Local Loves: PULP

By Tess Donnelly

Colorful acai bowls and smoothies are all the rage right now and lucky for us Harrisonburg has their very own organic acai bowl and smoothie place right downtown! Not many people know about PULP because oddly enough it’s found inside a bicycle shop. The Shenandoah Bike Company opened its doors in May of 2000 and has been up and running ever since. PULP followed in May 2010 to compliment the bicycle shopacai-bowl

It is no surprise that the main ingredient found in every acai bowl is Acai, pronounced ah-sah-EE. Acai is a fruit found on the trees in the Amazon region of Brazil. PULP blends Sambazon Acai puree packets that are packed with antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids with ingredients such as organic non-dairy milk, apple juice and a variety of other healthy super fruits. The usual techniques used to prepare this fruit include pureeing and freezing. Freezing is a great technique to use in cooking and handling fruits because it preserves the fruits nutritional value.

PULP’s menu includes four different Acai bowls with the option to build your own bowl. My personal favorite is the “Short Mountain” which is a blend of acai, banana, almond butter, almonds, coconut milk and granola.

In addition to acai bowls and smoothies, PULP also offers a variety of Chinese teas from the Red Blossom Tea Company.

PULP is the perfect spot to check out if you’re in the mood for a healthy snack or in need of a pick me up. The atmosphere is so relaxed and inviting, you may even find yourself inspired to pick up a cycling habit!

Next time you find yourself in downtown Harrisonburg, make sure to pay this quaint downtown bike shop a visit and try out their delicious acai bowls for yourself!

Stressed? Try these!

By Megan Wine

It’s that time of the year when you have two midterms, five assignments, and three quizzes all in the same day and you feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done. For many, eating seems like the last priority during these extremely stressful weeks in the semester, but what you’re eating could actually play a major role in your overall stress level. Many studies have shown a link between stress/anxiety levels and the foods that are consumed throughout a day. So next time you’re feeling stressed, try these healthy options rather than the bag of chips, or sugary processed snack you would usually try.

1. Dark Chocolate: I know what you’re thinking, Chocolate?! Healthy?! No way! But yes! Studies have shown that eating small amounts of dark chocolate everyday can actually boost not only your mood, but also improve your brain function! A 2009 study by the Journal of Proteome Research showed a direct link between daily dark chocolate consumption and a reduction in the stress hormone, Cortisol, levels in individuals. So it looks like mom was wrong all along, chocolate is actually good for you (in moderation, of course).

2. Foods containing Vitamin C: You know that old saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well an orange a day could actually keep your stress away! Eating foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, grapefruits, or any other citrus fruits can help to lower not only stress hormone levels, but also lower blood pressure in stressful situations and can even keep your immune system strong as well!

3. Complex carbs: And no this doesn’t mean candies and sugary treats, a complex carb is something like whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, etc. these are broken down by your body much more slowly than sugars (simple carbs) helping your body to sustain energy for longer and also increase the levels of serotonin that your brain produces! Serotonin is a hormone that increases calmness, so the next time you’re feeling stressed, remember to opt for whole grain bread rather than white (which is much more processed).

4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: This one might not sound as straightforward as the last three, but it’s still not a difficult thing to find! Good sources of Omega-3’s are fatty fish (salmon, tuna, etc.), nuts, and flax! These healthy fats can help to reduce cortisol levels, and also can help prevent long-term depression and heart disease!

While these four suggestions may not completely relieve the stress from your midterms, work, and life, they can definitely aid in reducing your overall stress hormone levels and keep you from that edge of overwhelming stress (believe me, we’ve all been there). One big thing to remember as well is that caffeine also triggers the release of cortisol, so even though that fifth cup of coffee is keeping you awake at 3 am to study, you might consider calling it a day and getting some good sleep instead to allow your body to rest and be ready for the day ahead! Go ace those finals and remember that what your put in your body can actually affect your health more than you think!


Medicine, UCLA Center for East-West. “Eat Right, Drink Well, Stress Less: Stress-Reducing Foods, Herbal Supplements, and Teas – Explore Integrative Medicine.” Explore Integrative Medicine. Shannon Wongvibulsin, 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2016. <http://exploreim.ucla.edu/nutrition/eat-right-drink-well-stress-less-stress-reducing-foods-herbal-supplements-and-teas/&gt;.

Reading Nutrition Labels

By Madeline Wirth

Have you ever wondered how to make sense of nutrition labels? Understanding nutrition labels is easier than it seems. Anyone can do it! Here are a few things to look for when you read nutrition labels.


