Wednesday, March 16, 2011

vitamin C for emergen-C's.

I spent a good portion of my spring break vacation walking around sniffling and sneezing. I thought I had some undefined allergic reaction to something on the ship, but I came back to Houston and was still sick for a few more days! I made sure to eat oranges every day, because well, isn't vitamin C supposed to be effective in enhancing your immune system? I've read from various websites that vitamin C is the "miracle drug", curing everything from common colds to cancer, and sought to seek out how and why.

Here are some "facts" about vitamin C(ascorbic acid)

Vitamin cures the common cold.
Since most of the myths about vitamin C involves the common cold, let's begin by stating that vitamin C will not prevent or cure colds. Studies have found that athletes in subarctic conditions may benefit from vitamin C which apparently in this condition, helps prevent colds.  Vitamin C may, however, shorten the duration of the cold for those living in humid Houston, so it is a good idea to be eating those oranges and kiwis. It was found in a 11-week long study with 45 volunteers that supplemented vitamin C consumption (1g/day) led to a maintenance of IgA levels compared to the decline in the control group.

You can overdose on vitamin C.
TRUE(kind of)
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin with a recommended daily amount of 90mg for men, and 75mg for women. (One medium orange contains 70mg of vitamin C. Eat one plus some more!) The upper limit for vitamin C is 2000mg/day, but since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it will simply flush out of your system, literally. Huge overdose of vitamin C(5-10g/day) can have an extreme laxative effect.

Vitamin C can cure cancer.
FALSE(kind of).
Linus Pauling, the great chemist and a two-time Nobel Prize winner, advocated a daily megadose of vitamin C (10-12g/day). He wrote a book called "Vitamin C and the Common Cold" where he advocates taking large daily doses of vitamin c to treat the common cold and even cancer. It's difficult to ignore someone who has the world's greatest achievement in sciences. In response, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study on 150 cancer patients which showed that high-dose of vitamin C had no beneficial effect on treating cancer, to which Pauling stated the consumption of vitamin C had to be intravenous. There continues to be studies with mixed results to this date, but no study has given definite conclusions yet. A recent study found that vitamin C may be useful in treating inflammation from cancer since ascorbic acid levels decrease in patients with advanced cancer.

Here's a semi-related (I was sick here!) picture that is fb-lagged
at the blow hole in Grand Cayman

The verdict, as of now anyway, is that you need sufficient levels of vitamin C, but whether increasing your consumption of vitamin C will benefit you, is still a mystery. This is a lot of qualifiers in a sentence! Well, the truth is that there are still studies being done on the effects of vitamin C on different diseases and the immune system. I imagine it is difficult to draw a definite conclusion when there is still gaps in our knowledge about the disease and the immune system.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

beer bike 2011: favorite school tradition!

Yesterday was the biggest event on campus- BEER BIKE!!! Beer Bike is a tradition dating back to the 50's which is essentially a relay race with bikers and chuggers with alumni, women, and men teams. It'd take me forever to explain, but here's the handy Wikipedia article on this quirky crazy tradition.

Oh, and each college chooses an alcohol-related theme, it being BEER bike and all. Our theme was "The Kegfather: Keep your friends drunk and your enemies drunker", with the face of our master on all of our T-shirts.

A staircase door is left open fittingly with a keg.

The entire week leading up to Beer Bike is called Willy Week, and this is the only other week other than Orientation Week where jacks, or pranks on other colleges, are allowed. Everyone's favorite jacks is to run around the hallways making loud noise at wee hours of the night, so I hardly got any peaceful sleep this week.

The morning of Beer Bike, everyone wakes up early (as early as 4:30 at some colleges, but here at Jones we woke up around 6:30), to begin the festivities for the day. Everyone paints their hair, puts on war paint, dances, and gets pumped up for the big day ahead.

Before the race is a huge water balloon race with the entire campus participating. It is a chaotic, crazy, energy-filled event where colleges compete against other colleges throwing balloons they've been filling up all week. There are trashcans and trashcans filled with balloons:
Jones' trashcans filled with balloons! We even had assigned people to guard the balloons 
lest other colleges try to sneak into Jones & pop the balloons! Sabotage!

The balloon fight is crazy. I signed up to pass out the balloons out of a truck, since we usually drive along the inner loop and have a water balloon fight "parade", but this year, the set-up was different so I handed out balloons from the ground outside the roped-off area.

After the fierce cheer battle between colleges, where everyone runs up to other colleges and yells their own cheers and the responding anti-cheers, the water balloon fight began.

Can I just say, chaos????? There were balloons flying through the air, yelling and screaming, constant water splashes, the ground mucking into mud... And I was only in the periphery of it all. I still got soaking wet and muddy from the race!

