400 multilateral agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on human-generated climate change now exist, and new treaties are continually being developed. With the sheer force of recent environmental disasters, governments around the world are pressured to provide efficient methods of control.

While green technology seems the most practical solution, relying on renewable energy poses many challenges.

While reducing dependence on fuel is the most practical solution, many argue that it comes at the expense of economic growth, especially in developed countries such as the U.S. While green technology seems the most practical solution, relying on renewable energy poses many challenges. First, developed countries, such as the United States, rely heavily on fossil fuels. Rhead Enion, an Emmett/Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy at UCLA Law School says China, for example, has seen “such a large demand for energy that it will basically max its capability for nuclear, fossil fuels, and renewables all at the same time.” Big emitters such as China are building a lot more nuclear power plants, which do not contribute to global warming, but other countries are looking for ways to shift their production methods without detrimentally affecting their domestic economy. The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres believes that once industries and investors realize that a low-carbon future is not only sustainable but also profitable, then necessary finance will flow towards newer technology. Let us take a look into the dynamic changes in international treaties that are geared towards effective solutions.

mark wragg/istockphoto

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The output of greenhouse gases

// by cindy la | design by amorette jeng

Updates on Key Negotiations: Cancun Agreements

The Kyoto Protocol

On December 11, 2010 the international community joined together in Cancun, Mexico to address some of the long-term challenges of climate change, and to set realistic goals to offset global warming patterns. The overarching mission is to stabilize greenhouse emissions such that they pose a lesser threat to the climate system. The Cancun Agreements include a comprehensive package to help developing nations deal with climate change, including the Green Climate Fund, a source of financing for climate solutions in developing countries. The Green Climate Fund also offers developed world governments a trusted source to invest their climate funding and because it is leveraged with government funding, it is more likely that private sectors will become partners.

This agreement, adopted in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, is one of the betterknown international agreements setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions. It also serves as a supplement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Kyoto Protocol, of which the U.S. is not a signatory, binds 37 industrialized countries and Eastern Europe to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by 5.2% from 1990 levels between 2008-2012. The distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged reduction of GHG emissions, the Kyoto held countries accountable.

The agreements reached represent key steps in helping developing countries curb their carbon outputs and investing in sustainable measures with new technology. These and other turnkey strategies have made Cancun a successful meeting, but many concerns must still be addressed. For example, the outcome of the agreements did not sufficiently address the issue of funding these international efforts.

The collective goal remains to limit temperature increases to no more than two degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This requires a committed effort to cut emissions between 25 and 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by the next decade. The deal in Cancun is modest in that there are no new binding pledges to cut carbon emissions and no specific figures in terms of climate aid, but for the first time the world has a legal instrument that commits both developed and developing nations to take action that will be measurable on the international stage. Michael Levi, senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, sums up the Cancun agreement as something that should be applauded, “not because it solves everything, but because it chooses not to: it focuses on those areas where the U.N. process has the most potential to be useful, and avoids others where the U.N. process is a dead end.” The Cancun agreement served as a step of progress towards mobilizing a global effort. The next meeting is set to take place in Durban, South Africa between November 28, 2011 to December 9, 2011.

What is the significance of the UNFCC? The Union of Concerned Scientists Report: The four essentials that must be negotiated for an effective international agreement are:

Additionally, countries not meeting their targets can go on the market and buy units from other countries that have met their targets with room to spare. Studies indicate that the projects from the Kyoto Protocol have reduced an equivalent of roughly 115 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, and have lead to the implementation of renewable powers in wind turbines and energy efficient machinery, Though the Kyoto Protocol has produced some positive results, it has encountered some limitations. Most notably, it is hard to determine the emissions-reducing value of carbon credit projects. Additionally, key industrial players such as the United States, China, and India are not bound to mandatory emission reductions under Kyoto. As it is set to expire in 2012, a decision about extending it remains open to possibility and debate. Whether or not the Kyoto Protocol gets renewed, it must address the financial mechanisms and technical assistance to help developing countries cope with climate change. Additionally, a key element to address is the need for accountability among developing countries and greater expectations for private sector companies to find alternative resources in favor of lowcarbon economies. t w


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❯ The amount that industrialized countries will reduce their global warming pollution. ❯ The actions that major developing countries such as China and India will take to limit the growth of global warming pollution. ❯ Funding to help developing countries engage in reducing their global warming pollution and adapting to the impacts of climate change. ❯ Management of the funds.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Climate Convention, is an international treaty established in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro that has set the stage for stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. While the initial treaty offered no mandatory limits on greenhouse emissions and no enforcement policies, it set the foundation for “protocols” including the most well known Kyoto Protocol of 1997. The members of the group consist of Annex 1 countries (industrialized countries), Annex 2 countries (developed countries that pay for costs for developing countries), and developing countries. As of now, there are 193 countries in this group. Among the countries that are part of the UNFCC are democracies as well as dictatorships, and countries in the developing world struggling with the burdens of poverty, famine, and rapid population growth. The ultimate decision-making body of the Convention is the Conference of the Parties (COP), a group that meets every year to review the implementation of the Convention.

One of the Kyoto Protocol's plans to help limit greenhouse gases was the Clean Development Mechanism. Companies in the developed world would earn credits by investing in sustainability projects in developing countries. This idea set the stage for a global trade of carbon credits and allowed for an alternative way for countries to meet their reduction targets. For example, areas in the United States such as California have balanced their emissions by funding tropical forest preservation in regions in Mexico and Brazil.


shortcuts to better health // by shannon wongvibulsin | design by amorette jeng Leading a healthy life can sometimes appear to be too time-consuming, too expensive, and just all around impossible considering the hectic nature of most people's everyday lives. The ideal – exercising 30 minutes daily, eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, sleeping at least seven hours a night, etc. – may not always seem attainable considering the time constraints of a 24-hour day, and perhaps a limited budget. However, instead of just giving up, following these simple health shortcuts for the times when your schedule just won’t budge can help you lead a healthier life.

exercise what you should do:

when you can't hit the gym:

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Exercise does not have to take up a large portion of your day. Keep in mind that you don't have to go to the gym to exercise. Start off the morning with a quick five-minute workout right in your room by doing sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, or jogging in place. Try incorporating physical activity into your daily routine by making slight modifications to your schedule, such as walking or biking to school or work, walking around while you chat on the phone, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a 10 minute walk during your lunch break, or even using a restroom on a different floor than the location of your office desk. Be creative! Numerous opportunities exist for you to add quick exercise into your routine.

fruits and vegetables what you should do: The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the consumption of at least 2.5 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. Current research suggests that meeting these recommended servings of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and protect against certain types of cancer.

if you’re strapped for cash: While it may be difficult to fit a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into a tight budget or find substitutes for fresh produce, the following shortcuts can help you meet some of your nutritional requirements.

shortcuts to fresh fruits and vegetables: ❯ Dried or freeze-dried fruits with no added sugar ❯ Applesauce (with apples as the only ingredient) ❯ Canned fruits and vegetables (canned in water and not syrup or sugar water) ❯ Frozen fruits and vegetables (without added sugar or sauces) ❯ 100% fruit juice or a vegetable juice mix (without added sugar or sodium)


igorij/istockphoto; bike, cheese, toast, alarm clock: ming lok fung/istockphoto

Exercise offers a broad range of health benefits, including not only physical but also mental gains. Regular exercise can improve mood, reduce the risk for developing chronic diseases, help with weight management, increase energy levels, and reduce stress. Because of the importance of physical activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least two and a half hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

breakfast what you should do: The benefits of eating a healthy breakfast are immense, and according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, 93% of Americans view breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Yet, only 44% actually eat breakfast every day. Individuals who begin their day with a healthy meal are more likely to eat a greater amount of vitamins and minerals, consume less fat and cholesterol, have better concentration and productivity, and have effective weight management than those who don’t. Additionally, a high-fiber breakfast can help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

