Category Archives: Lifestyles

Flexible Eating: The New Calorie Counting

by Christie Stelly

Is it really possible to lose weight while indulging in junk food? Yes it IS possible… kind of.

Diets typically include restrictions, meaning you are required to eat certain types of “healthy” foods and stay away from the ones that likely made you diet in the first place.

There is a new diet  program in the fitness industry called “if it fits your macros (IIFYM),” also known as “flexible dieting.” I first encountered flexible dieting two years ago and it has created a healthy relationship with food that I never thought I’d have.

It is no secret that America has an obesity epidemic and diets are part of the reason why. Researchers at UCLA have discovered that dieting can actually be more harmful than beneficial.

“You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back,” Traci Mann, associate professor of psychology at UCLA, said in a statement.

“We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or healthy benefits for the majority of people,” Mann said.

One of the reasons why people cannot stick to diets is because they are unsustainable and unrealistic. For example, the Atkins diet claims on their website that a low carb lifestyle is the best way to lose weight.

No carb or low carb diets may work for some people in certain circumstances but overall they are not sustainable for the majority of people. Even if someone sticks to this diet for a month or two, they will most likely end up going back to their old habits and gaining even more weight.

“Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise,” Mann said.

This is where flexible dieting comes into the picture. The IIFYM “diet” focuses on the three energy sources our bodies use to function properly: carbohydrates, fats and protein.  IIFYM is considered by some to be a step up from typical calorie counting.

An individual who is practicing flexible dieting would be given a percentage of each macronutrient to eat per day based on their goals. Each day they will track their food to ensure they reach a daily calorie goal.

According to The Washington Post, “you’ll start by aiming to get one gram of protein for every pound you weigh. Then based on whether you are naturally slim or tend to store more fat, you’ll adjust your calories from fat to be 25-35 percent of your daily energy. Carbs will make up the rest of your calories.”

You can calculate your macros online by going to Keep in mind that these numbers are an estimate.

MyFitnessPal is a great application that both Apple and Android users can take advantage of. It is free and allows you to track your food, water intake, weight, measurements and overall progress. The premium version of the application ($50/year) will allow you to track your specific macronutrients.

Advocates of flexible dieting claim that a calorie is just a calorie and other experts disagree, saying a 300-calorie piece of cake and 300-calorie piece of meat have two different effects on your weight loss results.

The whole purpose behind flexible dieting is to have a balance between healthy foods and the occasional treat. For example, coworkers are celebrating a birthday with cake. Instead of being the only person not to enjoy a slice, with flexible eating you can indulge a bit. Plan the rest of of your meals for the day around it. Choose healthier options, lower in fat and carbs. Instead of feeling guilty about enjoying a piece of cake with friends, you can go about your day feeling good about staying on track while keeping balance and moderation in mind.

In order for you to reach your weight loss goals and keep the weight off, lifestyle changes must be made. That is why macro-counting has worked for me, as well as so many others across the world.

Once a person becomes familiar with tracking their food, they can typically move to a more intuitive style of eating if they wish to do so. Flexible dieting has allowed many people to take their lives back when it comes to their up-and-down relationship with diet and food.

According to The Washington Post, “there isn’t a single diet that works for everyone, so seeing a dietitian for individualized advice is a great idea.”

Consult your doctor before making any extreme changes to your diet.

Pink Party Kicks Off Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Brennah Dallaire

The Hartford Courant hosted the Sixth Annual Pink Party at West Hartford’s Blue Back Square on Thursday. The fundraiser benefits Susan G. Komen New England and supports breast cancer care,  research and awareness.

“The money we raise goes to help Connecticut residents, and finding those cures, and helping our neighbors,” said Jessica Fisher,
associate director of communications at Susan G. Komen New England.

According to Fisher, 75 percent of the money donated to Susan G. Komen New England will be given out as grants to local organizations to be used for screening and diagnostic services as well as other services. The other 25 percent will go to research.

According to Fisher, the Pink Party is an opportunity for survivors to network with other survivors, create friendships and kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Connecticut.

Attendees donning pink apparel began to gather at Blue Back Square just before the  event was scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. Exhibitors set up pink tents along Isham Road and the parking lot located behind The Cheesecake Factory. The event featured a pink carpet, hydration station, raffles and freebies from exhibitors. Pink Party T-shirts and raffles were sold as fundraising tools.

The main event of the night, the Breast Cancer Survivors Fashion Show began at 6 p.m. just after a performance by the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory. Women surviving breast cancer, as young as 24 years old, strutted their stuff, wearing clothes donated by BK & Co. with makeup and hair styling donated by Blo Blow Dry Bar and Gulgiotti’s Salon and and Spa.

