The Mean Nurse RN BSN

I am a writer and registered nurse with a bachelors in nursing from Kent State. I have studied food and its biochemical makeup for over 25 years. I am very passionate about life, wellness, writing and my daughter. I've lived out most of my personal and professional dreams, which have taken me across the country and the ocean. Google my name to find out more about me and all the links to my work, or simply send me an email. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.
The Mean Nurse RN BSN has written 31 posts for The Mean Nurse

Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Shit About Nutrition

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You would think your doctor would know about nutrition. After all, Hippocrates, the person the Hippocratic Oath is based from said “let food be thy medicine…” What you put in your body affects your body. Therefore, the person you trust with your overall health, should understand how food affects you. Bitch, you thought. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals just how much your doctor has been taught regarding nutrition. The study surveyed 126 medical schools and out of the 106 that responded, students in less than half of the schools were receiving more than 20 hours of nutrition education. Those 20 hours do not even come from a separate course. Say what? Their knowledge of nutrition comes from their chemistry and biology classes. Here is the problem with that: just as food can heal you, it can kill you too. For instance, if you eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, you are bound to beat the shit out of your kidneys. In fact, many doctors will recommend this type of diet to patients that need to lose weight. Can we all just give our poor kidneys a break and stop taking shitty advice from doctors who think carbs are the enemy.

In all honesty you should be eating more plant-based, COMPLEX FUCKIN’ CARBS! Our cells take the sugar we get from our food and they turn that into energy. You should remember that from your 7th grade science class. If you are feeling sluggish you shouldn’t be running to a piece of chicken to help you. What you should be doing is fueling your body with sugar. That’s what it runs on, you know? That said, don’t be eating a damn Snickers bar when you feel too sluggish to move. Your ass is going to sit back down on that couch and where will that get you? Nowhere. So eat some fruit, go outside, and let your metabolism do its job.

Why shouldn’t you always listen to your doctor? Times are changing; healthcare has become a business, and healthcare is SICK care. You cannot rely on your doctor to always be right. Given, sometimes they will give you good advice that benefits you, but they can also give you some crappy advice that benefits them. You must do your own research. A trip to the library or a simple Google search is easy enough, and you must have access to the Internet or you wouldn’t be reading this. If you want verification as to the validity of the site’s advice, ask me. You know the Mean Nurse tells it straight.

No Smoothie, No Problem

Svenska: Tropical Smoothie

Yes. Yes. Yes. I previously wrote about Why I Haven’t Jumped on the Smoothie Bandwagon. I know some of you probably thought “there’s no fucking way I’ve giving up my smoothie, the Mean Nurse doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I’m getting my fruits and vegetables. I’m healthier because of it! She’s just bat-shit crazy.” 

Well, the popular lifestyle blog MindBodyGreen has an article in support of what I’ve been saying for years……

Turns out I’m not bat-shit crazy, just ahead of my time.

I’ll take it.

-MN

Consumer Alert: Major Retailers Accused of Selling Fraudulent Herbal Supplements

FYI you Mean Nurse minions. I have never advocated for any of these brands. I’m fairly stuck on Source Naturals Wellness Formula and whatever formulation of Kyolic Garlic works for me at the time. Stick to the stuff at 1) your local, independent natural food store or 2) Whole Foods-like chain, and in that order please. Just as you should know your local organic farmer and source as much of your food as possible from 1) your own garden, and 2) the local farmer (and in that order), you need to know the person supplying your vitamins and supplements if you take them. Here’s the lesson to be learned:

Why I Haven’t Jumped on the Smoothie Bandwagon

Smoothie og kaffe

The smoothie bandwagon, green or fruit, is a trend in wellness and weight loss that this Mean Nurse simply cannot get behind. Why? Sugar and calories. While there is no calorie counting on the Mean Nurse plan, you still have to be a bit mindful so you don’t overdo it. Any time you drink your calories, you are going to consume more calories than you probably intend because liquids never give you that “full” feeling that comes from the fiber in whole food. Sure, you can add a scoop of fiber to your smoothie, but why would you choose a pulverized and dried vegetable that has to be rehydrated to expand? Just eat the damn food! And if you say, “it’s more convenient….,” uh huh. Convenience has caused a lot of obesity and fat pockets of the food companies at the expense of our health and to the delight of the food companies and your doctor (well, maybe he’s not that delighted, but he is getting paid).

We think way too much about how to make food faster and easier to eat in the U.S., instead of enjoying our food the way it was meant to be enjoyed. The food companies compete by making their foods faster and easier to eat and sway the consumer with attractive and convenient packaging (Nutella sticks, anyone?) and empty claims of “natural” products. There is nothing more natural than a farmer’s market (that hopefully carries organic produce). Smoothies can be made fresh at your gym, health food store deli, or at home. Many consumers buy them already mixed at the store (processed with artificial ingredients). If you’ve ever made a smoothie at home, how much stuff do you put in it? A whole apple? Half a grapefruit? Some strawberries? A bunch of kale? Any protein powder added to that? What about some plain greek yogurt? Ever figured out the sugar content of what you’re consuming? You might wind up with a couple pieces of fruit, some vegetables (those are fine), and sugar in the protein powder (go read the label and look for words that end in -ose or any other form of sugar, malt, syrup or grain). The yogurt, if you use it, contains lactose, a milk sugar. Again, just eat the damn food!

From an environmental standpoint, many smoothies cause a lot of waste. A lot of people juice the vegetables and fruit and then add the yogurt and ice. Unless you are making muffins every day from the scrapes (like my local coffeehouse), you’re wasting a lot of food that you paid for and a lot of fiber that could benefit your digestive tract. Your grocery bill is also higher than it needs to be.

So, sorry, I’m not on the smoothie bandwagon as much as an unpopular position as that may be. I’ll live with it. I also don’t indulge in frappuccinos or any other frozen-style drinks unless it’s got alcohol and an umbrella in it. If I’m going to drink my calories, I want it to be with friends on a night out, so it’s an occasional indulgence, not an everyday thing because I’m on my way to work or coming home from the gym; then there’s no spare room in the calorie budget for chocolate. And that’s DEFINITELY a bandwagon I’m on!

