Healthy food

This category contains 12 posts

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!

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

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

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

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.


If you would like more information on the Mean Nurse Plan contact me at:


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.


Stop Eating Crap *#($^ Damnit!


I am part of an online discussion group for a pharmaceutical company that makes insulin and other drugs for diabetics. Every month, health care professionals discuss new products for diabetics, the challenges diabetic patients have and new research in the field of diabetes.

As a part of this unique community, the participants also share personal anecdotes, which sometimes includes recipes that are diabetic friendly and nutritious. This morning my head damn near exploded. Someone shared a recipe currently making the rounds on the Internet (I’ve seen it on Facebook) for Easy Sugar Free Pumpkin Dip, which includes Cool Whip and vanilla pudding mix. Nutritious? Hardly. Sugar free? Sure, because natural sugar, which our bodies are ABLE to process, has been replaced with CHEMICALS, which our bodies were not made to process. And fat? Hydrogenated anything is not only fat, but BAD fat.

As I scrolled through the comments on the recipe, not one person objected to the ingredients (pretty sure they didn’t check), or the fact that this recipe was certainly NOT nutritious. Delicious? Oh yes, they all agreed that it was, or at least sounded, yummy. Hell, it sounds yummy to my taste buds as well, but not so much to my body or my body’s chemistry. I imagine headaches, intestinal issues, lethargy, and clogged arteries.

Stop putting ingredients together that are already fattening or unhealthy themselves.

You know it doesn’t cut the calories in half or make them more nutritious, right?

Unfortunately, many people will simply see “sugar free” and think “healthy.” Rarely do the two go together unless we’re talking about vegetables.

I know that we all need treats…. some little sweet reward for eating well, or to take the edge off our stress, but if you’re eating a food where the ingredient list reads more like a chemical experiment, you shouldn’t be putting it in your mouth! And that’s it! Fucking don’t eat the shit, because that’s what your body thinks you’re doing – eating shit. And it’s going to take those weird chemicals that it doesn’t know how to process, identify them as foreign, encase them in fat as a self-protective measure, and put them on your hips, thighs, backs of your arms, or wherever. Is that what you want for a few measly minutes of “OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER TASTED?”

For me, that answer is “no.” But then again, I’ve tasted mille foglie. I could be good for the rest of my life, if I never taste another sweet thing.

Below are the ingredient lists for the two main ingredients of that pumpkin recipe. Note, that you can make your own pudding mix with cornstarch, sugar and vanilla extract. That’s it…. that is all you need. No oils, salt or “sodium stearoyl lactylate.” And you know that you can make your own “whipped cream” using fresh cream, right? I’m not saying that’s completely healthy either, but if you get the organic stuff, at least you won’t also get the corn syrup, aspartame and all the other crap.

The holidays are coming up and the recipes for everything delicious that’s also BAD for you will be hitting the newsstands, the Internet, and the holiday buffet tables. THINK about what you’re eating. No, really. Don’t just eat something because “it’s the holidays, and you have to be nice and try whatever Aunt Sally made….” Blah blah blah. Aunt Sally can get the fuck over it. She’d probably rather have you around a few more years than to be attending your funeral because you had one too many pieces of her “ooey gooey chocolate death cake.”

Once you put it in your mouth, it becomes PART OF YOU. You can’t put it back. Nothing tastes as good as good health feels. Food is supposed to keep us alive and healthy; not alive and unhealthy. Choose wisely.


Jello Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding Mix

Ingredients (17):

Water, Xylitol, Food Starch Modified, Milk Protein Concentrate, Contains less than 1.51.5% of Vegetable(s) Oil Hydrogenated (Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel Oil) , Salt, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate For Smoothness, Sodium Alginate, Calcium Phosphate, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Color(s) Artificial, Yellow 5, Yellow 6

Sugar Free Cool Whip

Ingredients (16):

Water, Corn Syrup, Vegetable(s) Oil Hydrogenated (Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel Oil) , Sodium Caseinate from milk, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Corn Starch Modified, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sodium Polyphosphate, Acesulfame Potassium and, Aspartame Sweetener, Beta Carotene Added for Color

A Medication and Vitamin Review Can Save Your Life and Money


My father is on a ton of medications for his heart, lungs and circulation. Part of this sentence of endless pill popping is his own fault for not taking better care of his health or listening to the doctor when he was told to stop eating so much red meat, ice cream, potato chips and candy. But 25 percent of his prescriptions were actually his doctors’ faults. I say “were,” because I discontinued them. Yep, me, the RN, said “you’re not taking these.”

After a month-and-a-half of my dad being in and out of the hospital, I was steaming. The one doctor that I talked to a couple times was condescending and never put my father on a monitored floor when he was admitted. With my father’s heart history, I knew that was a bad call and would catch up with him quickly. How exactly do you put a patient with an extensive cardiac history on new meds and see what those new meds do to the heart rhythm, which is already irregular, without putting the patient on a monitored floor? Jackass. I tried to put my foot down, but my parents both said “the doctor knows what he’s doing.”  Uh huh. Okay. Don’t call me too early in the morning when you’ve called the ambulance — I’ve got coffee in hand about nine.

So yes, this practice caught up with my dad, twice, with irregular heart rhythms that made him so dizzy that he collapsed and with a hand so swollen from side effects that my mother was worried the skin would burst. After two ER visits, with the squad called (yes, early in the morning before 9), I took a bunch of my medical reference books and the tablet to my parents’ home and spent more than two hours going over every prescription in my father’s daily regime. I’m still shocked at the ineptitude of his physicians in prescribing meds that fucked up his heart medications’ effectiveness.

It’s been a month and he is walking better, is in far less pain, has no dizziness or irregular heart rhythms that he didn’t already have, and his vascular doctor said the circulation in his legs is much improved. The hell you say.Thank you, garlic.  Yes, I took him off drugs and a couple of vitamins and replaced them with herbs. The vitamins weren’t awful, they were just too high in potency and were part of the reason he was in pain…. that Vitamin B6 is a temperamental thing and can cause joint pain in high doses.

Had I not done the medication review, he might have died. Two of his newer prescriptions were counteracting the effectiveness of his heart meds. It’s no wonder he ended up on the floor. Had I not done the vitamin review, he may have been put on more medications to manage his pain. He didn’t need more of anything. He needed less. Patients don’t usually know that a medication review MUST be done anytime that a new medication is prescribed. If a patient has more than one prescription, the possible interactions and side effects MUST be checked frequently because side effects can occur at any time as a drug builds up in the body. A medication review can be done by any nurse, but is best done by one who also knows and understands vitamins, herbs and nutrition. Why spend money on medications when you can eat some celery? (That’s effective for inflammation and arthritis, by the way.)

What Does a 200-calorie Serving Look Like in Your Favorite Foods?

Serving size

Serving sizes on products have grown in the past few years. The link below contains a great visual that will give you a clue as to how much of that favorite food you can enjoy. Remember a snack should be under 150 calories, so if you reach for that afternoon candy bar, don’t eat the whole thing. I don’t care what the “serving size” states.

And for goodness sake, don’t drink all that balsamic vinegar that you see in this link! It will literally kill you. (I don’t care if they do serve it as an apéritif in Italy.)

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