Scurvy Is Scary

Taking daily vitamins has become a thing of the past. As a kid it seemed more important to get our daily dose of the Flinstones vitamins, but now, we’ve stopped growing, and vitamins for grown ups are no longer fruity and colorful.
Ronda Bokram, a nutritionist at Olin Health Center, says that’s okay, because other factors, such as diet and exercise, are more likely to keep us healthy than taking a vitamin every morning. “A multi-vitamin is not a requirement of staying healthy,” Bokram said. “Eating a variety of food, eating enough, and being active are more critical than vitamins.”
Senior Becky Woolever, who takes a multi-vitamin almost every day, agrees with Bokram. She said she found little difference in the way she felt before taking vitamins and how she feels now after having taken them consistently for some time. “I feel pretty normal after taking vitamins for about one year now,” Woolever said. “I don’t feel any different.”
Mark Conradi, an economics junior, has vitamins but does not take them finding that he feels the same whether he takes them or not. “I have a bottle [of vitamins] next to my sink,” Conradi said. “But when I take them I don’t feel any different, so I usually don’t.”
Woolever found as Bokram predicts, that when she exercises 3-4 times a week, she feels significantly better than when she is taking vitamins. “I feel healthy and not just because of vitamins,” Woolever said. “I work out three times a week, so I think it has more to do with that.”
Colleen Farrow, an English senior at MSU does not take vitamins but rarely gets sick or run-down which she, like Bokram, attributes to a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
“Overall I view myself as healthy,” Farrow said. “I’m a runner and I know that regular exercise helps immensely. I am sure it wouldn’t hurt to take some vitamins, but at the same time, I think as long as you’re eating a variety of healthy foods you’re giving your body most of the nutrients it needs.”
However, there are advocates who feel that everyone does indeed need a daily multi-vitamin to stay healthy and energetic. Dr. Obikoya writes in her online article, “Why Take Supplemental Vitamins,” that everyone critically needs vitamins daily to keep several of the body functions running regularly.
“Everybody critically needs vitamins to work, grow, and develop properly, which makes them extremely important on a daily basis,” Obikoya said. “The human body also requires vitamins to do many things, such as ward off disease, boost immune system response, and even improve overall moods.”
However, Bokram said that unless there is an actual deficiency of vitamins within your body, you generally will not feel a difference. “People often feel better due to the placebo effect (in which one feels better because they think they should feel better), when taking vitamins,” Bokram said. “But unless there is an actual deficiency, there is not any real improvement.”
But, taking a vitamin everyday whether your body is deficient or not, will not harm you.
“Too much of a supplement will not get stored in your body,” Bokram said. “They will just go down the toilet and you will end up with expensive urine.”
If you still feel as if vitamins are for you, Bokram recommends to find a vitamin with 100 percent of recommended dietary intakes (RDI) and to take it only a few times per week. This will keep costs down and will make one bottle last longer. Most over the counter multi-vitamins are fairly inexpensive, ranging everywhere from $4-$12 and contain enough pills to last for 1-2 months.
For more information on vitamin intake or vitamin supplements, contact Ronda Bokram at the Olin Health Center: (517) 355-7593.

