This category contains 17 posts

Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Shit About Nutrition


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.

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


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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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.

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.


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.


  • 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


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 (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!

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.)

I Was a MacGyver Nurse

English: A roll of silver, Scotch brand duct tape.

I saw the title of the article below and almost spit coffee on my screen. What nurse isn’t a MacGyver nurse?

I worked the night shift for years and let me tell you, you come up with some pretty inventive workarounds when you can’t get the supplies you need or the person with the key to the shortage area, who is also unfamiliar with the shortage area, can’t find the thing you need, but you know damn well, it’s in stock, but you’re “not allowed back there!”

I know the article is about slightly more technical workarounds, but I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “if I only had a glue gun or some duct tape I could build what I need.” Nurses are nothing, if not inventive. Pill cups and urinals get used for a lot more than simply their intended purposes. 😉


Eating High-fiber Foods May Protect Against Stroke

English: veggies

Eating high-fiber foods has long been touted as an effective means to suppress appetite and lose weight. Now a study published in the journal Stroke reports that eating high-fiber foods reduces the risk of stroke. The findings were pooled from eight observational studies indicating that each seven-gram increase in daily fiber intake reduced the risk of first stroke by about 7 percent.

Water soluble fiber, like the kind found in beans, nuts and other foods reduced the risk substantially. Insoluble fiber and cereal fiber reduced it slightly. Fruits and vegetables contain both types of fiber, and a quick and easy way to increase your fiber intake from vegetables especially is by making a cooked vegetable purée and stirring it into a pasta sauce or rice. You can do this with winter squash into risotto, which is a wonderful and tasty Italian dish or with the American favorite macaroni and cheese and a purée of steamed cauliflower and carrots… mmmm, buonissimo!

The recommended levels of fiber intake are 21-25 grams for women and 30-38 for men. The current average fiber intake in the United States is about 13 grams a day for women and 17 for men, according to background information in the study. Increasing these amounts by 7 grams a day would bring them close to recommended levels. 

“Seven grams a day increase is an achievable goal,” said the senior author, Victoria J. Burley, senior lecturer in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Leeds. “You’re talking about swapping white bread for whole wheat or increasing vegetable and fruit by two portions a day.”

I’d watch the whole wheat bread if I were you, however. The latest findings in the GMO war against Monsanto are that chemicals from Monsanto’s crops have tainted even organic wheat fields.

The latest on MRSA from the CDC

I’ve wondered why the CDC never recommended an antibiotic ointment to treat MRSA. I’ve had patients tell me that is how they treated theirs because they couldn’t afford the expensive pills. They simply drove to the local drugstore, picked up triple antibiotic cream and cured themselves.

MRSA is more common than you think with many people simply walking around with it on their skin. You know after any handshake you should pull out the hand sanitizer, right? And you should definitely keep it in your car and disinfect your hands after touching a shopping cart. Don’t forget to treat your steering wheel, keys and cell phone every so often too. The floor of my car may not be spotless, but nothing anyone would normally touch, including the radio knobs and door handles is going to make anyone sick! And if you work in an office, for goodness sake, disinfect that phone receiver and cradle as well!

Better Health Through a Better Gut

diagram of a human digestive system

I have been saying FOR YEARS that if patients would just clean out their digestive tract they wouldn’t get sick as often. I remember telling a group of RNs this when I was “just a student nurse,” as they told me. Saying my claim was met with skepticism is being nice.

Bad flora can overrun your intestines so much that you become constipated, get severe headaches, become mentally confused, agitated and basically feel as though you’re losing your mind. And those are just a few maladies from a polluted digestive tract.

Cleaning out the digestive tract can be a cheap, easy fix for a lot of health problems (see link below). What’s the easiest way to do a digestive cleanse? Eat a lot of garlic. You can’t start off popping Kyolic tablets right and left though, if you’ve never done a digestive cleanse. You MUST start slowly or you’ll feel like your intestines are being turned inside out. You can also just sprinkle your food liberally with garlic a few times a week and it will have the same effect. When you start to observe more mucus in your stool, the cleanse is working. If you have a day of diarrhea, it’s working a little too fast, and you may need to back off on the garlic a bit.

Depending on how long your gut has been polluted with old feces just stuck in pockets of the intestines (yeah, I wish I were kidding), the cleanse could take a couple of weeks. That’s okay. As you’re doing the cleanse with garlic, you also need to be taking in some “good flora.” Either get acidolphilus from the health food store (you want the kind they keep cold — it’s in tablet form, you don’t have to use the powder) or get yogurtplain if possible. If you don’t like plain, and I sure as hell don’t unless I’m cooking with it, get the yogurt with the LOWEST NUMBER of SUGAR GRAMS as possible. DO NOT get a yogurt made with Splenda or Aspartame, you’re doing your body more harm than good.  There are yogurts out there with as low as 9g of sugar; 13g should be the max.

If you want to read more on healing your gut, Christine M. Okezie, CHHC, a natural foods chef, has written a decent article on the topic, “Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Body”. The only point I completely disagree with is using sauerkraut  and miso as fermented foods to heal the gut. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, a starchy vegetable. Starch turns to sugar. Don’t use it to heal your gut, it’s got the opposite effect. Miso as well can be made from soybeans (ok) or rice (no) or barley malt (no-no). Starch, again. So just avoid miso until you’ve finished the intestinal cleanse.

