VIDEO: Living Life Gluten-Free

April 19, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Ashley Stainton

Celiac Disease, commonly known as gluten intolerance, has effected more and more Americans in the past few decades causing consumers, food producers and restaurants to take notice.

For those who suffer from Celiac Disease, their symptoms can range from a mild irritation to a severe allergic reaction. The only treatment is to cut gluten out of the diet entirely, which can be difficult both socially and economically.

As SMU student Grace Davis points out, gluten-free foods are becoming easier to find in super markets and local restaurants, but the cost is still substantially greater for her to eat gluten-free foods. Also, the pressure to not become known as the “gluten-girl,” as Davis refers to it, keeps her from telling others about her condition.

Living with a gluten intolerance affects more than one’s diet, but with greater awareness about the disease and an increase in diagnoses, doctors, the public and patients like Grace are bringing Celiac Disease into the forefront of people’s minds, giving hope to those who suffer.

“Just because I have this disease doesn’t mean it defines me,” says Davis.

Daily Mustang: Friday, April 8

April 8, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The votes are in! Find out who’s representing you in SMU’s 2011 Student Senate. Also where is it illegal to wear a seatbelt? And why was the Campus Carry Bill temporarily suspended by the Senate?

Daily Update: Friday, April 8 from on Vimeo.


January 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Natalie Blankenship

Food Quality:

Brunch lovers rejoice! If you’re looking for a cozy spot to enjoy brunch at any time of the day, any day of the week, Dream Café has got you covered. Not only does Dream Café offer brunch all the time, but they also have lunch and dinner options that vary from dinner salads to stir fry to Greek pitas. There’s something for everyone here.

Dream Eggs Benedict leaves you with dreams of coming back for more. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Picture an old-fashioned diner with booths, but less retro and more like sitting at your kitchen table at your parents’ house. The environment is casual and inviting. There’s seating outside and even an enclosed porch area that is heated during the cooler days. A mini-playground sits right in front and mothers, young couples, groups of friends, and sometimes even celebrities (we saw a guy from American Idol there) fill the café.

Serving Dallas for 20 years, Dream Café offers fresh and healthy ingredients from different tastes and cultures. The “Dream” Eggs Benedict was nothing short of perfection. The hollandaise sauce was just right, the eggs great, and the spinach and cherry tomatoes added a healthier kick to the dish.

One of Dream’s most popular dishes, the Cloud Cakes, has customers’ tongues wagging and usually coming back for more. Made with ricotta cheese, these pancakes are ultra fluffy and topped with strawberries, crème fraiche and powdered sugar.

If you’re really hungry, the egg scramblers are an great choice as well. Stuffed in a large house-made popover and served with hash browns and a side of fresh fruit, you can choose the ham and cheddar cheese scrambler, the spinach, mushroom and swiss cheese, or the house favorite: goat cheese, sundried tomato and spinach.

The ham and cheddar scramble is delicious and satisfying. (PHOTO BY NATALIE BLANKENSHIP/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Other drool-invoking options include omelettes, waffles, breakfast tacos and granola-crusted French toast. If you’re not an egg person, or just prefer something healthier, Dream offers organic steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, house-made granola with yogurt and fruit and many other options.

Not a brunch person? That’s ok too. Feel like indulging in some Mexican food? Perhaps Greek? Or maybe Asian? You can choose from any of these choices. Start out with the chickpea hummus and pita crisps, then move onto the Garden Stir Fry with brown rice, or maybe you’d like to try the Uptown Pita filled with hummus and grilled veggies. My point is this: Dream Café has anything and everything delicious and will not disappoint.

Global News Blog: My Big Fat Greek Diet

November 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Chandler Richards

Obesity may not appear to be an issue on our seemingly fit campus. Walk into Dedman at anytime and you’ll find Lululemon clad girls logging miles on the treadmill and muscular frat boys lifting weights, but that doesn’t mean obesity is not a problem. Currently, obesity is one of the biggest health risks facing our nation.

According to a Gallup poll, 63.1 percent of adults in the U.S. were either overweight or obese in 2009. Our country is taking baby steps towards conquering this disease with prevention strategies such as exercise and healthy eating. Trendy gyms are popping up all over, and fad diets like Atkins, South Beach, “detox cleanses,” and that weird Japanese banana diet are taking the country by storm.

