Browsing Tag

healthy living

Health Other

Watch Your Waste!

August 17, 2018

Whether you’re living in a dorm or somewhere off campus, those weekly trips to the grocery store are essential as you need to pack on the proteins to fuel your body and brain for those long nights of study. Can you even begin to count how many plastic bags you have taken home and dispose throughout those trips? It’s probably too much to count even if you have hundreds of fingers.

Plastic bags are one of the most common pollutants in landfills that pose as a major threat to wildlife. Many marine animals mistake plastic bags for food and end up ingesting these toxic debris that continue to float around the ocean. The intake of plastics is not only harmful to the animals but can also have a negative impact on humans as it transfers the debris up to bigger fish and marine animals, in which we consume and end up ingesting these tiny pieces of plastics ourselves.

What can we do to eliminate these wasteful and destructive plastic bags you may ask? The answer is reusable grocery bags. You can find these bags at almost any grocery stores that you shop at for an affordable price. For instance, Trader Joe’s offers eye-catching and sturdy reusable bags at the cost of only $1.00 each. They also offer an incentive for those who choose to use their own bag instead of taking one from the store. Students and adults alike, you are eligible to enter into a raffle where you have the opportunity to win a $25.00 gift card. It might not sound like much, but for college students, that gift card can come in handy when you’re short on money for that weekly grocery trip.

Besides being environmentally responsible, another responsibility you should take on as college students is to purchase renters insurance in the events that your personal belongings are stolen, such as bikes and laptops. GradGuard offers worldwide property coverage that will cover you and your belongings everywhere you go for an affordable cost. For a free quote, go to https://gradguard.com/renters. It never hurts to check it out.

Other Transition

The Last Straw

August 7, 2018

Almost everyone will take up the opportunity of a straw when offered one, but how many people actually know the detrimental effects that plastic straws have on our planet?

Just within the U.S. alone, roughly 500 million straws are used each day. Many of those straws are made from what we know as “Styrofoam” and can take up to 200 years to degrade. Even then, they will never be completely destroyed as plastic straws do not biodegrade, therefore, tiny and invisible pieces of those straws will continue to remain on Earth forever.

You might be thinking, “What’s so bad about straws remaining on Earth? They’re so small.” Well, while it is true that straws are relatively small, imagine 500 million of them being disposed in landfill each day and floating on the ocean over the years. Even at a relatively small college campus like Furman University in South Carolina, 22,000 straws were being used each month—a fraction of the 500 million plastic straws used in America daily. But that is before the executive director of Furman’s Sustainability center began his movement of replacing plastic straws with paper ones.

Another devastating statistic regarding plastic use: 1 million seabirds and marine animals die each year from consuming plastics that are constantly being disposed of by us humans.

It’s time to take responsibility and raise awareness about the harmful effects of these single-use straws. Below are 2 easy steps that you can take to make this change happen:

  • REFUSE! This is another R that you should apply to your daily life on top of the other 3 that you should have already been practicing. Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle. Being a college student, it can be hard to eat at home every day because that requires cooking, so that calls for nights of eating out, to which will make you feel the need to order a drink, or ask for a water cup for all that matters. In those cases, it can be tempting to not grab a straw with your drink/water cup as it’s right there, ready and available to grab. However, now that you are aware of the dangerous effects of plastic straws, it should definitely be easier to refuse them in the future.
  • Invest in reusable straws: The go-to for reusable straws are stainless steel ones. These are good investments as they are reusable and easy to clean, as well as sophisticated-looking. The up-front cost of these can sound like a lot, and it’s understandable that being a college student, you want to try and save any penny that you can. However, the long-term value of these environmentally-friendly straws are definitely worth investing. You can buy a pack of 8 stainless steel straws along with 2 cleaning brushes and a carry bag for less than $10.00 on Amazon. You can also buy this as a gift for your friend who drinks Starbucks every day yet refuses to invest in a reusable cup and straw.

*The fact stands that plastic straws are harmful for the environment. However, we should also take into accounts of their convenient existence for people with disabilities. One of the main issues that poses for disabled people with using straws made out of materials other than plastic is that they are neither safe or flexible enough. According to an article regarding plastic straws ban on CNN, those with jitters have a hard time using metal straws as they are too hard and can be painful, and paper straws dissolve when comes in contact with water, so that leaves plastic straws as the last man standing.

In this case, the above refuse and reuse method should not be applied. It is incredibly important to be environmentally responsible but it’s also important to recognize the needs of those around you. The long-term goal is to have an ecologically balanced environment without having to sacrifice the needs of individuals with disabilities.