Nora’s Cupcakes gave away coconut, chocolate and raspberry cupcakes with pink decorations to celebrate the night. Bar Louie and World of Beer provided free appetizers to guests and The Cheesecake Factory gave away pumpkin cheesecake samples. The Shaded Soul band performed. Thistle + Reed, a mobile clothing store set, up shop for guests of the event.

“When we first started, one of the avenues that we wanted to pursue was giving back to our local communities and supporting our local communities… since I was fourteen I’ve starting doing breast cancer walks so it’s been a part of my life,” Marisa O’Brien, co-owner of Thistle + Reed said.

Towana Haynes, director of operations at Radiology Associates of Hartford has a few tips for Central Connecticut State University Students about breast cancer awareness and preventative care.

  1. Stay up to date on check-ups with your physician.
  2. Be proactive in your health. If you have a concern bring it up to your doctor. Women and men in their 20s are not immune to breast cancer.
  3. Women, beginning at age 35, should schedule a mammogram. You are also eligible for a mammogram 10 years prior to a parents diagnosis of breast cancer. (Ex. If a parent was diagnosed at 30 years old, you are eligible at 20 years old.)
  4. Self exams are important and can be done in the shower, after the shower or lying down.
  5. Be aware of your body and any abnormal changes to your breasts and armpit area.

The Susan G. Komen website also recommends asking your doctor about BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Women with this inherited gene mutation are more likely to develop breast cancer.

If you are interested in getting involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month there are plenty of local events. Bar Louie West Hartford is hosting “Slay Then Chardonnay” on Oct. 12, a party benefitting breast cancer research. The American Cancer Society is hosting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 18 at Bushnell Park, Hartford. Bra maker Wacoal is donating $2 to Susan G. Komen for every bra fitting done at Macy’s Westfarms on Oct. 11 and an additional $2 from every bra sold. Susan G. Komen will also be hosting a breast cancer symposium in New Haven on Nov. 17.

If you have any questions regarding breast health or breast cancer you can call the American Cancer Society’s 24/7 hotline 800-227-2345.

Mangiamo La Pasta!

by Brennah Dallaire

Let’s eat pasta!

Mark your calendars for National Pasta Day on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Go out, stay in, cook with friends, but whatever you do celebrate this holiday will a delicious dish of your favorite pasta.

According to there are over 600 types of pasta. A few of the most famous types includes spaghetti, rigatoni, ravioli, penne, linguini and tortellini. In Italian, pasta is the word for dough and was adapted to describe what we know as the noodle course.

In Italy, pasta is eaten as a course of a meal but not the main entree as we typically eat it in the United States. Many pasta enthusiasts belief that pasta was invented by Marco Polo. However, reports that the earliest pasta recipe was found in the will of a man named Ponzio Bastone in 1279. According to this account, Bastone included a simple recipe of water and flour to create macaroni.

It wasn’t until Thomas Jefferson served as an ambassador in France in 1789, that he was served pasta and enjoyed it so much that he brought the first pasta machine to America. Americans didn’t know how much they were missing out.

Connecticut food blog,  ctfoodlovers has featured local restaurants gourmet pasta dishes including:

  • Fettuccini Alfredo from Fratelli’s, Southington,
  • Baked Penne Macaroni & Cheese from The Corner Pug, West Hartford
  • Fresh Bucatini Marinara with “Giant Meatballs” from Blue Plate Kitchen, West Hartford
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs from Joe Pizza, Simsbury
  • Rigatoni Bolognese from Carbone’s, Hartford.

If you’re looking for something close to campus, look no further than Tony’s Central Pizza. Tony’s offers a range of Italian dinners that all include pasta. Options include ravioli, manicotti, baked ziti, eggplant parmesan and more.

If you are interested in indulging your palate, take a trip to Alta Strada, located in the Fox Tower at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. The restaurant makes their pasta fresh daily. The prices per entree range from $19-$30. OpenTable and TripAdvisor reviews give Alta Strada four out of five stars, while Yelp reviews give the restaurant a modest three stars. According to the restaurant’s website, “Alta Strada is considered one of the best, most authentic Italian restaurants in CT.”

Celebrating National Pasta Day doesn’t have to mean eating out. Celebrate the holiday by cooking at home. You don’t necessarily need a pasta machine to enjoy your favorite dish. Below is a recipe for “Tagliatelle alla Bolognese” adapted from the Eataly recipe found at


1 pound dried or fresh Tagliatelle pasta

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground veal
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground pork
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
Fine sea salt, to taste


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent (5 minutes). Add the carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, for about 2 minutes.

Combine the veal, pork and beef in the pot. Season with fine sea salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat has rendered most of its fat and has started to brown (5 minutes). Remove some of the rendered fat leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (lean meats will render less).

