Food for Your Brain

Who doesn’t love food? Tacos, pizza, hamburgers, salads, and cake, you name it. But does your body really need all these foods? During your teen years the body grows and changes constantly, therefore, chica,you have to make wise choices to grow healthy and strong. Food is your body’s fuel, so if you choose the right foods you’ll have an optimal performance. You don’t need to be a chef in the kitchen to come up with healthy ideas, all you need is creativity and to be more informed. Exercise plays an important role in this topic, is part of finding harmony in your life that will help you to stay healthy to live longer and happier.

Everyone has at least fallen in love with a delicious flavor at least once. It could have been a meal that your mom prepared for you, or maybe one day you found yourself experimenting with the fridge leftovers. The point is that food is awesome, but keep in mind that it’s the fuel for your body.

Have you recently paid attention to what you eat every day? Do you really need that family size of papas fritas with salsa valentina? Muy ricas, right? Sadly, you cannot eat them every day; balance in your diet is a must. Your body does not work as efficently when you lack the elemental nutrients.

Water - healthy option

Tu cuerpo y mente complement each other. Did you know that you can eat food to improve your concentration and memory? En otras palabras: eat food for your brain, which is one of the major organs of the human body. Keeping your mind busy and body active will not only make learning easier, but it will help keep you healthy!

There are many options of foods; here is a list of what you can eat to have a sharp and bright mind:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary sodas and sports drinks! Staying hydrated is important to the overall brain function and will help you  concentrate.
  • Eat more berries: They’re small and easy to carry with you on the go, and these little guys contain memory-boosting vitamins like vitamins C and E.
  • Add more folic acid rich foods: Folic what? in other words whole grain foods, lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, green peas, artichokes, broccoli and oranges.
  • Increase your fish intake:  Don’t let Dory’s memory from Nemo  bring you down, not all fish are as forgetful as her. Actually, if you eat low fat fish, like salmon, it will improve your ability to remember information.
  • Start your day with a healthy breakfast: Oatmeal and low-sugar/ high fiber cereals will give you the kick that you need to start your day. News report that research has shown that students who eat this type of breakfast perform better at school.
  • Eat eggs in moderation: Huevos a la Mexicana? Si, porfavor. Although eggs can be high in cholesterol, they can help you retain information and be ready to learn every day. Cooked egg whites is the healthy alternative.
  • Switch your snacks from chips and cookies to fruit and walnuts: I know, I know, eating your fruits and vegetables is the number one saying while eating healthy, but there are other healthy snacks out there. Did you know walnuts are good sources of plant-based omega-3 fats? These fats are important for your health.
  • You don’t have to stop eating red meat to be healthy: A great source of vitamin B12, which is vital for healthy brain function, is found in red mean. If you opt for grass-fed beef, even better!

Eating right is a good start, but you have to also supplement it with exercise. Mixing a good diet and exercise will lead you to an optimal performance. Caminar, correr, nadar you choose any type of physical activity that you like is the best ally you can have during this stage of your life. Invite amigos or familia to exercise with you, having a workout buddy motivates you, and together you can come up with more fun ideas on how to stay active and healthy.

The benefits of taking care of your body at a young age are infinite and it will pay off in your adult life. And just like John F. Kennedy said: “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

Mi Barrio: Latinas of Los Angeles

Latinas are taking over from Hollywood to Congress. Los Angeles alone is home to 4.9 million Latinos,  according to the Pew Research Center. In a county with so much diversity, the next award-winning actress like Gina Rodriguez or the next Latina congresswoman like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen could pass you in the streets of L.A. Here are some Latinas who could be the next game changers.

Name: Natalia Castillo

Age: 8

“I’m stuck on two things I want be when I grow up. I want to be an artist or an animal rescuer. I love animals so I want to rescue them and help them when they need help. It seems a bit hard to do but I want to at least try to be one. If that doesn’t work, I want to be an artist. I’m good at drawing and I draw everything, especially my pet dog Llavero. Right now, drawing people is really hard. I want to draw portraits when I’m older. If I could draw my family, that’d make me really happy.”