Weight Loss Success Tools: Daily Weigh-Ins vs. Food Journals

Trying a new weight loss plan that has you tracking your weight AND food? You only need one bitch-slap a day, pick the quick one……

The Mean Nurse

Bathroom scale

Daily weigh-ins are not typically advised on any weight loss program. Yeah, the Mean Nurse doesn’t give a rat’s ass about typical. Daily weigh-ins work. Why? Because it keeps you fucking accountable.

My godmother has weighed herself on a daily basis since she was a teenager. She allowed herself a three-pound gain at any one time before she’d take steps to take it off. That woman has weighed roughly the same for 60 years (a few pounds… LESS THAN 10!!!….have crept on over the past few decades). She attributes this phenomenon to daily weights. After doing exactly that for myself over the past year, and seeing a steady decline, I’d say she’s right!

Here’s what I recommend for everyone. Get a digital scale. Weigh yourself daily. Track weight loss ONLY on an app for your smartphone. I like MyFitnessPal. Record only those numbers where you see weight loss. The…

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When the “Experts” Get It Wrong

Dry ingredients for a Wacky Cake - ingredients...
I used to be a big fan of Jane Brody, a New York Times columnist on nutrition. Hers was the first book on nutrition I owned, and man, did I ever pour over that mother! I highlighted, made notes in the margin, dog-eared favorite pages. She graduated in 1952 from Cornell with a degree in biochemistry. Jane knew what she was talking about. She was a product of the same school that spawned T. Colin Campbell, The China Study and Forks Over Knives guy. So when she wrote an article that was published just this morning in the New York Times entitled “Why Cafeteria Food Is the Best,” I thought surely it was a satirical piece. She couldn’t possibly believe this. Yeah, I was wrong. She believes it, and even cited studies to prove it. Well, cited is the wrong word…. told us where the studies came from, but didn’t give the study names, which would make them easier to tear apart and disprove for questionable variables and controls. (Yeah, I’m THAT kind of study bitch critic.)

I love this quote in the article: “About 90 percent of lunches from home contained desserts, snack chips, and sweetened beverages…”  What the hell do you think that cup of milk that you’re offering contains? Lactose is a sugar. We shouldn’t be consuming it in any form because we do not naturally have the enzyme needed to digest it. If it’s in the form of non-sweetened yogurt, we’ve got a shot because it’s already partially digested, but other than that, we shouldn’t be drinking the shit. Also, ever look on a carton of chocolate milk? That shit MUST have sugar added in order to make it palatable. Cocoa comes from a bitter, bitter bean. The cocoa powder that many people bake with must have sugar added to the recipe so we want to eat the food. Ever tasted cocoa without sugar? I’d rather suck on a lemon!

This correlation in Ms. Brody’s article just killed me: “there has been no increase in food wasted by children who eat school lunches since rule changes took effect in 2012. About the same percentage of foods were uneaten and discarded as were wasted the year before.” Bottom line: kids are still wasting the food. They STILL don’t like it. Could that mean schools are still serving foods that kids don’t like? Hmmm? I have a recipe for homemade chocolate cake that is completely balanced, nutritious, and ooey gooey delicious, and guess what? The two versions each contain either a fruit or a vegetable. Kids don’t even know they’re eating them. I’m guessing the schools don’t know how to make anything that creative and delicious.

It doesn’t matter what studies Ms. Brody cited. Read the nutrition labels on the cans and boxes of cafeteria food. For any non-food item listed thereon, guess what?, it’s not real fucking food. It’s a chemical experiment made to taste like real food.

This article would be better titled “Why Cafeteria Food is Better in Some Cases” for those families who cannot afford to buy any food. We have to subsist somehow. Providing the BEST food for our children starts with education of the parents as to what is best, how to grow a few things at home (in any amount of space), and how to make the most of your grocery dollar or food stamps. It’s not as difficult as many people think, and if parents are on a minuscule budget for groceries, there are tons of ways to stretch meals for pennies….. literally, pennies. Need more info? Shoot me an email at themeanrn@gmail.com

Eight Tips for a Stress Free Holiday

A great reminder post….

The Mean Nurse

Christmas gifts.

The mere mention of “the holidays” can cause a stress reaction. What does that mean?  It means the body reacts with a “flight or fight” response, which causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, and that wouldn’t be so bad if they also didn’t cause our heart rate and blood pressure to rise and our digestion to slow down. Some studies link excess cortisol to abdominal fat. Who wants to fight the battle of the bulge without at least eating something decadent to deserve the flippin’ muffintop? Stress tears down your immune system causing you to be susceptible to every bug going around, including the nasty yearly flu. (Read The Mean Nurse’s Flu Prevention Tips and What You Don’t Know About the Flu Vaccine Can Hurt You!) Stress ages your body and your face. Ack!

Too many parties to attend, gifts to buy, kids home from school, relatives, food…

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The REAL Truth About Eating Like a Bird!

FullSizeRenderYou’ve heard friends and co-workers lament, “Oh my God, I eat like a bird, and I still can’t lose weight. I don’t know why!” Well, I’ll tell you why. You’re eating the wrong shit. No one eating a diet of mostly raw vegetables, fruit, and a little grain can’t lose weight or keep it off, because that’s what a bird eats. They don’t eat a couple of Oreos and down a diet soda, or a bag of chips and a bottle of Arizona or a Gatorade. Domesticated birds, eat vegetables — lots of them, if their owners love them and want them to live a long life. Some eat fruit, nuts, and a little cooked grain and seed.

Eating like a bird is really easier than you think, and if once a week you take the time to chop up a big container full of raw vegetables, your prep for the week’s cooking is more than half done. The other day I was swamped and had such a busy day that I wanted something fast for lunch. Unfortunately, we’d eaten all the leftovers so cooking was going to be the only route to go. Then I spied a can of tuna. I detest eating a whole can of tuna by myself because I’m the consummate meal stretcher. I stood there with the can of tuna in my hand, knowing the fridge was full of raw vegetables that could be added to the tuna, but I didn’t have spare minutes to chop up a bunch of them. Then I remember the bird’s food! — the container of raw vegetables already chopped up for our convenience in feeding them. It contained broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, celery, and carrots. YAY! I scooped out a cup of it, mixed in the tuna and a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It made enough for two servings – double YAY!

