HealthIngredient 101Wellness

squash

When it comes to healthy ingredients, we can’t say enough good things about butternut squash. Though it’s bizarre shape confused us at first, once we found a great recipe to use for this squash we were hooked. Peel it, chop it up into cubes, and mix it in with some olive oil, onions, and chicken stock, and voila! You’ve got yourself a hearty and healthy soup. Here are a few reasons why butternut squash is so great for you:

1. It’s filled with beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A (helps heal your skin, protects your eyes, and decreases UV sensitivity).

2. It is important for bone health and it helps your nervous and immune systems function properly because of the potassium and vitamin B6.

3. If you want healthy hair follicles and a hydrated scalp, butternut squash does just that because of the vitamin E, iron, and omega-3s.

4. Don’t toss the butternut squash seeds! They are an amazing source of tryptophan and dietary fiber. Roast them for a nutritious snack.

Ingredient 101: A weekly column featuring nutritious ingredients that you can incorporate daily to help you live a healthy life and to #SeizeYourYouth. Tell us which ingredients keep you healthy on Twitter by tagging #CarpeHealth and @CarpeJuvenis.

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Culture

So you’re in NYC for the winter and you’ve already read my last piece about doing some fun stuff in the city. Well, what do you know, there’s more to do! Who wouldn’t like a hot bowl of ramen, a cozy warm setting with some BBQ, or a comforting bowl of soup this winter?

Relatively affordable for a college student and great for winter­ get-togethers, here are some places I’d like to recommend.

Ramen

Yes, ramen! There are plenty of delicious ramen shops around the city; you just have to find them! You probably know about Ippudo, the popular ramen shop in the East Village that has already been noticed by NYT and NY Mag. But there’s also Momofuku and Takumi, which is located near NYU and is where I suspect local students go when they aren’t willing to travel any further than a five block radius. Spend a day exploring the neighborhood and warm up with a good bowl of ramen!

Japanese BBQ

When I first started college a few years ago, I tried to keep in touch with my friends from high school who were also in the city. We ate at a place called Gyu­Kaku. It’s a Japanese BBQ that’s great for chilly or rainy winter days near Cooper Union, but there there’s one up in Midtown. You and your friends order whatever meat or veggies you want, and you cook it on the grill in front of you. The cozy warm atmosphere and the abundance of food is a great way to spend lunch or dinner during the unpredictable but nonetheless chilly season. Split some orders with a friend, or go as a large group and get a party platter. It’s by St. Mark’s so you can explore the neighborhood (and get an ear piercing if you’ve been dying to get one) while you’re here.

Chinese food

I’ve been going to a Chinese place on 102 Mott Street (the name has changed once or twice) ever since I was a little kid. I’ve always gotten hot congee there. In high school, I went with a group of friends and ordered a rice dish with salt and pepper pork. In college, I went back yet again, and this time with different friends (and one who was a vegetarian). Despite its lackluster appearance, this Chinese restaurant has always been my go­-to when I’m in Chinatown because of its reliable food and nostalgic experience (and affordability!). Explore Chinatown and stop by for wonton noodle soup, rice dishes, and congee.

As a jaded New Yorker and poor college student, I can tell you that finding good food in good places can be exhausting both mentally and for the wallet. At the same time, it can be fun when you have friends who are willing to try new things with you. Take some time this winter break to see what new places you can find. Who knows what hidden gems you will discover. Enjoy and happy eating!

Image: Lauren Jessen