  1. Serving Size. Every nutrition label shows the serving size and the number of servings contained in the package. Be sure to check out the serving size of snack foods! Some snack bags may include up to 4 servings.
  2. Calories. Most people need around 2,000 calories on an average day. If you are active, you may need more than 2,000 calories depending on your stature and activity level. It is important to remember that calorie needs vary by individuals! Compare calories to the serving size you portion yourself. If a serving size of mixed nuts is 1/3 cup, and you eat 2/3 cup of mixed nuts, multiply the calorie amount by 2 to get the calories in your snack.
  3. Saturated Fat. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that most Americans eat abour 13 grams of saturated fat daily. Some of the biggest sources of saturated fat in our diets are cheese and pizza. Some snack foods like chips also have a noticeable amount of saturated fat. Keeping your saturated fat intake to healthy amounts is a good way to moderate your fat intake. In the long term, only moderate amounts of saturated fat is beneficial for cardiovascular health!
  4. Sodium. It is recommended that most people consume only 2,000 mg of sodium on a daily basis. Sodium is so likely to creep up on us because so many foods have quite a bit of sodium in their packaging. As college students, many common dorm foods like Ramen noodles, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and salty snacks have more than half of the daily recommended amount of sodium. Seasonings, sauces, and dressings also can have a lot of sodium. Eating a food that is high in sodium should be balanced with water to keep you hydrated and energized. Keep your sodium to about 2,000 mg to keep you from feeling bloated later!
  5. Total Carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are divided into sugar and fiber subcategories. Foods that are higher in fiber will fill you up faster and improve digestive health! Whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables will be high in fiber! Foods that are advertised as high in fiber will have at least 5g of fiber per serving.
  6. Protein. Most people need about 1 g per kilogram of their body weight. Take this into account when looking at the grams of protein per serving!
  7. Ingredients are listed in quantitative order. For instance, if water and sugar are the first ingredients on a dressing bottle, then water is the number one ingredient, and sugar is the second most ingredient. Common food allergens will also be listed directly below the ingredient list.


Reading nutrition labels doesn’t have to be confusing. Once you understand the elements of the nutrition label, making healthy choices becomes easier and easier!


Carbs, Caffeine, & Crabbiness

By Kat Huntley
Have you ever heard the old adage: “You are what you eat”? Well here is another one for you, “What you eat is what you feel”! What we choose to eat and drink can affect how we feel, both physically and emotionally. A very real connection exists between nutrition and our emotional health. This should be encouraging news, because it lets us know that eating food that is good for us can also make us feel good!
Indulging, at times, in sweet and fatty foods can certainly be a part of living a wholesome life, but if we don’t make sure to balance the sweet stuff with other foods, then those foods choices can really start to have a negative effect on our bodies-both physically and emotionally.
A great example is the way that Morgan Spurlock responded to his 30-day McDonald’s challenge in the film Super Size Me. Not only did his physical health suffer, but he became fatigued and depressed. . While not all Americans eat fast food for every meal every day, this serves as a learning moment for us all. A month of extreme eating took a happy and healthy person to the point where he was just a shadow of himself emotionally.
Balance is the key here, and I want to share with you some of the areas that are most often found out of balance in our diets.
Carbohydrates with Fiber
Carbohydrates provide us with energy and are found in a wide variety of food. Fruits, grains, and starchy vegetables are some of the best sources of since they are also naturally high in fiber. Fiber has a lot of functions and one of them is to slow the absorption of simple carbohydrates (e.g. starch and sugar).
The slower absorption rate prevents blood sugar highs and lows. These highs and lows aren’t just referring to your blood sugar levels. This spiking of our blood sugar mirrors the way that we can feel after eating and digesting a bunch of refined sugar and starch- we feel high and then we feel low (Sommerfield, et al., 2004).
Caffeine Kick
While caffeine can be enjoyed in a balanced way, it is good to think about it for what it is- it is a type of drug that is classified as a stimulant, and stimulants have the power to alter our moods. The adverse effects of too much caffeine can include things like jitteriness, anxiousness, an irritated stomach, and sleeplessness or poor quality of sleep (Persad, 2011). Withdrawal from caffeine can lead to feelings of irritability and depression accompanied with headaches and even constipation (Juliano, et al., 2004).
Balancing caffeinated with non-caffeinated beverages is the key. On average, a person can have up to 400 mg of caffeine and consider themselves to be in balance, a little less than that if the person is sensitive to caffeine. To give an idea of what that translates into:
• a 12 oz. caffeinated soda will typically have anywhere from 30-50 mg
• a 6 oz. coffee typically contains 100 mg,
• a 16 oz. a Starbucks coffee drip coffee contains about 400 mg of caffeine

Slowly weaning off caffeine will make the dietary transition easier and will help to avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. For example,
1. If you have 4-5 cups of coffee a day, try cutting back to 3 cups and having one cup of decaf.
2. Stay with that for a few days.
3. Then step back down another step and try only having 2 cups of regular.
Once you have made your changes into a habit, you will feel better emotionally and physically and you will be happy to find yourself actually feeling more in balance than you were before.
Balance can be best described as boundary management. It is about making choices and enjoying them. It is not always something that we find, but instead is something that we can create. By keeping in mind the areas of life that are easy to let get out of balance, we can better maintain our ability to correct those areas, bringing us a sense of accomplishment, happiness and overall well-being!