Add the wine, and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated (6 minutes).

Decrease the heat to low, add the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook, stirring frequently (20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the stock and adjust the heat to simmer until the stock has reduced but the sauce is still moist (about 45 minutes). Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning if necessary and remove from the heat.

Remember the best way to eat pasta is to enjoy it with friends and family. Mangia e goditi! Eat and enjoy!

Sodexo Releases BITE App

by Natalie Dest

Sodexo dining company, leader of Quality Life Services has gone mobile with the application, BITE.  The new mobile app allows users to plan healthy meals ahead of time and provides nutritional information.
Developed by Sodexo’s Culinary Solutions team, the app provides resources geared towards healthy eating including: nutritional information, menus, and information regarding dietary needs. BITE seeks to make the dining experience of Central Connecticut State University students and faculty as enjoyable and simple as possible.

BITE is a free application available for download  on both iTunes and Google Play. It can be programmed to a dining hall of your choice and features current menus and café promotions. CCSU students and faculty can adjust their settings to both Memorial and Hilltop dining halls.
“I downloaded the app when I first heard about it and was surprisingly pleased,” CCSU junior, Carolyn Petrowski said.

“It listed what foods were gonna be served in the dining halls for that day, which helped me decide which dining hall I wanted to go to,” Petrowski continued.

When using BITE, consumers are able to search meal options up to seven days in advance for a specific dining hall. The menus are divided into sub-categories differing by types of food, such as grilled food, simple servings and deli specials.
Users can create an account and store information under their personal food preferences. The “ME” tab on the top right corner of the app leads to an option titled “Menu Controls.” Here you can find dietary preferences that cater to your needs.
BITE gives you the option to show only dishes that are mindful, vegetarian and or vegan making it easy for dining hall patrons who have specific dietary needs to find foods they can eat. Users are also given the option to highlight dishes that contain allergens, such as milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.
BITE is also Fitbit friendly, allowing users to sync their Fitbits to the app itself. This will allow consumers to carry over the amount of calories from the food eaten at their dining hall, straight to the calorie tracker installed on their Fitbit. This helps makes calorie tracking simple and more efficient.

According to Sodexo’s website, “the great benefit of BITE for our customers, is that now we have an engaging digital platform to keep them abreast of news on where their food comes from.”

For those student and faculty at Central that are interested in downloading the BITE app, make sure to search “CCSU” on the app when programming to your desired dining hall.

Trending Fall Fashion

by Diondra Clements

Temperatures are cooling in Connecticut and students are preparing for Fall weather in New England.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice, and fall fairs are beginning to trend along with these new Fall fashion trends.

For most guys, fall classics never go out of style. They usually keep with the same trends every year; button ups, dark denim, sweaters, and flannels.


“For me I love the skinny cargo,” said Manny Santiago, Nordstrom Sales Associate at Westfarms Mall in Farmington. “I feel like that’s a really big thing we have them out right now. It’s easy to accessorize and it looks polished, while also giving you that edge.”

“Sweatshirts and Denim jackets! Men have been really playing hard on that,” said Genesis Wilson, American Eagle Sales Associate at Westfarms Mall. “A lot of the guys that come in ask do we have any denim jackets or any heavy jackets. Just ‘cause they like the sweater and the jacket right over. Men have also been playing heavy on the hats, we’ve sold through just about all of our hats we have,”

“Jeans, Vans, and a windbreaker sometimes, on other occasions I switch it up and I’ll throw on some leggings, boots, and a long cardigan,” Ashley Padilla, a CCSU Junior, said when asked about her typical Fall attire.


Women’s fall fashion staples include: booties, black leggings, a cardigan and a bomber jacket. These items can be found on display in popular clothing retailers, Forever 21 and H&M.

Other fall fashion pieces that are coming into play include chokers, satchels, and booties.

“Chokers are a big hit. I feel like the fall trend for handbags are going to be satchels and bookbags, since everyone is going back to school. Rebecca Minkoff actually just came out with a really cool bag. For shoes, living in Connecticut, boots are always a big trend. Everyone loves a cute bootie to wear with their skinny ankle pants and hi-waisted jeans,” said E’Naiyah Frazier, Nordstrom Sales Associate at Westfarms Mall.

Not to worry though, most of your summer favorites are still going to be in trend for the fall. The boyfriend jeans and mom jeans trend that originally started in the spring really took off in the summer and is going to continue into the fall.

“You can always put leggings under it and it’ll still work,” Wilson said.

A lot of the tank top and off-shoulder looks that were also popular in summer are easy to layer with a tank top or t-shirt right under.

As always layering will continue to be key in fall outfitting. Build a wardrobe with the classics and supplement with trendy pieces.

Students should remember the most important fashion trend is to be comfortable.