By Nicole Garten, Dietetic Student

For the past few years, many of you have probably been hearing about the “craze” on gluten. With gluten-free aisles in the grocery stores, gluten-free options offered in restaurants, and gluten-free diets and recipes popping up everywhere you go, it is clear that a new market in the food industry has opened up. The term gluten-free has been advertised for not just the diseases it affects, but for becoming the new healthier way to eat for everyone. Here at Life University, health and wellness are our passion, which is why I thought it was important to understand why gluten has piqued the interest of the public. You might be wondering, “Who exactly benefits from gluten-free diets?” or “Will gluten-free diets really make us healthier?” But first, let’s begin with the question, “What is gluten”?

If you like to eat breads, pastas, cereals or chocolate chip cookies; then it is very likely you have consumed gluten. It is present in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is a protein made up of gliadin and glutenin, which combine with starch in a variety of grains. Glutenin is the main protein in wheat flour and Gliadin is the component that allows bread to rise and keep shape. Gluten is the key factor in giving dough its elasticity and giving bread its chewiness. But for some people, this protein can be harmful.

People who benefit from gluten-free diets are those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or who are allergic to wheat. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where once the body detects gluten, it attacks it. During this process, the lining of the small intestines becomes damaged, so avoiding gluten completely is necessary for their health. Those with gluten intolerance can experience symptoms like stomach cramps or digestive problems, and people who are allergic to wheat can experience inflammation that can cause stomach problems, rashes or hives. Eliminating gluten from the diet can clear up these symptoms for people who cannot digest this protein properly. For most of us, gluten can be digested without any problems.

For people without these conditions, going gluten-free will not necessarily make you “healthier.” Gluten itself may not offer any special nutritional benefits but foods containing gluten do, like whole grains. Eating whole grains are important, since you gain a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber; Gluten2and, if you eliminate whole grains from the diet, it is possible you can become deficient in B-vitamins, iron and fiber. Because this protein is found in starch, consuming a diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in fruits and vegetables can be unhealthy; especially, if a majority of your diet comes from refined grains, like white bread, snack foods, cereals, or crackers. Gluten can also be found in many foods that contain preservatives and artificial flavorings, so eliminating processed foods from the diet can be beneficial. Just like foods that contain gluten can be unhealthy, foods not containing gluten can also be unhealthy. Some gluten-free foods are also high in calories, sugars, fats, and have fewer vitamins and minerals.

Eating gluten-free foods can be either beneficial or non-beneficial for you, depending on what you choose to eat. It is always important to know what is in your food, to eat things in moderation and overall, a balanced diet that contains whole grains, fruits and vegetables is what will make you healthier.


Relax and Unwind

Relax and Unwind
By Rachel Brower, UG Student

How do you manage stress? Did you know that every single person experiences stress every single day? Surely this is not something to sweep under the rug or be ashamed of. It isn’t some problem that you have to hide from the world. In fact, opening up and talking about it not only helps alleviate the stress, but allows you to connect with others on the subject and bring about positive results and solutions in your life. I am an example of that. Whether physically, mentally, emotionally, occupationally, relationally – stress can be tamed and resolved by communication with those around you as well as learning how to “talk positive” to yourself. Often times we are our own worst enemies and critics. If we learned to just move on, let things roll off, pat ourselves on the back, or say “I’ll do better the next time,” we wouldn’t retain and internalize half as much negativity throughout the course of the day. Whether you realize it or not, stress eats and chips away at you until you find out healthy ways to either prevent or release it. It can grow and fester into overall anxiety, depression, fatigue, and even contribute to chronic illnesses and physical ailments!

Yet the cliché stands true: realizing it is half the battle! UnwindLearning your triggers, things that make you feel anxiety, or preparing yourself before a stressful event can be a huge leap toward a more relaxed and well-balanced life! So what about you? What are your triggers? When do you find yourself the most stressed? And what can you do to prevent this from repeating again in the future?

