Monday, November 1, 2010

Learn From These First Nine Weeks

For Broward County High Schools students, the first quarter of the academic year has wrapped up.

If you're on a seven-period schedule, it marks the half-way point, and your first interim.

If you're like me, on a block schedule, I know you've felt the stress of taking midterms and have your first official four grades under your belt already.

How do you feel?

If you could take something back, would you have:

Studied for the chemistry test you knew you were going to have some trouble on? Started your Spanish notebook way before it was due? Got off that gaming website that was sucking all your time away?

As always, there's some good news and bad news.

The bad news is that you can't actually take it back; you earned your grades and there are no "do-over's" in high school.

The more inspiring news, and the point of my blog, is this cliché: You can learn from your mistakes.

So you may have started off a little badly, but we're all human here, right? We have every right and all the power within ourselves to turn it all around and have a successful year with minimum stress. If you're aware of something you could have improved on, well, IMPROVE UPON IT!

There's no sense in fueling the fire.

Look back on these first nine weeks, and take it as a learning experience. You know what you did incorrectly, so target those tasks and figure out how to convert them into "good" skills to have, like shutting off your phone while you work, or really paying attention to what you're reading.

I guarantee that it will pay off in the long run, and you'll realize that you can still have fun along the way :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Balancing Act

Let's face it, most people would love to be able to do one easy thing and be fit forever. To much dismay, that may not be the case.
To get where you want to be, a good balance of healthy eating and regular exercise are necessary. It's such a huge misconception when people think if they eat healthy then no exercise is needed, or if they exercise all the time they can eat whatever they want. Here are the problems with both assumptions:
Sure if you keep up with a healthy diet, your body will thank you, but not strenuously using the muscles you have for a long period of time can leave an individual weak. I'm not saying that individuals who do not participate in sports or outside of school physical activities are week. I am suggesting that everyone take thirty minutes out of each day for about three days a week, and take a nice brisk walk, or ride a bike. Other fun activities like dancing, walking your dog, or even bowling can help tone some muscles.
On the other hand, exercising 24/7 with the necessary breaks is great too. However, to have the energy and nutrients to actually exercise you need to eat right! Eating without conciously choosing your foods could get you seriously ill. Not enough vitamin C? You might end up super prone to getting the flu. It is imperative that you eat well.
When it comes to eating well, you have to eat breakfast. It's what fuels your tank for the day. Try a peice of whole grain bread, toasted, with a layer of peanut butter for complex carbs and fiber to fill you up. Eat a lot of simple ingredient foods so you know nothing is refined or processed. Fist sized portions consumed about eight times a day is good for keeping your metabolism up.
Stay away from soda's, too much candy (HALLOWEEN), and other foods that your waistline might regret in a week or two. Lot's of fluids are also essential. Water is just about the healthiest beverage out there. Feeling bored, which leads to hunger, on a school night? Brew yourself a nice mug of green tea to stifle that fake hunger.
The trick is to keep a good balance of nutrition and exercise. Anyone can do it :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scariest part of Halloween is the Candy

So we are all aware that the festive holiday of Halloween is soon to arrive. Sure dressing up is great and so is going to crazy Halloween parties. However, from here on out I'd like to avoid the candy part.

I read in an article on that three mini reeses cup candies have more sugar than a glazed doughnut. Can you believe that? I remember eating those things like chips when I was little. It kind of made my stomach churn to think I ate so horridly in the past. Then again, it is the past, and I'm ready to make some changes.

It's not that surprising that people might be prone to gobbling up the pounds of candy they get in a matter of days. Doesn't make you sick thinking about the amount of sugar people ingest during this holiday? I mean it's literally sugar for breakfast lunch and dinner. I remember trying to hide my stash from my mom so she wouldn't hide it somewhere herself.

So let's take a step back from all that candy. There are other healthy alternatives to tasty halloween treats. You should not skip dinner on halloween night. You need some good cources of energy and nutrition other than empty carbs. Perhaps you could play on the color scheme of black and orange. Maybe make whole grain cupcakes with orange cake and black icing. The combination of celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins can be made into celery stick spiders. Or maybe canteloupe scoops can be peeled eye balls. These are just some spur of the moment ideas.