Name: Anne Caroline Lima

Age: 17

“I’m highly interested in international studies. Learning new languages, studying abroad and learning about different cultures. I’m also highly interested in the arts such as theatre (acting) and working on and behind the screen both in cinema and TV. with International studies I hope to myself become less ignorant and learn about the world I live in as well as encourage people to realize that there is something bigger then themselves out there. Also influence people on being less ignorant when it comes to other cultures and respecting as well them. With the arts I hope to tell stories that convey a message of positive social change but also that will make people want to laugh, enjoy themselves, life and being comfortable and confident in who they are.”


Big Sis Spotlight: Rachel Jackson

“We are not going to show up on the syllabus. We always have to interrupt and tell our stories.”

Rachel Jackson’s passionate voice could be heard over the Starbucks noise as she explains how modern political theory can intersect with her Latina identity. Having majored in Politics and minored in Spanish, the knowledge that she absorbed in those college classrooms has shaped who she is and how she perceives the world around her.

After Jackson graduated from her local high school with an International Baccalaureate diploma, she was encouraged by her older sister to attend Pomona College, a top liberal arts college in California. Initially unsure of how to navigate in her new environment, the El Paso native struggled in her first year of college.

“In my first year [of Pomona] I was not doing well, I didn’t know what I liked, I was in a bad relationship…I almost transferred,” Jackson recalls.

Jackson is not afraid to admit that she struggled in her freshmen year. With the pressure of trying to find peers to connect with and of adjusting to the college environment and her classes, she began to feel isolated. By talking to the college’s psychologist, Jackson began recuperating from the stress and troubles that affected her. But what really made a significant impact on her was one of her politics classes. She had just finished writing a paper over Calvinism when her professor came to her, impressed by Jackson’s writing skills. She received her first A of the year from that paper and was shocked by both the grade and her professor’s remarks. Telling Jackson that she has an ability to talk intelligently about social contract theory, Jackson realized that this was an avenue to pursue.

Over the course of her college years, Jackson became involved in a variety of different groups and organizations that helped develop her ideas as a student and individual.

Jackson joined the Latino student organizations very early on in her college career, but found that machismo was present in some of these groups. Instead of being discouraged, she ended up joining black student organizations that allowed her to find the discussions and peers that she sought. Through these organization and others, Jackson was able to develop as an intellectual and individual.

Displaying a strong sense of self-awareness and of the society around her, she realized how the El Paso environment was different from Claremont’s. Although Jackson knew that the predominantly Mexican population in El Paso were “similar, but not really” to her as a Columbian, it didn’t bother her. However, she underwent a culture shock in California since the environment was vastly different from her hometown.

She soon realized that for many people, Latinos, regardless of ethnicity, were viewed as solely blue-collared workers. The majority of Latinos in Pomona seemed to be custodian or dining hall workers and this was something that Jackson noted. Driven by what she saw around her, she became involved in projects for marginalized communities.

Under Pomona’s Draper Center for Community Partnership, she was the program coordinator where she was able to reach out to communities the way she wanted to. The first project she did was English as Second Language, a program that paired non-English speaking workers within the university to students that volunteered to help. Another task that Jackson undertook was LEGS (Leadership Engagement in Gender and Sexuality), a project that allowed Pomona’s Career Center to work with a local high school’s Gay and Straight Alliance Club. This project would provide support to those local high school students that wanted to explore any questions they had.

Jackson became involved in the Student Government her senior year where she was elected as president of Senate. The committee changed the conversation on campus by trying to have an ethnic studies class to be a requirement for all incoming Pomona students.  Exposing students to a different perspective about others was something that Jackson believes to be important.

With the realization of the world’s injustices in high school through literature and poems, and the example from her family of helping others, Jackson became driven to help those around her. Jackson states that coming from an immigrant family there is this sense that you have to go to college to achieve the American Dream, but Pomona made her “realize there are other options.” Driven to make a difference, she is now looking for a job that involves legal work to see if she would like law school.

DIY Lip Balm

Keeping track of little tubes of lip balm can prove to be difficult for many during these cold and dry winter months — in reality, keeping a lip balm for a year can be a challenge. If you’re tired of buying a new lip balm every so often, or even want to try something new, you can make your own. Making a batch of this easy-to-make lip balm can save money and can be a fun way to spend an afternoon or make cute personal gifts for your friends.