Health experts have even recommended adopting the “Mediterranean Diet,” which has been long attributed to lower risks of cancer and heart disease, and, not surprisingly, longer life spans.

But what happens when one of the world’s leaders in healthy eating and living falls victim to the Western influence of fast food?

Recently, Greece, the birthplace of the famous “Mediterranean Diet” has become plagued with soda machines, fast-food joins and convenient packaged junk food. Nearly two thirds of Greek children are now overweight, and it’s not getting better.

A Greek man concerned about the growing epidemic told the New York Times, “If we continue like this, we’re going to become like Americans, and no one wants that.”

Clearly, the “American way” is not always the right way. If we want to continue being viewed as a world leader, we need to not only erase the “fat, arrogant American” stigma, but also start setting a better example by showing Greece that they shouldn’t be conforming to our culture, but rather we should be conforming to theirs.

So, put down that hamburger, embrace your inner Greek, head to your grocer’s produce aisle, and start cooking.

Group X Fitness Offers Free Trial

August 24, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Elizabeth Lowe

The Jab-Punch-Crunch class warms up before a full-body workout. (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH LOWE / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

For some of us, the first days of class can be more care-free in comparison to the rest of the semester. You know, before you become a regular at the ALEC.

Why not embrace these precious days of free time with fitness classes, and get a head start on your semester wellness routine?

Group X Fitness at the Dedman Center is currently offering a free trial of their entire Fall 2010 class schedule. From now until September 5 students can try any class, any time of day at no charge.

After this time, Group X passes will be $70 for the semester or $4 per class.

Classes include classics such as Power Yoga, Cycle Fit, and Gravity Strength. In addition, Group X offers a long list of new, re-vamped fitness classes. New to the Fall 2010 schedule are classes like Core to the Max, Indoor Triathalon Training, Water Fitness, Jab-Punch-Crunch, and many more to fit a variety of fitness interests and levels.

Students get a stretch in Power Yoga on Monday nights. (PHOTO BY ELIZABETH LOWE / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Check out the Fall 2010 Group X schedule to take advantage of this trial run.

The School Lunch Front: Activists and Angry Moms

May 13, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Samantha Weinstein

In the busy cafeteria of a North Dallas high school, the associate principal stands in line behind her students and chats with the lunch ladies. As she moves her tray down the line, she picks up fried chicken, a roll and onion rings, all offered on the day’s menu.

Back in her office, while discussing school lunches and the obesity epidemic among students, she points to the irony in her own meal.

“You saw what I ate today,” she said. “Everything was beige!”

While there were other options, including an orange and a cucumber salad, many of the students chose the same unhealthy items as their principal.

Dissatisfaction with school lunch programs has been an issue for years, yet now the situation may be more serious than ever.

This generation’s children may be the first in two centuries to live shorter lives than their parents, according to a report by The New England Journal of Medicine in 2005. The report points to childhood obesity as the leading cause of a shortened lifespan.

Children are beginning to develop chronic diseases like type two diabetes, a disease that used to only affect adults.

More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program, and many children consume more than half of their daily calories at school.

“Sometimes this is all students will get to eat all day,” says the associate principal.

The names of the associate principal, the lunchroom manager, and the school were kept confidential because certain superintendents send their kids to the high school.

The National School Lunch Program is a government run organization that reimburses public schools that meet USDA-approved criteria. Students are required to choose one entrée item and at least two side dishes. They can choose up to five items total.

Nutritional guidelines for school food programs contain no limits on sugar in subsidized meals.

An 8-ounce serving of reduced-fat chocolate milk contains nearly the same amount of sugar and calories as a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola. A child consumes five extra pounds of sugar per year by choosing chocolate milk instead of white milk.

Flavored milk is offered in 97 percent of school districts, according to a 2006 report by The School Nutrition Association.

The National Dairy Council website published an article in 2007 titled, “Flavored Milk in Perspective.” The article states, “Flavored milks are as nutritious as unflavored milks,” and goes on to list the beneficial nutrients found in both white and flavored milks. The article makes no mention of the amount of sugar in flavored milks.

The National Dairy Council and the School Nutrition Association sponsored a study that found that adding flavored milk, along with appealing packaging increased milk sales in secondary schools by 15 to 22 percent.

The North Dallas high school offers plain, strawberry and chocolate milk, as well as juice drink options on their school lunch line.

The cafeteria does not offer water.

