Archive for March, 2009

Fiber Your Diet!

Whenever I turn on the TV I see a new commercial about eating more fiber.  It seems as though fiber is in everything now: cereal, yogurt, protein bars.  Fiber is a very important part of a balanced diet.  It can serve to help to keep you regular, and help you to manage your weight.  Eating foods filled with fiber helps you to feel full faster, and can even help diabetics manage their blood sugar!  But, lets face it sometimes eating fiber feels like you really are eating cardboard.  So, I have got a great solution for you- healthy and yummy fiber packed cookies!

You’re going to need:

1 box of Fudge Brownie Mix (I would use the ‘No Pudge’ mix- it’s fat free!)

2 cups of original Fiber One bran cereal

2 tablespoons of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup of water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg

Now that you have all your ingredients together:

1. Heat the oven to 350 °F.  Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix ingredients with spoon.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

2. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. These cookies can be frozen for up to two months.

The cookies end up having about 2 grams of fiber per serving, which isn’t bad considering many physicians suggest between 20-25 grams daily.  Not only are these cookies a great and yummy way to squeeze some fiber into your diet but they are low-calorie too.  Only 70 calories per serving and 1 gram of fat!  So go ahead, indulge a little, and enjoy your fiber!

Adapted from: Fiber One Crunch Fudge Cookies

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real-age-testimg_assist_custom1As a college student, I find I frequently treat myself with less kindness than I should. I stay up late, wake up too early, and occasionally find myself with a late night slice of pizza in hand on the steps of Low in the dead of winter. This made me wonder – even though I am technically only 22, has this misuse aged my body more than my biological years would betray?

c7a61f18-e9ae-4b84-80de-9503b124745fimg100To find the answer to my questions, I turned to RealAge.com, a useful and extremely popular tool invented by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen to calculate the body’s true age, based on your behaviors. As Oprah’s unofficial doctor, Dr. Oz has appeared on her show numerous times to promote RealAge and his series of books (co-written with Roizen) called YOU: The Owner’s Manual.

I used the easy-to-navigate website to determine my body’s true age in less than fifteen minutes. I answered all types of questions ranging from my genetics – heritable diseases, my parents ages and education – to how much time I spend in a car, what I eat, and how much I exercise. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised to find I have the “RealAge” of 16! According to the analysis provided after I took the test, my low real age was mostly due to my vegetarian diet and my exercise regime, but they found that I needed to sleep more (of course) and take more vitamins in order to bring my RealAge down.

Although I think this test would be more accurate if I were older – and thus had more years to subtract – I think that it is overall a great concept. As a student, I need to pay attention to my health because these are my formative years, and this easy test helped me break down the different areas of my life in which I can improve my behaviors to improve my health. 

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I’ve noticed more runners ramping up their training now that warm weather (slowly, temperamentally) approaches. For those interested in participating in a fun, low-mileage race in April–either to stay motivated or to compete–I recommend the Thomas Labrecque “Run As One” 4-miler in Central Park (make sure to register early, as New York Road Runners has begun capping their races). I ran the race last April, and enjoyed the energy of running together with so many others on a beautiful spring morning in the park. I even ended up being offered a summer job by a runner I spoke to for a portion of the race.

If you know you can run the distance, I recommend doing some hill workouts over the next few weeks to prepare, as the course is far from flat. Don’t be discouraged, the hills are very manageable if you are prepared. To train for such a short race, I usually just tack on a hill or two to an easy run or do a few hill repeats instead of a full run–what Ed Eyestone calls a “Short Hills” workout in this article from Runner’s World.

For those who live on Barnard campus or in Columbia dorms on the west side of campus, my favorite hill to run repeats on is in Riverside Park at 96th St. Warm up on the run down there, take the path that loops around the dinosaur playground, and as you head back north, power up the hill. If you’re running repeats, simply slow down and jog back around the playground to recover before powering back up the hill.

For those living in East Campus or in Cathedral Gardens, run along the northern perimeter of Morningside Park. From the corner of 110th Street and Columbus Ave, run north up the hill to where it plateaus at 114th St, jog the flat to 122nd, and then practice running downhill as Morningside Boulevard curves back towards Amsterdam Avenue. Turn around to power back up the hill, recover, and run the downhill back to 110th and Columbus. For a longer run, you can run the entire perimeter of the park–the southern border is mostly flat. There are also plenty of hills within the park, and if you really want to feel the burn in your calves and quads, try attacking the many staircases that prove that, yes, Columbia really is in the Heights.

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bakerDiscipline, dedication, camaraderie, and sweet kicks.  The Goju-Ryu Karate Club is a place you can come to learn a devastatingly effective style to defend yourself from the unforeseen on the streets of Manhattan and at the same time tone your body.  Calming stretches and movements combined with challenging drills develop your flexibility, physical strength, and mental willpower.


Founded by Chojun Miyagi, Goju-Ryu karate goes back nearly a century and has its origins in Okinawa, an island under the control of Japan. “Goju-Ryu” translates literally as “hard-soft,” and its uniqueness is derived from the combination of the “hard” styles of Okinawan karate and the “soft” styles of Chinese kung-fu. The syle itself was brought to the United States in 1959 by Master Peter Urban. It was further developed by Master Ronald Taganashi to form the style we currently study: Kon-Do Goju-Ryu Karate. Master Taganashi held black belts in several martial arts in addition to karate, including Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, Kempo, and Kung-Fu. As a result, Kon-Do Goju-Ryu incorporates elements of all of these styles and more. 