Ingredients and Materials:

  • 4 tbs coconut oil (this can be purchased at any grocery store)
  • 3 tbs shae butter, or petroleum jelly (available at craft stores or health food stores)
  • 1 tbs shaved beeswax (available at craft stores)
  • Microwave safe bowl and stirring utensil
  • Container to hold lip balm (bottle caps, old containers, or even the travel size small container from your local store)

1. Mix these ingredients in a microwave safe bowl

2. Microwave mixture in 30 second intervals until completely melted. This will give you the base for your lip balm.

After this you can basically play and experiment with different ingredients depending on what kind of lip balm you want. You can add a drop of peppermint extract if you want a minty lip balm (or any kind of extract oil), or some powdered make-up for color (kool-aid will sometimes work).

Once you are done mixing in any additional ingredients in your lip balm mixture, pour the mixture into a small container (or several if you are gifting it). Once the mixture is in a small container, place it in the fridge for a couple of hours until it hardens.

Tips to Making New Friends

friends hugMaking new friends it is not always easy. Sometimes we try so hard to create new bonds and we wonder if it’s us or them.  Making friends doesn’t have to be difficult, so we asked our Latinitas familia to shir their advice on making new amigas (or amigos):

  1. Keep a friendly attitude.
    If you treat people badly, the only thing you are going to gain is that they will run away from you. Be nice to the new people you know, even if it is for a few minutes. You never know how or where you’re going to meet a friend, or future BFF, but being standoffish and mean makes it more difficult to form new friendships.
  2.  Smile
    Smiling will show that you want to make friends and that you are open for people to approach you. Try to not put on a fake smile; genuine smiles comes from within and demonstrates that you are interested in being friendly.
  3.  Say hi!
    It may sound kind of simple, but knowing someone’s name and greeting them makes you look more friendly and it shows that you acknowledge them.
  4.  Learn to be a good listener
    Demonstrate your interest in your potential friend by listening to what they have to say. From family to their pets, listening to what he/she likes, doesn’t like, or what is going on with them in his/her life will not only show that you care, but will also help establish common interests.
  5. Share your interests and be supportive
    If at first the other person does most of the talking, that’s fine! But don’t expect for this to be the case all the time. Be supportive of his/her interests while sharing some interests of your own. Complimenting other people is helpful if you mean it. Classmate has a cute new backpack? Don’t be afraid to tell them.
  6. Stop criticizing
    Judging is one of the worst qualities of human beings, everyone acts according to what it considers appropriate.
  7. Do not talk ONLY about yourself
    This can be annoying and uncomfortable. Contribute when and where you can, but forming a friendship is not a one way street.

Iconic Female Artists


Learn more about some iconic female artists:

Frida Kahlo
One of the most iconic Mexican female artists is Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo is known for her self-portraits and of her realism, symbolism, and surrealistic art style. Kahlo was born on July 6th 1907, in Mexico City, Mexico. Her art began after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo incorporated her life into her work, such as her injuries, miscarriages, indigenous roots, and her husband (Diego Rivera). Her work reflects life and the beauty of Mexico.


Danza-de-la-Tierra_finalJudy Baca
Judy Baca is a Chicana artist born on September 20th, 1946, to Mexican – American parents. Baca’s murals helped her gain recognition in her early years as a high school teacher. She utilized mural painting to bring together students and community members as there existed tensions among them.

Baca’s work has left a significant impact on the Latino community, which is still ongoing to this day. One of her murals is Mi Abuelita , which illustrates a grandmother with her arms outstretched for a hug. This mural is important and significant as it was also painted by rivaling gang members, which surprised city officials. Baca’s other murals would shift Chicano and Latino culture.


Olivia Peguero
Olivia Peguero is a Dominican artist who focuses on contemporary landscapes and botany. She was born in Las Salinas, Barahona Province, in 1961. Her art style was first influenced by Dutch painters and the love of the physical beauty her country. Peguero’s work is important as viewers can escape and appreciate Caribbean beauty. Her efforts in providing back to her community is seen through her organization of the Art Books for Education Project, where young kids are given the appropriate tools needed to enter the art world.



BoulangerAmourtendresseGraciela Rodo Boulanger
Graciela Rodo Boulanger is a Bolivian painter born in La Paz in 1935. Her parents introduced her to the arts, and encouraged a creative outlet. Boulanger’s signature art is known for her depiction of children. Boulanger has had her work displayed at UN Assembly and with UNICEF. The latter chose her in 1973 as the official artist for the International Year of the Child.   Boulanger’s work has been shown all around the world, which is a great celebration for a fellow Latina artist.