1. Andrew J. Sommerfield, Ian J. Deary, Brian M. Frier. (2004). Acute hyperglycemia alters mood state and impairs cognitive performance in people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 10, 2335-2340. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.10.2335
2. Leeana Aarthi Bagwath Persad (2011) Energy drinks and the neurophysiological impact of caffeine. Front. Neurosci. 5, 116. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00116
3. Laura M. Juliano, Roland R. Griffiths. (2004). A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity, and associated features. Psychopharmacology, 176, 1-29. doi: 10.1007/s00213-004-2000-x

Tis the Season for PSLs

By Dinar Yusufov

You’re rushing to get to campus on time. Your backpack is overflowing with papers and lecture notes, & the cool, windy air is giving way for the orange and yellow-colored leaves to fall onto the ground. In order to stay alert and awake on this windy Monday, you need to have your daily fix of Starbucks coffee, and considering the cool and crisp weather, you opt for a soothing Pumpkin Spice Latte. So warm and comforting, it helps you be able to tackle on the beginning of the week. Now, let’s take a look into what a PSL really contains. This wonderful and indulgent espresso beverage contains notes of pumpkin, cinnapslmon, nutmeg and clove that is like a fall heaven. You can get it with whipped cream and some pumpkin pie spices as well. A common way that this beverage is bought is as a Grande (medium sized) with 2% milk and whipped cream. This certain drink would equal out to be:

380 Calories

14 grams of total fat

8 grams of Saturated fat

240 grams of Sodium

50 grams of Sugar

14 grams of Protein

A snack should typically contain between 150-300 calories, depending on the level of physical activity, how often you snack, and how many calories are eaten during each meal. Also, according to the American Heart Association, no more than 7% of the total daily calories should be coming from saturated fat. So consuming a typical 2,000 calorie diet, saturated fat intake should be limited to 16 grams per day. Now, comparing the nutrition facts of this drink to the standards of the 2,000 calorie diet, it can be kind of alarming. But, no worries! There are endless alternatives to recreate this drink without all of the saturated fat, sodium, and SUGAR, but still the amazing flavor and comfort it brings during cold and windy fall days!

While at Starbucks,

1) Order with a different type of milk. Starbucks just now announced that they will be offering almond milk! So, now with options such as soy milk, almond milk, and non-fat milk, there is a variety of milks to choose from, that are lower in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. Also, if you opt out of whipped cream, that halves the amount of total fat in your drink, making it a bit more healthy!

2) Order a regular coffee with Pumpkin Spice syrup. Yes, I know the pumpkin spice flavor is just heavenly during this time of the year. I want to put it in everything I eat: granola, soup, pastries, drinks, etc. So, why not just get the flavor into it, without all the extra calories and sugars. Just order your favorite roast of coffee, dark, medium or blonde, add some milk and ask for a pump or two of pumpkin spice syrup! You’ll still be getting the caffeine, but with more than half the sugar, fat and calories included. Much healthier and lighter. Trust me, you will love it.

Not a fan of Starbucks, but still love PSLs?

3) Make you own PSL at home! I love re-creating drinks at home that I try at coffee shops. So, here is one that I hope you all will be pleasantly satisfied with:

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or your favorite milk)

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 teaspoons of maple syrup

8 ounces of your favorite brewed coffee

Sprinkle of cinnamon

1) Combine all the ingredients in a blender & blend until it is smooth and creamy.

2) Adjust flavor to taste, if needed and serve warm. Enjoy! J

3) Don’t forget to take a picture to document it.

Good luck with your fall coffee endeavors and hope this provided a little insight on the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte!


http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-Pumpkin-Spice-Latte-35725456 http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/pumpkin-spice-latte http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp#.V_GEgPkrKUk

