Winter is Here

Noowong_Headshot By Anchitta Noowong

Winter is coming, winter is here. Are you feeling sad this winter? You’re not alone. Being born and raised in a hot tropical country, it was difficult for me to live in a place where it’s cold and dark half the year. I remember my first Portland winter, and it was brutal. I recalled that it rained all the time, there was no sunlight, and everything was just gross. I remember feeling depressed, sad, tired, and unmotivated. I figured that I couldn’t live like that, so I adapted and found ways that help me get through Pacific Northwest winter.

Looking for more information? Follow these links below:
SAD: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/seasonal-affective-disorder
Endorphins: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320839.php
PSU SHAC: https://www.pdx.edu/shac/aboutshac

Eat like a caveman, become lean like caveman?

paleo dietBy Mario Quintana

The definition of a diet, according to Merriam-Webster, means food and drink regularly provided or consumed, habitual nourishment, or the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason. And for many, that special reason is to lose weight for a specific occasion or for their health. Some will try numerous diets and various exercise regimens to accomplish said goal. A few months ago, I jumped on the bandwagon and started the paleo diet in order to lean out.

Simply described, the paleo diet uses the logic that our ancestors only had access to meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fats from some of these these sources. Therefore, it excludes agricultural productions such as grains, dairy, legumes, refined salt, refined sugar, potatoes, and processed oils from one’s diet. At first glance, the paleo diet makes sense and even more so here in Portland. One month into the diet, I noticed a change in weight. However, I soon began to continuously feel lethargic, exhausted, and weak.

The paleo diet reasons that by consuming little to no carbohydrates, the body will naturally use up all the stored fat one has for energy. You lose weight and become lean like our ancestors were. However, there is no substantial evidence to support that our ancestors followed this diet. Up to 60% of the paleo diet heavily focuses on eating meat and fats. That percentage is simply too high for the average sedentary person, even for those who exercise, and even for world-class athletes. As for the weight that I lost, and much to my dismay, most of it turned out to be mostly muscle.

Eating healthy and exercising daily may be hard to start for many, but perhaps what’s even worse is doing both based on fads or what’s popular. In other words, one needs to research scientifically peer reviewed information on nutrition and kinesiology to understand the human body to successfully change it and maintain it. For those interested, I suggest reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell ‘s research.

You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

By: Theo Burke

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.

There was never enough time.

imagesBeing a full time student and commuting from quite a distance has some straining effects on my time. However, the strains tend to be created out of my choice whether I like to admit or not. One of those strains used to prevent me from working out consistently throughout the week. What is ironic is that I never had the time to work out when I used to live on or near campus. One would imagine that being so close to the gym would give me an incentive to workout.

For the last two months, I have successfully worked out throughout the week in one hour sessions. There have been days in which I missed a workout but they are few and far. Whether I am tired, feeling depressed, or if it’s late in the evening, I always have to get a workout done. The results have been satisfactory, I have gained decent amount of muscle.
Working out for two months has proven to me that I can mold my physique, but more importantly, that I could commit to achieve a greater will. I will admit that I work out to look good but consequently I have also started to feel better, perhaps because I know that I can control how my body looks but also how it performs. Ultimately however, my body may be one of the few things in which I have total control in my life.

Rain, rain, go away and come back another day

outdoor_raining-1280x800I was dreaming that I was sailing a small ship through a tremendous storm. The rain was heavy and dense, battering the ship and causing metallic thumps that scathed my ears. Then I awoke from my sleep and the sounds had not ceased. I cleared my eyes and sat up in my seat and saw a heavy downpour battering my car, where I was sleeping.

The rain had always made me feel blue. It’s common among people deprived of sunshine to feel blue and even develop a condition known as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. It comes to no surprise to any of us that it rains for most of the year in Portland. Still, why do so many people feel blue because of the rain?

Indigenous people tend to see the rain as sacred and as a sign of life. For some reason, it seems that modern society and individuals do not see it in the same light. Perhaps our need for comfort through materialistic and superficial things have deprived us of the opportunity to reflect on ourselves in solitude.