❯ an ideal breakfast consists of at least one or two foods from the following categories: core breakfast component


whole grains whole-grain breads, cereals oatmeal protein peanut butter, eggs low-fat dairy

low-fat milk, yogurt

fruits and vegetables

fresh/frozen fruits/veggies, smoothies

when you're pressed for time: Planning your breakfast the night before will allow you to avoid rushing out the door without having the most essential meal of the day. If you can't afford 10 minutes in the morning to dedicate to a healthy meal, pack a to-go breakfast the night before. Ideas for a healthy to-go breakfast:

Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, a dietitian at UCLA's Department of Medicine and Center for Human Nutrition, highlights pre-cooked hard boiled egg-whites and plain Greek yogurt as excellent quick sources of protein for breakfast on the go. According to Zerlin, "this type of yogurt is special because of its high protein content, which is important to get in for breakfast to keep you satiated longer because of the protein content. Yogurt that has high sugar tends to empty from the stomach faster leaving you feeling hungry sooner."

what you should do: Ideally, we would brush and floss after every meal to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. The American Dental Association recommends brushing a minimum of two times a day with fluoride toothpaste and carefully flossing between teeth daily to remove plaque and food debris from areas that the toothbrush can't reach.

when you’re on the run: Chewing sugarless gum after meals can reduce the amount of plaque formation and bacterial growth. Additionally, the increased saliva flow from chewing gum helps prevent enamel erosion. Gum may also help remove some food lodged between teeth. Using a toothpick to clean your teeth after a meal is a quick and easy way to prevent bacteria from growing between the teeth and under the gum line. Oral B Brush Ups, and other brands of similar slip-on tooth wipes, also offer a convenient and quick way to clean your teeth on the go. These are fine for crunch time, but we should always make time for proper oral hygiene.


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❯ Cereal bars with less than five grams of sugar per serving ❯ Low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers ❯ Low-fat Greek yogurt with fruit and/or nuts ❯ Pre-cooked hard boiled egg whites ❯ Whole-grain English muffins or toast with nut butter ❯ Easy fruits to eat on the go, such as apples, bananas, and cut-up melon and berries in a plastic container

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sleep According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep seven to nine hours a night. Current research suggests that getting enough sleep is important for memory consolidation, proper functioning of the immune system, metabolism, weight control, cardiovascular health, and maintaining a pleasant mood.

when you can't afford to snooze: To combat feelings of fatigue from lack of a full night's rest, consider taking a short mid-day nap. A 2006 review in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine reports that the best time for a nap is three o'clock in the afternoon because daytime arousal levels general decline around this time. Napping for as short as 10 minutes can have restorative effects on the body and provide an additional boost of energy to function properly for the remainder of the day. However, naps lasting for more than 30 minutes can often interfere with nighttime sleep. Therefore, make sure to carefully plan your naps and set an alarm to make sure you don't doze off for too long. In an afternoon slump, exercise can also be a good way to increase energy levels and contribute to a healthy day.

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just how much sleep do you need? While the common recommendation is to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, a 2002 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association, reported the findings of a six-year study of over a million adults ages 30 to 102 that individuals who get only 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night have a significantly lower death rate than those who sleep 8 hours or more or 4 hours or less. However, it remains unclear how much sleep is actually necessary for optimal health. As a result, Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy & Immunology at the UCLA School of Medicine, recommends gauging your own optimal sleep time based on average fatigue levels during tw the day.


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total wellness ❯❯ on the cover


– Yogi berra, former American Major League Baseball player


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


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take your palate around the globe Looking for health advice that does not require “magic” weight loss pills or starvation cleanses? Turn away from the trendy popular diets and look towards the world’s traditional foods for advice – they have, after all, been tested and tried for generations upon generations. With countless spices, cooking methods methods, and tips from around the world, eating healthy never has to be boring.


// by julia horie | design by trang tj nguyen and elizabeth wang

mexico Nachos topped with cheese. Enchiladas slathered in sour cream. And chips before dinner? When most people think of Mexican food, “healthy” is not the first word that comes to mind. Then again, Taco Bell and many popular Mexican restaurants do not accurately reflect true Mexican cuisine. Keep reading to find out what real Mexican food has to offer.


Stick to salsa for sauces. Tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, along with additional herbs and spices, are the key ingredients for traditional Mexican salsa. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, has been shown to have antiinflammatory, anti-bacterial, calorie-burning, and anti-cancer properties when consumed in moderation. The lycopene antioxidant from tomatoes may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. Whether it be for health or its intense and refreshing flavor profile, salsa’s popularity is not limited to Mexico – it now ranks just as high as ketchup as the most popular condiment in America.

india The culture surrounding India’s myriad of spices and flavors emphasizes that preparation and the mindset surrounding food is just as important as the food itself.


pice things up. Fresh or dried, ground or whole, spices are the heart and soul of Indian cuisine. Popular spices include bay leaves, cardamom, cayenne pepper, chilies, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves. And the list does not stop there. Indians incorporate spices into their dishes not only to liven up the looks, smells, and tastes of food – they also use them to soothe and rejuvenate the mind and the body as well. In fact, spices contain more antioxidants for disease prevention than most fruits and vegetables on a per gram basis. The next time you make a cup of rice, try adding ¼ teaspoon turmeric to the water to add an Indian flair and kick up antioxidant levels. Cook with coconut oil. Ghee, mustard oil, and coconut oil are the most prevalent cooking oils used throughout India. Ghee, a clarified butter devoid of the milk fats and water present in butter, has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive problems, burns, and memory loss. However, as ghee is essentially

composed of saturated fats, its advantages over butter are still widely debated in the scientific community. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is used throughout Southern India and has made its way into the health food world. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that does not disrupt the ratios of good and bad cholesterol. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized like carbohydrates and are thereby a more efficient energy source than the long chain fatty acids like those in butter, which go straight to fat cells. From flaky piecrusts to flavorful entrees, coconut oil is an excellent replacement for butter in foods across the board. Remember, though, that as in everything, moderation is key – the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that no more than 10 percent of daily calories come from saturated fat, equivalent to 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil. At 117 calories per tablespoon, it can be easy to rack up the calories. too much, so be mindful and enjoy sparingly.


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spices right: robyn mackenzie/istockphoto; chile peppers: skip odonnell/istockphoto; left: mark wragg/istockphoto

et more bang for your buck with beans. Beans, along with corn and rice, are the foundation of traditional Mexican cuisine. In a tough economy, beans make it possible to save money without compromising health. Though they are less expensive than meat, beans are an excellent protein source. One cup of black beans contains about 200 calories and provides 15 grams of protein, one third of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) and what you’d get from eating two ounces of chicken. Beans are also low in sugar and provide the fiber and antioxidants that meats do not. One cup of cooked beans provides 12 grams of fiber, half the RDA of 21-25 grams for women and a third of the 30-38 grams for men. The high fiber content also helps to keep you satisfied longer.

japan/okinawa At 82.25 years of age, the life expectancy of an average Japanese person ranks fifth in the world. Read on to discover a few of Japan’s secrets for amazing health and prolonged life.