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Love from Afar

[maps]College often takes us far away from our homes, families, friends and significant others. Relationships you had in high school where you saw your boyfriend/girlfriend everyday in and out of school, suddenly seem too hard to manage when one of you decides to go to a college far away from the other. Perhaps you meet someone really great but they are from out-of-state or are leaving for an internship or a study abroad program soon.
These scenarios happen often among younger couples and in college atmospheres. Dr. Tawa Sina from the MSU Counseling Center often treats patients in long-distance relationships that develop adjustment disorder with a depressed mood. “We treat them all of the time,” Sina said. “A lot of freshmen think they are going to retain relationships but find that it is too hard to keep it together.”
Danielle Heming and Grr Hills found themselves facing a long-distance relationship after only being together for a short amount of time. Heming moved to London after graduating to pursue an internship opportunity in the film industry while Hills remained in Lansing.
“It is more difficult being in a long-distance relationship because you miss the presence of the person,” Hills said. “You feel separated from them and have to live with an idea as opposed to a person.”
Sina agrees that how far away you are from one another is a significant factor in the ease of the relationship. “The number one factor in a romantic relationship is proximity,” Sina said. “You have to be skilled and mature to have a long-distance relationship.”
Many people do associate long-distance relationships with being harder than other relationships. They are viewed as more frustrating, lonely and as being very hard. Though these associations are not necessarily wrong, long-distance relationships can be both healthy and happy when both partners come to some important agreements.
Andre Cross, relationship correspondent for AskMen.com agrees that couples must decide what they want when faced with a long distance relationship in his article, Long-Distance Relationships. “The couple must agree on how they will deal with this separation, and even if they will remain a couple at all,” Cross said on the site.
It is okay to decide that you do not want a long-distance relationship and to end things because of that alone. Making this decision early is better than not being absolutely sure you want to try long-distance and having things end up things badly with hurt feelings and resentment.
However, if both partners do decide they want to try to make it work there are some important things they should keep in mind. The Counseling Center at the University of Missouri-Rolla gives some helpful advice on their website.
The most important factor to keep in mind is open channels of communication. “It is important for both parties to be able to feel that if they need to talk or write to the other person, communication will be welcomed and met with active communication from the other,” the site said. “The quality of the relationship is more likely to increase if both people develop the ability to share feelings openly with each other.”
Working on communication is a large part of the treatment that Sina uses with students. “Primarily students need solution-focused orientation with psychotherapy,” Sina said. “We do the basics with them. How do you keep busy? Are you utilizing effective technology such as computer cameras, so that you can actually see your partner and not just hear their voice?”
Heming agrees that communication is key to keeping her relationship strong. “When in a long-distance relationship, all you have are words,” Heming said. “There is no time to be physical together so you can’t try to understand one another through body language. All you have is what you honestly tell one another.”
Commitment and trust are also important to consider for a long distance relationship to remain healthy. Both parties within this type of relationship may feel more vulnerable than they would be closer together. Having an understanding as to each other’s degree of commitment within the relationship helps to establish a solid base.
Besides having a strong communications, commitment and trust base, there are things each partner can do individually to help him or her avoid loneliness and frustration. Keeping yourself busy with school, extra curricular activities, volunteering and most importantly surrounding yourself with supportive people and places are also ways to stay strong.
“Having people rooting for you is important especially if they are people who have seen the couple together,” Hills said. “If they support your relationship and you can see it from other people’s perspectives that it is a good thing, then it makes you want to keep going.”
If you feel like you need help coping with a long distance relationship, call the Michigan State University Counseling Center at (517) 355-8270.

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All Revved Up

It’s after midnight, and your boyfriend wants to mess around, when all you want to do is sleep. Or worse yet, your ready to get hot and heavy, but your girlfriend just wants to go to bed. Sound familiar?
We have all heard the generalizations before, men love to have sex and want it as often as they can and women just do not crave it as frequently. Though there are always exceptions to the rule, men hormonally do have higher sex drives than women.
In her article “Sex Drives: His and Hers,” author Michele Weiner Davis, a psychotherapist and marriage educator speaks of this hormonal difference.
“Testosterone, one of the hormones responsible for sex drive, is 20-40% more prevalent in men than women,” Weiner Davis said. “Though it is not always the case, it is very common for men to desire sex more often than their wives.”
[sex2] Erin Williston, a sexual health advocate at Olin Health Center agreed and said that hormones do have an effect but are not the only factors that influence a person’s sex drive.
“It can depend on how we were raised, how we identify with our own sexuality, how comfortable we are,” Williston said. “It differs for each individual.”
Though there may be obvious differences both hormonally as well personal issues that may factor in, this does not mean that these differences need to lead to sexual frustration within the relationship.
“It is not the sex drive that causes problems,” Williston said. “Communication, or the lack thereof, not being comfortable with oneself and feel able to communicate one’s wants and desires are the issues that often lead to problems.”
Weiner Davis agrees that communication and trying to understand one another is key to alleviating some of this frustration.
According to Weiner Davis: “It’s really important for both of you to become more understanding of each other. This means you both need to try to imagine what it would be like to live in each others shoes for a while.”
Although communication and understanding help, often partners begin to get frustrated with and feel resentment toward one another. Weiner Davis said that women often need to feel an emotional connection with their partners to desire sex. However, men need to feel physically close before they will invest themselves into a relationship.
“She’s waiting for him to be more intimate emotionally and he’s waiting for her to be more tuned into him physically,” said Weiner Davis. “The resentment that results in this waiting game is so huge, it’s beyond belief.”
Meghann Dalton, an English senior at MSU agrees that other factors like being busy, tired, stressed and overwhelmed also affect sex drives within relationships.
“In general, I think men do have bigger sex drives than women,” Dalton said. “However, within relationships it is completely situational, so it depends on both people.”
To help you and your partner avoid some of these aggrevations, Williston encourages couples to use “I” messages.
“Do not aggressively attack your partner,” Williston said. “Instead say things like ‘I enjoy it when you do this,’ instead of saying things such as you, ‘you are not doing this right’. Listening to one another is key.”
Using this approach to actively communicate will often help couples find ways to approach sexual problems within their relationships in healthy ways, making bedtime a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

