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The Herbert Wellness Center staff would like to thank everyone who came out last month to celebrate our new physique. We're very proud of the expansion and hope that you enjoy the new spaces and programming!
  What's Happening?

Reduced Hours for Spring Break
The Herbert Wellness Center will operate under the following reduced hours during Spring Break, Saturday, March 12 through Sunday, March 20:

  • Weekdays: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Weekends: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Spring 2011 Community Classes - Session II
Registration for Session II of the Spring 2011 Community Class schedule begins on Monday, March 14 and will continue through Friday, March 25. Classes include belly dance, salsa, tennis, mat and reformer Pilates, adult and youth aquatics, and much more. Click here to view the full course catalogue. Sign up in the Wellness Enrichment Suite Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. or call 305-284-LIFE(5433) for more information. Want to try a class before signing up? Attend the first class for free!

New to the Community Class Schedule: Reformer Pilates
Joseph Pilates created equipment to both support and challenge the body's core musculature. The spring resistance on the reformer equipment assists by strengthening and stretching weak areas of your body, while encouraging the development of core strength and proper joint alignment. Reformer classes follow a general sequence of exercises guided by an instructor. These flowing movements linked together through mindful breathing challenge your balance, coordination, and abdominals. Beginning Saturday March 19, the second session of the Community Class schedule, the Herbert Wellness Center will offer 7 different multi-level Reformer Pilates class options.  Registration for these classes is going on now.  You can find class times and prices on the community class schedule.  Registration is open to both members and non-members.  For additional information contact Melissa Jurado at mjurado@miami.edu.

Reduced Class Schedules during Spring Break
Group exercise and studio cycling will run under a slightly reduced schedule during spring break; Saturday, March 12 - Sunday, March 20. Click here for a full schedule listing.

Daytime Massage Service Returns to the Herbert Wellness Center
Now that the expansion is complete, the Wellness Enrichment Suite will once again offer table massage appointments from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Evening hours from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. on weekdays are also available. To schedule your appointment, call the Wellness Enrichment Suite at 305-284-LIFE(5433). Membership is not required to purchase a massage. UM faculty and staff are eligible to receive a 10% discount on a 50-minute massage. In addition, UM employees who are not members of the Herbert Wellness Center will receive a complimentary day-pass to enjoy free use of the facility on the day of their massage appointment. For more information, visit us on the web.

Party at the 2011 Corporate Run/Walk!
Join Sebastian and Team UM on Thursday, April 28 for the largest office party in Dade County - the 2011 Corporate Run/Walk! The event takes place at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The race starts at 6:45 p.m. but everyone is encouraged to arrive early for the Team UM photo. This year Well 'Canes is contributing $5 towards the entry fee of Team UM participants who register early. The cost is only $25 if registration is received by April 6. The cost increases to $35 for race applications received after April 6. Well 'Canes is also sponsoring the Office Party Challenge by providing a catered lunch party for the department that recruits the most race participants (family members are included). Become a team captain and the winner of the Office Party Challenge could be you! The race registration form and other details are on the Herbert Wellness Center website. You may also contact your team captains: Claudine Johnson (Miller School of Medicine) at 305-243-7609 (e-mail cjohnson7@med.miami.edu) or Angie Ramos (Coral Gables and RSMAS campuses) at 305-284-5433 (e-mail a.ramos2@miami.edu).

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Join the Counseling Center on Saturday, April 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the Rock as they march a short distance with students and staff, both male and female, in high heels. This event is designed to promote education, awareness, and prevention of rape, sexual assault, gender violence, and relationship/domestic violence. In addition to the walk, enjoy a keynote speaker, live music, and a shoe decorating contest! Prizes will be given to the individual and group with the best decorated shoe. The $5 registration fee includes a t-shirt, high heels for the men, and refreshments. Visit the Counseling Center or any Residence Hall to sign up. For more information call 305-284-5511 or visit www.walkamileinhershoes.org.

Wellness Education Series
The Herbert Wellness Center is proud to promote healthy living by offering a series of programs on various topics, ranging from fitness and nutrition to stress management. The wellness education series is open to everybody, regardless of membership status. Registration is required prior to participation in any of the programs. Visit the Wellness Enrichment Suite or call 305-284-LIFE(5433) to reserve your place. Click here for the full schedule. Here are some of our upcoming programs in the series:


Cooking Class - Indian Cuisine
Tuesday, March 22, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., Chef Mercedes, Instructional Kitchen. Spices, spices, spices...they are the heartbeat of Indian cooking. A single dish may contain ten or more exquisitely blended spices to excite the senses. We will make a Ghee (clarified butter), Garam Masala (toasted whole spice blend), Naan (flatbread), and a host of sensational dishes. Menu: Indian Beef and Spinach Curry, Bombay Chicken and Rice, Spiced Kale and Chickpeas, and Annam-Kobbari Parvanam (Rice and Coconut Kheer/Pudding). Cost (including demonstration, recipes, and food tasting): student and non-student members - $20, non-members - $25.