GradGuard prides themselves on being as eco-friendly as possible! From daily recycling to being a paperless company, we do whatever we can to help the environment. If you are wanting an insurance company that cares about you AND the world around you, consider getting insured by GradGuard today!

Health Other

Ways to Survive on Little Slumber in College

June 5, 2018

Most students experience more work and less sleep when they get to college. In many instances, you’ll find yourself in a position where you must get up and go to class with as little as 3 to 4 hours sleep the night before.

So, what do you do to function on little to no sleep? Here are a few tips.

Caffeinate 

There is a reason why there are many coffee shops and stands near or around campus. College students devour lots of caffeine. Coffee is a great pick me up in the morning and during all-nighters.

The caffeine in coffee helps you stay awake. It also makes you more alert. That’s because it contains chemicals that stimulate your brain. This allows you to concentrate better and feel less tired.

However, it has a downside as well. Caffeine can make you irritable and jittery. Additionally, consuming anything with caffeine late in the day may make it hard to fall asleep that night and lead to a consistently groggy sleep schedule. 

Take Power Naps

Sleep is one of the most important things for college students. Besides making you feel less tired, it also offers many other benefits. Some of these include better memory, improved focus, and concentration. All of which make you more productive and help you get better grades.

At the same time, getting shut-eye helps you make fewer mistakes. It also keeps your immune system healthy, so you don’t get sick and fall behind in any of your classes.

When it comes to napping, try keeping them under 30 minutes. This prevents you from waking up feeling groggy. They call them power naps for a reason! 

Exercise

Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do when you feel tired. Ironically, it not only helps wake you up but also gives you more energy. This is thanks to the increased blood circulation and metabolism boost your body experiences when you move around.

Exercise also helps you sleep better at night so you can make the best out of the little slumber time that’s available to you.

Drink Lots of Water

Water, unlike caffeine, doesn’t give you any boost in energy. However, research shows that dehydration will make you feel more fatigued.

Between homework, project deadlines and rushing to classes in different buildings, you may forget to drink the recommended 2 liters of water daily. This can cause you to feel more tired than you usually do.

Eat!

Of course, don’t forget to eat. Food is your main source of energy. It is what your body uses for fuel. Getting enough sustenance will allow your body and mind to function even when you’re short on sleep.

For energy, choose carbs and protein. But, skip refined carbs like white bread and potatoes. These give you a jolt of energy in the short term. But, you’ll also crash a few hours later. Instead, choose unrefined carbs like grains and oatmeal.

We hope these tips will help you maximize yourself on minimum sleep. To give you peace of mind when you do sleep, consider covering your personal belongings with GradGuard’s Renter’s Insurance. GradGuard is committed to keeping your mind at ease while you sleep knowing that you are protected by our renters insurance. Learn more about how you can get renters insurance through GradGuard by visiting our website.

About the Author: Emma Lymn is the editor of Health Grinder, a health and nutrition blog. She is passionate about helping others learn to eat healthily and lose weight. A proud mom of two kids and a very spoiled dog, she enjoys traveling and volunteering in her spare time.

Other Student Life

Exercising in College

July 14, 2015
exercising in college

It’s almost time for school to start back up! It’s crazy how fast this summer has flown by. For incoming freshmen, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “freshman 15”. Well, sorry to break it to you, but it is not a myth. But it isn’t just a thing for freshmen, it can happen to anyone in college no matter what year! Working out probably isn’t the first thing on your mind in college, but it is extremely important for your overall health… and your grades. Studies show that students who exercise regularly at college get better grades. For many students, it’s difficult to balance working out with college life. Here are some helpful tips on how to make working out in college easier!

Taking the Long Route
Most people walk to class, which is already great exercise. However, a lot of people take the shortcuts to get from here to there. Making small changes in your schedule like skipping the shortcuts or not taking the bus are great ways to increase your daily exercise. Another great way is to take the stairs instead of an elevator.

Wearing Gym Clothes To Class
One of the biggest problems while being at college is lack of time. Not enough time to study. Not enough time to sleep. Not enough time to get to class. Well I have a fix for the common saying, “I don’t have enough time to workout!” Wear your gym clothes to class! It is a huge time saver! Instead of needing to go back home to get your clothes, you have it with you. If it is colder or you don’t feel comfortable wearing your clothes to class, you can pack your clothes into your backpack before leaving for class. This provides you more time to schedule in a workout! Plus, if you’re already dressed for a workout, it’ll be harder to make excuses not to do it.

