Category Archives: Wellness Wednesday

A weekly post on keeping you well on Bowdoin’s campus.

Wellness Wednesday: Missing Moulton and Thorne

Finally!  Exams have concluded and we hope that everyone is enjoying a restful break thus far.  Though it has only been a few days for some, it has been months for those who have been abroad.  Wherever you’ve been, we know you’ve missed Bowdoin food (and those who just left campus a few days ago are bound to by the end of January).  But, did you know that Bowdoin Dining posts several of their favorite recipes on their website?  Here’s one for apple crisp!

Yield: 12”x 9”x 2” pan

Apple Mixture:

  • 4 lb. Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 4 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 6 T. Cinnamon, ground
  1. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and toss with apples.
  2. Spread apples on bottom of baking pan.
  3. Top with crumble topping (see below).
  4. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until apples are tender when pierced.
  5. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more until golden brown and bubbling around edges.


  • 1 c. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 c. Butter or Margarine*
  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add butter or margarine and combine. Mix with fingers or use paddle attachment in mixer. Texture should be crumbly.

* Bowdoin College Dining Service uses Smart Balance which is trans fatfree and vegan.

If you’re looking for other recipes, check out the Dining Website.

Wellness Wednesday: 8 Cups of Water

We all know we should drink lots of water and many of us have heard the claim to drink 8 cups of water a day.  A recent article in the New York Times investigated the root of this myth and reported findings that drinking 8 cups of water a day can benefit the kidneys.  Check out the link below for the stats backing up this old wives’ tale:
This is particularly important to us at Bowdoin right now as we are faced with the stress of finals, holiday travel, and flu season.  Drinking enough water can help the body prepare its defenses to combat winter illnesses, and help the mind stay focused during aggressive studying.  The cold weather, dry air, and cocktails of the holiday season dehydrate the body as well, so make sure to keep on drinking water.  This is a simple and easy way to keep healthy and stay on top of work as we finish out the semester!

Written by Elizabeth Huppert ’12.

Wellness Wednesday: Turkey Fun Facts

This post may come a day late, but it’s just in time for your meal!   Read up and eat up!

We’ve all heard it before; the myth that eating turkey on Thanksgiving makes you sleepy because of the amino acid Tryptophan.

Some will say that this myth has been debunked several times, but it does hold some truth.  Tryptophan is an essential amino acid present in high levels in turkey (although not much higher than in other meats).  However, this little extra bit of tryptophan found in turkey has two great benefits.  Tryptophan used by the brain to form serotonin.  Serotonin creates feelings of well-being happiness, peace, and contentment.  Often, those who are depressed lack serotonin in their brains, leading to sad and hopeless thoughts.  Therefore, eating turkey is the ideal meat to eat for a natural mood boost.

Interestingly, serotonin is then converted by the brain to melatonin.  Melatonin is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythms, our sleep-wake cycles, and is often triggered by sunlight.  At night, your brain floods with melatonin which makes you feel a wave of sleepiness hard to overcome.  In the morning, melatonin is no longer present in the brain, which helps you wake up.  Melatonin is also associated with learning and memory function.  The more serotonin your body produces, the more melatonin your body will be able to produce, and you’ll sleep deeply at night, feel awake during the day, and have heightened memory functions.

Therefore, it’s true that Tryptophan ultimately produces a chemical, melatonin, that makes you sleepy, but this process has multiple steps. It will be long after your food is digested that you feel the true sleepiness caused by the turkey in your Thanksgiving meal.  Instead, we experience a sleepy sensation post-thanksgiving meal because of the large quantity of food we consume.  When your stomach is full, blood concentrates in that area in order to break down and digest the food.  This creates a lack of blood stimulation in other areas of your body, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic.  Additionally, many people consume wine or other types of alcohol with their meals, whose depressant qualities also increase the sleepiness sensation.

So, eat up that turkey on Thanksgiving; a little extra happiness, sleep, and increased memory function from the serotonin and melatonin derived from tryptophan in turkey will do us all well over our much-needed break!

Wellness Wednesday: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Q.  I’m feeling a little more tired and down than usual this month.  I think it might be the winter blues, but is there anything I can do about it?

A.  November and December can be hard months at Bowdoin. The days get shorter, the weather gets colder, the semester starts feeling long, and work gets crazy. This can be a recipe for the winter blues.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is the clinical name for the winter blues. SAD is caused by the changing light that happens during this dark and cold time of year. People often begin experiencing it for the first time during their college years, so if you are feeling down, it is a good thing to know about!

The good news: SAD can be effectively treated and prevented.

Some tips include: getting outside while the sun is out, being social even if you want to curl up every night alone in your dorm room, getting exercise and eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies. For some students who are having a difficult time during the winter months, it is a good idea to talk to the counseling center about light therapy or about increasing or changing your medication if you are already struggling with depression.

Peer Health knows that the winter blues suck.  So…keep your eyes out for our joke posters that will make you smile, snacks in the library during crunch time, and more info on SAD to help you through the end of the semester!