The Gut Brain Connection

By Shelby Grande
“OUR SECOND BRAIN”, the gut. To most, it doesn’t make much logical sense to say that our gut, bacteria, the foods we eat and digest have anything if at all to do with our emotions. Sounds absorb and crazy right? Well when you think about our simple slang of “getting butterflies in your stomach” or “having that gut instinct” is a symbolic reference to our actual interconnection of the gut microbiome and our emotions.
Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe.
Our bodies are composed of more bacteria than cells. We are more bug than human! Many people do not realize the complexity of the gut as it is not just a machine that processes and digest foods. It is a large part of our sensory system, signaling system and most importantly, the immune system. Within the layers of our gut we have around 50 to 100 MILLION nerve cells. These cells throw out signals to get rid of foreigners that do not belong in your body such as toxins, rotten food, bag bugs etc. 85% of our immune defense cells are originated and located in the gut. Like any ecosystem inhabited by competing species, the environment within the gut dictates which inhabitants thrive.
So some food to recognize to help sustain your internal ecosystem, keep your gut microbiome healthy and to boost your mood are listed below!
1. NUTS! (Especially walnuts): nuts are loaded with alpha linolenic acid which reduces over gut inflammation and therefore reduces the chance of coming down with a cold. Low ALA levels have been linked to decreased levels of dopamine, which is responsible for the feeling of joy and serotonin, which controls your anger, aggression and keeps your brain chemistry at ease. Incorporate nuts in your salads, trail mix, yogurts, butters or sautéed meals!
2. YOGURT (try kefir too!): cultured dairy products such as these listed are loaded with millions of probiotics, the good bacteria your gut needs to keep you healthy. Your gut and your brain have regular chats with each other via the vagus nerve. Yogurt makes sure that these conversations keep flowing efficiently and spread messages out all throughout the body.
3. Dark chocolate: this delicious dessert provides an instant boost in concentration and mood and even improves blood flow to the brain, which indulges you in a more vibrant and energized state of mind. Dark chocolate when digested releases epinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters to be carried throughout the body. Skip the sugary chocolate and indulge yourself in the highest percentage of cacao organic chocolate!
4. Vegetables: Asparagus, in particular, is one of the top plant based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the primary mood regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate in all vegetables add to the happiness-promoting profile.
5. Mussels, clams, oysters, and fish: mussels, as well as the other seafood listed, are loaded with some of the highest natural forms of vitamin B12. B12 is a brain protecting vitamin and preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp and focused as you get older. Digesting mussels will also release some important nutrients to balancing mood, such as zinc, iodine and selenium. These nutrients keep your thyroid in check which is your body’s master mood regulator.
6. Warm quinoa, spinach and shitake salad with feta cheese and walnuts: this meal helps to prevent against depression and anxiety by increasing your serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your body. Beyond this, the spinach is loaded with B vitamins that protect your heart, your gut, and your brain cells and the shiitake mushroom are an excellent source of selenium which helps your defense immune system and keeps the gut brain conversations in check!

The Round and Purple Eggplant

By Emily Myers

The Eggplant is one of kind, from its smooth purple exterior, to its seedy, sponge-like center. This vegetable, grown on a vine, peaks in mid-July-October.

Eggplant is a very good source of Dietary Fiber, which is key when talking about gut health and weight management. Dietary Fiber increases the feeling of fullness by partnering with water in the stomach to create a gel-like Chyme. The gel, in a way, tricks the stomach by taking up more volume than it necessarily holds in calories. As the Dietary Fiber passes through the GI-tract, to the laeggplantrge intestine, bacteria breaks-down the Dietary Fiber and expels gas, which puts pressure on the on intestinal wall. The pressure comes out as a nice little stinker (we hope). Eggplant is also a good source of Thiamine, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, and Magnesium. Eggplant is a winner when looking at the Glycemic Index, with a ranking of 2 out of 100. The Glycemic Index is often used when taking about the Diabetic Diet. It describes the rate carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars and used as energy by the human body. High Glycemic Index foods are said to have an adverse effect on blood sugars.

Try this Baba Ghanoush recipe! Fun to say an easy to cook, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Yield: 2 cups of dip, enough for 8-10 people Ingredients:

* Eggplant, 2 medium

* Olive oil, 2Tbsp

* Tahini butter, ½ cup

* Garlic cloves, 1Tbsp

* Lemon juice, ¼ cup

* Salt and pepper

* Optional cilantro to taste


1) Preheat oven to 450oF. After washing and drying eggplant, rub olive oil on the outside for roasting. Place eggplant on baking sheet and cook for 15-20 min, until the center of the eggplant is tender. Let it cool.

2) Peel the eggplant and cut into manageable pieces. Place into the food processor along with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and optional seasonings.

3) Taste and manipulate as needed. If it is a bit thick, add several teaspoons of water.

4) Serve alongside warm pita, or freshly cut cucumber and carrots.



SELFNutritionData. Eggplant cooked, boiled, drained with salt Nutrition Facts and Calories. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2858/2 . Published 2013. Accessed September 20, 2016.

iDiet. The 2 Kinds of Fiber for Fullness/ Useful Dieting Tips. https://www.theidiet.com/2013/05/fiber-for-fullness-useful-dieting-tips/#.V916dPkrJhE. Published May 20, 2013. Accessed September 20, 2016.

SELFNutritionData. The Glycemic Index. http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/glycemic-index. Published 2014. Accessed September 20, 2016.