COINS Colorado health in jeopardy: marijuana, obesity, and more

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Sep 202012

Author: Sophie Vukovich


Health in Colorado is making the news in many ways. Medical marijuana, obesity, and the “popcorn lung” were all discussed in more detail on tonight’s show. Check out the second episode of Colorad-Ins for more detail.

Colorado obesity predicted to be near 50 percent in 2030

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Sep 202012

Author: Sophie Vukovich

Junk food copy

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colorado prides itself on being the thinnest state, however recent fear says that obesity is rising quickly. Across the nation, there are currently 78 million obese adults and 12.5 million obese children. The Los Angeles Times suggests ways to motivate weight loss. Here in Colorado, currently 20 percent of the state is obese. However it is predicted that up to 45 percent are going to be obese by 2030. Not only that but they say that half of the population of 39 out of the 50 states will be obese.

Obesity is defined as a medical condition, and can have many negative side effects. If almost half of Colorado’s population is struggling with a medical condition, it could do a lot of collateral damage economically as well.

It’s important that we start battling this; the fight agains obesity starts now. Parents can start preventing childhood obesity along with healthier eating habits and exercising themselves.

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Too School for Cool: Stress relief 101

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Sep 072012

Author: Allison LeCain


stress (Photo credit: bottled_void)

As a college student, I deal with stress on an every-day basis.  People tell me to do things like meditate or exercise deep breathing to de-stress. While those practices are fine and dandy and may work for some people, I find those activities extremely dull.

There are more exciting ways to relieve stress that, in my opinion, work a lot better and require less time to implement. I would think that any college student would want their stress relief activities to be as efficient as possible so they have more time for studying, which is why I’ve created this list to help you all.  Here’s a little insight on how I de-stress.

Lazy river study trip

Preparing for a major exam can require extraneous amounts of study time, leaving little time for relaxation. One of the best ways I’ve found to de-stress in this situation is to relax while studying. How do I do this you might ask? Laminate your most important notes and study them while floating down the lazy river at the student recreation center. You can get your notes laminated at Kinko’s or buy a huge pack of laminating sheets at an office supply store for around 10 dollars. Slap them on and you’re ready to go.

Releasing endorphins

It may sound too easy to be true, but laughing has actually been proven to make you happier and less stressed. Let me drop a knowledge bomb on you. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins. This is a chemical in your brain that makes you feel good about life. And as they say, laughter is contagious, so get together with a big group of friends for an epic laughing session to de-stress.

Smashing plates

The tradition in Greek culture of smashing plates was originally for celebration, but I’ve found that doing it when I’m stressed can be helpful.  At the Taverna Greek Grill, it is common for the owners to pick people who are dining to smash a plate against the wall.  The rush you get from hurdling a plate at a wall, knowing you aren’t going to get in trouble or have to clean up the mess, is a great feeling.  When you do this in your home, you will have to clean up the mess and you probably shouldn’t break any of your roommates’ plates.  The rush is still the same though and has a similar effect of stress relief as screaming into a pillow.  This is just a less psycho way of de-stressing that won’t leave the neighbors wondering if they should call the police.

Reality Television

If you feel you need an hour break from studying, move to the couch for some dramatic reality television. If you can, try to pick a show where the characters are constantly dealing with awful situations.  Some that have proven effective for me are ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars’.  By the time you finish watching, you will be so taken aback by how awful the characters’ lives are that your problems and stress will seem petty. Very few people are worse off than the girls who got pregnant at sixteen or the girls who are trying to solve the murder of their best friend. Compared to that, most people’s lives are a cakewalk.

Zen hobby

It helps to have a hobby that makes you feel relaxed. Many people already have one, but don’t take the time to do it. Mine is photography, so using that as an example, it helps to set aside some time in your schedule to go wander outside by yourself taking photos. Just soak in the world around you and have a moment free of worry and stress. This helps you realize there are bigger things happening in the world than whether you get an A or a B on that finance test.


The “Rock Hard” Way to Hookah

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Sep 062012

Author: Kendall Greenwood

English: Malabar Hookahs in three different sizes

English: Malabar Hookahs in three different sizes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CSU senior Mike Vincent, 21, has been smoking hookah since he was 14 years old. He has learned what coals to use and how to pack the shisha for the best flavor. But he recently discovered a new hookah product: “hookah rocks.”

Steam stones, or “hookah rocks”, are tobacco-free mineral stones covered in a mixture of flavor and glycerin. Instead of smoke, the stones produce a flavored vapor.

“The first time I tried hookah rocks I was a little shocked because it was pure glycerin,” Vincent said. “I didn’t believe the vapor could come out of it.”

The stones act as a sponge that absorb and release the flavoring when heated. As a result, they can offer a different experience than shisha.

“(It) can be more flavorful and (has) very thick smoke,” Vincent said.

The manager of Smokey Monkey Pipes and Tobacco, Elizabeth Price, 26, has heard similar comments from her costumers. Smokey Monkey, located at 1232 West Elizabeth St., has been carrying steam stones for a year now.

“A lot of (customers) say they like it because of the flavor and the amount of smoke they get from it,” Price said.

The stones are also reusable. According to Price, the once smoked steam stones can go back in the packaging and reabsorb the remnant flavor mixture. In the long-run, steam stones come out cheaper than shisha: a 250-gram package of stones sells for $13 at Smokey Monkey whereas a 50-gram package of shisha sells for $5.

The amount of times the stones can be reused is also dependent on personal preference.

“With hookah rocks it is a two-time use because you can burn them and the top layer will be burned,” Vincent said. “But you can flip [them] over and pour the glycerin back over.”

Knowing the technical skills to making steam stones is important. For Vincent, the first time he used rocks he did not like them, but he quickly changed his mind on his second try.

“I found out it’s because of who was making it and packing it,” Vincent said. “(It’s important) how you put it into a bowl, the type of bowl you’re using, the process of it.”

The major difference between rocks and shisha is that there is no tobacco in the steam stone product. This removes the nicotine and makes the smoke less harsh.

“You would never get light-headed, never sick to your stomach, you could smoke it numerous times,” Vincent said. “You weren’t coughing (and) you could hold it in your lungs (to) do hookah tricks much easier. “

However, Gwen Sieving, a Health Educator at CSU, cautions the users to be aware of the health risks despite the lack of tobacco.

“(When you smoke) a lot of the droplets of saliva from everybody else can potentially still be in the hose,” Sieving said. “So what people need to think and make informed decisions about is disease transmission.”

Also, steam stones involve combustion.

“Anytime you combust something, like the coals, they give off their own set of toxins,” Sieving said.

These toxins could react with the stones to create dangerous chemicals in the vapor.

Steam stones are not offered at Narghile Nights Hookah Lounge, located at 621 South College Avenue. According to employee Avry Seih, 21, the staff tried them but did not like the quality.

Smokey Monkey offers six flavors of steam stones: mango, strawberry, peach, cherry, watermelon and orange.

After getting used to the stones, Vincent and his friends still choose to use them.

“It’s a difficult process,” said Vincent. “But as soon as you experiment with it and practice, it can come out really good.”