River rafting in Estacada

1509_1raft_action_supersize_webscale

The last three weeks have been torture for me trying to get back on my feet. I am slowly moving again and creating a structure for my life. My friends, family, school advisers and work teammates are supporting me though out this tough time. Last weekend, I made no plans nor did I want to do anything.

However, a friend encouraged me to go with him on a trip. He assured me that this trip would put things into perspective and bring me back to reality. There was nothing to lose, so I took his offer. So we started packing what appeared to be camping gear and had one more thing to obtain: dry suits.

I was not aware that the Outdoor program at PSU rented out gear. Being a student, I was able to get two dry suits for $50, a bargain when they are worth up to $300 a piece. Early the next day, we were off to Estacada in gloomy and rainy weather.  We arrived to a scene of people, kayaks, rafts, dry suits, wet suits and gear along the river.

We immediately parked on the side of the road, dressed down to a T-shirt and shorts, put on our dry suits, helmet, and life vests and we were off to find his friends. Upon finding them, without hesitation we got a raft, carried down to the river, and got in to raft downstream.

My heart pumped and my senses were on full alert. All I could think of was not to fall out of the raft into the river. The water was freezing hence the dry suits we had to keep us not only warm but alive. The rapids were strong and I tried to literally bury my feet into the wedges of the raft and held on to my paddle for life.

Downstream, we hit stronger rapids, being pushed from side to side, the water pouring down on us, as we tried to maneuver through without falling out or flipping over. Everyone around me was unnerved.  I was hoping I would not fall out. After what seemed an eternity of freezing water and near heart attacks, we rafted and finished in calm and safe waters. This trip was much needed for me even if it distracted me from the world of depression that I was in and still am in.

PSU’s Mandatory Student Health Insurance or “The Agony and the Ecstasy”

Q:  “I didn’t know we had to have health insurance and why is it Medicine symbolmandatory?”

A:  In short, it is the law of the land. Per the health care reform act recently passed by Congress and taking effect January 2014, all citizens will have some form of health insurance coverage. Portland State University must comply with this law for any domestic student taking at least five credit hours. But as Christi Zielger, PSU Student Insurance Coordinator states, “PSU does not have mandatory insurance because of the law…we’ve always had mandatory insurance, but this is the first time we have had such a robust plan and are allowing students to waive out if they have something else.” Like it or not our government wants its citizens (and students) to be healthy and to have the ability to pay for such services to remain so.

(PSU’s plan is in effect now) http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insurance-information

Q:   “But I already have insurance (I think) through my parents or my employer. Can I use my same doctor”?

A:  As long as you have existing insurance coverage, provide the applicable documentation, and submit a waiver to the school prior to the beginning of class, you will not be automatically charged for PSU’s health insurance. And yes, you can stay with your same doctor or with your own insurance carrier. You will have to see if your current doctor is in-service with Aetna, PSU’s insurance provider, or is considered out-of-service with Aetna. Either way you are covered. http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insurancewaiver. And if you wish a link for providers: https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/

Q: “If I do not already have health insurance coverage, how much will this cost me? Is this a good price?

A: The cost of PSU’s health insurance plan is $560/term ($140/month annualized). This bill will be automatically applied to your account when you register for class (unless you file a waiver). Look at these monthly cost comparisons*:

  • PSU-                   $140
  • Reed-                  $133
  • Lewis & Clark- $225
  • U of P-               $178
  • Willamette-      $211

(*For comparison, this writer has health insurance through his wife’s employer. While it is good coverage—the price is $460/mo. for the two of us).

Q: “Is there a clinic on campus I can go to if I can’t get to my normal doctor”?