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Incorporate fish into your diet. The Japanese eat more fish than citizens of any other country in the world. Fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve brain function, enhance cardiovascular health, reduce hypertension, and lower cortisol levels. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week, especially fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and sardines, which are highest in omega-3 fatty acids. Meat does not always have to be the star of the show. While it is common to order a large hunk of steak at an American restaurant, most menu items in Asia consist predominantly of vegetables and are only spiced with the flavor of meat. According to the USDA, meat consumption in America is 20% above the recommended levels. The next time you feel inclined to pack your plate with meat, opt instead for a balanced mix of proteins, vegetables, and grains to stray away from an overconsumption of fat and calories. Eat seaweed and unprocessed soy. Whether it is dried, pickled, raw, in soups, sushi, or sweetened jellies, seaweed floats throughout the Japanese diet. Seaweed’s


health-related properties are extensive – it aids the intestines, lowers inflammation, inhibits viruses, and stabilizes blood sugar. Researchers are also looking into seaweeds as potential sources of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient normally found in animal products and rarely in land plants. Vegetarians are most at risk of suffering from B12 deficiency and must turn to multivitamins and fortified foods to make up for an otherwise B12-deficient diet. When it comes to soy, a typical Japanese person eats soy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is as much of a staple as burgers and fries are in America – soybeans are the source of the majority of Japanese dishes, from soy sauce to vegetable oil, tofu, and miso (a fermented soy paste). A diet rich in unprocessed soy provides copious amounts of protein and isoflavones, phytonutrients that have potential to decrease risks of cardiovascular disease and lower LDL cholesterol. When it comes

to highly processed forms of soy, like those found in many artificial meats, cheeses, and baked goods, these benefits may no longer apply. Tofu is a versatile and wallet-friendly item to keep as a go-to source for cooking – it can be eaten raw or cooked, and tossed it in salads, curries, and stir-fries. If you are feeling adventurous, bake yourself a tofu cheesecake to share with friends for dessert!

japan: eyewave/istockphoto; med: floortje/istockphoto; couscous: thesuperph/istockphoto

top eating before you’re full. Many can identify with the oh-too-familiar habit of unbuttoning a pair of jeans after feasting with friends, just prior to slipping into a food coma that you can only pray will alleviate the pain of an overstuffed belly. Believe it or not, making this a habit can do more harm than good. Whether it is due to the escalating portion sizes, or the cultural mindset of overconsumption, people have come to equate satisfaction with being “stuffed.” The Okinawans, on the other hand, seem to have a healthier approach. They have mastered this through a system called “hara hachi bu,” which means to eat until you are 80% full. By leaving the table upon the first signs of fullness (80%), excess calorie consumption can be gracefully avoided. Skeptical? Let the numbers speak for themselves – the average body mass index in Okinawa is only 21.5. Compare this to a whopping 28 in the United States.


west africa

The “Mediterranean Diet” has been blown up by the media as an effective solution for weight loss. Luckily, you don’t have to diet to reap the benefits of this region’s cuisine. Below are a few tips to take home from the beautiful Mediterranean:

West Africa is famous for woodcarvings, paintings, and sculptures – the region’s diet, however, is not as widely known. Take a look to see what tips this flavorful region has to offer.



elect good fats. Replace saturated fats with healthier unsaturated fats, like the ones found in olive oil. Many people in the Mediterranean not only cook with olive oil – they actually eat the olives, too. Follow their lead: ditch those artery-clogging saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oils and get your heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory fats as close to the source of nature as possible. Think fresh and simple. The traditional Mediterranean diet is close to a vegetarian one – it is based on an abundance of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and fish, with very little meat, dairy products, and sweets. Popular vegetables include tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, capers, spinach, eggplant, and mushrooms. Many Mediterranean dishes are from local sources, unprocessed, and not soaked with calorie-rich sauces. This is quite unlike the pizza and pasta that most Americans associate with Italy, for example. This rich, varied diet delivers a plethora of micronutrients, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the body.

If you drink wine, drink it only with meals. Many European countries consume wine as a typical dessert, rather than on an empty stomach. Some cultures, including the French and the Greek, also eat grapes with their wine to maximize the benefits of the wine. Drinking any alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach drives the alcohol directly to the brain and drops blood sugar, both of which are dangerous precursors to the infamous “drunchies.”

et nutty. Nuts and seeds are commonly used in West Africa to flavor and thicken sauces. Mango seeds, cashews, egusi (watermelon seeds), kola nuts, and sesame seeds are especially popular. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and good fats, and they are filling too! However, since nuts and seeds are both calorie-rich, consider them as a replacement for meats or poultry, rather than eating them in addition to other protein sources. Let good bacteria aid digestive health. Indigenous African cultures have used fermentation as the ultimate way to preserve food, long before refrigerators were invented. Fermented foods deliver “good bacteria” to the gut, which are essential to maintaining proper bowel functioning and intestinal health. In the African diet, commonly consumed fermented foods include relish and other pickled foods, fermented corn, millet, and sour milk (yogurt). Kimchee, cheeses, pickles, yogurt, and kefir are all ways to include these friendly bacteria in your diet. Who knew bacteria could be so delicious?


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Choose unprocessed high-fiber foods. Traditional Western African diets are generally comprised of starchy foods such as cassava, millet, barley, maize (corn), sorghum, plantains, and legumes. In West Africa, peanuts were especially valued – they are eaten raw, roasted, boiled, or ground into meal. One of the most popular dishes in Gambia is tomato and peanut stew, which is loaded with vegetables, spices, and peanuts as the main protein source. While beans are one of the healthiest starch options, many of the most accessible starches tend to be the processed starches, including white rice and enriched flour. These are the culprits that give starch its bad rep, as they have been stripped of their nutritious fiberrich outer layers. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for other fiber-rich ingredients such as whole-wheat flour, brown rice, rye flour, barley, and oats.

france The French manage to eat some of the richest foods in the world. Yet, they do not experience the skyrocketing obesity levels that plague the United States. Read the following tips to decode the infamous “French Paradox.” avor your food. Make eating a time to enjoy the company of friends and family rather than a rushed affair on the way to work or in front of the TV. Ninety-two percent of French families eat together each night, as opposed to a mere 28% of American families. Taking the time to laugh and bond with loved ones while eating allows the brain to give the “stop, I’m full” signal before consuming too much food.

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Walk to the grocery store, whenever possible. French, and European people in general, typically walk to the bakery, butcher shop, or vegetable stand for fresh food, while many Americans fight each other for the nearest parking spot in front of the store. Walking not only adds exercise — it also forces you to stick to essentials and prevents you from stocking up the trunk with an overload of groceries. Portion control! In a diet laden with saturated fat, butter, croissants, breads, cheeses, and wine, how is it that the French are still able to keep incidences of heart disease down and maintain their famously thin figures? The answer is simple – they eat less. French portions are, on average, 25% smaller than American portions. People in France (and other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa) are also much less likely to eat between meals, automatically avoiding those extra unhealthy snack foods, such as fattening baked goods, sugar-filled candy bars, and empty-calorie sodas. A common mistake in the US is to eat snacks as if they are full meals – remember to snack only as a means to take the edge off hunger.


south america Home of the Amazon Rainforest, diverse regions, and tropical climates, South America hosts some of nature’s most powerful nutritional treasures.