Vegetarian Cooking Class - Most Valuable Proteins
Wednesday, March 23, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Chef Lori, Instructional Kitchen. We'll cook up some of our past favorites in this class devoted to vegetarian-friendly proteins! Tempeh Reuben showcases Tempeh (a soy product) in a delicious sandwich reminiscent of a New York City deli. Then imagine a scrumptious brunch in Provence when you taste a Raisin, Pine Nut, Cheese, and Chard Oven Omelet. Next, elevate the humble cruciferous cauliflower to an Indian main dish star in our Cauliflower with Ginger Cashew Onion Sauce. Finally, we'll make Dhal Bat Burgers - a quick weeknight dish combining lentils, rice, and spices that serve as a great way to use up leftovers. Cost (including demonstration, recipes, and food tasting): student and non-student members - $20, non-members - $25.

Heartsaver CPR
Monday, March 28, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Classrooms. The HS CPR course teaches CPR and relief of choking in adults, children, and infants, as well as use of barrier devices for all ages. (Optional: Infant CPR and choking; Adult, Child, and Infant CPR with Mask). Cost: student members - $15, non-student members - $25, non-members - $35.

  Tips for a Healthier

Health-E-Cooking: Turkey-Broccoli Casserole
Trying to eat healthier but getting sick of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli? Lighten up your dinner table with this Turkey-Broccoli Casserole:

The use of unsalted butter and low-sodium broth make this recipe perfect for those watching their salt intake. If you're looking to cut down on fat, use only the white meat.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into long spears
  • 3 cups shredded turkey (light and dark meat), warmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups home-made turkey broth or low-sodium canned broth, heated
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook broccoli about 5 minutes, or until tender; drain. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish; arrange broccoli across the bottom. Top with turkey; cover with foil to keep warm.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions and mushrooms until golden brown (add a little broth if mixture seems dry). Add flour, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until thick. Stir in sherry; cook 1 minute. Add cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan; simmer 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, arrange a rack 6 inches below the heat source, and preheat the broiler to high. Pour sauce over turkey. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and almonds. Broil for 1 minute, or until the sauce bubbles and the almonds are golden brown.

Per serving: 320 calories; 18g fat (8g sat.; 6g mono; 3g poly); 28g protein; 12g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 83mg cholesterol; 3mg iron; 238mg sodium; 184mg calcium.

* For a lighter version substitute olive oil for the butter, and replace heavy cream with either milk or half-and-half.

Source: Health

Jumpstart Your Routine
Does your exercise routine need a swift kick in the gluteus maximus? It's easy to get bored with the same old exercises every day.

This semester we will build on the basic exercises we featured last semester. Combining different movements in the same exercises increases caloric expenditure and allows you to accomplish more with less time. This issue's exercise is the lateral lunge:




This is a lower body exercise that will target the glutes, adductors, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Step 1: Start standing upright with both feet together.

Step 2: Step to the right with your right foot, keeping your toes forward and your feet flat. Squat through your right hip while keeping your left leg straight. Squat until your upper thigh is parallel to the ground.

Step 3: Push back to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side.


  • Keep your knee on your "working" side behind your toes.
  • Keep your opposite leg straight, your back flat, and your chest up.

Ask a Trainer
Have a question you'd like answered by a personal trainer? We're here to help.


Q:  I have been trying to improve my eating habits but I struggle the most when I am at work. Do you have any suggestions to help me survive the work day?

A:The workplace can be a nutritional battlefield with doughnuts in the break room, co-workers’ candy bowls, and afternoon birthday cake. More organizations are coming up with strategies, like wellness programming, but it is always important to take charge of your fitness and nutrition decisions.  With that said, the first step is to create a plan.  Make a habit of meal-planning once a week.   Map out your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas for each day, then make a shopping list and stock your fridge and cupboards.  Download your worksite’s cafeteria menu and decide when to buy lunch and when to brown-bag it. Freeze dinner leftovers for grab-and-go meals and prepare snacks and lunches the night before. Planning ahead gives you more choices and saves money. The next step is to eat breakfast.  It’s no secret that starting your day with a power breakfast is vital when it comes to all-day energy and weight management. Skipping breakfast might seem to cut calories, but studies show it actually promotes weight gain and stifles brain function.  Make sure your breakfast includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat or skim dairy products, and whole grains. Including protein-rich foods like eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy products staves off hunger more effectively than a mostly carbohydrate meal. Lastly, chose sensible snacks. Skip the vending machines and stock your own scrumptious snacks for long-lasting energy. Pair complex carbohydrates with protein and a small amount of fat for sustainable energy, and control portions to avoid calorie overload.  Also don’t forget to drink plenty of water.