After the cleanse, watch how much simple starch you put into your body and make certain you have a meal laced with a lot of garlic a couple times a week. Also eat yogurt a few times a week. I consume it daily and this household uses so much garlic that it’s always on the grocery list!

So what can you expect from the results? More energy, more mental clarity, fewer colds, some people report that their eyesight improves. You can easily take off a couple pounds. Your bathroom will see more activity with regular (should be daily) bowel movements. Your health just gets better. Allergies also dissipate with this cleanse. It’s an easy fix to a LOT of health issues, so what are you waiting for?

Myth Busting: Colds, Flu and Weather

Whenever I hear “the cold weather doesn’t make you sick, only germs make you sick,” it makes me a little crazy. The cold, wind, rain and snowy weather will absolutely, unequivocally make you sick. Germs make you sick too, but the cold will tear down your immune system so the germs can take hold. Personally, I’d rather my immune system only have to do battle with the germ. When your immune system is operating at full tilt, you have a good chance of fending off any mucky germ chasing you. But get a full face of blustery winds and cold and KA-BOOM, your immune system takes a hit because your body’s other defenses take energy away from the immune system. 

Why? Well, one to keep your warm. Your body strives to maintain homeostasis, which is a constant state of wellness and balance, roughly speaking. When an outside force upsets the balance, like your body temperature, your body wants to regain that warmth and comfort. It takes energy from other body processes to do so. So those wonderful vitamins and minerals you take everyday to bolster your immune system will be used instead to get your body temperature back to normal. 

So, yes, the cold can definitely make you sick. Maybe not directly, but it will definitely factor in and contribute to your illness. Bottom line: do as your mom always said, “bundle up, wear a sweater, take an umbrella!”


When a Fat Gram Isn’t a Fat Gram

Let’s see, if we look at the label for the fat grams…. 5 + 2 does not equal 13. Soooo the rest of the fat would be polyunsaturated (a middle of the road fat) and monounsaturated (the healthy fat). Then we have to account for the lab errors in determining the nutritional content. Don’t know how much that can be?


My nutrition professor once stated that the FDA allows nutrition labels to be “off” by as much as 30 percent. Shocking, I know. The FDA website guidelines state the label has only a 5 to 10 percent allowable margin for error. So who’s correct? I figure the truth lies somewhere in between, so I allow for a 20 percent error myself.


Think about this for a minute. Suppose my professor was correct and the label could be off by 30 percent. I’ll bet those companies don’t inflate the numbers so I doubt the label will report higher numbers than the reality.They’re going the other way and Americans’ waistlines prove that. Is it any wonder that it’s so difficult to lose? I think we’re safe eating the raw stuff. No hidden ingredients or fat grams there really. Just pesticides. Funny how I have a garden, and I have no problem with bugs eating my vegetables. Probably because I pack smelly marigolds and lavender around my plants and the bugs don’t seem to like those much. I also plant tasty pansies for their munching.

There is hope that companies have heard the public outcry and are changing their ways. Companies have finally realized that high-fructose corn syrup has packed on pounds to everyone, including themselves and they’ve changed the labels to read “corn syrup.” Well, that’s almost better. The last time you used corn syrup was it sticky and sweet? Thought so. Changing the name doesn’t make it healthier. So now we have to cry “no really, take that shit out of there!”  They’ll listen eventually. Or they won’t. I know there hasn’t been any of that stuff in my house for years. Except for that one time I made pecan pie cookie bars…. but it was only a small bottle, of course. LOL

Two Spices for Passive Weight Loss!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon! So imagine my glee when I discovered that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar. Why is this good news? Because it can help you lose weight! When your blood sugar remains at a constant, you don’t get those cravings for carbs, you don’t get that spike in blood sugar that causes the body to produce more insulin and put yourself at risk for metabolic syndrome. Although studies for cinnamon’s positive effects on blood sugar have been limited, the proof is in your own experience. A group of my writing friends and I embarked on a one-week trial of cinnamon’s effects. We vowed to simple add cinnamon to our morning coffee or tea (both turn out like a chai latte or a chai tea). At the end of the week, a couple of women lost seven pounds; no one lost less than three. None of us changed our routines as far as adding more workout time, and we still lost LBs. Weight loss without working out? I’ll take it.

I recently read, although I might be a bit behind the times, that spicy food containing capsaicin, the compound that gives hot peppers their heat will actually dissolve, yes, that’s dissolve, fat. Now for years we’ve all heard that fat cells can only shrink, never dissolve and that yo-yo dieting results in accumulating more fat cells because the old ones never die and are not refillable. I really never believed that they never died off. The cockroach of our body? I don’t think so. I simply believed science hadn’t caught up to reality, but it seems now it has. Capsaicin turns white fat that’s packed into our trouble spots into cells more closely resembling brown fat. Brown fat can dissolve through energy expenditure… the fat we use for energy to complete our daily tasks. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for doing as little as possible to burn calories. I’d rather work in the garden or around the house, than pull time on a treadmill. If you can toss some Tabasco sauce on your morning scrambled eggs or sprinkled some cayenne on your morning OJ (you don’t taste the hot, really you don’t), and drop some poundage, imagine the results if you added 20 minutes of exercise. Imagine if you added 30 to 90 minutes.

I’m giving this a whirl. I’m adding Tabasco to everything I can think of this week, and doing the cinnamon thing. Although I wasn’t one of the women who dropped seven pounds with the cinnamon alone, I’m more than willing to be one by combining the two. Really…. I’m willing.

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