Let's try being a little healthier this Halloween, shall we?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I have completely changed my eating habits for about a year now. No, I am not on a restricted diet. I'm just eating healthy.
That is such a broad statement, I know. What I mean is that I'm eating frequent fist sized portions of all the healthy things this Earth has to offer.
I have refrained from eating pastries, candy, soda, chips, and anything fried.
I did break my rules last week after my school's homecoming game. My friends and I were trying to find some place that was not crowded to eat. We decided on Burger King where I rodered onion rings. BIG MISTAKE. The next morning was horrific. I woke up with the worst stomach aches of my life. I could barely move.
I guess the fact that I has refrained from eating that type of unhealthy food for months is a good thing. My body wasn't used to digesting that type of thing and certaintly let me know.
I have kept up with eating simple foods; foods with ingredients that I know and can pronounce.
I still eat as much as I did before, I just make sure that everything I eat is good for me; even the next morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mind Over Body

I have come to realize that in order to physically improve yourself, if that's what one would want, you need to focus on your mindset first.
Right now, I am involved in a pretty good amount of things to keep me on my toes. I have a varsity soccer season coming up, three clubs to keep up with, an online class, my school's spirit week, college applications, and of course school. I'll admit that I have indeed had my fair share of mental breakdowns in the last month or so. I need to make some changes.
Due to all that is going on in my life at the moment, I haven't had time to keep up with this fitness regime of mine. I was supposed to keep up with it since the beginning of the school year. Unfortunately, I haven't had enough time to fit that into my hectic schedule.
I haven't even been getting enough sleep because of all this craziness. If I am ever going to up my fitness game, I really need to de-stress. I have to find a way to organize out all my meetings, assignments, and must do's. It really helps to be organized, even if it's just sticking reminders on post-its in your books.
I also have to totally avoid anything that might distract me from doing what I need to do. It sounds easy, which means it probably is. All I have to do is, well, just do it. Once I find my peace of mind, then my body will respond the way I want it to.
Okay, so maybe there isn't some fantastic statistic or scientific study done on this sort of symbiotic relationship between a healthy mind and body that I can think of on the top of my head. However, it helps to have a clear mind, free of negativity and stress to aid you in your quest for fitness.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When you're sick of iceberg lettuce and greasy pizza...

Sometimes it's difficult to find vegetarian choices in my school cafeteria, which is why I think packing lunch is probably a better option. I'm not a fan of long lunch lines, either. This is how I would plan my week :)


Microwaveable pasta:
My favorite brands are Healthy Choice, Simply Asia, and of course, Easy Mac. Microwaveable pasta is convenient and doesn't take much time to pack in the morning. Add an apple and bottled water, and you're good to go.

(If you don't have access to a microwave at school, try a peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich instead of the pasta. Toast the pieces of bread and spread the PB on both sides to prevent it from getting soggy from the honey or bananas.)


Veggie hot dogs:
Yves brand is probably my favorite, but I rarely see it outside of Whole Foods. Cook them before school and wrap them in aluminum foil for later. I use whole grain hot dog buns and add soy sauce, onions, and cilantro to the water I cook the soy dogs in since they lack flavor on their own. Top with your favorite condiments, likely already found in your school cafeteria. Pack chips, soda, and freeze dried fruit to go with your hot dogs.


Pack enough hummus to spread on pita bread, baby carrots, and whichever crunchy vegetables you desire. Try stuffed grape leaves (you can get them canned from the ethnic food section of the grocery store if you don't have a Mediterranean restaurant near you), a banana, peanuts or cashews, and iced tea to complete your meal.


Pizza bagels:
This recipe requires shouldn't take longer than a few minutes to prepare. Split a bagel in half and cover each side with cream cheese. Add slices of tomatoes and provolone cheese and bake in a toaster oven or microwave them until the cheese is melted. Vegan cheese substitutes work just as well for people who don't eat dairy. Have some strawberries, blueberries and juice with your pizza bagel.


Tempeh sub:
Tempeh is made from soybeans, but has a different texture than tofu or soy meats. You can find it in the produce section at Publix, near the other refrigerated vegetarian protein options. If you don't, use soy lunch meat substitutes or just veggies. I usually buy the brands that come marinated and pre-sliced to save time (sesame garlic is my favorite.) Cook according to the directions on the package and add the strips of tempeh to your sub along with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, bell peppers, and olive oil and vinegar. Pack chips and Vitamin water, too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Benefits of Daily Yoga

Lets face it, being fit in the 21 century is tough. With Iphones, we can now watch on the go videos of athletic fanatics enjoying a run, without breaking a sweat. With more vehicles on the road, we will never be threatened to walk the way home. It is not easy to drop everything and break out into a sprint- and you should not have to.

For anyone needing a solid 30 minutes of calming breathing and relaxation, I suggegst Yoga. I know what your thinking,"Yoga is for people that believe in worshping inanimate objects!". This unsumption is FALSE.

Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India.Believe it or not performing Yoga for 30 minutes a day can be of great help to you. Just a few exercises can actually help you get a better night's sleep. Reserachers say that people who perform yoga fall asleep alot faster than people who do not. I suggest any high school student who needs more sleep to buy a Yoga DVD imediantly.

