Say “Sayonara” to Springtime Allergies


by Claire McFarland, blogger

A Few Helpful Tips To A Healthier Spring

It may feel cold in Syracuse, but spring is finally here. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining and millions of people are…sneezing. To combat seasonal allergies that can keep you sniffling all day long and prevent you from enjoying the spring weather and sunshine, follow a few simple tips that will change your experience with the springtime blues. Put the Kleenex away and pick up a few of these methods to keep your sinuses clean and clear for the rest of the season.

The Pollen That Gets You Down

Tree and grass pollens can cause springtime sniffles; as they come into bloom with the new season, you may notice yourself sneezing and getting teary-eyed more regularly. According to recent research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, grass-allergy season starts in mid-May and peaks in June. Grasses such as Bermuda grass, bluegrass and rye are some of the most volatile allergens. Identifying which spring blossoms get you down through skin or blood tests can help track which ones cause the biggest allergy ailments.

Telltale Signs

A stuffy or runny nose that shows no sign of stopping may join your chain sneezing behavior. After days on end of blowing your nose, coughing or wiping those teary eyes, you may realize it’s not just a cold. Allergies aren’t associated with a fever, which can help you identify the cause of your sinus problems. Looking at the color of the contents of your tissue can also help identify if you’re an allergy candidate. Clear fluid is a telltale sign of allergies, whereas the tinted gunk is associated with sickness. It may be gross, but it’s a great way to identify symptoms earlier on.

Sleep in, shower and sneeze less

Recent studies conducted at the Mayoclinic show that for allergy sufferers, the worst time to exercise outdoors is between 5 A.M. and 10 A.M. Counts drop off by noon and are lowest in the evening. After your run, jump out of your clothes and shower and make sure to give your hair a good cleaning. Hair follicles can be magnets for certain pollens, often gripping to your pillow at night. This can keep you sneezing all night long and ruin your regular routine. If morning is the best time for you to work up a sweat, make sure to check and hit the gym on high-risk mornings.

Bahama Mama

Choose a beach vacation! Thanks to the shore’s lack of vegetation and that purifying breeze, you might feel better at the beach. The only risk of a vacation of sun and fun? People moving there from the East have brought nonnative, allergy-aggravating plants with them. Try to take your vacation in a drier climate and avoid the south if your pollen-sensitive. The humidity further down in the states can trap pollen, causing it to stay in the air longer.

Close Your Car Windows

Ah, the beautiful fresh air of spring. Who would have thought that the breeze you crave could harbor millions of pollen types during the new season. In order to prevent an allergy-attack in the car, close the windows and sunroof and pump the AC. Make sure to keep your car clean and vacuum regularly, as pollen rests in carpets and upholstered seats. Not only will your passengers thank you, your sinuses will, too.

Be an Iron Man


by Claire McFarland, blogger

Are you a vegetarian or vegan finding yourself sluggish, low in energy or just plain burned out? Recent studies in the MayoClinic’s online directory show that these symptoms could be as a result of low iron count in your blood cells. The health benefits of iron mainly include carrying life-giving oxygen to human blood cells.

The health benefits of iron correspond to proper growth of human body and maintaining great health. It is an essential protein component for metabolism and is necessary to produce red blood cells. The human body can preserve only  15 percent of iron for future use, especially in the case of inadequate diet intake. Make sure to read up on these good sources of iron to keep your energy up throughout the semester and beyond graduation.

Deficiency Symptoms: Iron deficiency may often cause severe fatigue, body weakness  and related health ailments. People with lack of iron cannot perform normal functions to their best abilities. Women and children need more iron than the male counterparts. Since a person with low iron level is likely to be anemic, it is extremely important to be vigilant of iron intake, as definiciency may result in skin ailments such as brittleness of nails and extra smoothness in tongue area.

Important Sources: Iron is found in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Both of these types provide two different types of iron, however it is extremely important to incorporate these foods into your diet especially if you are vegetarian/vegan. Legumes, lentils, soy beans, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, spinach, turnip, sprouts, broccoli and dry fruits also have good iron content. You can also get iron tablets and supplements. People diagnosed with anemia are often advised by doctors to take iron tablets. Food items containing good level of vitamin C may also aid in absorption of iron by the body. Vitamin C can be found in acidic and citrus foods, including tomatoes as well as citrus fruits and juices such as orange juice or apple.