The 3Ps for Time Management

There are three easy steps that you can practice right now to have a successful and less stressful school year.

Planning out ways to balance successful grades while still having a social life is possible. Having a big calendar, or planner to record all tasks needing to be completed is a great way to start. Having all information neatly organized is helpful with time management because you can prioritize each task and its urgency as to when it needs to be completed in a timely manner. Every school subject should have its own color. Sometimes to do lists can get messy, but you can start the list while watching TV or listening to your favorite música. Try using bright colors like red, orange, and green. Other colors can be used for weekend or non-school activities such as sports, art class, or chores.  Start with one week at a time. Once your list is complete, rewrite all your tasks according to its date on your big calendar.
Prioritize each assignment by its due date. Don’t forget to color code!  Color coding a to do list or using color sticky notes on a planner is a great way to prioritize every task you may have according to its day. It will also make it easier to rewrite the information on your big calendar. If you have a busier week, asking a parent to help you is always great to do. Parents can help by assigning your chores and extra curricular activities for the weekend to reduce any overwhelming feelings you may have.
Sound great but not sure how to get started? Ask a parent or an adult. Selecting a time during family meals, car trips, walking the dog, or even standing in line at a store would be convenient. These are just some great options to ask for guidance. Having a set schedule is also helpful. For example, after school activities could be having a quick snack and checking your to do list for the day. After completing all tasks there should be time to get your lunch and outfit picked for the next day.
Be sure to set a bedtime for yourself. According to WebMD having 10 to 11 hrs of sleep per night is a must! Try to avoid caffeine before bed so that you can remain calm and fall asleep.  Lack of sleep can harm your mind and your body.  Your tired mind can give you a sluggish or inpatient attitude which will not help you at all. Lack of sleep will cause you to loose focus during school and at home resulting in many more issues. Having a set schedule can help train your brain, but sleep will provide the energy and tolerance of completing any tasks that you may have. Remember, you can’t be the best you can be without a good nights sleep.
Sometimes coordinating a time to play before school or on a day that doesn’t require much work can be helpful. Those instances are considered “down time,” so take advantage of that by having Playtime after studying or even completing chores.
Some activity ideas to help wind down at night can be a warm shower, a book or other relaxing activities.  Avoid doing exciting exercises such as jumping and  dancing to loud music. Video games, text messaging, web surfing and other stimulating activities should also be avoided shortly before bedtime.
Following tips like these will help you toward a successful school year, you and your parents can be proud of!

Elle Stuart

Powerful Latinas to Look Up To

These talented Latina actresses not only shine on the screen, but also as role models and volunteers.  These Latinas are setting an example for the rest of us by using their fame and power to do good for many!

Roselyn Sanchez Roselyn Sanchez

The beautiful Puerto Rican Roselyn has been working in the industry for a long time. She has been recognized for her beauty in many pageants and that gave her a chance to land big roles in different movies and TV shows. She has also worked as a producer and director. She has done philanthropic work and created a foundation dedicated to help animals and little kids. She has also led a triathlon for children’s charities.

Judy Reyes

From Dominican parents, Judy has participated in many TV shows since the 90′s, including The Sopranos and Oz, but her most recognized roles are Scrubs and Devious Maids. However she’s not only an actress, she has spent some of her time helping orphans with organizations such as Orphaned Starfish Foundation, a group that help them overcome poverty through education in Haiti, Latin America and Africa. She has also helped to build community gardens with help of the Garfield Health Department.

Ana Ortiz

Ana Ortiz, who is of Puerto Rican and Irish descendent, graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and now is a mother of two. She is well recognized for her roles in Ugly Betty and Devious Maids. She has dedicated some time to do charity work! She has been a part of the fight against AIDS, participating with AIDS Healthcare Foundation. She has also worked for the Animal Rescue Foundation. While she was part of the Ugly Betty cast, they helped with a charity auction benefiting Save The Children.

Bella Thorne

From Cuban Descent, Bella Thorne has been working really hard since an early age and she’s only 18! She started as a child model. She was a lead actress and a great dancer on a Disney TV show while simultaneously working as a model for a couple of brands, and later working on movies and TV shows. With her busy life, she has set aside some time to help others by working with Humane Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and The Nomad Organization.