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I Do or I Don’t to Proposal 2

Michiganders young and old, married or single, will see big changes if Proposal 2 is passed this year.[ban]
Proposal 2 is an amendment to Michigan’s constitution that will appear on election ballots this November 2. Though it is often thought of as the gay marriage proposal, it goes far beyond restricting same-sex marriages, which are already illegal in Michigan. Both state and federal laws, which do not allow same-sex marriages, have been in place for years.
Patrick Collora, public relations representative for The Alliance of Les-Bi-Gay-Transgender and Straight Ally Students at MSU, agrees. “Same sex marriage is already illegal in Michigan by three state laws in addition to federal laws.”
So then what is Proposal 2 going to exactly change in Michigan if not outlawing gay marriage?
The Coalition for a Fair Michigan, an activist group based in Lansing, warns that Proposal 2 will not only affect gay and lesbian couples, but will also affect straight couples as well. Their website outlines what could happen to civil unions between both the gay and straight if Proposal 2 is passed.
“Proposal 2 would permanently ban civil unions and domestic partnerships between men and women and for same-gender couples,” the Coalition stated. “In fact, it would prohibit any legal recognition of unmarried partners, gay or straight, which means that benefits currently provided to those partners– like health care or retirement benefits– would be taken away.”
Courtney Snowden, a representative from The Coalition for a Fair Michigan, agrees that large amounts of Michiganders will be affected if Michigan’s constitution is amended.
“If the proposal passes it will be the first time the state Constitution would be used to restrict, rather than expand, rights in Michigan,” Snowden said. “The elderly, young people and parents will lose benefits and it will hurt everyone, especially our most vulnerable.”
In this country marriage is recognized whether performed by a judge or through a religious ceremony. One does not have to be tied to any religion at all to be considered legally married. Marriages between men and women who are atheist are performed at the justice of the peace are just as readily accepted as those performed in a church.
“Federal and state marriage benefits are components of civil marriage,” Collora said. “Depending on their religious beliefs, a same sex couple might consider their union to have religious meaning while an opposite sex couple might not or vice versa. This is independent of the law.”
Currently, only one state allows same-sex marriage and that is Massachusetts. However, Vermont offers civil unions, which provides legal recognition for same-sex relationships, but it is not marriage.
“Marriage and civil unions, respectively, are not legal in any other state,” Snowden said. “No states outside of the two listed recognize same-sex unions as marriage or civil unions.”
Collora believes that no one should be excluded on issues such as marriage or civil unions, nor should they be prohibited to perform their ceremony from a church.
“People are free to marry where they want to, and if someone believes marriage should be performed in a church, they can get married in a church,” Collora said. We are free to practice the religion we choose in this country, so the law should not reflect any one particular belief.”
Michigan voters will get to decide the fate of same-sex marriages and civil unions on Tuesday.