For example, for me, it is when I feel inadequate or underprepared for something. Something is due or needed at a given time, and I cannot provide it, whether materials for a class or even forgetting my wallet and running out of gas! (This may or may not have just happened this week). Point being – life throws you curveballs and there are times where you just need to have thought ahead and been more prepared to manage things. In our day and age, we sometimes try to overmanage which, in actuality, leads to undermanaging. We try too hard to juggle multiple things within the arena of life that we can overlook what is very important.

So what to do about it? Well, first off I began to notice and realize that I had a tendency to get caught up in little details and not pay attention to the larger picture. I had a repetitive pattern of forgetting things because of this, thus leading me to feel underprepared in many facets of life. What I began to do upon realizing this involves writing things down as soon as they pop into my head. Being slightly ADD, I will have multiple important thoughts come in and out of my head in one day, but it is in one ear and out the other! I can’t retain or remember information. So carrying around a notebook, agenda, pad, pen, and even iPhone apps has become a lifeline to me! As soon as important thoughts hit me, or a teacher assigns a project due date, or I know I am going to be driving far the next day – I will jot down the important thoughts that go along with those! Sometimes these turn into to-do lists; other times they just remain a page of brainstorming to go back to.

The other cliché saying is true: once it’s on paper, it can be out of your head! This in and of itself takes off a surprisingly large chunk of potential stress!

This, as well as many other avenues, can be used to manage stress. While what I have been referring to so far are preventative measures, there are also things to do to de-stress once you’ve already experienced it. Let’s be honest – we are never going to be completely stress free, as incredible as that sounds. So the days that are a little more chaotic and random need to bring about a backup plan for unwinding and releasing the stress you’re carrying.

RelaxThe methods are countless! Meditations, aromatherapy, baths, Epsom salt soaks, soft or ambient music, a night out with friends, a hobby or craft, art, writing, poetry, photography, detox, reading the Word, prayer, or sometimes dealing with the very thing that may be causing stress. Sometimes, relationships with family and friends can be a cause of subliminal stress, and leaving arguments or unsettling circumstances undealt with can cause chronic stress that you may not even realize is affecting you! Being sure to keep all relationships in check, taking the time to communicate clearly, and sometimes just putting your selfishness aside and doing something for someone else can really do wonders.

The Bible verse Ephesians 4:26 states “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” This is a great truth to follow, not only for the benefiting your relationships with others, but simply benefiting yourself as a person! Unmanaged anger can sit and fester into long-term stress, un-satisfaction, restlessness, bitterness, and anxiety.

So pick your poison! Be creative! Get to know yourself and be curious about what it is that triggers you as well as helps you unwind! Try and find the most natural methods possible and steer clear from substances such as relaxants, alcohol, or anything in excess. There are very natural ways that your body and mind can learn to function and calmly deal with the life you’re given – but the ball is in your court!

What is Positive Psychology Anyway?

What is Positive Psychology Anyway?
By Jill Driver, Senior UG Student in Positive Psychology

In 1998, Dr. Martin Seligman coined the term positive psychology. He proposed a shift in focus from the negative aspects of humanity to the positive aspects (Baumgardner & Crothers, 2009). People know what not to do, but do they know what is good to do? Negative emotions may hinder growth, but do positive emotions accelerate it? Negative thoughts may perpetuate depression and helplessness, but do positive thoughts and affirmations lead to empowerment? Research investigates why marriages fail, but does research explore why marriages succeed? These questions are at the center of positive psychology. This new perspective of psychology is a call to equip society with the knowledge and tools to lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives, not just to avoid unwanted outcomes. Positive psychology suggests it is just as important to know what is beneficial and healing; in addition, to knowing what is detrimental and harmful. Even more, people know what will harm them and what to avoid, but they lack the understanding of what will also strengthen them.

In addition, positive psychology does not entirely ignore the negatives, it simply embraces a more genuine and balanced view of human behavior that includes strengths and virtues. Often in health sciences like psychology, the medical community is consumed with defining disease, whereas, the positive psychology community shifts the motivation towards defining healthiness. In other words, positive psychologists attempt to define concepts like well-being, happiness, fulfillment, meaning, and joy. Instead of asking what makes someone abnormal, a positive psychologist asks what makes someone healthy and whole.