Have questions for a trainer? E-mail them to wellnesscenter@miami.edu and you might see your answer in our next issue.

Did You Know?
Interested in science-based fitness facts? Our resident exercise physiologist and associate director of fitness, will share fitness and nutrition information that is fact, not fiction.


Many use “fear” of knee injury as an excuse not to exercise.  However, a new study from Monash University may discount this excuse. The study reviewed 28 previous investigations that targeted physical activity and knee osteoarthritis.  The authors of the study noticed that many of these previous studies conflicted with one another, so they reevaluated the results by controlling for the effects of exercise on individual parts of the knee. They found that exercise actually promotes bone growth in the knee joint. Also, they found that physical activity was associated with increased cartilage volume and fewer defects in the cartilage itself. So barring any direct trauma to the knee itself or abnormal tears to cartilage, they reached the conclusion that exercise actually helps keep the knee joint healthy.




In the News


Has life just been too busy to read the Health and Fitness section of your newspaper? Let us provide you with a few highlights of what's made the news lately.

Can you Get Hooked on Diet Soda?
First thing every morning, Ellen Talles starts her day by draining a supersize Styrofoam cup filled with Diet Coke and crushed ice. The 61-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., drinks another Diet Coke in the car on the way to work and keeps a glass nearby "at all times" at her job as a salesclerk. By the end of the day she has put away about 2 liters. "I just love it," she says. "I crave it, need it. My food tastes better with it."

Talles sounds a lot like an addict. Replace her ever-present glass of Diet Coke with a cigarette, and she'd make a convincing two-pack-a-day smoker. In fact, she says, she buys her 2-liter bottles 10 at a time - more if a hurricane is in the offing - because if she notices she's down to her last one, she panics "like somebody who doesn't have their pack of cigarettes."

Most diet-soda drinkers aren't as gung ho as Talles, but people who down several diet sodas per day are hardly rare. Government surveys have found that people who drink diet beverages average more than 26 ounces per day (some drink far more) and that 3% of diet-soda drinkers have at least four daily. Are these diet-soda fiends true addicts? And if so, what are they addicted to? The most obvious answer is caffeine - but that doesn't explain the many die-hard diet drinkers who prefer caffeine-free varieties.

Factors besides caffeine are likely at work. Although diet soda clearly isn't as addictive as a drug like nicotine, experts say the rituals that surround diet soda and the artificial sweeteners it contains can make some people psychologically - and even physically - dependent on it in ways that mimic more serious addictions. And unlike sugared soda, which will make you gain weight if you drink too much of it, zero-calorie soda doesn't seem to have an immediate downside that prevents people from overindulging. "You think, 'Oh, I can drink another one because I'm not getting more calories,'" says Harold C. Urschel, MD, an addiction psychiatrist in Dallas and the author of Healing the Addicted Brain. "Psychologically you're giving yourself permission."

The simplest explanation for a serious diet-soda habit is caffeine. Many people who chain-drink diet soda may be caffeine addicts who simply prefer soda to coffee or energy drinks, though diet soda doesn't provide much of a kick by comparison. (A can of Diet Coke contains four to five times less caffeine than a small Starbucks coffee.)

Caffeine can't account for Steve Bagi's habit, however. The 44-year-old graphic designer from Chester Springs, Pa., gets his morning buzz from an enormous cup of coffee, yet he still buys caffeine-free Diet Pepsi by the case and downs six cans a day, "easy." His Diet Pepsi cravings stem from a prior addiction to nicotine, not caffeine. "It's all tied to smoking," says Bagi, who smoked a pack a day for 20 years and started drinking diet soda to mask the aftertaste of cigarettes. He eventually kicked the smoking habit - but the Diet Pepsi one stuck.

Trading one addiction or compulsive behavior for another - a phenomenon known as addiction swapping - is a well-known concept in addiction medicine, one that may explain Bagi's experience and that of other heavy diet-soda drinkers. Many people who drink diet soda are trying to lose (or keep off) weight by eating healthier, and they may turn to the sweetness of diet soda for comfort as they scale back on sugar, carbohydrates, and other satisfying foods - much like a heroin addict who steps down to Oxycontin, Dr. Urschel says. Similarly, people may get hooked on diet soda because they associate it with a certain activity or behavior, as Bagi did with smoking. "You can get into a situation where you crave a diet soda by conditioning yourself," Dr. Urschel says. "[If] you stop for gas and always get a diet soda, the craving will start to come first, before you even pull into the station."