eplace sugary juices and sodas with herbal teas. Herbal teas are used as remedies throughout the continent and are especially popular in Chile and Uruguay. For instance, yerba mate is a caffeinated tea brewed from the dried leaves of the Ilex para-guarenis tree. Many people in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil drink this tea to energize the body, alert the mind, and strengthen the immune system. Go for lean cuts of meat. Meat is meat – does it really matter if it’s lean? Take a look at the Argentineans and decide for yourself. Although the average Argentinean eats up to 30 pounds more beef a year than the average American, the rate of heart disease in Argentina is slightly lower than in the United States. The difference may lie in the cows themselves; Argentinean cows are primarily grass-fed, just 2.5 grams of saturated fat per four ounces, whereas American cows are mostly grain-fed, with 10.8 grams of saturated fat for every four ounces of meat. Explore new fruits. Ever heard of cherimoya? What about acai berries? Cherimoya is an exotic green fruit with a bumpy exterior, which some describe to be a cross between a banana, passionfruit, papaya, and pineapple. Talk about a party in the mouth! The acai berry is a small reddish-purple fruit loaded with antioxidants; it also helps to aid digestion and boost the immune

left: floortje/sticokphoto; top: dan moore/istockphoto






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system. These two bizarre fruits are just a couple examples of the incredible assortment of tropical fruit that make up South American cuisine. Also included are mango, coconut, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, and papaya. On your next trip to the farmer’s market, keep an eye out for fruits you have not tried before — they can liven up salads, entrees, and desserts, and can give your palate a break from those everyday oranges and apples.

When it comes to eating, each region differs, but a few common threads do seem to become apparent. Broken down into their simplest parts, every region eats the same types of foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seafood, dairy, and meats. Yet, incidences of disease and the health of individual countries vary considerably. The difference then lies not only in the source of food but also how it is prepared, how much is consumed, and the mentality embraced about food culture. Here are some reminders to take home from the international community:

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❯ Eat foods that are as close to nature and unprocessed as possible. ❯ Consume smaller portions and enjoy each bite. ❯ Let meat take a back seat to vegetables and whole grains. ❯ Opt for good fats. ❯ Optimize digestion with good bacteria and fibrous foods. ❯ Obtain nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements. ❯ Eat whole grains, instead of refined starches. ❯ Get active. t w

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chicken soup for the

traveler’s body surviving common traveling health woes

You’ve planned a lovely getaway to that exotic location you’ve always

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

When traveling abroad, health is often a major concern. You get your necessary shots, prep with the necessary medications, and read up on the diseases and bugs you can expect to encounter. The problem is, we expect the worst (malaria, tuberculosis, parasites) and when we’re hit with the most mundane maladies (diarrhea, allergies, constipation), we’re at a loss for what to do. Here, we list six of the most common health woes encountered by travelers. You could be traveling to China or Africa, or you could just be traveling within state borders, but no matter where you go, be sure you’re not caught off-guard when it comes to these health concerns.

// by lillian zhang | design by amorette jeng


main image: eneri llc/istockphoto; icons: scott dunlap/istockphoto

wanted to visit. Your flight has landed, your bags are unpacked—nothing can stop you from having the vacation of your dreams! Nothing that is, except perhaps vacation constipation, traveler’s diarrhea, a pesky bug bite, or an unexpected flare up of your allergies. Achoo-sneeze, pardon me please, but how do you get your vacation back?

traveler’s diarrhea

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traveler’s diarrhea, also referred to as Montezuma’s Revenge, is by far the most common health problem encountered while going abroad, with 20-50% of international travelers suffering from it each year. Although traveler’s diarrhea usually occurs within the first week of travel, it may strike at any time during your trip, including after you return home. Unlike other slowly progressing illnesses, traveler’s diarrhea beings abruptly, often catching people off-guard, and as the name suggests, it results in increased frequency, volume, and weight of stool, with the traveler experiencing an increased number of loose bowel movements each day. Occasionally, the traveler may also experience vomiting, abdominal cramping, bloating, or fever. However, most cases of traveler’s diarrhea are relatively benign, with most cases being resolves within one week.

how to avoid it:

Because traveler’s diarrhea is generally caused by ingestion of fecally contaminated food or water, travelers are advised to avoid consuming food or beverages from street vendors or other businesses operating in unsanitary conditions. Additionally, raw or undercooked meat and seafood should be avoided, and raw fruits and vegetables should be peeled before consumption, or avoided altogether. Oftentimes, travelers are warned against drinking tap water, or even drinking beverages served with ice because of concerns regarding contamination of the water. However, bottled carbonated beverages, hot tea or coffee, beer, wine, boiled water, and water treated with iodine or chlorine are generally considered “safe beverages”.

vacation constipation

For many people who do not regularly suffer from constipation, this silent condition is not something we normally think about when preparing for travel. However, vacationers will sometimes find themselves surprised by their gut a few days into their travel when they are hit with travel-related constipation.

how to avoid it:

Travel constipation can generally be attributed to a sudden change in one’s diet—how frequently you eat, what times you eat, how much you eat, and what you eat. Additionally, dehydration may play a significant role in causing this constipation. To avoid this vacation constipation, you can try packing some high fiber foods, such as raw fruits or vegetables to take with you, or if that is not an option, buy some to consume when you travel abroad. Additionally, because travel constipation is generally caused by irregularities in one’s dietary habits, be sure to eat every few hours and try to not skip meals. Most importantly, make sure you stay active during you trip and get your body moving, and drink lots and lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.

how to treat it:

Treatment of vacation constipation requires many of the same measures taken to avoid it. Once again, hydration is the most important thing you can do to get rid of constipation. One way to remind yourself to keep hydrated is to pack a reusable water bottle to bring with you. Additionally, try to incorporate some form of daily exercise into your travel plans—take a brisk walk through the airport while waiting for your flight to arrive, walk or bike around town instead of hailing a cab or taking a bus. Maintaining your fiber intake is also crucial for avoiding or treating constipation. Maybe you had to grab a quick fast food meal at the airport or you’re enjoying rich fine dining foods for dinner every night, but watch what you eat to ensure proper fiber intake.


As anyone with allergies can tell you, dealing with them at the most inopportune times can be a hassle. While on vacation, no one wants to be stranded in their hotel room for fear of sneezing up a storm or breaking out in rashes after stepping outside.

how to treat it:

how to avoid it:

The most important thing to do to have an allergy-free vacation is to know what you’re allergic to and to do a little research to see whether or not those pesky allergens will be waiting for you when you arrive. “Plan ahead!” warn many doctors. If you know that you suffer from allergies, prepare a small “medical traveling kit” that contains your allergy medications or any other things you may need. For those travelers with seasonal allergies, search up the pollen count for the region that you will be visiting and plan accordingly with antihistamines. When traveling by car, although the weather outside might be lovely, beware of pollen floating around if there are still a large number of flowers in bloom. Even if you only suffer from mild allergies, it is best not to aggravate them, so avoid anything that you know might cause them to flare up.