Benefits: Regular Iron consumption in a balanced diet, is efficient in providing a great number of health benefits. These include:

  • Muscle function: Iron is an essential element for muscle health, as it helps in supply of oxygen required for contraction of muscles.
  • Brain function: Development of brain is also one of the many benefits of iron. Since oxygen supply to blood is aided by iron and brain uses approximately 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions, according to the 2010 study published in the MayoClinic.
  • Regulation of body temperature: Iron is a facilitator for regulating body temperature, an important thing especially in Syracuse. It has the ability to regulate as per the absorption capacity of the body.
  • Fatigue: Iron deficiency is a natural cause of fatigue since it is an important component of hemoglobin. So, the inclusion of iron in your diet keeps you both healthy and in shape.
  • Immune system: Iron also plays a key role in providing strength to the immune system of human body. Thus, the body is made proficient enough to fight against the common cold and other ailments spreading around campus
  • Energy metabolism: Iron is an important producer of energy metabolism in human body by which, the energy is extracted from the food consumed and distributed to different body parts.
  • Insomnia: Iron is also useful in treating insomnia in human body and also improves the sleeping benefits in the life of an individual.
  • Concentration: Iron, when consumed in sufficient amount in the diet, builds concentration amongst the students and professionals, according to 2010 studies in the Mayoclinic.

So, the next time you’re feeling exhausted, have a case of the sniffles, or unable to concentrate, check your diet and make sure to drink plenty of orange juice. Keep your iron count high for a happier and healthier you!


Super Bowl, Super Foods, Super Healthy


by Claire McFarland, blogger

Most of us know the traditions of Super Bowl Sunday: chips, dip and the occasional keg tap. Has your Super Bowl Sunday menu have you you feeling sluggish and guilt-ridden, rather than energized for the week? Let’s go through a ‘game plan’ so the next time you’re watching the big SU game or the Super Bowl, you know how to handle these scenarios and apply these simple substitutions to ward off feeling too hungry, too full or too slow the next day.

Situation #1: You’re at home watching the game. You’re a little hungry, but it’s not quite mealtime. You need something to take the edge off. A salty, crunchy, bite-sized snack is in order. The first thing that comes to mind is grabbing a few handfuls from the bowls of chips laid out on the coffee table.

Game Plan: Instead of the heavier, often fried potato chips and dip, opt for some popcorn! Air-popped (not microwave) popcorn is a whole grain, so there is your fiber. Let’s face it: No one wants to eat popcorn without that yummy butter flavor. Before you melt it down, consider using a butter alternative or experiment with topping your popcorn with black pepper, paprika or another spice instead of salt. This is the perfect healthy snack that will satisfy your crunch craving before dinner is served.

Situation #2: Half time approaches and the rest of your friends arrive with casserole dishes and pre-made SU cookies. Everywhere you turn there are carbs: between the creamy broccoli bake with onion strings and the cheesy penne, it can be difficult territory to navigate.

Game Plan: Everything is great in moderation! According to the Mayo Clinic online, everyone needs a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat to have a healthy balanced diet. Try picking up a smaller snack plate and spooning a lesser portion of each dish. For dessert, check out the serving size and try to stick with that. This way, you get a little bit of everything without feeling stuffed or deprived!

Situation #3: Game’s Over. If you’ve hosted a Super Bowl party or a SU watching party, you may have leftovers that could fill your cabinets for weeks. Although most of them will stay fresh in the fridge or tied with a twisty, consider clearing out the clutter and feeling better as a result!

Game Plan: Make sure your guests go home happy. Try to send everyone home with at least the dish they brought, if not more. The chips and snacks can be divided into little bags for party favors that guests can bring home. If all else fails and everyone refuses due to a sugar-induced coma, try bringing the leftover bags of chips to a local food drive for those in need. For your good deed, make sure to keep one or two of those basketball cookies!

Back To School Blunders: The dangers of big bags


by Claire McFarland, blogger

Are your school bags of the Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen proportions, or are you feeling dragged down by your large textbooks? Check out these six Big-Bag Syndrome cures to help get you through the semester!


Make sure your workouts include not only the core muscles of the lower back and abdomen, but also the shoulder blades. The “penguin” exercise, proven to be effective by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neil Elattrache, works both on dry land or in water. Keeping upper arms at sides, elbows bent 90 degrees, start with palms facing, almost touching. Slowly bring both hands out to the side, pressing shoulder blades back as you press them together against resistance; then return to the starting position. Try two sets of 10 repetitions every day for results.