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Sex and the Synagogue (or Church)

[sex]In a society where we grow up seeing sex on TV, in magazines and even in advertisements on building walls, it is hard to imagine that the subject of sex may be considered taboo in any culture. But for many, including Christians and Jews, religion weighs heavily on how individuals approach sexual relationships. For example, in Jewish culture the idea of waiting to have sex until marriage is both a written and unwritten rule.
Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of Askmoses.com explained why he believes sex outside of marriage is wrong.
“The Torah commands us to marry before we engage in sexual relations and sexual intercourse, when done properly, is a holy act,” Silberberg said. “Furthermore, marriage means inviting God into the relationship, so pre-marital sex reduces a holy act into a base and animalistic desire and act.”
Senior introductory humanities student, Morgan Taylor understands that within her Jewish culture, sex before marriage is highly discouraged. “It is something sacred and if you have sex before marriage it cheapens it,” Taylor said. “Sex is the one thing you get to do with your partner that is especially reserved for just the two of you, so we see it as a spark of the life from God…it’s holy in essence.”[sex2]
Scott Lachman, president of MSU’s Hillel Jewish Student Center agrees with Taylor’s perspective.
“From my understanding, sex outside of marriage is shunned upon,” Lachman said. “One is supposed to save himself or herself for marriage and some Orthodox Jews won’t even touch the opposite sex until they are married.”
Rabbi Isser Z. Weisberg, a representative from AskMoses.com, gives Orthodox Chassidic Jewish insight.
“It is biblically forbidden and considered prostitution to practice pre-martial sex,” Weisberg said. “The concept of sex in Judaism is a gift to enhance our relationships with our spouses, and forms used for self-gratification are considered unholy and wrong.”
However, in American Christian culture, which is often thought of as the most conservative in the world, sex before marriage has become more and more common, even though some Christians will look down on it. Rebecca Miller, a Catholic law student at MSU observed how individuals within her religion no longer hold fast to many of the rules that they were brought up to follow. “The church culture is no longer the dominant culture in society,” Miller said. “America is more of a secular culture now, and it really has become an individual’s choice to participate in pre-marital sex.”
Luke Moldenhauer, a Christian art student agrees with Miller’s observations. “People within my culture say that sex is a bad thing mostly because of their religious upbringing, so everything besides the actual act is alright and they probably still have sex anyways,” Moldenhauer said. “However, the church still verbalizes that engaging in pre-marital sex is something to be avoided because of what is taught in the Bible.”
Youth Minister Richard Mittwede from Christ Lutheran Church in Lansing explained why Christianity discourages sex outside of marriage.
“Culturally, traditionally and as revealed in The Bible, the blessing of sexual intimacy is best enjoyed by a man and woman who are committed to the bonds of matrimony,” Mittwede said. “Sexual activity outside of this is seen as contrary to God’s design for human relationships, and potentially harmful to them.”
Though cultures may frown upon the idea of sex before marriage, it seems that in practice, individuals from all cultures do not hold quite as stringent to this idea. Taylor said it depends on the person if they want to have pre-marital sex or not.
“It’s about fifty-fifty because nobody would come down on you for having sex,” Taylor said. “Our culture is not judgmental like that, but we are still encouraged to think it’s one of the most sacred acts we can engage in…wouldn’t you want to do that with someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with?”
Miller also believes that sex outside of marriage is becoming more and more accepted for Christians.
“It’s becoming more common now than in the past,” Miller said. “It’s actually much more rare to find someone now who will wait to have sex until they are married.”
Lachman agrees that many MSU Jewish students are not all that religious and therefore do not adhere to strict rules, but admits that there are those students who are not generally promiscuous.
“Many people my age have sex outside of marriage, but not all of them,” Lachman said. “Jewish students at MSU are just like other students and they want to have fun too.” Within stricter Orthodox communities however, sex outside of marriage is not done whatsoever, according to Weisberg.
Moldenhauer agrees that despite what happens in theory, in practice many people within his culture engage in sex despite their upbringings. Interestingly enough, though it may be important, sex does not have to play such a huge part within relationships outside of marriage.
“I do not think sex is an important part to a relationship until marriage, because growing up in a conservative household, I was given high morals and values to believe that relationships should not be based on sex,” Lachman said. “They should be based on friendship, honesty and mutual feelings towards one another.”
In the same aspect, American culture also does not see sex as being the most necessary part of a relationship.
“Yes I think it can be nice to have sex and even be special, but I don’t think it has to be the most important part of a relationship,” Miller said. “I think relationships can be just as strong and healthy without it.”.
Though it may not seem like the rules and regulations about sex before marriage do not cross over from culture to culture, but with research it looks like this and other ideas do indeed translate no matter your culture.
“Sex is something that one is going to naturally feel the need to have in a serious long-term relationship,” Moldenhauer said. “We’re only human and I think everyone has sexual feelings whether they are raised to have them or not.”