Still smiling after the (traumatizing) balloon fight

And of course, everyone headed to the highlight of the day- the beer bike race itself!
After Will Rice won both alumni's and women's race, the men's race began. Jones had our fingers crossed to keep WRC from sweeping (winning all three races). On our 5th biker, the race was immediately stopped after a biker crashed into some judges. It was particularly windy today, and the race proceeded about half an hour later after deliberation, as a Beer Run. Frantically, Jones gathered up running shoes and socks, and amazingly, Jones raced in first, winning the Beer Bike/run race!

View from the tracks- I was on the chug team so I could see the entire colleges
 on its stands (you can see the separated colors) cheering on. 

Jones ran our mandatory victory lap, cheering and celebrating & of course, we headed back to our dorm building to CELEBRATE! We celebrated with champagne, singing/dancing, tons of pizza, and a mandatory burning of Will Rice's "sweep broom" in our grassy quad. And then, of course, we all danced the night away in the lobby as champions.

I loved this quirky Rice tradition & this was my last Beer Bike as an undergraduate. I have my fingers crossed that my graduate school has as fun and weird traditions that I can look forward to with a countdown calendar!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

(at the rodeo) dream it anyway.

You can chase a dream that seems so out of reachAnd you know it might not ever come your wayDream it anyway
Martina McBride "Do It Anyway"
I went to the Houston Livestock Show & radio yesterday and had so much fun. First of all, I had been dying to try fried anything, so I had a fried snickers which was, well, with the gooey chocolate and nuts and soft dough with sugar on top, delicious.

We watched mutton bustin', which is 5-year-old's grabbing onto the backs of lambs and trying to hold on (the screen is a close-up of a boy holding onto the lamb).

And Martina McBride, whose only song I know is "This One's for the Girls" sang a bunch of inspirational and fun songs, one of which I really enjoyed is quoted here.

She just had so much energy and owned the entire stage!

I had two "interviews" today, and in one I was asked to describe myself in one word. I chose "grateful". After the interview, I was thinking to myself, why didn't I choose other better words like "ambitious" or "goal-oriented" or "compassionate" or "adventurous"? My choice seems odd in comparison to other words that someone would use to describe a good employee. But with the entire day to think about my initial choice- the word just burst into thought- I am slowly nodding my head. I am grateful, that everything that's happened has happened(good and bad) and consider myself lucky to have all these learning experiences.

We made it on our college newspaper! We're engrossed in our delicious fried snickers experience and not even aware of the camera:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

back from cruisin'!

I am back from my wonderful cruise! I spent a glorious 7 days of eating 3-course meals complete with the best desserts ever, lounging by the pool in the sun with the ocean around me, exploring three Caribbean cities: Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, and of course, no thoughts of school at all.

Here's the Royal Promenade, the street of shops, bars, restaurants, and FOOD 24-hour-around. There were parades, live music, and lots of people-watching on this street.
 At the Pig & Whistle pub where we sat many nights singing along to cheesy oldies.
 Poolside on the top deck- perfect sun, wind, and the pool! I thought it was ironic that we were sitting in the pool in the middle of the ocean. The sky is a perfect shade of blue.
Waters at Cozumel- look at these colors! I think the Caribbean waters have this beautiful sparkly turquoise color that's just breathtaking.
 On the ship waiting to go into Cozumel! This was our first port-of-call and we were excited!
 The beautiful ceramic pots in the shops-I love the colors. They also had many ceramic painted fruits, Aztec souvenirs, and wooden carvings.
 In the beautiful (very salty) waters on the beach. The beaches weren't crowded at all, and everyone was so relaxed and happy.
 Our ship (and another). It does look really grand from the outside.
Taking our tour guide's advice, I tried turtle soup in a local eatery right off the beach in Grand Cayman- chewy and delicious! 
 Bruce looks on to the shops in Grand Cayman- the entire island was flat. At one point the tour guide took us to the highest point which was only 10 feet up from sea level.
 We went to the caves in Jamaica where runaway slaves used to hide away. The underwater lake was serene and eerily quiet. We saw families of bats and coiled-up snakes!
We climbed the Dunn river falls, from the beachside up to the top with water cascading down. It was so refreshing and fun to wade around and dip in mini natural-pools on our way up.
The new port of Falmouth from the ship. Our ship was only the fourth ship to land and the ship did look giant and foreboding in the background. Students getting out from school and people from the neighborhood were gathered around and looking at the ship/tourists.

We literally just came back to school & I'm unpacked, tired, and ready for a nap! I've eaten so much on this trip & had such a relaxing time it's weird to think about starting school and going back to my regular life tomorrow.