This is the most important thing to look at when carrying weight on the shoulders. The ideal stance you should aim for is to have shoulders relaxed, back, and down, and not to lean to one side. To see how balanced you are, Elattrache suggests sitting in a chair and looking straight at the wall. Do you have to cock your head back? If so, it means you have some work to do. Sit up straight and put a little arch in your back, and your neck doesn’t have to bend. One way to remind your body of proper alignment is to place a round pillow against the small of your back when you sit. Positive posture habits can help you not only when carrying your books, but also while studying and sitting in class.


You can improve and stabilize your posture without even thinking about it— try slowly rotating your shoulders while sitting at your desk or watching TV. Do up to 10 repetitions at a time, to both strengthen and help build awareness of tension in the neck and shoulders.

Switch It Up

You can still carry your big bag some times, but try to alternate styles, pack less into it, or carry a smaller bag. Elattrache says there are issues with any kind of bag and suggests not sending yourself into a shoulder rut by carrying the same thing. Variety is the spice of life!

Steady Your Strap

If your bag has a strap that rides diagonally across your body, you’re in luck. This type of bag helps distribute the weight more evenly across your body. When your back is securely fastened, you will not be as likely to hike your shoulder to balance it. Plus, attempt to switch sides to avoid putting more tension on one shoulder.

Pain No Longer Equals Beauty!

Warning signs that you may be on your way to a big-bag injury include an ache in the shoulder blade area and frequent neck stiffness. Headaches and pain radiating down the arm are also symptoms. If you’re noticing these signs, and icing and resting do not help ease your pain, try switching to a backpack to alleviate your pain. If it still persists, grab a very small wallet, your cell phone, and car keys. Kiss your purse goodbye for a day and head for the orthopedist’s office.



Naturally Stress-Free During The Holidays


By Claire McFarland, blogger

From a stress-fighting diet to various anxiety-relieving exercises and even aromatherapy, there are many natural remedies to fighting the angst of the holiday season. Prevent an overwhelming break by trying these simple, effective tips and find that shopping, eating, and family gatherings become a whole lot easier. Click ahead to find out how to keep your holidays stress-free! Continue reading

Ten Natural Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter


by Claire McFarland, blogger

More than a billion colds spread across the United States every year, setting off a storm of coughing, aches, and pains. The flu, meanwhile, affects tens of millions of Americans with fever and fatigue each winter. Although it’s nearly impossible to escape the seasonal sniffles, you can take steps to stop these illnesses from knocking you out until the new year. Try these natural methods to keep you healthy and happy during the holidays. Click ahead to find out! Continue reading

Try Ayurveda


by Claire McFarland, blogger

(Courtesy of

New Age Medicine is at an all-time high in its popularity. Everyone from celebrities, college students and even youth in America and Europe have adopted these new principles of natural health. One of the most recent crazes, which was first adopted in Europe and has spread recently to urban cities in the U.S., including New York and Los Angeles, is the Ayurveda approach to health and wellness.

According to the MayoClinic’s online Web site, Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, derived from two roots: ayur, which means life, and veda, knowledge. Knowledge arranged systematically with logic becomes science. During the due course of time, Ayurveda became the science of life. It has its root in ancient vedic literature and encompasses our entire life, the body, mind and spirit. Continue reading

Skipping the dentist can cause cavities in your health


by Claire McFarland, blogger

The fall season provides much dental damnation: caramel apples, Halloween cand,y and holiday pies and treats. In the midst of all of that sugar, it can be easy to forget how important a regular check-up is with your oral hygienist.

Let’s face it, not many people look forward to going to the dentist. The sound of the drill, the smell of fluoride and the arched chaise accessorized by a spit cup can often make dentists offices unbearable to many. In addition to the aesthetic problems, a trip to clean your teeth often seems like an optional appointment, but is it?

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5 Tips We Should Take From Japanese Women For A Longer, Fuller, and More Beautiful Life


by Claire McFarland, blogger

Ever wonder why the sushi craze has become more of an epidemic? Do you need a little more Zen in your life to balance out the stress that comes with daily life? Do you wonder if the phrase ‘bubble tea’ becoming as common as ‘skim latte’?

Chances are, if you are picking up on these hot new trends, you are beginning to see the light on why the Japanese culture provides many health benefits.