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Playing With Fire

Social smoking can be just as harmful as smoking on a regular basis and may even lead to serious addiction and harmful long-term health effects. The definition of social smoking, according to Olin Health Center, is smoking a cigarette less than every day. A social smoker may only smoke a few cigarettes one night, then not smoke for days or weeks afterward.
[hand] We all know someone that is a social smoker and many of us are guilty of it too. It can be hard not to be influenced by the mystique of the act of inhaling a buzz-inducing drug. Let’s be honest- smoking feels good in some ways and it seems that having one every now and then cannot be that harmful. However in reality, social smoking is the shadowed giant lulling you into a false sense of security.
Rebecca Allen, from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Health Program at Olin Health Center, warns that social smoking does have its own harmful side-affects.
“The immune system will be compromised, maintaining good cardiovascular conditioning becomes increasingly difficult, brain chemistry is altered and of course the risk of addiction and more compulsive use is always there,” Allen said.
Olin Health Center treats social smokers more regularly than nonsmokers. They said that social smokers are more likely to get bronchitis, coughs and asthma attacks than nonsmokers. So how can people justify social smoking?
You have heard the flimsy excuses, or quite possibly you subscribe to them. “I only have a couple every now and then.” “I only smoke when I drink and I rarely drink.” “It doesn’t matter if you smoke a little now and again because your lungs will take care of themselves when you stop someday.” Unfortunately, that probably is not the best approach to take.
Local student Jenn Boak has a cigarette three or four times a month when outdrinking or when she is stressed out. “It’s not that big of a deal because it doesn’t have as many long term affects,” Boak said. “It’s not a daily thing for me.”
Matt Wise, a local student and social smoker, recognizes that social smoking is harmful but agrees with Boak that it is not that big of a deal. “It’s all harmful, all the same thing and either way you are going to get sick,” Wise said. “If you only smoke socially it is just going to take you longer.”
According to Olin Health Center many people smoke socially because they do not realize the harmful effects and most likely do not realize how easy it is to get addicted. They also said that peer pressure or simply being around people who smoke may make it easier to light one up in situations where you might not normally do so. It’s more tempting to smoke while out at the bar drinking, at a party, when stressed out about school and during a tough time in your life.
The truth of the matter is, social smoking is just as harmful as smoking a cigarette every day. We all know that cigarettes are bad for you and just because you may have one every now and then it does not change the ingredients that make the cigarette bad in the first place.
Olin Health Center sheds light on the facts of social smoking on their informational website. According to the center, nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known and though you might not be dependent on cigarettes right now, it is easy to start smoking more regularly and not even notice it.
If you do begin smoking regularly, the affects to your body become more serious. Olin Health Center said that a person is much more likely to get lung cancer or heart disease if they smoke socially, or smoke everyday. Permanent damage can occur to your eyes, throat, bones, joints and skin in just five years of smoking even if you quit at a later time. But once you are addicted, it is very hard to stop.
Not only is social smoking harmful to your health, the negative effects extend to your general appearance as well. Most students cringe at the thought of yellow teeth, bad breath and smelly clothes, all of which are side affects of smoking.
If none of these reasons are convincing enough, think of those around you. Smoking means secondhand smoke, which Olin Health Center said can also cause lung cancer and other serious health problems in nonsmokers. Innocent bystanders are going to suffer the consequences of even that occasional puff.
Although social smoking may not mean that you identify as a smoker or sit in the smoking section of a restaurant, its affects are just as harmful as smoking every day.

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