The Club is taught by a student of Master Taganashi named Sensei Bonnie Baker. In addition to holding a roku-dan (sixth degree black belt) in Goju-Ryu Karate and a fourth-dan black belt in Ju-Jitsu, Sensei Baker is also a certified yoga instructor. Classes are also taught by Sensei Tito Valentine, who has come to the club in recent years as a black belt in both Goju-Ryu and Aiki-Jitsu. Sensei Valentine brings his unique blend of these and other martial arts styles into the already eclectic mix. Every class we concentrate on something different.  Mondays are for katas which are specific sequences of movement designed to simulate a fighting situation.  Wednesday is workout day. We spar and go over punches and kicks.  On Fridays we learn self-defense techniques. On occasion we hold Saturday classes in the wrestling room where, as you probably guessed, we learn how to grapple. 


Whether you’re a beginner or have been practicing the martial arts for many years, the Goju-Ryu Karate club welcomes everyone.  If you are curious about the club or wish to experience a class email me at aaf2125@columbia.edu or you can check out our website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/goju/index.html


-Amina Forde, Treasurer

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Derivatives of martial arts are gaining popularity among traditional workouts. Not only do physical education classes at Columbia include judo and karate, there are also numerous martial arts clubs offered to the entire Columbia community.

Kung Fu, the Chinese martial art, encompasses various styles, including Ving Tsun. Having the basic principle, “save time, save energy, save distance,” Ving Tsun emphasizes efficiency, specifically, producing the most impact with the least amount of effort. Learning and practicing this particular style of Kung Fu aids in the development of both physical and mental strength. Because Ving Tsun emphasizes speed and efficiency, and is very much an aerobic exercise, you develop stamina, strength, and flexibility without adding on the bulk that can come from conventional exercise routines.

I have never been one of those people who enjoy working out for the sake of working out. Therefore, when I started at Columbia, I looked for an activity that boasted a rigorous exercise routine that was also interactive and and multi-dimensional. During Moy Yee Kung Fu Club practices, students work with each other and the instructors to develop their individual Ving Tsun techniques. They rotate from activity to activity, including but not limited to hand drills, kicks, and forms. For me, Kung Fu is everything I want in a regular workout and more: strength training, stamina development, mental hardening, social interaction, and a proven effective self-defense technique. As vice president of Columbia’s Moy Yee Kung Fu Club, I encourage all those out there who are looking to get in shape and have a good time doing it to check out one of our practices.

Carol Li
Vice President
CU Moy Yee Kung Fu Club

kung fu kicks!

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You may have noticed that Hewitt’s salad bar has experienced an upgrade. Many days, it offers a very welcome addition, quinoa, that light brown and delicious grain that carries a wonderful texture and taste.

Quinoa is an exceptionally healthy grain that tastes great too and is thus the object of many health foodies’ affection. The people of Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru have been enjoying quinoa for 5,000 years, according to an article about quinoa by Purdue University’s Center for New Crops and Plant Products.

Quinoa is richer in calcium, copper, and manganese than corn, barley, or wheat and has lower sodium content than these crops. Quinoa is also a great source of protein and fiber. Added bonus: it is Kosher for Passover!

So how can you obtain some quinoa? Below, we have posted a recipe from The New York Times for an easily prepared and fresh quinoa salad. Also, check out Hewitt’s salad bar at lunch during the week and enjoy.

Royal Quinoa Salad With Tofu and Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

1 cup royal quinoa

3 cups water

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil

8 ounces tofu, sliced 1/2 inch thick

Soy sauce to taste

6 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas, or 2 broccoli crowns, steamed or blanched for three to five minutes (to taste)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped or thinly sliced spring onions or scallions

Radicchio or lettuce leaves for serving (optional)

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (more to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil or walnut oil

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1. Heat a medium-sized, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the rinsed quinoa. Stir in the hot pan until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is beginning to smell toasty, about five minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and displays little white spirals. Drain through a strainer, and place in a large bowl.

2. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels, pressing on it to extract excess water. Cut in 1/2 inch dice. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add the tofu. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the tofu is golden and slightly crisp, about five minutes. Add soy sauce to taste and toss together. Remove from the heat, and add to the bowl with the quinoa. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

3. Whisk together the lime juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame or walnut oil, the canola oil and the buttermilk. Toss with the quinoa mixture. Line plates with radicchio or lettuce leaves, fill the leaves with the salad, and serve.

Yield: Serves six

Advance preparation: You can prepare this salad hours ahead of serving.

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Michelle Obama’s arms have been getting a lot of press lately. And for good reason. Mrs. Obama is a brilliant public figure who is in great shape, and as such, is a good inspiration. Stronger arms carry many perks. Not only do they contribute to our overall health and well-being but they can also help us carry heavier boxes and win more arm-wrestling competitions.

According to an article by CNN, to tone our arms, our exercise program must engage each of our body’s major muscle groups.Experts quoted in CNN’s article stress the importance of strength training in addition to cardio. The American Council on Exercise has an excellent video library which demonstrates good workouts to try.

NY Times reporter David Brooks named Obama's arms "Thunder" and "Lightning"

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