The psychological components of diet-soda cravings are powerful, but they aren't the whole story. Research suggests that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda (such as aspartame) may prompt people to keep refilling their glass because these fake sugars don't satisfy like the real thing. In a 2008 study, for instance, women who drank water that was alternately sweetened with sugar and Splenda couldn't tell the difference - but their brains could. Functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans revealed that even though both drinks lit up the brain's reward system, the sugar did so more completely. "Your senses tell you there's something sweet that you're tasting, but your brain tells you, 'Actually, it's not as much of a reward as I expected,'" says Martin P. Paulus, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, and one of the authors of the study. "The consequence might be that the brain says, 'Well, I'll have more of this.'"

In other words, artificial sweeteners may spur drinkers - or their brains - to keep chasing a "high" that diet soda keeps forever just out of reach. It's not clear that this teasing effect can lead to dependence, but it's a possibility, Dr. Paulus says. "Artificial sweeteners have positive reinforcing effects - meaning humans will work for it, like for other foods, alcohol, and even drugs of abuse," he says. "Whenever you have that, there is a potential that a subgroup of people...will have a chance of getting addicted."

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, a nutrition specialist and assistant professor of internal medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, says that while diet-soda dependence appears to be a real phenomenon, it is probably caused by a complex mix of behavioral factors, not necessarily artificial sweeteners. "I don't think there is clear-cut evidence of biochemical dependence on diet soda, but my sense is that certainly people do become habituated to diet soda and dependent upon it," he says.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a key sign of substance dependence is when a person continues to use a substance even when he or she knows it's causing physical or mental health problems. Talles fits this description. She was diagnosed with brittle bones about six years ago, and her internist urged her to quit Diet Coke because the phosphoric acid in soda - both diet and regular - leaches calcium from bones, which can make osteoporosis worse. She's not having it, though. "It's not like I smoke or have any other bad habits," she says. "This is my thing." All the same, Talles acknowledges that drinking so much diet soda is probably not good for her, so in the last couple of months, she's started substituting one of her daily Diet Cokes for a caffeinated Crystal Light.

Another distinguishing feature of substance dependence-- whether it's to caffeine, nicotine, or hard drugs like heroin - is the painful withdrawal symptoms that occur if a person tries to quit cold turkey. Although it's difficult to pinpoint whether aspartame, caffeine, or some combination of ingredients is responsible, people who cut back on diet soda report symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and irritability - a feeling that Talles knows well. She still remembers with horror a European vacation in 1982 during which she couldn't find diet soda for weeks. (This was still the infancy of diet soda; Diet Coke had just been released.) "I felt terribly lethargic and I had a headache," Talles recalls. "I tried to drink tea, but it didn't work the same way. ... I was having terrible withdrawal." When she finally found a vendor who sold Tab, four weeks into the trip, she bought every can he had.

Catharina Hedberg, the owner of the Ashram, a wellness retreat nestled in California's Santa Monica Mountains, has seen what she believes is aspartame withdrawal firsthand. She claims that as many as 20% of the people who visit the Ashram are "totally addicted" to aspartame, mainly from diet drinks. "Withdrawals are horrendous," Hedberg says, even among those who drink caffeine-free diet soda. Before guests arrive at the retreat, Hedberg sends them a packet of literature that, among other things, encourages them to stop consuming diet soda and other products that contain aspartame. Although her observations are admittedly unscientific, Hedberg says that people who drink a lot of diet soda tend to experience nausea (and sometimes even vomiting) one to two days after arriving at the retreat, whereas coffee drinkers typically just get headaches.

Whether you feel dependent or not, drinking too much diet soda might be risky in the long run. In recent years, habitual diet-soda consumption has been linked to an increased risk of low bone mineral density in women, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. What's more, a growing body of research suggests that excessive diet soda intake may actually encourage weight gain.

Researchers are still trying to sort out the counterintuitive link between zero-calorie soda and weight gain. One explanation may be that as your body gets used to experiencing the sweet flavor of diet soda without absorbing any calories, it begins to forget that foods containing real sugar and other carbohydrates do deliver calories. "The next time you go for a piece of fruit, your history says, 'I don't know if this has calories or not,' so you track those calories less well, and you may eat more of them," says Susan Swithers, PhD, a professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

It's also possible that people who gravitate toward diet soda are more likely to gain weight because they have less healthy diets overall than people who choose water or other unsweetened beverages. (They may use diet soda to wash down fast food, for instance.)

If a relationship between diet soda and unhealthy food choices does exist, it may not be a total coincidence. There is some speculation - largely unconfirmed, as of yet - that diet sodas have subtle effects on insulin and blood-sugar levels that trigger hunger and food cravings and influence how (and what) you eat.

None of this, however, is enough to persuade Talles or Bagi to swear off their habit. They simply have a hard time imagining life without diet soda. "I'd like to quit, and I know my wife would like me to," Bagi says. "I would like it to happen within the next year, but I'm not counting on it."

Source: CNN