Lastly, a vitalistic perspective maintains that the organism is self-healing, self- maintaining, and can thrive when placed in the proper environment with adequate resources. Positive psychology also suggests that individuals are innately equipped with strength and resilience. Positive psychologist, coaches, chiropractors, and other professionals can work together to promote these vitalistic, positive perspectives to the community. This shift in focus can pave the way for individuals to reach their full potential not only in health but in life as a whole.

Baumgardner, S. R., & Crothers, M. K. (2009). Positive Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Spirituality of Health

Spirituality of Health
The seventh building block of health
By Vince Methot, DC Student

There are seven categories in which all factors that influence health can be included. This set of seven I call the ‘fundamentals of health’. You can find the basic overview of these on the Vital Source Blog. The seventh of these I call the spirituality of health.

Often, when people hear the word spirituality they think of a church or religion; spirituality isn’t just religion, although it can be an important part. Spirituality, as I define it here, is everything that is not physical, that which complements and animates our body. SleepingBabySpirituality is taking a rest from physical things and focusing on our spiritual well-being. Some things that help us do this are sleep, wholesome recreation, fasting, prayer and meditation, holy day observance or just taking a day off, religion and worship, and even death.

Sleep is a state where consciousness practically suspended. It naturally refreshes and rejuvenates our body. Things that affect the quality of our sleep are the type of bed and pillow that we sleep on and the nature of the environment that we are in, like sound and temperature levels. The quality of our sleep can indicate that there is an imbalance in one of the other fundamental areas of our health. We should sleep at night for a solid eight hours according to popular belief. Dreaming can be an indicator to know that we slept long enough or well enough. Some of the many benefits of quality sleep are improved mental awareness, metabolism, immune function and mood.

Wholesome recreation is a healthy companion to work. It helps us learn and grow. Some examples include the arts, such as music, dance and drama, sports and group games. Recreation can be degrading if it negatively affects any of the aspects of health or promotes unhealthy behaviors. When recreation is in balance with work it is good but when it lasts too long it can promote idleness and waste time. The best activities promote good behavior, build relationships, and encourage creativity. It promotes happiness and helps develop a healthy identity.

Fasting in its most basic form is going without food and water for a short period of time, for example for a 12-24 hour period. Fasting is extremely rejuvenating for the body because it diverts the energy, normally used on digestion, to cleaning out toxins and healing. Other forms of fasting include water-only and juice-only fasts, where this is the only thing consumed. Fasting can be very detrimental and require a doctor’s supervision; the need for doctor supervision will depend on the person’s experience fasting, the toxic condition of the body, as well as the duration and type of fast. It is not recommended to go without water for more than a 24 hour period but fasting without food can go from a day to a few weeks with the proper training. The speed at which the body removes waste can cause negative side effects, which is why a doctor’s supervision would be required. Once the body has cleansed itself, the positive benefits far outweigh any of the negative feelings and include improved digestion and weight control, reduced or eliminated allergies and fatigue, and increased energy.

MeditationPrayer and meditation help receive inspiration and focus the mind. Holy day observance helps promote moral behavior. Taking a day off allows the body to rest from a week full of work and provides a rejuvenation period. Many religions teach methods to rest the body and focus on the spiritual parts of life. They also teach different ways to worship a higher power and give explanations for who or what to worship.

Death, while looked upon negatively by some and positively by others, cannot be escaped. We are mortals and no mortal can escape this. There are many explanations for what may happen after death; some include a period of time to focus on nothing but the spiritual in preparation for receiving a completely healthy, immortal, physical body. Regardless of what you believe, death provides the ultimate rest for or from the mortal, physical body.