Activism among concerned parents and students is on the rise. The Internet is a tool being used to get the word out about how unhealthy school lunches are.

“It is a huge problem, and it is our children who suffer,” says a teacher who calls herself “Mrs. Q.”

Mrs. Q saw what her students were being served and decided to eat the lunch at her school every day for a year and blog about it to raise awareness. She keeps her identity and the school she works at a secret so she won’t compromise her career.

“This is my worst meal of the day, and this could be their shot at a good meal. It’s frustrating,” says Mrs. Q.

Another activist raising awareness is Tara Shedor, a senior student at Dundee Crown High School in Carpenter, Ill.

Shedor had an assignment to present an issue to her school board in November 2009. She chose to take on the school cafeteria food. Shedor requested ingredient information from Aramark, her school’s food distributor that is currently working with over 500 schools nationwide.

The Aramark website claims transparency and states, “Upon request, we share with customers all ingredients that go into our final product.

Yet, Aramark refused to disclose its ingredients to her.

“I’m a consumer,” says Shedor. “I should be able to know what I’m eating. A lot of people are not aware that food companies are not legally obligated to provide ingredient information,” says Shedor.

The assistant superintendent decided to join Shedor’s efforts, however a conflict of interest arose when the state was found to owe the district over $11 million due to poor budgeting.

Aramark offers the high school the best food contract every year.

“My school district has become dependent on Aramark,” says Shedor

Soon after, calls from the assistant superintendent ceased.

“It was not because he didn’t support me. My district is in such a financial crunch right now due to the state not providing the funds they budgeted us. This is causing us to become dependent on the cheapest available food provider because we simply can’t afford to lose them,” she says.

Shedor is not giving up any time soon.

“I can’t drop this project. I’m going to try to finish what I started,” she says.

Shedor is blogging, getting petitions from her schoolmates, and rallying for ingredient transparency so consumers can make educated decisions about what they choose to put in their bodies.

Angry parents are getting involved in lunch reform efforts as well.

Amy Kalafa, an award-winning film producer and mom saw the junk food her two daughters were consuming at school and got angry. She decided to make a documentary called “Two Angry Moms.” Kalafa teamed up with fellow angry mom, Dr. Susan Rubin, D.M.D., H.H.C. who has been “active on the school lunch front for over 10 years,” according to her biography.

The goal of the website and documentary is to provide tools and connections with the right people for those who want to work with their districts to improve school food.

Kalafa gets over a hundred e-mails a day from people across the country asking how to get started.

“The website exists to hook people up with what they need,” she says. “There is so much power in numbers.”

Kalafa and Rubin distribute their documentary for screenings across the country. Their hope is that the movie will initiate conversations and shed light on the prevalence of heavily processed, frozen meals in school cafeterias.

Keivon Gamble, a freshman CCPA major who graduated from Lincoln High School in 2009 recalls leaving for lunch every day to go to McDonald’s with his friends. “Lunch was gross,” he says. “I might have eaten it if they actually cooked the food instead of preheating it.”

The cafeteria manager of the North Dallas high school says that the frozen, prepackaged foods are easier to prepare.

She has been in the school lunch business for over 25 years and says that in the past, lunch ladies had to make the dough for rolls, clean and bread chicken by hand, and peel real potatoes.

Almost every item on the lunch menu today only has to be unboxed and preheated in large convection ovens to be ready to be served.

The manager was also proud to highlight the changes DISD has made to lower the calorie and fat content of their meals.

“We’ve taken out all of the deep fryers,” she said. “Everything is baked now, even the breaded chicken.”

A meal calculator on Nutri-Café is an interactive tool that breaks down the nutrition facts for school meal offerings in over 16 states, including DISD. The link to the calculator can be found on the “Menus/Nutrition” section of the DISD website.

According to the calculator, the crispy chicken and roll meal contains 953 calories, 53 grams of fat and 1,896 mg of sodium. A serving of onion rings contains 159 calories, 1 gram of fat and 692 mg of sodium. Chocolate milk contains 170 calories, 2 grams of fat and 260 mg of sodium.

In total, this school lunch meal comes in at 1,282 calories, 56 grams of fat and 2,848 mg of sodium.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says to keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories and to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day for good health. This one school meal contains 44 percent calories from fat and over the days recommended allowance of sodium. Not to mention that this is an improvement on the deep-fried chicken and onion rings served in the past.