  • A: Yes there is. SHAC, Student Health and Counseling, and it is located at Univ. Center Bldg, Ste. 300, 1880 SW 6thhttp://www.pdx.edu/shac/ They are professionally staffed for:

Hospital Sign >

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Mental Health
  • Testing

PLAN HIGHLIGHTS (not inclusive)

  • No Deductible
  • $20/$30/$40 Co pays
  • Inpatient/surgical/hospital coverage @ 80%
  • Outpatient care @ 80%-100%
  • Annual out of pocket max @ $3500
  • Annual max payout coverage @ $100,000
  • Prescriptions @ 100% (generic)
  • Free generic birth control prescriptions
  • Outpatient Mental Health/Alcoholism/Drug Treatment @ 100%
  • Women’s Health Care @ 100%
  • Preventive Health Care @ 100%
  • Diabetic Testing Supplies @ 80%
  • Elective Abortion Expense @ 80%
  • No Dental
  • No Vision
  • No Hearing

For more detailed and complete information please contact:

Christy Ziegler Student Insurance Coordinator

Christi Ziegler, PSU Student Insurance Coordinator, 503-725-2467, christi.ziegler@pdx.edu, campus @ SHAC bldg.   Or     http://www.pdx.edu/shac/insuranceplan

You Are Not Alone

For the longest time, I felt that no one could ever really understand my troubles. We all have issues, concerns, and problems, but I felt I was on my own. I am the first one in my family to attend a university, and this tends to be a bit overwhelming and exciting for most students. Yet, over time I kept feeling frustrated, lost, and even sad. I simply didn’t know what was going on with me. This kept happening for a while and it got worse.

It wasn’t until I had several panic attacks that my family and I knew something was wrong. Our family doctor knew what was going on. He diagnosed me with Anxiety Disorder. I was a bit relieved to know what I had yet; my symptoms persisted even after getting on medication. Time passed by and I started to feel better.

However, I just had a recent panic attack. It has been over a year since I had one. I realized that I needed to take care of myself better by getting professional help and by reaching out to everyone I know. I was relying on my medication too much, and hadn’t developed a support system. This is critical for a well-rounded and healthy recovery and growth. I advise everyone to reach out for support from everyone they know and to go to SHAC or any medical center to get professional help. You are not alone, there is help out there.

It’s a mad, mad world

We all know going to school is stressful and being on your own is too. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. I’m happy, healthy and stable due to my doctors, prescriptions – and most of all – due to the amazing support system I have in my family and my friends – my two best friends to be precise.

On the days when I am “off”, because of stress or being sick or meds mixing wrong, I lean more heavily on the people around me. I had one of these days recently, and I was not functioning well, if at all. Someone, whom I love dearly, stepped up without question to take care of me. While I knew before how valuable my friends are, and how much I love them, this instance only made me understand it better.

For some of us though, our support systems are far away – either in different states, or maybe in different countries. I say, be aware of the people in your life. Take notice of them, and when someone is having a bad day, be a little nicer. Because you never know, it might just make a difference to them. For those out there like me, be aware of your resources. Sometimes all you need to do is tell a friend, “I’m having a bad day.” But if you need more support, PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) can help.

Going into this academic year, I plan to stay healthy, and to have as much fun as I can. With the support and love of the people in my life, I know this is not only possible, but guaranteed.

What is the real importance of Education?

I began my college education at PSU way back in 1975. I had just been released from the Navy and I wanted to begin my education as soon as possible. I felt as though I was now four years behind my contemporaries– as if achieving an education was some kind of race. But as fate would have it, I also got married as soon as I was discharged. Two wonderful children later, a house mortgage, going to school at night, and working a full-time for the U.S. Veterans Administration, left me exhausted. I left PSU in spring of 1980 as a junior.

Twenty-seven years later, retiring early, both children adults (more or less) and having moved out of the house, I decide to take another look at that degree I had begun so long ago. I had always regretted not finishing that General Business degree but now things were different. I no longer needed that degree…I wanted that degree. Tamping down my fears of inadequacy and wondering how I would look to the younger generation, I met with my PSU advisor, Robert Mercer, and together we forged a path for me to follow. But as my needs have changed since 1980 so have my priorities. No longer am I after that General Business degree. Now I am finally figuring out just who I really am…and it is not a businessman, it is a writer.

My worth is not measured for me in what I have accomplished in life so much as what I attempt in life.