The truth is, raw seafood (such as sushi, sashimi and tataki), the practice of Zen meditation, and a wide variety of Asian teas have been around for tens of centuries. Why now, though, are we beginning to adopt these health staples?

For the 25th year in a row, Japanese women have been proven to have the highest expectancy in the world, averaging the lifespan of 86.5 years, according to a 2009 study published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. What’s their secret? Through the practice of portioning, healthy eating, and the ability to manage stress, these women extend their lives, prolong their beauty, and reduce their risk for disease.

Here are five tips to live longer, look luscious and laugh louder to steal: Continue reading

Have Fun, Stay Fit and Eat Fabulously in the Fall


by Claire McFarland, blogger

(Courtesy of

Have Fun

Apple Picking

Picking apples is one of fall’s greatest outdoor activities. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Upstate NY not only have the advantage of watching the leaves change but also get to take advantage of the delicious in-season treat. Find nearby apple orchards, such as Beak and Skiff Apple Farms, Inc. located in Lafayette, or Critz Farms in Cazenovia. Both of these orchards, located only a short half an hour from campus, feature corn mazes, wagon rides, cider making demonstrations and even pumpkin picking to get an early start on carving jackolanterns.  Inexpensive and packed with opportunities for entertainment, apple orchards can provide a perfect weekend afternoon for students.

Halloween Haunts

Yes, many sororities and fraternities host some of the best events during this holiday and campus is bustling with activity. This season, venture out from these Halloween norms and explore what Syracuse has to offer. Featuring local haunted houses and hayrides just a short drive from campus, Syracuse has many great attractions throughout the season. Fright Night at the Fair, located on State Fair blvd. and Halloween in the Park, located in Long branch Park in Liverpool, both offer group tickets to lead students through a series of haunted houses that will keep you laughing and/or crying all night. The next time you are overloaded with invites and fliers to activities on campus, consider visiting these sites to keep you screaming all night long.

Stay Fit

Take A Hike

Hiking is a popular and inexpensive way to take a break from the stresses of life and have proven to be beneficial both mentally and physically. If you are looking to break out of the gym routine and still have a great workout, hiking offers the opportunity to break a sweat. The mixture of cardio and incline on many of the trails can prove to be a great way to work off those holiday treats. Hiking has also been proven to be meditative, as it encourages soaking in one’s natural surroundings. There are many trails available in Syracuse, such as Green Lakes and Clark’s Reservation, where you can scope out the fall foliage while you exercise.

Eat Fabulously

Seasons Eating’s

Fall’s natural treats, including apples, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds have proven to be extremely beneficial. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many nutritional properties of fall foods that are extremely beneficial to the body. Apples, a great source of vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber and an excellent source of flavanoids and antioxidants, which help prevent illness and cancer, can also protect bone health especially in young adults. Pumpkin, loaded with beta carotene, which can help fight cancer, Potassium, which can lower the risk of hypertension, Zinc, which can boost the immune system and support those at risk for osteoporosis, and high in fiber, which can help prevent cancer, heart disease and other serious ailments make this a perfect fall food staple. The seeds found in pumpkins, which are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, can not only be beneficial for the teeth, gums, hair and nails because of their nutritional makeup, but can also relieve nervous exhaustion, as they contain L-tryptophan, a compound that is effective against depression. The next time you are offered one of these seasonal treats, don’t think twice before asking for seconds, or even thirds.

How Reiki heals the spirits hands on


by Claire McFarland, blogger

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by using the hands of the reader on the patient, and can tap into the unseen “life force energy” that flows through us and causes us to be alive. If a person’s energy is low (like when we are sick or stressed), or if it is high (like when we are happy and healthy), Reiki can identify and alter these energies.  According to a research study conducted by Dr. David Sugarbaker, the word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy.”

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Foodie Fun


The Joy of Soy

by Claire McFarland, blogger

Tenacious Trend

As the recent gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and organic movements have hit the produce markets nationwide, the craving for soy has shot through the roof.

Amidst all of these new diet trends, soy has been one of the longest lasting and beneficial of all. Friendly to vegan, vegetarian and lactose-free diets, as well as packed full of nutritional benefits and disease-fighting cultures, soy has remained a tseller at local food markets across the U.S. Soy milk and other soy foods may seem new to many Americans, but for over 3,000 years the bushy, green bean has been a part of the human diet, especially in Asian countries. Continue reading