Activists who are taking the situation into their own hands are doing their best to change things and in some ways they are joining forces.

When Kalafa heard about Mrs. Q’s blog, she asked for her e-mail address to get in contact with her. Shedor has been a guest blogger on Mrs. Q’s site to speak about her own blog and mission.

“My goal in the beginning was to raise awareness,” says Mrs. Q. “I didn’t even know there was this vibrant movement going on.”

Acupuncture is Going Mainstream

April 7, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

by Lesley Isaacs

An acupuncture treatment room is meant to have a calming ambience with the dim lights, muted colors and soft music. But it is hard to be calm when you know what lies ahead. The idea of having fifteen needles inserted for thirty minutes hardly seems like an easy way to relax. Before the doctor inserts the needles, the patient tenses in anticipation for pain but it unexpectedly it feels like a tiny poke. Surprisingly, it actually is a soothing and calm experience.

The traditional Chinese medicinal treatment of acupuncture is becoming more popular among conservative doctors who practice Western medicine. Acupuncture is used to help relieve symptoms from many different conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and more general things like headaches, depression and stress.

In a room much like a doctor’s office, the patient lies down on a table while a doctor inserts the needles. The patient is left alone to relax and focus while the needles work their magic. In a standard first session, there are usually three to 15 needles used.

Dr. Kathleen Bynum, a Dallas doctor who used to work in family medicine, is now working solely with acupuncture. More traditional doctors like Bynum, say they are beginning to take the first steps in learning acupuncture and the different f treatment options to benefit a person’s health.

Dr. Bynum completed her medical training in osteopathic medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. She then received her initial acupuncture training at the UCLA Acupuncture Program for Physicians. After discovering that acupuncture was something she wanted to pursue, she decided to complete the four-year training in Advanced Traditional Chinese Acupuncture Program for Physicians.

“I definitely think more doctors should be open to it. I think that it’s part education and part seeing the results after,” said Dr. Bynum.

Many doctors, however, are unsure if acupuncture actually works and many people have a negative perception of alternative medicines like acupuncture. One of the biggest concerns is its safety and the germs or diseases that could be spread through the use of needles.

Yoli Ramirez, a Special Education Data Specialist in the Midland Independent School District, is a believer in traditional western medicine. She believes that doctors should protect one’s body and an alternative medicine like acupuncture should not be an option.

“I don’t think I could ever do it. I would consider it harmful to my body,” said Ramirez.

These are the types of negative perceptions that many doctors are trying to break. However, a trained and licensed acupuncturist would be able to provide the safest environment for acupuncture.

Samantha Weinstein, a SMU dance major and journalism minor, first tried acupuncture in a class. She was always skeptical of alternative medicine and believed that with all of the science and medical education in the United States, American medicine must be superior to other countries. After trying acupuncture she is much more open now.

“Actually, I think I’d explore alternative medicine before opting for American drugs or surgery,” said Samantha.

According to a study first published by Canadian Family Physicians in February 2009, acupuncture is one of several complementary and alternative therapies that can be recommended to provide patients with satisfactory relief and improve the therapeutic alliance.

Tate Lecture Series: Stroke Victims Share Stories

February 24, 2010 by · Comments Off 

by Mackenzie O’Hara

Students, faculty and community members gathered in McFarlin Auditorium Tuesday evening for Southern Methodist University’s Tate Lecture Series. The series welcomed their sixth speaker this season, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.

“You are a life-force power of 50 trillion cells!” Taylor exclaimed to the crowd.

Taylor, a Harvard-trained published neuroanatomist, was exercising in her living room when “all of the sudden [her] hands looked like primitive claws.” After she got off the bike, “Every moment seemed slower.  I had to remind myself to catch myself, relax myself, and balance myself,” she said.

Taylor described the process, later known as having a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain, as “a time of total silence blended with urgent awareness of needing help.”  Strokes generally occur between the ages of 25 and 45, Her stroke occurred at the “perfect” time in 1996 when she was only 37.

“Imagine 37 years of emotional baggage suddenly going away.  It was complete euphoria!” she joked.

As a neuroanatomist, Taylor had studied the brain and how it functions. Her experience was very different than people who have no knowledge of brain hemorrhages or strokes.

Sarita, a member of the audience and wife of SMU professor Johannes Tausch, experienced a stroke on Nov. 28, 2007.