Register for Exercise Classes that Count as Credits
There are a ton of extra curricular activities that can be added into your class schedule. Some of these include swimming, yoga, basketball, weight lifting, self-defense, and others! They basically have everything you can think of and many classes can be great stress busters, thanks to the great breathwork in a yoga class or even the heart-pumping cardio of a step aerobics class, to help you blow off some steam. My school at Indiana University even has a rock climbing class! This is great because they are usually 1 or 2 credits and basically automatically requires you to get exercise in your schedule. Getting class credits for this is also a major plus.

Make a Reward System
Getting yourself to workout is always tough for some people including me. A lot of people have different systems that help them work out. A system that I like to use is a reward system. If I workout at least 3 times a week, I reward myself with something I never get. Usually it is a meal at one of my favorite restaurants! Having something to look forward to, like your favorite latte from the campus coffee shop, helps a ton when you’re starting to do something you don’t exactly like to do like working out or waking up for those 8am classes.

I can’t stress enough how important exercising in college is! Not only does it help your physical body but it also helps your mental health! College is stressful enough and working out helps reduce some of that stress and can help you get better grades.

 

Health Other

Choosing the Right Health Insurance for College

June 4, 2015
How to find health insurance for college

This summer you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot of time getting ready for college – choosing your dorm sheets, packing, working on extra credits, or maybe interning or working to save money for school. However you choose to spend your summer, before you head to campus this fall, make sure to get one very important detail squared away – your health insurance coverage. Choosing health insurance coverage for college can be confusing, but in a few simple steps, you can be sure you have adequate coverage for your health and in your area.

As a college student (or future college student), you are probably young and healthy, but that’s no reason to skimp on health insurance coverage. Being uninsured or underinsured can lead to potentially huge financial hardship, which is not something you’ll want to take on in addition to your student loans. Because college is such a high-cost time for students and their families, you may be particularly vulnerable to financial risk. Health insurance is one way to keep an accident or illness from setting you back financially and interrupting your ability to pay for college.

To help you choose health insurance coverage for college, consider the four tips below. You may find you have great coverage available to you in steps 1 or 2, which is great! If not, don’t worry – you have options!

1. Evaluate your family coverage and if it will be accepted around your campus.

This step has two parts. First, does your family have a health insurance plan that you can get coverage under? Oftentimes this is the most cost-effective option open to college families. Under new healthcare law, until you turn 26, you are eligible to receive coverage under your parent’s plan.

If you decide that coverage under your family plan is a cost-effective option (it likely is), the second step is to make sure that the coverage offered by this plan covers medical providers near your campus. Check to see if area hospitals, the school health center, and any clinics or services your student may need while at school are in-network under your family’s healthcare plan. If not, you could find your family in a very expensive situation if something were to happen at school. Check your out-of-network coverage for specifics, and if it’s not much coverage, consider a different plan.

2. Evaluate student health plans from your school.

Many schools require that students carry health insurance, and will often offer a plan specifically for students. Check that the plan meets the minimum coverage requirements under new healthcare law, or else you could get fined for not carrying enough coverage. The school’s plan will likely offer coverage that works well at healthcare providers near campus.

3. If neither offer appropriate coverage, search for your own plan.

If your parent’s plan or your school plan aren’t a good fit, consider searching for your own plan. There are several ways to find health insurance plans: from private providers, non-profits, and government sources, or search all three.

When choosing an individual health insurance plan, however, you may not be able to enroll in a plan outside the open enrollment period. In many cases, you will have had to experience a “qualifying event,” such as loss of coverage, moving to a new state, getting married, and more, to be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Speak with an insurance agent to figure out if you are eligible and what plans will work best for your budget and your situation.

If you’re a student who is independent from your parents, you may qualify for Medicaid or income-based subsidies to help you pay for your insurance, depending on how much income you have during the school year. If you are working while attending school, see if your employer offers a plan. You may find you have access to affordable healthcare through their employee benefits.

4. If you’ll face gaps in coverage, consider Short-Term Medical.

If you want to buy your own plan, but aren’t eligible until open enrollment, consider a Short-Term Medical plan to bridge the gap and provide coverage during that time. The open enrollment period opens on November 15, 2015, and until then you’ll want to consider some way to protect yourself from the potentially huge costs of healthcare, should something happen. Short-Term Medical can help protect you financially from bigger healthcare costs, so you don’t go uncovered. These types of plans offer coverage for accidents and illnesses, but aren’t full health plans, so you’ll have to wait until your individual health plan is up and running to get your annual physical.