The lesson — eating like a bird doesn’t mean eating very little, it means eating little things that are healthy. So chop those vegetables up ahead of time. It makes for a beautiful and appetizing salad, with or without the tuna. You can just as easily add the mix to scrambled eggs, pasta, or even a meatloaf.

How to Avoid Good Health

English: Shelves of packaged food inside a Ral...

We are all told how to get and maintain good health, but what if you don’t want that? How many of you would prefer to slog through life and not do another healthy thing for yourself because it’s just too much fucking work? Well, darlins, this blog is for you:

  1. Eat products that come in a can or box and have a “best by” date of a year or more from now. Must be some powerful healthy food to last that long, right?
  2. Buy most of your groceries from the center aisles of the grocery store, because a complete meal in a box says it has all the nutrients you need.
  3. Buy items with exotic names that you cannot pronounce, because it must be Latin or something, and you were never good at science anyway.
  4. Eat food that has advertising campaigns. They must be really fucking awesome if they can afford to appear during a bowl game.
  5. Do not do ANY form of exercise or stress relief. Seriously, who has an extra 30 minutes a day to spend on themselves? You could be watching Netflix, dude.
  6. Drink only flavored water, cuz seriously… what’s up with the plain stuff?
  7. Drink diet soda. You gotta get your sodium intake in, and if you skip lunch, you can have two or three.
  8. Don’t eat any fruit because it’s high in sugar, and it makes you poop more, and you fucking HATE doing that everyday!
  9. Eat out almost exclusively. They know how to cook better than you, and dessert is always available.
  10. Eat a lot of beige food. French fries and McNuggets are da bomb! And did you see? Dude, Burger King brought Chicken Fries back!

When you’re “sick, fat and nearly dead” as the title of the popular book proclaims….. get in touch.

Accident Schmackcident, I’d Have to Eat Hospital Food

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So yesterday I almost ended up in the hospital twice. The first time I was on my way to a friend’s house to pick up some stuff I needed for a cookout, and when I turned onto his street, a car nearly t-boned my passenger front side door. Luckily there was a side street that I was able to swerve around him. (Must have been deaf to my numerous honks that he was about to hit me.) The second time was last night with a raging migraine that took me four hours to stop the pain long enough for me to be able to sleep, and there were several times that I almost called the squad. Both times something that was playing in the back of my mind was who would bring food to me if I had to stay in the hospital? Ridiculous, right? Not really. Especially when the migraine… the severe, heading pounding, vision altering migraine that had me contorting myself every which way because certain positions can alleviate the severest of pain……. was triggered by processed food. Wish I were kidding.

I hadn’t had an aura that usually warns me of a migraine. I did earlier in the day, however, have a quick episode of a chemically-induced head pain when I bit into a piece of banana bread that had been prepared from a boxed mix (not mine). The pain was sharp, severe, but over in about 10 minutes with a lot of head massaging by me. No pain killers needed. Then late in the evening my dear daughter invited me to stop by the place where she was house sitting because she’d made peanut butter cookies. She’d also made cookies from a packaged dough that the homeowner had in the fridge. I only buy non-GMO peanut butter and never eat package dough, but my dear daughter had made them, so of course, I ate one of each. Within 15 minutes my head exploded in pain. From 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. I battled with the pain. I’d get 1-2 minutes of pain relief before it came thundering back. I sobbed, I writhed, I begged God to please take the pain away. I tried to think of what caused the migraine. Usually the barometric pressure — nope that was fine. Lack of sleep?– nope I was good there too. Had I eaten? — well, yeah, I’d had a home-cooked, organic dinner and there were…. those….. uh oh…. cookies. Shit. Why did I do that? And seriously? Two cookies would do this to me? Then I remembered the incident earlier in the day where one bite of a processed food had me spiraling into brief agony. For four hours as I ate medications like they were Tic Tacs, and struggled with the decision of whether or not to call EMS, I thought of what might happen when I got there and further, what might happen if I had to stay. With as sensitive as I obviously was to something in processed food, I’d be on a continuous cycle of meds, pain, more meds, more pain.

I decided that I wasn’t going. I could do more meds at home and slowly whatever I’d poisoned my body with would be eliminated from my system as long as I didn’t continue to eat more of it.

If the chemicals in processed food cause ME this many problems and this much pain, what might they be doing to you? If I can drop “umpteen” dress sizes on the Mean Nurse Plan I developed whereby I took 90% of the processed foods OUT of my diet and am still losing, how many pounds are those foods keeping on you? Only you know the answer to those questions.

MN

If you would like more information on the Mean Nurse Plan contact me at: themeanrn@gmail.com

 

Weight Loss Success Tools: Daily Weigh-Ins vs. Food Journals

Bathroom scale

Daily weigh-ins are not typically advised on any weight loss program. Yeah, the Mean Nurse doesn’t give a rat’s ass about typical. Daily weigh-ins work. Why? Because it keeps you fucking accountable.

My godmother has weighed herself on a daily basis since she was a teenager. She allowed herself a three-pound gain at any one time before she’d take steps to take it off. That woman has weighed roughly the same for 60 years (a few pounds… LESS THAN 10!!!….have crept on over the past few decades). She attributes this phenomenon to daily weights. After doing exactly that for myself over the past year, and seeing a steady decline, I’d say she’s right!

Here’s what I recommend for everyone. Get a digital scale. Weigh yourself daily. Track weight loss ONLY on an app for your smartphone. I like MyFitnessPal. Record only those numbers where you see weight loss. The line graph on this app gives you a positive visual of the downward movement towards your goal. It does not matter how long it takes you to get to your goal, just as long as you get there. So if you only lose ounces every couple of days, that’s okay. Do you really want to go a week before you discover you’ve gained 5 pounds, which could have been stopped at 2? Allow no more than a two-week plateau or a two-pound gain before you take measures to get yourself back on track.

Now for food journals. Hate them. Why? Because they remind me of something a mother would do…. constantly monitor every little thing that goes into a kid’s mouth. In the past, I’ve had to keep a food journal for some commercial asinine weight loss program whose spiel I believed. I’ve had to record the time, date, mood, location(?), my thoughts and finally WHAT, I consumed. So when a food journal looks like this…..