Victoria Justice

She started her artistic career at a young age and hasn’t stopped working since then. She has appeared in many TV shows and is well-known from Zoey 101 and Victorious. She has also made a singing career and released many singles. But she is also making a difference. She joined the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign to educate, protect and empower girls in developing countries.


5 Reasons to be Proud of Your Roots

5 Reasons to be Proud of Your Roots

You should be proud of your roots whether you were born abroad or here in the U.S. or whether you speak Spanish or just understand a few words.  But why?

Appreciate the journey that has helped shape you.
For many Latinos, their journey to come to the U.S. was motivated with the goal of making a better future for their children. It is important to value the sacrifice your parents, grandparents or ancestors made to get to this country. You arrived to this country and your current living situation because our families wanted a better quality of life than the ones they had when they were young.

“Thanks to the fact that my parents came to this country, I have access to better education and now I’m in college and ready to work on something that I like,” says Delia Ponce, age 19.

Delia’s family moved from Mexico to give her more opportunities. We should all appreciate the opportunities and resources available to us because of the sacrifices your family made.

Latinos come from a “warm” culture
Latinos are known for expressing their emotions and being a warm community. “I go to family parties and people are always hugging and kissing and even aunts and cousins that I don’t know receive me like I’ve known them my whole life,” says Lucia Cazarez, age 18. It is commonly said that Latinos are really affectionate and that they can receive new people as if they’ve known them for many years. And they don’t feel embarrassed about public display of affection, many can prove this just by trying to hug their mom or at a family reunion just as Lucia previously stated.

The Delicious Food
“My culture is delicious,” says Polet Espinoza, age 20. “My favorite part about my culture is definitely the food. It’s what makes me, me. I love it. The Enchiladas, the tacos, tostadas, the spiciness, flautas, guacamole, and everything in between. When I think of the food, my face transforms into the emoji with the heart eyes and a smile!” she adds.

The great thing about food is that every country has some dishes that make them different from the rest of the world. The flavors are so distinctive from other countries. How can you be proud of the food? Older family members can pass on their historic family recipes and teach you how to make those traditional dishes that you can share with your family and friends.

We have amazing cultural traditions that have been passed down generations
It is good to learn about our history and celebrations, such as the Independence Day of Latin American countries and Dia de Muertos. These celebrations help our kids embrace their heritage, learn from it and identify with it.

“While growing up, my mom used to take the time to teach me all about the Mexican history. After school, I used to sit for hours listening to my mom telling me about important dates and traditions that she used to celebrate while growing up,” shares Emilia Serna, age 17. This has been true for many, and that is wonderful because kids grow up in one culture while belonging also to another. They become more aware of who they are and where they come from and of course, when they grow up they’ll have more stories to share.

It’s part of who you are.

“I’m thankful for being Mexican because I get to have the best of both worlds. I share two cultures and that makes me really happy. I’m not only part of one thing: one country, one ethnicity. I’m part of two great cultures and it’s amazing,” shares Pamela Herrera, age 18.

Being a part of two cultures can shape who you are. You share values and traditions with multiple cultures and that helps you see things from a different perspective. All that you’ve seen and been taught while growing up is part of who you are and of what you will become. Embrace everything that comes in your way!

Encouraging Girls in Computing

Daniela Miranda
Young Women in Computing Program Coordinator
Employer: New Mexico State University

Hometown: Chihuahua, Mexico

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I’m focused on outreach to increase the number of students in computer science. Help them find I run after-school programs and summer camps where girls learn about Snap, lego robotics, app inventor for middle school and introduction to Linux, Java Script and HTML. We attend conferences where such as the Grace Hopper conference where college students get good internships. I recruit and find opportunities. We are there for any girls who need us to present to help introduce girls we like to spread the word about computer science.

What is your educational background?
I have an accounting degree from Mexico. When I came from Mexico, I got a business degree. My family was here in Texas, so I came too. There are better opportunities here. My degree gave me all the tools to be able to succeed. I always had a part-time job so that helped me get a job.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
Never give up.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I like getting to know new people and meet young women and connect them with the opportunities that our program offers. We want to recruit more Hispanic young women, but most of the time the Hispanic population doesn’t know about opportunities in computer science. Because there are a lot of job openings. By 2020 there will be a lot of opportunities in computer science.

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