Yoga is also great for anyone who can not stand for five minutes without getting hurt. With constant practice, your balance will improve ten folds outsdethe Yoga classroom. This is beacuse Yoga has hundreds of exercises that focus on the overall control of the body.

The best part of Yoga is that it can be done everywhere. In addition, it is easy to obtain Yoga videos that will not hurt your wallet. Great sites like offer yoga lessons to keep for only $10. Better yet, offers thousands of yoga tidbits that can be done throughout the day. It is imporant to stay active, especialy in this day and age. With Yoga, a better lifestyle is just around the corner someting that everyone will enjoy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Assess Your Situation

Success! You finished your last homework assignment! It's finally time for bed. You look over at your clock to assess the number of hours you'll be sleeping...and it's six in the morning. An all-nighter? AGAIN?

You’ll have to sleep during first period. Your teacher won’t notice. All he/she does is drone on half the class, anyway.

I know that you’re tired, and that some classes can be boring. But I also know that they’re essential to your graduation, and to better prepare you for your future. So how are you going to balance your health and your education? Equally important, how are you going to maintain your happiness level?

What it boils down to is—Oh no! Not this awful phrase!—how you’re managing your time. Deep down in our hearts, we know this truly is the key to make things a lot easier on ourselves.

I’ve spent innumerable days lounging around the house, surfing Facebook, and ultimately complaining about my homework load without doing anything about it. Had I just (please excuse the sexist phrase) taken it like a man, I could have done a page of math, answered biology questions, and completed half of an essay. Instead, I condemned myself to both negativity and inactivity. And that’s just not the way to go.

As an IB (International Baccalaureate) student, I’m all too familiar with the stress that relentlessly pours down on a teen’s shoulders. I’m aware that seemingly 90% of us would rather do something leisurely than scholarly.

The only cure for that, my friends, is to immerse yourself in both. And that means getting the latter done quickly to leave ample time for the first.

It makes more sense to get your homework done in two focused hours than in eight, yes, eight, hours of procrastination that are clouded by guilt of not doing anything productive.

I whole-heartedly believe that it is the first step toward a happier lifestyle, because you’ll eliminate the stress of leaving things until the last possible minute .

So take a magnifying glass and point it inward. Do you do things the day they’re assigned, as soon as you get home? Or do you really start a high-intensity project at nine P.M., desperately trying to bring home an average grade?

More often than not, you’re going to fall under the second category.

I urge you guys to try to procrastinate a little less, because it’s completely beneficial- no bad side effects. Getting your homework done quickly won’t clog up your arteries or cause nausea. It’ll open up your social calendar and your time to relax, which can only lead to a central feeling of peace and ease.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meditation: Woo Sa

It's no secret that any teenager's life is stressful.
For me, meditation was a method to really control that stress and eliminate it from my life.

My mom gave me a set of meditation tip cards about a year ago. They range from teaching you about breathing exercises, to finding your power animal, to even meeting your other selves. I did try many of the exercises and they turned out to be very interesting to attempt.

I mainly meditated in my room with relaxing music playing and the only light coming from a lone candle on my nightstand. Wherever you meditate is completely up to you. Just find a quiet place that is your own, and where you feel the most comfortable.

I took the time to meditate for about half an hour every other day, and I certaintly got a lot out of it. The time I took for myself I used to think, a lot.
I thought about my pritorites and if they were in the right order. I thought about school and if I was trying hard enough. I even thought about all the things that were stressing me out in my life, and figured out ways to eliminate the unnecessary from my life.

Mediating has really helped me get a better grasp on my life and maintaining a low stress level.
I would really recommend it to everyone. It's really simply and easy to do. There is no set method to meditiate or order of steps.

Just find your place, close your eyes, relax, breathe, and let spontaneous thoughts flow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Unreachable

As president of my school's Club Earth, I am expected to live up to certain expectations: recycle my paper, drink out of an aluminum water bottle, turn off the sink while brushing my teeth.

And be a vegetarian.

But while I think the concept is great, beneficial, and healthy, it seems unreachable. Because somethings are just too yummy. Because I've always eaten meat. Because I'm Cuban.

But most importantly, because there's BACON.

Yes, bacon. The heavenly strips that await you on the morning of a standardized test day. It tops off an egg sandwich, a cheeseburger, a baked potato--it makes everything better.

If I didn't have bacon in my life, I just wouldn't be as happy. I'd drool over my friend's plate and regret my lifestyle choice. I'd crack and have a slice (or 5).

The way I see it, I'm saving the word vegetarian from having a bad reputation.

Plus, who likes a vegetarian that's weak? No one.

Especially not me.