Breakfast:  7 a.m. 1 piece of toast, standing over the sink, pissed off because I poked myself in the eye with my mascara wand and pissed because I have to eat breakfast on this stupid plan when I’m not hungry and breakfast makes me sick unless it’s at 10, but that’s the time for the flippin’ mid-morning snack. I can’t eat a vegetable at this hour or protein, because I absolutely will throw up.

Midmorning snack: 10:30 a.m. Walking from my kitchen to my computer. 12 grapes, which should have been 9 but I’m not leaving 3 grapes in the refrigerator because that would be cruel to my daughter. I really don’t care for fruit much, but I have to eat something I don’t like to lose weight, jeez that sounds really stupid.

Lunch: 2:30 p.m. Tuna out of the can sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, still not hungry, but I’m eating this anyway because I’m supposed to. Is a can of tuna, one serving of protein or two I wonder? Green beans, 1/2 bag frozen @ 3:30 p.m. Couldn’t eat the beans with the tuna because BLECH!, and these were the only veggie I had on hand because I’m saving the others for dinner, so I had to wait.

Midafternoon snack: I think that was the beans. Standing in the kitchen. Probably should have had more to eat by now, but I’m drinking coffee and water. Eyeing a banana because I should eat another piece of fruit. Why do I have to eat something when I’m not hungry? Seems stupid. Animals don’t do that.

Dinner: 7 p.m. Finally hungry. Breaking the “no eating after 6p rule” most plans advocate, but what if I’m not hungry until then and I go to bed at 1a.m.? Plus, learned to eat dinner later from living in Europe and that really works with my body clock. Fuck it, I’m eating. Sitting in livingroom watching Ed Show because diningroom table is covered in sewing and daughter not home. 1/2 grilled chicken breast, tri-color pepper mix plus more onions, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash, tossed in red-wine vinegar and BUTTER, yeah, that’s right… BUTTER!

…. and a weight loss counselor says “you need to sit down at the table and take time out for yourself and really think about the food you’re eating and not do ANOTHER THING while you’re eating — like standing over the sink……,” I want to smack them. I do not need another mother. I do not need someone standing over me (the food journal), watching every little crumb that I put in my mouth. I do not have time to sit and write down my feelings about what I’m eating, because I do not want to EAT MY FEELINGS. I want to EAT MY FOOD. If I have to think about my feelings when I’m eating, I’m going to “feel” like eating chocolate or my go-to comfort food, macaroni and cheese.

It comes down to this: You ONLY need one bitch slap a day and that’s the scale. Start your day off with it, and it will set you right. You’ll either be soooo happy and ready to buy your scale flowers, or be soooo pissed off that you’ll make better choices THE REST OF THE DAY. Start your day off with the motivation it takes to honor your commitment to yourself. You don’t have to look back at your food journal to see where you went wrong. When you see that extra 2 pounds on the scale, I PROMISE YOU that you’ll remember exactly what you ate. You are allowed to swear at that point. (My scale knows lots of bad words in lots of languages.)

Now, relax, and just don’t do anything to piss yourself off tomorrow too.

-MN

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Why “Calories In vs. Calories Out” Can Cause Weight Gain

Chocolate-Cake-2006-Jan-04

You’ve heard for years that the equation is simple: burn off more calories than you take in, and you’ll lose weight. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, even people that aren’t good at math should be able to understand the concept without a calculator. The truth is, that logic is a bunch of hooey!

Case in point:  One person consumes an 80-calorie popular brand energy drink with Sucralose. The other person consumes an 80-calorie piece of homemade chocolate cake (yes, it’s a small piece, but bear with me) with chocolate frosting made with whole, organic ingredients, and yes, that means butter. Which one of these 80-calorie concoctions do you have a shot at burning off in its entirety with your evening session at the gym? You got it, the cake. Why? Because the cake isn’t loaded with chemicals, and all the chemicals in that energy drink were most likely encased in fat and STORED. Yes, that’s right, STORED IN FAT.

Our digestive systems are fantastic machines and know how to recognize the nutrients we need. It extracts them and sends them throughout the body for immediate use, or storage for later use. The “storage” includes muscles which will hold sugar. So the sugar in the cake can be stored for later use by the muscles OR later release, if the body needs it. When our digestive system encounters something it does not recognize, e.g. a CHEMICAL COMPOUND, it says “yeah, I don’t know what the fuck this is. It might be poison that could hurt the kidneys, liver, colon, etc., I’d better throw a blob of fat around it, and put it somewhere until I can figure it out.” Your 80 calorie concoction just got surrounded in a bunch of fat. And remember one gram of fat is 9 calories. What if each molecule of the chemicals that are inside the 80-calorie drink got surrounded by a gram of fat? That’s 9 extra calories per chemical molecule that it is now going to take to burn it off. Damn that’s a lot of gym time. I’ll take the chocolate cake and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. The fat molecules in the cake don’t need to be surrounded by more fat molecules to store them. The fat in the cake is sort of “what you see is what you get.” If the cake was made with applesauce in place of the fat, guess what… you’ve only got to worry about the carbs.

It makes me crazy when I try to explain to a coaching client that it doesn’t matter how many calories are in something, but what is making up the calories, and they turn a deaf ear. I’m committed to my clients. I’m committed to their health. I adopted the coaching philosophy of the late great Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry when he said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” 

I’d rather see them eat the chocolate cake, even though the more chemicals they eat, the longer they’ll need my services. It isn’t a win for me. It’s a loss for both of us.

 

 

 

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Cheap Food, Real Food Hype

English: Photo by R L Sheehan of commercially ...

Let’s get something straight: “All natural,” “natural flavor,” and “natural ingredients” don’t mean shit. Well, actually, maybe they do mean shit. Shit is natural.