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Even after taking all the necessary precautions, if you still find yourself suffering from traveler’s diarrhea, the best course of action is to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of clear liquids to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Traveler’s diarrhea generally resolves itself and most individuals should not require any specific types of treatment. Travelers who suffer from a more severe form of the disorder, including three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, or blood in the stool, may benefit from antimicrobial treatment. However, the CDC does not recommend taking any antimicrobial drugs to prevent onset of the disorder, and suggests that antimicrobials be used only upon the recommendation of a physician.

dry skin

When traveling to a climate drier than the one you normally live in, you may experience dryness of your skin. While this may not seem like the biggest of worries during your travel preparations, dry skin can prove to be quite a nuisance one you actually experience it, especially while you’re supposed to be on a relaxing vacation.

how to avoid it:

While many people remember to pack appropriately for the weather in terms of the clothes they are going to wear, most forget to pack the appropriate skin care tools necessary to combat the weather. While you may be used to long, hot showers at home, in a drier environment, this could be very unhealthy for your skin since it strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and itchy. Instead, you should make an effort to use a moisturizing body wash and limit your showers to 10 minutes. This not only helps your skin, but also helps the environment! After getting out of the shower, pat yourself dry instead of rubbing, and apply a rich body cream to keep your skin hydrated. Ingredients in your body lotion, such as glycerin, a humectant, are especially helpful because they will help hold water in the top layers of your skin, keeping you moisturized without feeling greasy. As much as it is important to keep yourself hydrated, it is important to keep your skin hydrated, and the best way to do both is to increase your fluid intake, especially in those drier climates. And as always, when going outside, remember to apply sunscreen!

preparing a travel safety kit Whether in the US or abroad, it is always best to be prepared for the worst—including when it comes to managing your health! This is why many professionals recommend preparing a simple travel safety kit to carry with you. No one wants to be searching for a 24 hour pharmacy during the middle of a vacation, so why should you?

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Here is a list of items you should prepare in your kit to keep you prepared in case of minor injuries and illnesses: ❯ Fever thermometer ❯ Standard over-the-counter pain reliever or fever reducer such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen ❯ Bandages in different sizes ❯ Gauze pads and first-aid tape ❯ Antibacterial hand santizer ❯ Antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin, for minor cuts/wounds ❯ Steroid cream, such as hydrocortisone, for treating rashes ❯ Antacid tablets ❯ Tweezers and needles to remove splinters ❯ Oral antihistamine for allergies ❯ Lip ointment, chaptstick, or lip balm for dry, chapped lips ❯ Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher ❯ Oral or nasal decongestants ❯ Insect repellant ❯ Blister relief products if you will be doing a lot of walking ❯ Rubbing alcohol ❯ First aid manual ❯ Any prescription medications or supplies you might need For most of these items, a small amount of each should be sufficient. For prescription items, it is best to bring with you enough for the duration of your trip, plus a little extra just in case. As always, if you have any special medical needs or concerns, consult with doctor regarding other items that you should include in your travel safety kit.


bug bites & stings

When the vacation bug bites and you’re reading for some traveling, don’t get bitten by other unwanted bugs! Bug bites rank amongst the most annoying of woes one must deal with while on vacation, and may even, unknowingly, leave one vulnerable to a whole host of deadlier diseases that are transmitted through insect bites, such as malaria. In addition to causing unsightly red bumps on one’s skin, they also leave one in pain and itching for a solution.

how to avoid it:

To avoid mosquito and other insect bites, the CDC recommends using insect repellent on uncovered skin when going outdoors—during the day and at night. The ideal insect repellent should be approved by the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and contain between 10-50% of the following active ingredients: DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Typically, the greater percentage of an active ingredient a product contains, the longer it should provide protection from insect bites. However, the concentrations of different active ingredients should not be directly compared. Additionally, instead of trying to kill two birds with one stone and buying a combined insect repellent-sunscreen product, each of these should be bought separately in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. When using both at the same time, the sunscreen should be applied before the repellent. If you have no insect repellent available to you, wear loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants when walking outdoors. Clothing and shoes may also be sprayed with insect repellent for additional protection.

how to treat it:

Most bug bites will eventually heal over time if left alone—that means no itching or scratching! However, for those cases in which a bug bite or sting appears to be more serious than usual, especially if obtained from an unidentified insect, be sure to take proper precautions when attempting to deal with it. Monitor the victim for signs of anaphylaxis, a type of severe allergic reaction, which may include itching, hives or redness, swelling (other than the site of the sting), shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, weakness, dizziness. If the victim begins to exhibit any signs of involuntary muscle contractions, call 911 immediately and seek out professional medical care. If the insect that has bitten or stung the person can be located, bring it with you to the hospital in a plastic bag, but be careful—even dead bugs may contain venom.

jet lag

When traveling long distance, many people worry about being plagued with jet lag and the frustrating ordeal of trying to cope with adjusting one’s sleep schedule to a new time zone. Here are some tips to consider to help you get a good night’s sleep both here and there. ❯

Pre-flight preparations: Before you leave for your travel destination, make sure that everything back home is properly taken care of and that any business, both personal and work related, is in order. Without having to stress out or worry about anything at home, you will have less trouble falling asleep when necessary. Additionally, get plenty of exercise and make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your trip.

Fluids in flight: When the cart comes around enticing you with fancy complementary beverages, consider going for some good old-fashioned H2O. One sign of dehydration may be difficulty sleeping, so to help maintain a proper sleep schedule, it is important to keep hydrated. Because the dry air in the flight cabin can cause mild dehydration, you should choose carefully regarding the beverages you consume in the air. Alcoholic beverages will only serve to dehydrate you further, so these should be avoided.

Change your watch: By changing your watch as soon as you leave for your new destination, this will help you mentally adjust to your new time zone and prevent you from suffering from time confusion and disorientation.

Eat and exercise regularly: Poor nutrition and eating at random times throughout the day may only serve to make your jet lag worse. By eating at regular intervals and exercising regularly, especially outdoors, your body will start to adjust to your new time zone according to your new daily habits.

Sunlight: The jury is still out on light therapy, but some experts say that by spending time outdoors in natural light, your biological clock will better adapt to your new time zone and align your daily cycle better with the natural rising and setting of the sun.

Maintain good posture: If you're booked for a long flight, or if you're traveling with a tour bus and expect long driving times, be sure to vary your position en route and stay flexible. Poor posture may cause or contribute to existing back pains, exacerbating sleep adustment. Since seating will also be snug, be sure to wear loose clothing on the day of your trip so that you can settle into your seat. Try to keep the area in front of your feet clear that you have more wiggle room as well. t w

You can also check out the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center on the web at MAC for more water sports such as rowing, surfing, windsurfing, and sailing. They can also be contacted at (310) 823-0048 or

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feature CANADA

// by leigh goodrich | design by amorette jeng

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Health care is often a controversial topic in the medical community and mainstream politics alike, but few could argue that our current system is ideal. The contrast between high health care expenditures in the US and the inferior quality of care highlights inefficiencies and serious problems throughout our system. In efforts to reform this state, it is useful to look at global models of health care, which range widely even within states of universal health care. According to the 2010 World Health Organization World Health Report, financing for universal coverage is limited by three fundamental issues: availability of resources, reliance on direct payments at the time people need care, and inefficient and inequitable use of resources. The rankings highlighted below are taken from WHO reports and are based on measures of overall population health, health inequalities within the population, health system responsiveness and distribution of financial burden.


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UNITED STATES (FOR REFERENCE) Ranking: 37 GDP per capita: $47,186 Health spending per capita: $7,538 Life expectancy: M 75, F 80 % of GDP spent on health care: 15.3%

UK Ranking: 18 GDP per capita: $36,600 Health spending per capita: $3,129 Life expectancy: M 78, F 82 % of GDP spent on health care: 8.4% Health care overview: The National Health Service was founded in 1948 and provides universal care to citizens, paid for by the government, largely through taxation. Primary care is free, and only services such as dental care and prescription drug costs require cost-sharing. However, many groups are exempt from co-payments, including children, elderly, pregnant women, disabled and low-income populations. One issue of concern to some citizens is minimizing wait times for care. Efforts have been made to improve the situation and a mere 11.5% of the population opts to purchase supplementary private insurance.

diana labombarbe/istockphoto

systems of care

Ranking: 30 GDP per capita: $39,300 Health spending per capita: $3,673 Life expectancy: M 79, F 83 % of GDP spent on health care: 10% Health care overview: Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s universal health care system, known as Medicare, has publicly funded and managed plans that are provided through private insurers. The government regulates health care services and also finances care for veterans, the military, and other groups. About 65% of citizens also opt to pay for additional private insurance to alleviate systemic problems such as long waiting times. The main concern with this system has been a lack of funds from federal and provincial governments in the recent past, causing a shortage of health care workers and technology.

