Why I Love Pickled Ginger

Why I Love Pickled Ginger

Don't get drunk off ginger shots
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Imagine having a migraine, nausea, or even an upset stomach and within hours of consuming a specific food it disappears. Ginger has been around for over 2,000 years and is known to improve health. The United States of America first introduced ginger through a variety of ways. The most common one known to citizens is served on a sushi plate and is known as picked ginger. Most friends of mine disregard the little pink or yellow dish on the side of their plate, simply because they do not know the health benefits of pickled ginger.

The first time trying ginger I was a bit skeptical due to the texture and after taste it left in my mouth. However, once being informed on how ginger helps fight off heart disease and lowers one's cholesterol, I decided it was best to continue eating it whenever it was presented. Knowing that heart problems and strokes are present in my families' health history, I became persuaded that ginger would be the first step towards improving my health. Of course, a majority of the time when people see me eating chunks of ginger their initial reaction is "grossed out". I explain to them the benefits and the whole point of consuming ginger is to help my health.

Imagine everyone's first shot of alcohol. A majority of reactions are "this tasted so bad". Still people end up taking more shots because they become informed that by drinking alcohol you become intoxicated and intoxication, if done in moderation, can lead to a "good time" according to social media and college.

So, if you ever come across ginger think of it as a shot of tequila. Yes, the taste isn't the best. However, the outcome will be interesting. Of course, everything should be done in moderation. Don't get drunk off ginger shots.

Cover Image Credit: pioneerwoman

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A Low FODMAP Life

I thought I knew how to take care of my stomach.
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For many of you reading this, you may be confused as to what FODMAP is. Well, it is an acronym for Fermentable Oggliosaccarades Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols. These “ingredients” are found in most foods. And people don’t usually think twice before eating the bag of chips or that bowl of fruit in their house. However, I have learned that my stomach doesn’t like most foods.

My entire life I have lived with stomach problems. Just recently I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This is something that cannot be cured, so I have to find ways around it. One of the suggestions from my doctor was a low FODMAP diet. A high FODMAP diet is what usually causes stomach problems while a low one allows your stomach a break from harsh foods.

The concept of the diet is for me to give my stomach a break for a while so it can get back into working order. This diet though isn’t something that I’m supposed to be on forever though. I completely change my diet for about four weeks and then slowly reintroduce certain foods to see which irritate my stomach so I know for the future. At the time when my doctor told me about the diet, I disregarded it. I thought I knew how to take care of my stomach.

However, after multiple trips to the bathroom after eating some questionable chicken parm and pasta from the dining hall I was done. I started doing some intense research on what I would have to do to start this low FODMAP diet. After reading up on it, I realized it wouldn’t be easy.

Although my school’s dining hall has plenty options, most of them don’t agree with the diet. It’s difficult to try and plan my meals around the appropriate foods. I have to look at the daily menus and then think what I can get from each station that will allow me to still stay on track.

Will I go completely head in with this diet? Probably not because I’m still at school and my options are limited. I wrote this article while eating Goldfish and as I looked at the ingredients I realized how much of a non-friendly FODMAP food they were.

I still have a month left of school, so I’m going to try to eat some of the “good” foods from the low FODMAP list. However, if I have to eat pizza one day then I eat pizza. Maybe when I go home for the summer I will go more in depth. Summer is always the worst time for my stomach (so much ice cream). At home I can customize what I want to eat and have the freedom to make my meals.

This most definitely isn’t going to be easy. But it’s really worth a shot. Anything that I can try and do to help myself and my health is a win. Hopefully this will work and my stomach can go back into working order.

Cover Image Credit: UD Dining

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5 Self-Indulgent Ways To Practice Self Care

Because YOU are your most important investment
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As the looming demands of adulthood bring endless challenges to our lives, it can be difficult to find time for yourself. With the never-ending flood of homework, exams, stress from work, and taxes, self-care is often moved to the back burner. Even though studies have shown the benefits of getting sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and exercise on work performance and well-being, many people still never take time for themselves until they're utterly exhausted and burnt out. This is due to, in part, a culture that demands work at the expense of personal well being, contributing to long-term effects such as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Personally, as a graduate student attempting to juggle research projects, teaching, lab management, mentorship, and personal life goals, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care in my own life. Here are 5 of my favorite self-care activities.

5. Paint Your Nails

Painting my nails always reminds me of good company and conversation. When I was 5 years old, I used to sit on the floor of the kitchen and watch my grandmother and aunts paint their nails at the kitchen table. It was a way to bring the women in our family together and have conversations that were just for them. Similarly, in college, my best friends and I would sit on the floor of our dorm rooms and paint our nails. We'd spend time venting about our struggles and sharing our future life goals, all while shaping nails, trimming cuticles, and choosing a color. Even now, making that all so important decision forces me to clear all other thoughts in my mind other than "What do I want?" Additionally, painting nails requires some skill and precision developed over time, allowing me to completely focus on the task at hand (pun intended).

4. Write in a journal

As a form of self-care, writing in a journal is a common suggestion that I never really thought would work for me until I actually tried it. Personally, I find that my thoughts are so hectic and swirling in my mind, that I often ruminate on things, letting them build inside me. Talking to others definitely helps this somewhat, but writing forces me to slow down, my thoughts coursing faster than my hand can write. Writing down the events of the day acts as a transfer of information from my mind to the page, and I can let go of those emotions, knowing that they are safely contained within the bound covers of the journal.

3. Read a good book

When I was younger, I used to read every day. In high school, I would look forward to finishing my homework so I could resume reading my novels. Now that I’m in graduate school, I read far more academic journal articles than novels these days. My pile of books sits on the bottom shelf of my nightstand, begging to be read. In carving out time to practice self-care, I can set a timer for 45 minutes at the end of the day and lose myself in the adventures of Robert Langdon in Dan Brown's latest mystery novel. Reading right before sleeping also reduces the amount of time I spend on my cell phone.

2. Bake your favorite treat

Baking is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day. The precision of measuring out the ingredients and the excitement of trying new recipes always makes this activity enjoyable.This past winter, I would cook or bake something during every snow day (which ended up being quite often, thanks New England!). This practice gave me the opportunity to incorporate some self-care into days that are never truly a day off when you're still expected to work as a graduate student. However, working on a snow day is made a bit more tolerable when you're enjoying a delicious baked good, such as some mini Oreo cheesecakes.

1. Do a face mask

An important aspect of self-care is to remove oneself from usual work tasks and completely immerse yourself in a soothing activity. For me, a face mask is the epitome of self-care. Since I wear glasses (and cannot see without them), doing a face mask quite literally forces me to not do anything except close my eyes and relax. For a $3 purchase at CVS, a face mask is an excellent investment for your mental health and well being.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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