“Natural” is a clever marketing term from dear old Madison Avenue, where the dear old ad agencies roam. “Natural” is a term designed to fool you into thinking a food product is healthy and good for you. “Natural” can be used ANY WAY THE FOOD COMPANY WANTS TO USE IT. If they can find something in nature that mimics a natural flavor, like castoreum that is sometimes extracted from the anal glands of a beaver to make artificial raspberry flavoring, they’ll throw the “natural flavor” label on the product. Even though it’s not done a lot because the critter has to be talked into excreting it…. well,

First of all, euu. Second, WHO tasted the anal glands of a beaver and decided “this is just like eatin’ a raspberry?” It’s a Jeff Foxworthy bit if ever I’ve heard one. Here’s a thought, why not simply use raspberry juice or even the flippin’ raspberry itself to flavor stuff? I mean seriously, the anal gland of a beaver? I’ll go with no flavoring at all if that’s the case.

Food with “natural” anything is a chemical experiment. It’s cheaper to add this to that and get something resembling the real taste of a real food than it is to grow it, water it, harvest it, ship it and stock it in the stores. There is a lot more manual labor involved, so the cost of real food is higher than the “Frankenfood.” And Frankenfood has to compete with other Frankenfoods, so Madison Avenue designs clever ad campaigns to fool us. When the last time you saw two different brands of bananas duking it out on TV, or a brand of mango trashing talking another? It doesn’t happen.

Real food doesn’t need ad campaigns. You may see a few, like for Cuties (oranges) or the old Chiquita banana and the Idaho potato commercials. But I can’t recall ever seeing them for: asparagus, mushrooms, lettuce, carrots, peppers, onions, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes or radishes. People eat them anyway.

Food companies, whether they are fast food chains or mega brands like Kraft, Nestlé, etc. have one goal and one goal only, and that is: to make money. HOW can they make money? By putting CHEAP ingredients in their foods. They ARE NOT CONCERNED WITH YOUR HEALTH. So stop believing all the fucking hype about natural this or whole-grain that. Whole grain is great if it doesn’t come with a lot of other processed muck, and I’m slowly changing my stance on whole grains even being healthy for you. They are better than a lot of alternatives, but at least as far as bread products go, they are still processed food. We don’t exactly walk out to the field and start munching on a stalk of wheat or oats.

The easiest way to avoid buying overly processed foods is to simply shop the perimeter of the store. Dive into the aisles for things like cleaning vinegar, nuts, or my personal favorite food group: coffee. Take your time in replacing your favorite Frankenfood, and don’t expect every change to mean that you can NEVER have your favorite food again. Just limit that crap out of it. I used to LOVE hot dogs as a kid, and now I allow myself to have one (as close to a healthy version as possible) once a year on July 4th, if I want it. At Christmas, I get to have a slice of pecan pie, organic as possible. In springtime, when Swensons drive-in opens, I’ll allow myself a sloppy American burger if I want it. (I don’t always because I imagine the price I’ll pay with my digestion over three days.) The thing is limiting the bad foods, and not, not ever having them again. Remember you’ve tasted ALL the bad foods before, and many times over, I’m betting. So try some new things. Healthy things. Tasty things. And let me know what you discover.

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Healthy Eating – Why It’s So Hard to Get it Right

healthyliving_pageA couple of evenings ago, I was faced with a dear friend who was upset about recent lab results that he’d received. This man is a smart one and has investigated better ways of eating and exercising and his efforts had met with success, that is, until his doctor got word of a study, and promptly changed the supplement regime my friend had been on, which shot his levels back up. His doctor had assured him that it was a good study, and that the regime should be changed just in case. How many times have I heard that? With a sociology minor I know that sociologists teach medical doctors how to do research. That’s right. Someone with a Ph.D in sociology has to teach medical doctors how to do research. So I immediately hopped on the Internet to read the study. Shot holes in the study design immediately. Found it wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal. Sorry, doc, but you’re full of it. Shit like this makes me crazy.

So sitting before me was a very smart man, who wondered why he couldn’t “get this stuff right.” I saw the frustration in his eyes, and my heart fell, not just for him, but for everyone who listens to a so-called expert – and for cryin’ out loud doctors should be experts! – and is still faltering. It’s not his fault. It’s not their faults.

Is it any wonder that there is so much misinformation passed around when it comes to health and good choices we make for it? I modify my stance on healthy practices when I read new research that HAS been peer-reviewed. Every time I hear a news anchor say “a new study shows……,” I turn off my listening and wonder, “Where is it published? How many times have results been replicated? What was the study design?”

I’m fortunate because I have a doctor that does get it, and years ago when I couldn’t reconcile in my mind the amount of food that the country’s most successful weight loss program was touting that I should eat, he simply said “Americans eat too much food anyway and should only eat when they get hunger signals and stop when they stop, and eat it like it grows.” What a concept, huh?

My best advice when it comes to healthy eating is also his: eat food in as close a natural state as possible – the way it is grown – and eat a variety of foods in lots of different colors, organic is best. That’s it. It’s not more complicated than that. You can steam it, stir fry it with some spices and herbs, find interesting and flavorful combinations, but it really is that simple. There is NOTHING new under the sun when it comes to healthy food as far as new food products. We already have all the variety of foods that we are ever_going_to_have. Anything new is a chemical experiment, and should not be eaten. AND, if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t be spending more than 15-20 minutes preparing it. It really is that simple. And I’ll gladly coach anyone who wants to know more about how to do it.

If you want to know more about how to eat healthy and melt weight off naturally and quickly, contact me.

Wow! You’ve Got to Try This—Egg Baskets

Great Saturday morning breakfast…. but we also like breakfast for lunch or dinner. Don’t be fooled by the picture, the “basket” part can be made with a vegetable combination using potatoes, zucchini, beets and carrots. I’ll definitely be making these and absolutely recommend them for healthy eating!

Simmer and Boil

Looking for fun brunch ideas? Look no further—we have a beautiful, easy idea for colorful handheld eggy entrees. All you need is a muffin pan and a little less than an hour to make it happen. Check out our how-to video to see how our individual egg baskets are made; recipes follow below.

For each Basic Potato Egg Basket, start with:
1/4 cup refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)

For each Carrot-Potato Egg Basket, start with:
2 tablespoons refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 tablespoons shredded carrot

For each Zucchini-Herb-Potato Egg Basket, start with:
2 tablespoons refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 tablespoons shredded zucchini, patted dry with paper towels
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

For each Beet-Potato Egg Basket, start with:
2 tablespoons refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 tablespoons shredded…

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NO, Do Not Stop Taking Vitamins!