Spirituality, while providing a rest from the physical, has a major influence on our physical health. BabySleepingIt helps cope with illness and stress and provides better enjoyment of life. It also helps reinforce all of the other categories of health which include our ability to choose to be happy, to be clean, to eat healthy, to seek the source of light, to strengthen relationships, to work towards a beneficial purpose and to prepare for our future. I encourage you to make spirituality a priority in your life so you can reap the many benefits.

Go Hug A Tree!

Go Hug A Tree!
A family reunion with Mother Earth
By Rachel Brower, UG Student

Just try something with me for a second. Imagine: The sun is setting, illuminating fiery lines along the edges of the clouds. Out over the ocean you see a group of seagulls making their way home for the night, their cries seeming to echo off of nothing and everything all at once. Wiggling your toes into the dampened sand, you inhale the salty air as the tide gently swirls around your feet. You feel a deep and unexplainable sense of peace as you watch the sun give one last red-orange wink before disappearing behind the waters. For as far as your eye can see, there is nothing but a dark blue abyss. To the left and the right, vast stretches of cooling sand. You realize just how small you are amidst the vast expanses of nature.

See? It’s not just the power of imagery or suggestion. Beauty-of-natureThese scenes exist in the recesses of your mind as good and positive memories – times when your body felt right in being among the natural sights, scents, sounds and experiences of the great outdoors. Instead of searching for it, the sense of oneness, peace, and happiness seemed to have found you – a byproduct of being immersed in your surroundings.

Contentment lies not in a magic pill, clocking in more hours at work, an increase in your paycheck, or even sitting at home watching movies in your down time. Sure, these scenarios bring something to the table, but strolling through a park, hiking a nature trail, or even simply stepping out onto your patio for some fresh air and sunshine can work even greater wonders on the human mind and body.

What exactly does nature offer us? Vitamin D is a key player, with its numerous health benefits that are still, to this day, being uncovered. boy-hugging-treeA thriving warrior against cancer, obesity, inflammation, hormonal problems, and overall ill-health, this natural vitamin offered by the sun itself continues to show signs of mood elevation and strengthening of our immune systems. A 2009 study that appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health states that the closer you live to nature, the healthier of a person you are likely to be.

Consider this an inspirational challenge. Do what you can – no, do what you must – to make time for mother earth. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous, break the pattern of daily life, gather some friends, leave the technology behind, and truly escape to the beauty that lies in the world that surrounds you.

Why Keep Vitalism to Ourselves?

Why Keep Vitalism to Ourselves?
By Penny Aviles, DC Student

My High School music professor told me once, as he was coming back from the Dean’s office, due to his attempts to kick me out of the classroom, “a good leader doesn’t come up with problems, but solutions.” Meaning, he never really made it to the Dean’s office and tried to coexist with me. Little does he know, I still remember those words with a visual image of his face saying them. I didn’t become submissive as he expected, but his wise words and my free self-expression are partly why I’ve gotten involved in organizations that seek to solve issues pertaining to chiropractic. Sometimes politics can be a slow and frustrating endeavor, but without critical thinking, debate about our profession, and the wish to take it further, Chiropractic would have continued as an underground profession in a little corner office in Davenport, IA.

wccs_logoLast March 27th – April 2nd, the World Congress of Chiropractic Students (WCCS) 37th Annual General Meeting took place with 134 critical minds in a tiny touristy place on the sides of the Mediterranean called Malaga, Spain. It was quite the gathering and yet, we have no words to express such a powerful, seven-day experience. Lifelong bonds of friendship and trust with future leaders of the profession from around the world are sometimes the best things that someone takes out the experience on a personal level. But looking at the bigger picture, we were a monumental part of the solution.

When being part of congress, not only do you get to represent the student body of your school at a global level, but you form part of history in chiropractic. WCCS is the oldest, international, student-run chiropractic organization and consists of 24 chiropractic school members which represent over 10,000 chiropractic students. We have no “big brother” organizations, we are independent and neutral. In WCCS you can find a safe platform for either side of the chiropractic spectrum to have a voice, because we embrace diversity. As Luke Schmidt, president of the WCCS Board of Directors, says, “The friendships that have been made through the WCCS are proof that it is possible to be diverse, yet still united.” Students involved develop leadership skills, friendships and a better understanding of chiropractic around the world than they could get in their tiny bubble we call school.