SPAIN Ranking: 7 GDP per capita: $31,455 Health spending per capita: $2,902 Life expectancy: M 78, F 84 % of GDP spent on health care: 8.5% Health care overview: Spain has a decentralized National Health System that covers 99.5% of the population for basic services and is funded by government taxes. Because of the system’s decentralization, there are regional differences in quality and quantity of care. Services such as mental health, dentistry and longterm elderly care must be paid individually or through supplemental insurance coverage. Approximately 12% of Spaniards purchase private insurance plans. Like several other countries, Spain has a “gatekeeper” system in which a general physician must be seen by patients to receive a referral for specialized care.

SWITZERLAND Ranking: 20 GDP per capita: $42,783 Health spending per capita: $4,627 Life expectancy: M 79.5, F 84 % of GDP spent on health care: 10.8% Health care overview: Switzerland just adopted a system of universal health care a little over a decade ago. Now, 99% of Swiss citizens are covered through LAMal, the non-profit universal health insurance. Patients are able to choose between 70 different plans and 40% have supplemental insurance to pay for extra expenses such as dentistry and private hospitals. One potential concern is that despite the many options for plans, patient choices are often limited by location and convenience, as insurance plans vary on a regional basis. Also, waiting times and ability of patients to choose physicians are often less than ideal.

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Ranking: 1 GDP per capita: $32,700 Health spending per capita: $3,936 Life expectancy: M 78, F 85 % of GDP spent on health care: 11% Health care overview: The French system of universal health care has been ranked the best in the world, providing all citizens with basic coverage and improved services compared to other government-financed models. The public universal insurance, called Securite Sociale, covers most services and 92% of the population purchases private supplemental insurance. The government also funds supplemental insurance for low income groups. Interestingly, French patients carry Securite Sociale cards, which have microchips with their medical information on them so doctors can access their records. The card also works to automatically reimburse patients for medical bills when it is scanned at the physician’s office. One issue of concern is that the high standard of care and increased utilization of services has created a substantial budget deficit, creating impending financial problems.

Ranking: 10 GDP per capita: $34,200 Health spending per capita: $2,581 Life expectancy: M 79, F 86 % of GDP spent on health care: 8.1% Health care overview: Japan requires citizens to register with a health insurance plan, of which there are three main categories of options: employer-based insurance, national health insurance, and insurance for the elderly. Employer-based insurance covers about 30% of the population and is financed by both employees and employers. Plans are managed by either the companies or the government, depending on the size of the company. National health insurance covers those such as the unemployed or retirees who are not covered by employers. Premiums are controlled by the Japanese government to lower health care costs and co-pays are determined by income level. Japanese health care is also noted for its implementation of advanced technology. t w



Mediterranean Diet // by jennifer wilson | design by amorette jeng The Mediterranean diet has been the subject

total wellness â&#x2013;Ş fall 2011

of much media attention, with experts citing the healthy lifestyle of Europeans as an enviable outcome. The diet has been touted as a magic bullet to cure everything from obesity to aging. So, what exactly is this dietary plan and what can it realistically do for your health?


What is the Mediterranean diet?

Why do people recommend it?

The Mediterranean diet is a regimen that incorporates the heart healthy cuisine of various countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It revolves around the consumption of plant-based foods, nuts, fresh fruits, limited amounts of red meat, fish and poultry, whole grains, olive oil in food preparation and red wine. It emphasizes meals that are plant-based, meet the nutritional guidelines of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, and are of smaller portions.

Many recommend the Mediterranean diet because it has been linked with a tremendous amount of health benefits. Potential advantages of the Mediterranean diet include:

What does a Mediterranean diet look like? The typical Mediterranean diet puts an emphasis on meals consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and lean protein, and limits sweets and red meat. For example, here is what a day’s worth of Mediterranean meals might look like: ❯ Breakfast: egg scramble with mixed vegetables ❯ Lunch: whole-wheat pita with hummus and side

salad with olive oil vinaigrette

❯ Snack: bowl of fruits and nuts ❯ Dinner: grilled trout, eggplant and corn The breakfast highlights the healthy Mediterranean habit of incorporating vegetables in almost every meal, along with eggs, a good protein source. Lunch includes the complex carbohydrates of whole wheat pita, as well as the healthy fats of the olive oil. A snack of fruit and nuts fuels the body with antioxidants, carbohydrates, and essential fats that trump packaged, fatty junk food. A healthy dinner can include grilled fish, which the Mediterranean diet suggests at least once or twice a week, and veggies. The Mediterranean diet is more than a way of eating; it is a lifestyle. Besides the recommended intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and fish, the Mediterranean diet values a physical, non-sedentary routine. This lifestyle is also known for its potential to reduce risk of chronic disease. The Seven Countries Study was conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health to examine whether Mediterranean dietary and lifestyle patterns were linked to improved health outcomes. They measured the habits of 12,700 people in Yugoslavia, the US, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Japan and found “the people who were the healthiest ate a diet where fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and fish were the basis of daily meals and valued vigorous physical activity and high social interaction. At the top of the list were the residents of Crete.” Furthermore, meals in the Mediterranean are enjoyed with family and friends so that meals are a source of pleasure and nourishment.

diet is rich in antioxidants, which have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the University of Athens published a study showing that people who ate a Mediterraneanstyle diet had a 33% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease, and a cancer death rate that was 24% lower than the death rate for those who ate more Western-style diets.

High fiber. Because it is full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet is high in fiber, which helps to lower the risk of various cancers, such as prostate and colon cancers. Fiber slows digestion and helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. According to WebMD, this diet is a good option for diabetics or those with insulin resistance because it can improve insulin sensitivity. Anti-inflammatory properties. The Mediterranean diet incorporates nuts, vegetables, vegetable oil, fruits and fish, which are all known to contain anti-inflammatory properties that have beneficial effects on cardiovascular function. A 2004 article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that increased adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet was linked to lower concentrations of inflammatory and coagulation markers. Similarly, a 2003 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet led to reduced mortality, including death due to coronary heart disease and cancer. Lowers cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil and other sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. According to a 2001 article published in Circulation involving the American Heart Association, those who followed a Mediterranean diet experienced lower levels of LDL and several other cardiovascular benefits. Protects against cognitive decline.

Recent studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to prevention of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. For example, a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that “a Mediterranean diet might also have protective effects against cognitive decline in older individuals, because it combines several foods and nutrients potentially protective against cognitive dysfunction or dementia, such as fish, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B12 and foliate, antioxidants (vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids), and moderate amounts of alcohol.” t w


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As you can see, the Mediterranean diet is just one way to eat right. The foods included in the Mediterranean diet are examples of choices that can support a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It is always important to remember that moderation is the key to healthy eating. Furthermore, there are hundreds of options for this eating plan, as it emphasizes balance and variety. Be creative!