English: The DSM Vitamins Factory

The article in the New York Times this morning about giving up our vitamins just pissed me off to no end! NO! No, you should not stop taking vitamins. BUT, you shouldn’t buy them from the grocery and drug store either. (Get them from a natural food store, not GNC.)

YES, we should all be getting every damn vitamin and mineral we need from our food supply, but have you taken a look at our food supply? There is less real food in all foods unless you grow it yourself or get it from a farmer you trust. These studies that negate the effectiveness of vitamins and supplements assume that every person’s diet is perfect. Is yours? Mine isn’t, and it’s pretty damn good. And by the way, the USDA recommended allowances for daily vitamins and minerals do NOT apply to every one anyway. Some people need more depending on their health. Those recommendations were written for the “average person,” but have you SEEN the average person lately? What size are they? They may not look malnourished, but most are. How many have diabetes? Heart disease? Cancer? Their nutrition needs are different. One size does not fit all in nutrition.

The USDA was founded so farmers have a voice and protection for their crops and income. I’m sorry, but what does a farmer know about my nutrition needs? In most cases, the limits aren’t high enough. For myself there is no way that I could consume all the foods high in Vitamin C to get what my system needs in order to fend off allergies. So, yes I have to take a supplement, and let me tell you that a couple days after not taking it, I’m a sneezy, wheezy mess. It’s the same with the fish oil I take. I’m more alert and can MOVE without pain when I take it. When I don’t, my body reminds me that I’m on the other side of 50, and I’ve enough trouble just keeping away the greys!

So please remember that when you read reports like this that vitamins are worthless, do what I was taught in college, ask yourself who conducted the study or is giving the advice. A doctor? Oh, you mean the guy that needs patients….. patients that are sick? Uh huh. There’s a reason I haven’t needed to go to the doctor in six years, and it’s not because I live in a bubble and never come into contact with germs. Vitamins are part of my daily regime, and they’re staying that way.

-TMN

Eight Tips for a Stress Free Holiday

Christmas gifts.

The mere mention of “the holidays” can cause a stress reaction. What does that mean?  It means the body reacts with a “flight or fight” response, which causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, and that wouldn’t be so bad if they also didn’t cause our heart rate and blood pressure to rise and our digestion to slow down. Some studies link excess cortisol to abdominal fat. Who wants to fight the battle of the bulge without at least eating something decadent to deserve the flippin’ muffintop? Stress tears down your immune system causing you to be susceptible to every bug going around, including the nasty yearly flu. (Read The Mean Nurse’s Flu Prevention Tips and What You Don’t Know About the Flu Vaccine Can Hurt You!) Stress ages your body and your face. Ack!

Too many parties to attend, gifts to buy, kids home from school, relatives, food, and noise take a toll and at the end you collapse from exhaustion and wonder: “where did the spirit of the holidays go?” You’re exhausted, cranky and OH LOOK… Santa gave you an extra five pounds in your stocking! The bastard.

If you don’t want the stress, exhaustion and the extra weight, try some of the following strategies. You might have a shot at keeping the holiday spirit alive without needing to drink so much of the holiday spirits!

1)         Keep your regular routine. Whether you take a CrossFit or yoga class every Thursday night or go running, do not skip it just to attend an office party. Do both. Your presence will only be missed for a short while and you will keep your integrity and commitment to your health. Knowing that you have to work off whatever you eat or drink may prevent you from overindulging.

2)         Don’t accept every invitation. More parties with more food and alcohol means an ever-expanding waistline. Do you really want to spend an extra five or six hours of your life working that off?

3)         Make instead of buying. Homemade gifts come from the heart, and they can be as simple as a cookie mix in a canning jar to as complicated as a handmade china cabinet. Handcrafted gifts are imbued with your energy and love you have for the receiver. If you aren’t a handy person, visit a local holiday craft fair. You will find plenty of items for gift-giving.

4)         Recycle. We’ve all had something in our house that someone has envied and commented on every time they visit. So take the thing they love, wrap it up and give it to them. Chances are they will treasure it always, and you will get visitation rights! The Swedes actually have a holiday tradition of exchanging one personal item they no longer use with a loved one who chooses a similar item from their own household.

5)         Buy throughout the year instead of waiting until the end of the year. People’s tastes generally remain the same and you probably could have most of your holiday shopping done by the time the season rolls around. Shop throughout the year, and it will save you hours of frustration and stress later.

6)         Cut down on the number of gifts you buy for each person. In Italy, most families only give one, maybe two, gifts to one another and that includes the children. The time families spend together is more important than any gifts they receive.

7)         Only make the food you need. We have all come away from family gatherings with containers or plates of extra food. Again, think of that extra exercise time. Prepare and take less home with you.

8)         Ask people what they would like to receive instead of trying to guess. Consider taking them shopping with you and let them pick out the item they want. Adults especially care less about ripping off the wrapping paper than children, and would rather not have to stand in the returns line.

How do you make your holidays less stressful?

Any tips or tricks you’d like to share that streamline gift giving, baking or decorating?

 

Best Bets for Flu Prevention

sick woman 2No one wants the flu. There are easier and more pleasant ways to get out of work/housework/spending time with the relatives, than to be flat on your back feeling like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck. So in order to save your sick days for those nice days when you’d rather be anywhere other than work, try these strategies. Some of them are “ye ole standbys” and some may be new to you. Even if you only incorporate the strategies to navigate the MEAN NURSE’S DIRTY FIVE, you’ll have a good shot at avoiding the flu. And anyway these practices are how I avoid getting that nasty flu bug and probably why I haven’t had it for nearly a decade.

1)    Wash your hands frequently AND thoroughly. Singing the Happy Birthday song is about the length of time you need to scrub. It’s not the type of soap that you use or even the temperature of the water, but the prolonged scrubbing action that gets rid of the germs. Why do you think hospitals require surgeons to scrub so long?

2)    Carry hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket. Every door or cupboard handle, spigot, pen that you borrow, keypad at the grocery store or ATM, and shopping cart, has the potential to make you sick. When you get in your car, use your hand sanitizer. Also disinfect your steering wheel, keys, and phone once in a while.