“I was in the shower on a Thursday and I sneezed and suddenly I my whole left side of my body was paralyzed,” she said.

It wasn’t until April 2008 that Sarita underwent brain surgery by Dr. Luke Samson at UT Southwestern Hospital.  Today, Sarita still has prisms to keep her left eye in place.

“I still experience some dizziness and have some balance issues,” she said.

Sarita attended the Tate Lecture with two friends, Savannah Hollis and Rachel Hart, who also underwent brain surgery by Dr. Samson as a result of a brain hemorrhage.

“You can’t imagine everything it affects,” said Hollis who was 21 years old when she experienced her hemorrhagic stroke.

Taylor shared the extreme complexity of the human body by asking the audience the population of the United States.

“To get the amount of cells that control your nervous system you would have to multiply the population of the U.S. (six billion) by 166. Isn’t that empowering?”

She later went on to state that all of the cells that control the human body are equal to multiplying the population of the U.S. by 8,333.

Taylor informed the audience about the different functions carried out by the left and right hemisphere of the brain.

“Your left hemisphere would rather be right than happy and your right hemisphere would rather be happy than right,” she said.

Taylor later detailed the kinds of things your right hemisphere is in control of such as kinesthetic learning, seeking similarities, and being focused on things right here now.  The left hemisphere, she said, focuses more on details, language, critical analysis, and the difference between right and wrong.

Halfway through the lecture a man sitting in the top right section of the auditorium lost consciousness.  His wife frantically called for help and within minutes the paramedics arrived.  The man regained consciousness and did not need to go to the hospital. The lecture continued as scheduled.

“I feel like [Taylor] did a wonderful job of telling her story, especially when it came to educating the audience about the risks of having a stroke,” said SMU sophomore Daniela Field.

Taylor ended the lecture with as much enthusiasm as she started asking the audience to, “beam bright.”

How do you know if you’re having a stroke?  Taylor has a six-step checklist of warning signs conveniently starting with all of the letters that make up stroke.

S = Speech, or problems with language

T = Tingling, or numbness in your body

R = Remember, or problems with thinking

O = Off-balance, or problems with coordination

K = Killer headache

E = Eyes, or problems with vision.

Taylor stressed that if you ever experience these things to call 911.

Campus News Blog: Mandatory Health Insurance

November 17, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Maria A. Prato

Did you completed your enrollment for Spring 2010?

When you do so, remember to enroll in the mandatory health insurance.

If you are a domestic student taking nine credit hours or more; or an international student taking one credit hour or more; you must enroll or waive in the health insurance as a condition of enrollment.

SMU is committed to its students health and well-beign. That is why it is a requierment for all undergraduate and graduate students to either provide documentation of private insurance coverage or to enroll in the Student Health Insurance.

How to enroll?

When you are enrolling for the Spring 2010, on your access.SMU account, just click on the “Health Insurance” button on your Student Center. It will easily guide you through the steps to either waive or enroll.

If you choose not to enroll or waiver by January 5, 2010, you will automatically be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan and charged $699 for the spring premium.

For more information go to:

Campus News Blog: Ward Off the Freshman 15

November 5, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Katherine Helms
Have you faced the highly dreaded Freshman 15?This time of the year always seems to be filled with stress, sickness, lack of sleep, and lots of parties. Unfortunately, the combination does not always have the best effect on our bodies, but there are ways around gaining this weight. With a thanksgiving trip home in the near future, maybe it is time to test out some healthy tricks to combat the weight gain and also feel more energized throughout your day.

There have been countless articles written on this topic, which seems 100% logical considering it seems to be on the mind of many students as they enter college. But, recently I have seen more articles regarding this subject than usual. Several advise to eat “mini- meals” throughout your day; this will help prevent you for hoarding in an entire pizza when you are famished after a day of classes. I personally always found the most important thing was to stock your mini fridge with healthy food instead of only having chips to reach for when you are hungry. Also, with all the parties watch how much alcohol you consume, it adds up quickly, and it also triggers hunger and will tempt you to eat a few pieces of fried macaroni late night.

As hard as it may be, squeezing in a few workouts a week can really make a difference. Not only does it release endorphins, but it will also help shave off the unwanted pounds. It is also a great way to put off that highly dreaded paper without feeling so guilty! So, lace up your tennis shoes and be smart about what you consume. Hopefully you will shed any weight you are trying to, and will feel great about your body!

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