High in antioxidants. The Mediterranean


mastering moderation // by nicole lew | design by amorette jeng Many cannot imagine heading to class without their morning coffee, avoiding their favorite potato chip snack, missing an afternoon nap, or refraining from curling up in front of the television in time for their favorite show. Though the health consequences of coffee, sodium, oversleeping, and television time are becoming more apparent and wellknown, most refuse to stop using or being exposed to them. And, maybe surrendering them altogether isn’t the solution, not when you can find a healthy middle ground. Here’s a look into mastering the moderation of caffeine, sodium, television time, and napping.

Because of the sedentary position that people assume when watching television, there are many health risks associated with the leisure activity. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Diabetes, watching television was shown to be an associated risk factor for incident diabetes. The mean time spent watching TV for those who developed diabetes was 2.4 hours/week compared to the 2.0 hours/week spent watching TV by those who did not develop diabetes. Additionally, according a 2011 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, there is evidence of an association between TV viewing time and reduced blood circulation to the eye.

the happy medium According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children’s total media time (including television viewing) should be limited to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming. But, what about students? Students should practice an active lifestyle and should trade in an hour in front of the television for an hour at the gym or track. Still, since limited time in front of the television does not have any adverse health effects, watching your favorite television show or a movie does not need to be sacrificed.


; this page: top left: tedestudio/istockphoto; top right: t_kimura/istockphoto; bottom middle:

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Watching one episode of Glee, Modern Family, CSI, or any other television show every now and then is a common means of relaxation for many college students. As for the American population, in 2009, watching television accounted for about half of leisure activities for those 15 and over, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since television watching is the number one leisure activity in America, the chance that Americans will stop watching TV altogether is slim. Still, sitting in front of the TV all day has its associated health risks and should be kept to a minimum.

the health risks

peter mukherjee/istockphoto vikavalter/istockphoto


the health risks

CAFFEINE Caffeine is the substance of choice for many college students who need to stay awake late at night to study for an exam or need a quick energy boost during class. It is most often consumed in tea, coffee, and energy drinks. Though it does have some health benefits, caffeine is an addictive substance and needs to be consumed in moderation.

the health risks Excessive caffeine intake has many associated side effects, such as a rapid heart rate, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. According to a 2011 study in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, caffeine consumption may influence cognitive processing skills, such as face recognition.

the happy medium

the happy medium Though the average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium in a day, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (1 teaspoon of salt) a day for healthy individuals under 51 years old. Some sodium intake is helpful in maintaining the right balance of bodily fluids, transmitting nerve impulses, and influencing the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Still, sodium intake should be limited. When shopping, avoid purchasing processed, prepared, and pre-packaged foods, such as many canned goods. These foods constitute 75% of Americans’ sodium consumption. Additionally, when cooking, try using spices and herbs, as opposed to salt, when seasoning meats and other foods.

NAPPING Sleep is healthy. It revitalizes our bodies and is necessary for survival. Because of this, many of us surrender to afternoon napping to restore our mental power when we did not receive enough sleep the previous night or for whatever reason are just plain tired. Humans are among the few monophasic sleepers, having only one sleep and one wakefulness period in a day. Perhaps, the other species know something about napping that we don’t. Or, is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Sodium consumption is unavoidable. Salt, which is about 40% sodium, is in almost everything that we eat from potato chips to cheese. Though salt may arguably be one of America’s favorite ingredients, overconsumption has a few major health consequences, stressing the need for moderation.

the health risks Though there is no conclusive evidence for any real health risks associated with napping, napping does have its downfalls. According to the National Sleep Foundation, napping often results in sleep inertia, the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that results from awakening from a deep sleep. This impairment is more severe in those who are sleep deprived or napped for too long of a time. Additionally, napping for an extended period or later in the day can negatively affect nighttime sleep. Furthermore, oversleeping, not specific to napping, has been linked to both obesity and diabetes.

the happy medium Napping of course has its benefits: stress reduction, immunity boost, and increased heart health. A 2007 study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, suggested that midday napping reduced the risk of coronary mortality. Moreover, the National Sleep Foundation recommends napping for 20-30 minutes for short-term alertness. A recent study in Sleep found that naps lasting more than 30 minutes often resulted in sleep inertia, yet 10-minute naps reduced sleepiness and improved cognitive function. Though sleeping enough at night is best, short midday naps have their benefits. t w


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According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a moderate amount of caffeine is about three 8-oz cups of coffee a day (about 250 mg of caffeine). Despite the health risks of excessive caffeine intake, caffeine does have its health benefits. According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, caffeine may provide protection against the sun, offering a viable therapeutic option for nonmelanoma skin cancer. There are also additional health benefits associated with the beverages, like tea and coffee, that contain caffeine. The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs emphasizes that moderate caffeine consumption, as from tea or coffee, has no negative health effects.

High levels of sodium consumption is one of the factors associated with hypertension, or high blood pressure. A 2010 study in the Annual Review of Nutrition showed that excess salt intake is associated with obesity, one of the major causes of hypertension. Hypertension increases the risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and renal heart disease. Additionally, sodium plays a role in bone health. According to a 2003 study in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, high intake of dietary sodium plays a role in osteoporosis, the loss of bone, though other dietary factors may contribute as well.





science and safety // by nicole lew | design by amorette jeng

what is an earthquake and when does it occur? An earthquake is the slipping of two plates at the surface of the Earth. According to Dr. Gilles Peltzer, a professor in the UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences, the surface of the earth can be described as large, rigid plates that move relative to each other; tectonic forces (the forces applied to the Earth because of the movement of plates) eventually cause the rock to break, creating an earthquake. Earthquakes radiate seismic waves, which shake the Earth.

how is the first jolt detected? Earthquake waves travel in two forms: P waves and S waves. P waves are the compression waves, which are fast-moving and sudden, whereas S waves are slow-moving but contain the most energy. According to a 2011 article from Scientific American, P waves are the first sudden jolt, and any P waves with high amplitude and low frequency can be detected to trigger a warning. Combining data from several seismometers, scientists can detect the P waves and thus locate the epicenter of an earthquake.

can an earthquake be predicted? Though an earthquake cannot be predicted before it occurs, there are ways to detect the first slightest motion of the earthquake. According to a 2011 article published in Scientific American, early warning networks can detect the first subtle motions of an earthquake and predict how strong and widespread it will be. Earthquakes generally occur in two parts, the second of which is slow-moving and causes the most damage. The detections of the first sudden jolt potentially provides a few tens of seconds of warning that could be issued to people in danger.


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Analysts have been predicting an impending California earthquake for years. And, the recent disaster in Japan may be a wake-up call for many that earthquake preparation is a necessity. After all, how much do we really know about earthquakes? And what are the steps to prepare for and react to one? As recently witnessed, earthquakes are both unexpected and devastating, emphasizing the need for earthquake education and preparation.

the science behind an earthquake


preparation counts: what to do... BEFORE an earthquake: 3 steps to prepare for an earthquake prepare your home, apartment, or dorm room ❯ Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves ❯ Ensure that shelves are fastened securely to walls ❯ Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations ❯ Identify all fire risks such as defective electrical wiring and leaky gas lines

make a disaster kit ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯

Flashlight & extra batteries Water Food (non-perishable) Can opener Battery-powered radio Whistle Wrench or pliers Garbage bags and moist toilettes Necessary medicine First Aid Kid (For tips on assembling a first aid kid, see page 19 of Issue 5.)