3)    Wipe down. Get your germ killer out and wipe down door handles, drawer handles, remotes, backs of dining chairs, oven handle, microwave, light switches, and fridge door handles.

4)    Heal your gut.

5)    Lower your alcohol and sugar consumption. It may be difficult during the holidays with all the festivities to do this, but both suppress your immune system by creating favorable conditions in your gut for candida (yeast) growth, which will make you very ill over time. The flu will be a cakewalk compared to candidiasis.

6)    Cut your stress. Again difficult to do at the holidays, but crucial to a healthy immune system.

7)    Get the proper sleep. For some people it’s a full 8; others, 7. Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so give it the time it needs. My sleep needs vary from day to day. Sometimes I wake up after a few hours with my body telling me “that’s all I need” so I get up, do a few things and take a nap later.

8)    Take a supplement. Consider Wellness Formula by Source Naturals. I’ve taken it for years and whenever I start to feel something coming on, I take extra doses every few hours. Result: sickness never takes hold.

9)    Exercise. I know. I know. Everyone says that, and it sucks! I exercise in some form every day and there are days I flippin’ hate yoga, but do it anyway. It’s non-negotiable. Even the Asian and European women who never step foot inside a gym walk A LOT every day. Exercise breaks throughout the day work as well. When you’re standing at the microwave, do squats. Your legs will begin to hurt before those 90 seconds are done. Put a pedal exerciser under your desk and pedal as you work. It’s cheaper than a treadmill desk, with less risk of injury. I see those people on TV that swear by them, but all I can think of is the swearing I’d do after I tripped and fell on the damn thing because I was watching some damn cat YouTube vid. Try my CHEAT: Walk every aisle in the damn grocery store. I rarely shop the aisles, but when I didn’t get a proper workout in, or if I’m starting the day at the store, I’ll walk every flippin’ aisle just to get the walk in. I do it fast, because I’m usually pissed at myself for not shopping the night before, but I got engrossed in West Wing on Netflix or something equally as time-sucking.

10) Fluids, fluids, fluids, and that doesn’t mean soda pop, or flavored waters that you buy that way. I’m talking water and tea, preferably green tea. If you say you don’t like the taste, revisit green tea, there are some nice variations. And you can always flavor water with an extract or fruit.

11) Kids. Send them straight to the bathroom to wash their hands after coming home from school.

12) Shoes. Off at the door. Use the nurses’ rule where shoes either don’t come in the house OR never make it two-feet past the door. This goes for putting them on as well. Keep the germs at the doorstep, not tracked throughout your house. This goes for guests too. Have a new pair of socks waiting for them, or tell them before they visit that they should bring a pair of slippers or socks to wear.

13) Change pillowcases EVERY DAY, if you do get sick and at least once a week when not ill.

14) Bookbags. Wash those germ-infested things at least once a month or spray them down with an antimicrobial.

15) Coats. Wash ‘em if possible. The wrist area is especially germy.

THE MEAN NURSE’S DIRTY FIVE

  • Other people’s pens. Carry your own. If you must use someone else’s, I hope you have your winter gloves on. If not, sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Shopping carts. For cryin’ out loud use the wipes located at the front of most every store. Why do people breeze past the fucking FREE wipes?? I don’t get it! In the absence of wipes, push that cart while wearing your winter gloves. Otherwise, add whatever you take for headaches and tissues to your list, because in about a week, you’ll be DOWN! If you’re not going to wipe down the shopping carts, you might as well just lick them and get it over with.
  • ATM and stores keypads. Again, wear your gloves, use a pen or pencil to push the buttons, or use your knuckle. If you have to use that attached pen to sign your name and you don’t have gloves, what are you going to do boys and girls? That’s right, sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Door handles. Pull down your sleeve and grasp the handle with your covered hand. If someone is holding a door open for you, grasp it as high as you can, and if you MUST pull a door open and you don’t have long sleeves, grasp the handle as low as possible. Everyone grabs the middle or top.
  • Handshakes. The fist bump is the new handshake. Learn it. Use it.

So what are your suggestions for flu prevention? Add to the list!

What You Don’t Know About the Flu Vaccine May Hurt You

English:

I might get a lot of push back on this post, but I’m willing to stick my neck out for what I know. I don’t believe in getting the flu vaccine… unless…. maybe you are REALLY REALLY immunocompromised, and even then I’m going to tell you to improve your immune system, don’t get a flippin’ shot that harbors more toxins. Why am I so against this shot? Read on, you might be shocked….. I know I sure as hell was!

Six Reasons Not to Get the Flu Vaccine

One, I’m fairly certain that out of the four flu shots that I’ve actually gotten in the last 25 years, that my immune system, not the flippin’ shot, has done more to prevent me from getting the flu. Oh sure, I’ve had the flu twice as far as I know in those years, but I wasn’t down with it any longer than three or four days. That’s not worth toxing up my body with fucking chemicals that do more harm than good.

Two, because I have only had the flu twice in the past 25 years.

Three, because when I got the swine flu (which vaccine is now part and parcel of the annual influenza vaccine), I was down with it for 24 hours. Again, that’s not enough to motivate me to get a shot. At the height of swine flu a couple of years ago I remember Dr. Nancy Snyderman said, “go get your damn shot.” I say “go do your damn research, Nancy.” You want me to tox up my body for what? A day of inconvenience to me or my employer? Sick days are given for a reason.

Three, the journal, Clinical Infectious Disease, published a study showing the flu vaccine to be more effective in people that hadn’t received the vaccine in the prior year (62%) and the vaccine was effective in only 45% of the patients that had receive the vaccine. So you have less than a 50-50 chance of the shot even preventing the flu. Great.

Four, the vaccine seems to put people at a higher risk for developing swine flu, while those not receiving the vaccine are less likely.  Sixty-six percent of people who had received the H1N1 vaccine, developed swine flu. Given the fact that when I had the swine flu I couldn’t raise my head up off the pillow without feeling dizzy and completely exhausted, I’d rather not get it again. Yes, it was short-lived, but once is enough.