With new healthcare law in effect, it can be confusing to figure out what coverage is best for college. Luckily, college students have many options when it comes to choosing a health insurance plan. Most importantly, don’t skip on coverage – you’ll be fined and open yourself up to financial loss if something were to happen.

Health Other

What to Eat on Exam Day

October 29, 2014
What to Eat on Exam Day

Since it’s the middle of the semester our school work is definitely piling up. That means it’s time for exams. Doesn’t it seem as if your teachers put all of your tests in one week?? It sure seems that way to me. The most important thing about exam day is keeping your body healthy and strong. And what is a better way to do that with something we all love… FOOD! Below are some helpful tips to prepare your brain for exam days!

Brain Foods

One of the best foods to eat to increase your mental alertness is protein rich foods. A few examples are eggs, nuts, yogurt, fish, flaxseed, and cottage cheese. Blueberries are also very good brain food. They help reduce any effects of age-related conditions and also is found to help increase your learning capacity. This is extremely necessary for a college student!

Brain Boosting Drinks

If you want to do well on exams these drinks are perfect for you! Staying hydrated is important and the best way to do that is to drink water and tea without sugar. Drinking these drinks will help increase your alertness, concentration, and energy! How awesome is that? Drinking tea can also help other parts of your body. For example, if you can’t fall asleep before an exam you should drink lavender tea to help you calm down. A lot of people get restless the night before exams so this tea will help calm your nerves as well as increase your concentration!

Light Meals

The best way to optimize your brain activity is to eat light meals. If you eat too much food it can make you drowsy. If you’re drowsy, you’re not fully alert during your exam which can hurt your grade. An example of a healthy, light breakfast to eat is steel cut oatmeal and some eggs (preferably egg whites). These foods have choline in it which will help your mental performance and will improve your memory in the long run. Sounds pretty good to me!

Foods to Avoid

Foods with white flour like cakes, cookies, and muffins are bad foods to eat on exam day. You should also stay away from foods with high refined sugar like chocolate or other desserts. These foods are bad to eat because your body processes them quickly and can cause your blood sugar levels will drop. If you’re blood sugar levels drop during your exam, you’ll have a harder time concentrating and staying alert.

Drinks to Avoid

There are also some drinks to stay away from on exam day. Staying away from alcohol and sugary drinks will help you be able to retain information and stay focused. I know a lot of people like to drink caffeine. However, drinking caffeine actually increases your anxiety. Most people get nervous for exams so why add something that will increase your anxiety even more?

Vitamins

Let’s be honest, college students aren’t the best at eating balanced meals. Since this is happening, your daily intake of vitamins and minerals are low. This can hurt your mental health on exam days as well as your every day life. Supplements are a good way to make sure that you eat the required intake. A good vitamin to start taking is Vitamin B. Vitamin B strengthens your brain activity. This is found in soy milk, tofu, beef, chicken, eggs, and cereals. Iron, calcium, and zinc are also good because it boosts your ability to handle stress. This is perfect during exam days! Changing your diets to these simple tips can really make a difference during your day as well as during your exams. Eating healthy foods help create a healthy brain!

Health Other

Healthy Foods to Fight Flu Season

October 14, 2014
Healthy Eating to Fight the Flu!

Fall is finally here and that means the changing leaves, Halloween decorations, oversized sweaters, and our favorite Starbucks drinks. However, it also means that flu season is beginning and about to peak. Instead of spending our time waiting for the first symptom of the flu to come upon us, a few easy changes to our diets to add more vitamins can help prevent the flu. Eating healthy=less of a chance of getting the flu! There are many benefits to each of these vitamins and minerals, here are a few that I find are the most important to staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong.

Many people don’t meet the required daily intake for these vitamins with their diet alone, even though this is the first step to being healthy during the flu season. Nutrient dense food is so important in building up your natural immunity. Keep in mind that if you’re not a fan of the foods listed for each vitamin, then a supplement could work as well. Multivitamins are one of the best choices because they contain all of the vitamins in one dose. So which vitamins and minerals do you need this season? Read on!

Vitamin C

The most common vitamin that everyone knows to eat during flu season is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a great supplement for antioxidants, healthy bone, muscle, and ligament growth, and protection from free radicals (determined by how the bonds are formed). The best foods to eat to optimize your Vitamin C intake are citrus foods (orange juice, lemons, limes, grapefruit), broccoli, and green peppers.