DURING an earthquake: how to react when the earth starts to shake if you are indoors: ❯ Take cover under a desk or table against an inside wall ❯ Stay away from glass, windows, outdoor walls, and anything that can fall

if you are outdoors: ❯ Stay outside and move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires ❯ If you are in a moving vehicle: Stop as quickly and safely as possible. Avoid buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires ❯ If you are trapped under debris: Do not move. Cover your mouth with your clothing or a handkerchief. Signal for help by tapping on a nearby pipe or wall; shout as a last resort (since shouting can cause the inhalation of dangerous dust)

identify safe places to protect yourself

AFTER an earthquake: post-earthquake hazards aftershocks According to Dr. Peltzer, aftershocks can be classified as small earthquakes that occur after the main shock. Aftershocks almost always occur in a predictable distribution. According to the US Geological survey, aftershocks can continue for weeks, months, or even years depending on the magnitude of the earthquake.

liquefaction Earthquakes can cause waterlogged soils to temporarily lose their strength and stiffness, an event known as liquefaction. The soil’s loss of coherence is dangerous, as it can lead to buildings sinking into the soil.

tsunami A tsunami, such as the one Japan recently experienced, is caused by surface faulting on the floor of the ocean. According to Dr. Peltzer, this causes the water level to rise, the water bulge to burst and eventually propagate in all directions. For this reason, the coast of Japan was strongly impacted by a large tsunami, and other coasts were also mildly affected hours later.

❯ Inside: Under sturdy furniture; away from glass and heavy furniture; against an inside wall ❯ Outside: Away from buildings, trees, electrical wires, and telephone lines

common misconceptions about earthquakes to occur during “earthquake weather," hot and dry weather.

MYTH: During an earthquake the safest place to be is under a doorway.

According to Dr. Peltzer, “earthquakes initiate deep in the Earth, generally five to twelve miles from the surface, and daily weather generally affects the first few meters.”

A doorway is the safest place only if the home is an unreinforced adobe home. The doorways of most modern houses and the dorms are of the same strength as the rest of the building.

MYTH: Earthquakes are becoming more frequent.

Earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained consistent throughout history. If anything, the rate of them has decreased in recent years. Because earthquakes, even small ones, are now more readily detected with modern technology and seismological centers, they may seem more frequent. t w


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

MYTH: Earthquakes tend

food pick



// by eric yu | design by karin yuen You don’t often see a North American pumpkin ➺ simply sitting beside your turkey at dinner. Instead, it is often found as a mash or paste (in pie), and is also cooked in a variety of other styles around the world. While normally considered a fruit for special occasions (such as Halloween), pumpkins can also be a nutritious everyday food when prepared correctly. Here's how the North American pumpkin makes a great seasonal addition to any meal (apart from pie and Thanksgiving decor!):

from the cookbook pumpkin purée 1 pumpkin

Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove seeds, pulp, and stringy portion. Cut into small slices and peel.

❯ Antioxidants remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents from living systems. Beta-carotene, an antioxidant, is abundant in pumpkin as evidenced by the bright orange color of the fruit. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, and thus is responsible for a variety of functions, including vision, normal development, and immune system function. While certain studies have suggested that a beta-carotene rich diet may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and cardiovascular disease, the topic is still under debate. Nevertheless, these possibilities provide some incentives for the consumption of pumpkins.

to steam: Place in steamer or metal colander that will fit in covered pot. Put over boiling water, cover, and steam for about 50 minutes or until tender. Mash in a blender or food processor. to boil: Cover with lightly salted water. Boil for about 25 minutes or until tender. Mash in a blender or food processor. ❯ Pumpkin puree can be frozen in portions; spoon cooled, mashed pumpkin into freezer containers, making sure to leave half-inch headspace ❯ A 5-pound pumpkin will yield about 4 1/2 cups of mashed, cooked pumpkin.

❯ Pumpkins contain a variety of nutrients and are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. For example, one serving of pumpkin contains a significant amount of vitamin A (245%), vitamin C (19%), vitamin E (10%), and riboflavin (11%). Additionally, pumpkins contain a variety of minerals including potassium (16%), copper (11%), iron (8%), and manganese (11%). Pumpkins also speed up the process of digestion and elimination as they are very good sources of dietary fiber.


1/2 cup brown lentils 1 1/2 cups water 1/2 cup brown rice 1 1/2 cups vegetable, or chicken stock 1 bay leaf 4 baby nugget pumpkins 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms 1 stalk celery, chopped finely 2 tablespoons snipped dill 3/4 cup cottage cheese 1 slice wholemeal bread, made into crumbs 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated 1 teaspoon paprika Soak lentils in water for 1 hour. Drain, rinse and drain again. Place lentils, rice, chicken stock and bay leaf in saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes (water should be absorbed). Remove bay leaf. While lentils are cooking, pierce pumpkins in several places with a sharp skewer and bake at moderate temperature for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cut lid from top and scoop out seeds. Combine cooked lentils, mushrooms, celery, dill and cottage cheese. Use this mixture to fill pumpkins. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and paprika, sprinkle on top of pumpkins. Bake in a moderate oven (180ºC/350ºF) for 25 minutes. Serve with a green salad or steamed green vegetables.


❯ In addition to the pulp of a pumpkin, pumpkin seeds contain a variety of health benefits. For example, findings in a 2003 publication in Cancer Letters suggest that carotenoids, zinc, and omega-3 fats in pumpkin seeds may lower the incidence of certain abnormal developments in the prostate. Another reason to look into incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, is its abundant levels of phytosterol which are believed to reduce cholesterol levels and enhance immune system functions. t w; better

total wellness ▪ fall 2011

❯ A 2011 publication in Food Research International examined pumpkin’s active hypoglycemic properties – that is, its ability to lower blood sugar levels. It concluded that the presence of phyto-constituents, including alkaloids, linoleic acids, and flavonoids, are indicative of various medicinal properties of pumpkins that include anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic activities. However, the study concluded that the pulp of the pumpkin is too high in sugar content to be considered useful in regards to lowering blood sugar.

lentil-stuffed pumpkins

credits We would like to acknowledge the following people for their contributions to this edition. We would also like to make special mention of the following UCLA physicians, professors and faculty members who donated their time and expertise to ensuring the accuracy of content published in the following articles:


❧ q&a

Katherine Grubiak, MS, RD, Former Ashe Center Nutritionist

running right

Darren Lo, Certified Personal Trainer, West Los Angeles

bbqs: the good, the bad, and the healthy Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, Research Dietitian, UCLA Department of Medicine, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

the study drug

Steve Kozel, PharmD, UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center

furry friends

Lilia Meltzer, RN, NP, MSN, Lecturer, California State University, Long Beach

global warming: political present and future

Rhead Enion, JD, Emmett/Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law

shortcuts to better health •

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

chicken soup for the traveler's body

Leah FitzGerald, RN, FNP-C, PhD, Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

the mediterranean diet

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD, Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

food pick: pumpkins

Eve Lahijani, MS, RD, Nutrition Health Educator, UCLA Bruin Resource Center

copy-edits and review

Leigh Goodrich, Anna Wong, and Elizabeth Wang

layout revisions

Karin Yuen, Amorette Jeng, and Elizabeth Wang

cover & table of contents Designed by Elizabeth Wang

earthquakes: science and safety Gilles Peltzer, PhD, Professor, UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences


total wellness ▪ fall 2011

Christian Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing Leah FitzGerald, RN, FNP-C, PhD, Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Allergy & Immunology, UCLA School of Medicine Benjamin Wu, DDS, PhD, Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Bioengineering Alona Zerlin, MS, RD, Research Dietitian, UCLA Department of Medicine, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition

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Fall 2011. Issue 6, Volume 11. Produced by UCLA's Student Wellness Commission.