There is a middle ground where all of us studying chiropractic can meet, and that’s where we admit our role as leaders and work together towards our goal: “To advance and unite the global chiropractic profession through inspiration, integrity and leadership” ( delegationWe have influenced policy changes in countries and continue to work towards regulations in chiropractic for the protection of the public. Our presence in Malaga, Spain this past spring (a country where Chiropractic is not regulated) caught the interest of the local press and allowed open dialogue with other health care professionals. In other regions like Japan, chiropractic has no regulations either, and WCCS has worked hard on getting recognition for chiropractic. One step we helped accomplish a few years ago was the introduction of the word “chiropractic” to the Japanese dictionary. These are not simple steps and definitely not fast processes, but one thing we WCCS’ers know is, we are being part of the solution. Do you dream of a world where chiropractic is highly recognized, and of a world where you didn’t have to convince anyone that it works? If this is your vision we need YOU!

Out of all those 24 chiropractic schools, only FIVE are vitalistic schools. We are outnumbered, and sadly also by students representing each school. This year we achieved our highest number of student delegates from Life U attending congress: nine. Sherman College only had one delegate representing them. Life University is the biggest chiropractic university in the world, and therefore should have a bigger delegation to represent its student body. Next Congress will take place in our own alma mater April 2015, so all you interested in participating won’t have travel expenses to worry about. As the Head Delegate of the WCCS Life Chapter, I highly recommend everyone get involved. It is our duty not only to live vitalism, and practice it in our school and future chiropractic offices, it is important we share it with the world and, trust me, this is the right place to do it. Students around the world crave for a principle bigger than a reductionist back pain and neck pain model. If you’d like to form part of the solution, come to club to hear more about it. We meet Wednesdays at 5pm in C149, or throw us a line to
WCCS Meeting

Publisher News – October 2014

Publisher News
By Dave Jennings, Student Publisher

One more quarter down and it was a fun one with Boards, Lab finals and Lecture finals while throwing in a fun water main break week 9 and yet again we transition into a new quarter. I do enjoy my time at Life but so look forward to the end of the program and the quarter system grind as these week breaks are over in a blink of your eye. Thankfully we get entertainment during finals week and break with email bombs from administration; the recent change to the parking arrangement being quite the news. On August 21 a school wide email was sent looking for students to park on Roswell Road in front of Whole Foods and with little interest the administration took a very interesting position by having blue tag students, faculty and staff park remotely.

Parking has been a hot button issue at Life forever and just as we see in the chiropractic profession you can never make everyone happy but this is one instance where the school did create quite the firestorm and got professors, staff and students to talk about the issue. There is a group of upper quarter students who are in shock and upset with regard to professors being forced to park off campus finding it disrespectful and as one professor termed it the tail wagging the dog. There has also been talk by upper quarter students all 1st-4th quarter students should park remotely in place of professors but looking back at old social media posts I am quite sure if the shoe was on the other foot every quarter would be a problem with parking remotely. While I am sure administration weighed multiple options as to the parking shortage it seems with a topic as large as parking the final decision should affect all equally. Why not make all parking on campus carpool only which would have all staff, faculty and students share equally to reduce the parking congestion as well as reducing our carbon foot print. It might be a mild inconvenience from our normally everyday lives but as I like to say first world problems are fortunate to have. Exceptions should be made for professors who have active practices as they do have time constrains which deserve to be respected. Given time the shuttles will become more efficient as they modify routes and drops.

On a serious note we have a MAJOR theft problem on campus again and this time it is happening in CC-HOP and C-HOP. Laptops, purses and other valuables are being taken from places which should feel safe. If administration cannot provide enough lockers to properly secure our personal belongings it is beyond time to install secure entry to all areas where you student ID is needed to enter and cameras are on all entry/exit points to eliminate the scourge who is violating our trust.