Vitamin E

Another vitamin that you want to eat during flu season is Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a great vitamin to take for your immune system, and it is also good for healthy skin and eyes! How could you not want to take something that is good for your overall health of your body?! Some also think that eating Vitamin E is good for preventing various diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and the not so serious cold sores. Sounds like a good vitamin to eat to me! Vitamin E is found in mostly the legume family. This is sunflower and corn oil, sunflower seeds, and nuts (almonds and peanuts). It is also in spinach, avocados, and beet greens.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is good for your body during flu season as well. Zinc is one of the most important minerals because it is found in every single part of your body. The main health benefit to having zinc in your body is that it is one of the biggest antioxidant that helps fights cancer. Not only does it help fight cancer but it also helps maintain your hormone levels, which is extremely important for your overall health. This is especially important for athletes because your hormone levels help develop your muscles and strength. You can find Zinc in meats, chicken, and peanuts and peanut butter, though be careful to eat these foods in moderation, focusing on eating lean meats to optimize your overall health.

Keeping your body healthy is one of the most important things that you can do while at school. Eating these healthy foods can help prevent or decrease the severity of the flu. Healthy foods=healthy body! 

Health Other

5 Steps to Healthy Dining Hall Eating

October 7, 2014
5 Steps to Healthy Dining Hall Eating

Your first year at college is always stressful. Stressful from leaving home, stressful from having harder classes and stressful from time management. Because there is all of this stress, we tend to not think about what we’re eating and thus the notorious “Freshman 15” becomes a problem. A lot of people think that eating healthy in the dorms is basically impossible. This is not the case! I’m here to help give you some helpful tips about how to avoid the freshman 15 and be healthy while living in the dorms!

1. Choose the right snacks for your room.

Most people do a little shopping before they get to college of some foods that they can eat in the residence halls that have a longer shelf life. I know a lot of people (and me as well) bought a lot of easy to cook noodles, chips, crackers, canned foods, etc. Buying foods with long shelf life is a good thing to have but you should know which ones are healthy for you, like: nuts, seeds, dried fruit (with no added sugar), rice cakes, multi-grain crackers, and canned fruit in no syrup and with no added sugar.

2. Give yourself time to eat.

A large part of being healthy while living in the dorms is figuring out what to eat at the cafeteria. Most cafeterias love to advertise their not so healthy foods and forget about the healthy foods. This is probably because most unhealthy foods are easier to grab and go. While you’re going to the cafeteria make sure you give yourself enough time to get your food and be able to eat it. Eating quickly is bad for your body because it can cause heartburn or stomach aches and can also cause you to overeat. Not good for anyone!

3. Look for unprocessed foods and snacks.

Everyone probably knows that vegetables and fruits are considered healthy foods. However, they can also be considered unhealthy foods as well. Carrots or celery that is found in a prepackaged container with sauces to dip? Not healthy! Carrots or celery in their raw form? Healthy! Apples in a prepackaged container with caramel sauce to dip? Not healthy! Apples that aren’t precut and in (usually) a basket found with other fruits? Healthy! The key to determining what is healthy and what isn’t healthy is taking the time to question it. If you are thinking of getting packaged food with a lot of preservatives and sauce poured over it, it’s likely not going to be healthy.

4. Beware of less obvious, high-calorie choices.

A lot of people love their sauces and condiments. This includes ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, Alfredo sauce, hot sauce, etc. I know a ton of people who love their ranch dressing and put it on basically everything (salad, pizza, bread sticks). Eating this foods are okay to do but in moderation. There are also other alternatives to these foods that you can choose. If you want a salad with dressing? Use the vinaigrette dressing instead of ranch dressing. If you want to have pasta? Use a homestyle marinara instead of Alfredo or vodka sauce. These little changes can make a difference!

5. At meal times, choose lean protein, not carbs!

For lunches or dinners a lot of people that live in residence halls are tempted to choose pasta or pizza for their meals. While that is okay once in awhile, the best foods to eat at the cafeterias are lean proteins like salmon, grilled chicken or tofu, and vegetables, preferably raw or steamed. Salmon is extremely good for you and is generally a light food to eat if you remember to not douse it in high-calorie sauces or butter. Try adding balsamic vinegar or glaze for a healthier dose of flavor. Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken is the healthy way to go, even when those chicken fingers look so tasty. While looking at the nutrient facts for each, grilled chicken wins in basically all of the categories. The key to good eating in school is… less carbs=more focus and better sleep. It also keeps your body healthy and to say goodbye to the freshman 15!