Five, doctors are beginning to question the efficacy of getting the flu vaccine and opting out themselves. Look for health care workers wearing masks during the cold and flu season. It’s not because they are sick themselves, they have chosen not to receive the flu vaccine and are mandated to wear the mask by the hospital or clinic.

Six, the ingredients in the flu shot make it dangerous for many people:

Anyone with a sulfa or mold allergy should not receive the flu vaccine because it contains penicillin (the mold allergen) or sulfa drugs. AND a LOT of people are allergic to sulfa and penicillin! I happen to be allergic to both, so there is no way that I should EVER get this vaccine.

The rest of the ingredients are:

egg protein (lots of people are allergic to eggs)

sucrose (stabilizer)

gelatin (stabilizer)

polysorbate 80 (stabilizer)

(Sheesh, how fragile is the composition of this vaccine, if it needs three flippin’ stabilizers?)

aluminum salts (you mean that stuff thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s? Oh goody.)

– formaldehyde (TOXIC!)

thimerosal/mercury (Seriously? The shit where if you spill it in the lab, the lab must be evacuated and a guy in a hazmat suit must clean it up….even if it’s just a drop.)

So why the big push to get the flu shot? The argument we hear is that the vaccine saves lives. Maybe. But if you’re not in the population at high risk for dying from influenza, why should you have to get a shot that may or may not work? By the time the influenza virus gets around to the United States, it mutates to a new virus. Sometimes so dramatically as it did last year, that it renders the vaccine damn near useless. And we cannot change the vaccine in response to the virus because it takes MONTHS to grow the vaccine. So why the big push? Money. The flu vaccine is BIG business.

Putting money in big pharma’s pocket is not a draw for me, and I won’t be getting this vaccine or recommending it to anyone I know.

Click here for best strategies for preventing the flu.

Getting Started with Yoga

yoga

yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

I was recently asked by a fellow writer about my recommendations for getting started with yoga. This is a PERFECT question for the impending new year. Come January, many people will start out strong with a new exercise and diet routine. Who hasn’t made these resolutions? You know the best time to start reforming your lifestyle and getting healthy would be now, right? You know, BEFORE you set yourself back even farther with all the temptations of holiday goodies and lavish spreads in the workplace AND relatives’ homes. Yeah, you heard me, BEFORE. So that means now. Starting where you stand. Come on, given the plethora of food we are surrounded by this time of year, it’s easy to pack an additional 1000 calories into your day just by nibbling. Do you really want to do that? IS THIS YEAR’S SERVING OF AUNT JUNE’S GOLDEN CARAMEL CHEESECAKE worth the five hours it will take you to burn it off? (And that’s a conservative estimate — I wish I were kidding.)

Yoga Fact:  Yoga isn’t just stretching. It can be quite aerobic and challenging.

So, yes, this is a perfect time to get started with yoga. If nothing else, it can alleviate a lot of holiday stress! First off, you’ll need a yoga mat, which you can pick up at Walmart, TJ Maxx (I really like their selection), or even the Goodwill (just make certain you disinfect the heck out of it) for $10-20. (If you’re tall, get a 72″ one. I’m 5’10” and my feet still want to slide off the ends. The mat is about all you’ll need. If you want a DVD, go for one of the beginner ones from Gaiam. You can either buy them on their website at Gaiam.com or on Amazon. Stay away from DVDs by fitness gurus, such as Jillian Michaels. They are far too challenging for beginners. I like anything that Sean Corne puts out as well. I just love her energy and her voice isn’t distracting. I find Rodney Yee, although an amazing teacher, talks too much through his videos and that’s just annoying to me – or maybe it’s just because I’d rather look at him than follow what he’s doing. If you don’t want to invest in a DVD immediately — I RARELY work out with one and my daughter who has been a devotee of yoga for nearly a year has done a yoga video exactly ONCE — go to the YouTube channel of Tara Stiles. You may recognize her from the runway. She’s a former model turned yoga guru, and the girl quite possibly has the longest arms of anyone I’ve ever seen. Yes, she’s skinny, leggy and pretty, but she’s always completely kooky and doesn’t make yoga about judgment. I love watching her videos that just catch up her fans with what she’s been doing. You can follow her on Facebook as well. I LOVE her book Yoga Cures, which gives yoga poses for health and lifestyle challenges… like “Office Brain” where you’ve got too many things to do in too little time and don’t know where to begin!

What you should not do when beginning yoga is sign up for a class immediately and buy blocks, straps, mat sprays, gloves, bolsters, etc. When you do yoga correctly (and I’m not talking about your form), you’ll know when you need anything extra, like blocks. I didn’t buy those until I was into yoga for a couple of months. I made my own strap by going to the fabric store, buying two yards of belt webbing and tying knots in both ends! Waaaaay cheaper than the stuff sold. I also made my own bolster, but I sew. Go to Walmart and find a sturdy neck pillow – instant bolster. Yoga is not about how well-equipped you are to get each posture perfect. It’s about what is perfect for you. In yoga, you need to let go of your ego because ego tells you that you must be perfect. And ego will stand in your way of gaining the full benefits of yoga.

One thing you should know about yoga as a beginner is that no two days will be the same. One day you’ll float right into a pose, and the next day you won’t be coordinated enough to bend or stretch or balance that way. Why? Because your muscles are changing. They are getting stronger. The muscle fibers will develop their strength unevenly, and one side of your body may be coordinated one day and the next day it’s a sloppy mess. When this happens, and it soooo will, calm your frustration. Let it go. Remember that this is a process and the next day or the day after, will be different. Your body wants to do what you want it to do, and it’s trying, but there are some internal changes taking place that you don’t know about just yet. Trust your body to do what it needs to do. It’s “workin’ on it!”

Congratulations on choosing to give yoga a try. It’s easy, and then it’s difficult too. It all depends on which poses you choose to make part of your routine. My favorite pose? Dancer. Because of its grace. Do I ever fall out of it? Yep. Because even after 20 years, I’m still not perfect and some days my mind wanders and ego gets in the way.

If you’re just giving yoga a try, let me know. I’d also be happy to answer any questions you have.

Or if you just want to tell me about your journey to yoga, what your favorite pose is, or how you’ve handled difficult poses, feel free. I love hearing funny, interesting and even frustrating stories!

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