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Nurse Bridgid

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Friday, May 28, 2010

to clear the air about SPF

The associated press released a little snippet about sunblock being bad for you and "causing cancer".  Totally not true.  I first heard about it on Howard Stern when Robin was reading the news, and I nearly drove off the road as they were all chatting that they weren't going to wear sunblock anymore!!!

The issue at hand is that some sunblocks were found to not have as much UV-A protection as they claim to.  UV-B protection is usually the SPF (sun protection factor) they are referring to. UV-A is most frequently the causative agents of some skin cancers.  The environmental working group is just releasing 2010 Sunscreen Guide which they tested 1400 different sunscreens indepedently to test their validity of SPF claims.

Go check out their web site and see if your brand is listed as a good one, if not, then toss it and grab a brand that has UV-A and B protection!!  PS- they also found that the SPF's greater than 30 (i.e. 55, 75, etc) don't have any more protection for UV-A than SPF 30, but more UV-B protection.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, and PLEASE put on sunblock!!!  Just grab one that has UV-A protection too!!!

Yours in Good Health


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Eat smarter red meat

Eating red meat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes in recent years, leaving HCP's  to tell their patients with heart disease to stay away from red meat all together .  Well, good news to meat lovers: a study from the Harvard school of Public Health just published this week showed that the risk of heart disease and diabetes is only with processed meats!!  Mostly, they found, that the risk of increased heart disease is due to the amount of salt, fat, and other chemicals used as preservatives.  A separate study, specifically on the ingestion of processed meats, showed an increased risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%.

What are some processed meats to avoid?
Bacon ( this one seriously makes me cry)
Hot dogs
basically any meat in a can.....
and beware of all meat that is previously prepared (like in fast food restaurants, etc)

Now, this doesn't mean that you can totally gorge in Filet Mignon daily BUT, it does mean that when you get a craving for steak, go get one!  And, if you want a hamburger, go for it.  What I like to do, since my Kitchenaide mixer rules my world, is to buy organic grass fed meat, and grind my own meat to make hamburgers (after watching food, inc. I can never eat meat from a grocery store again).

I still do encourage a diet high in fruits and veg  and fish, but I also realize the need for red meat that some people have (like me), so you don't have to feel guilty for giving in to your red meat cravings, just eat meat smarter.  By smarter, I mean try to eat organic grass fed meat (from a local farm whenever possible)and stay away from processed meats whenever possible.  Don't feel guilty about the 4th of July hot dog, or the Fenway frank every once in a while, but please try to not make it a habit.

Yours in Good Health

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick and simple fix for migraines

Migraines affect roughly 28 million Americans and women are more likely than men to suffer from them.  Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms or signs (auras), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg. A migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound and can be completely debilitating to those who suffer from them.
-Moderate to severe pain, which may be confined to one side of the head or may affect both side
-Head pain with a pulsating or throbbing quality
-Pain that worsens with physical activity
-Pain that interferes with your regular activities
-Nausea with or without vomiting
-Sensitivity to light and sound
When untreated, a migraine typically lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. You may have migraines several times a month or much less frequently.
When to go to the ER:
-An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
-Headache with fever, stiff neck, rash, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
-Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse
-A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
-New headache pain if you're older than 50
Although much about the cause of migraines isn't understood, genetics and environmental factors seem to both play a role. Migraines may be caused by changes in the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin (which helps regulate pain in your nervous system) also may be involved.  They are thought to be triggered by : hormonal changes (women), stress, food (beer, red wines, ages cheeses, caffeine, MSG), sensory over stimuli (looking at bright lights for long periods of time i.e. computer screens), changes in wake-sleep patterns, physical overexertion, medications (certain medications can cause migraines- be aware when starting a new med).
Usually, HCPs will order you prescription meds (which I will discuss) but a major study just came out showing that taking 900-1000mg of Aspirin at the first signs of migraines will diminish all pain by 24 hours and symptoms of migraines will be diminished within as soon as 2 hours after taking the aspirin.  It is also suggested that you take a dose of 10mg of Metoclopramide (Reglan) to ward off any nausea.  For alternative therapies, any people have found relief with acupuncture, massage therapy, and biofeedback (relaxation techniques- check out this book for more info Migraines Be Gone: 7 Simple Steps to Eliminating Your Migraines Forever). There is some evidence that the herbs feverfew and butterbur may prevent migraines or reduce their severity. A high dose of riboflavin (vitamin B-2) also may prevent migraines by correcting tiny deficiencies in the brain cells. Coenzyme Q10 supplements may be helpful in some individuals.  Medications known as triptans are used to treat migraines too.  The triptans attach to serotonin receptors on the blood vessels and nerves that surround them, constrict the blood vessels, and reduce the inflammation. This stops the headache. The triptan with the longest history of use is sumatriptan (Imitrex). Sumatriptan is available in the US as an injection, oral tablet, and nasal inhaler. Zolmitriptan (Zomig) and rizatriptan (Maxalt) are newer triptans that are available as oral tablets and as tablets that melt in the mouth. Naratriptan (Amerge), almotriptan (Axert) and frovatriptan (Frovalan) are available only as oral tablets. The most common side effects of triptans are facial flushing, tingling of the skin, and a sense of tightness around the chest and throat. Other less common side effects include drowsiness, fatigue, and dizziness. These side effects are short-lived and are not considered serious.  The most serious side effects of triptans are heart attacks and strokes, which is why many HCP's are leaning towards prevention and treatments with alternative therapies.  Some HCP's still treat the acute pain with narcotics, but due to addiction that can occur, it's not the optimal treatment.
If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from migraines, please try some of these alternative therapies, and let me know how they work for you.  Is there something different that you do that might help others?  And, if you think that you have migraines, but aren't sure, keep a dairy of your headaches, symptoms, when they occur, what makes the better and worse, and discuss this with your HCP- they may do a CT Scan, MRI, or lumbar puncture (draw some fluid off of your spine) to rule out other causes of your headaches (and totally based on your symptoms and presentation).
You and your HCP can figure out the most appropriate treatment for you, and bring up these alternative therapies, if it is something you are interested in trying!     
Yours in Good Health,                                                                               

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

cold sores: the social stigmata

There is a social stigma related to herpes simplex virus, and I think mostly because people don't really understand it, or want to talk about it! Firstly, more than 100 million Americans have been exposed to the HSV-1(herpes simplex virus 1)and most all of them were exposed as children, but only 5% as adults ever have outbreaks.  Approximately 40 million Americans have the HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus 2) virus and most of them were exposed as teenagers and adults.  HSV-1  is usually referred to as cold sores because historically HSV-1 is the type of herpes that hangs out, in its latent (inactive) form in the ganglion nerve near your jaw/ear so the outbreaks usually occur on your lips and lower face area. HSV-2 is the type of herpes that is located in its latent from in the base of the spine, therefore the active outbreaks occur in the groin/genital area.  So, now that I covered that, I will confuse you with the fact that now, due to the increased transmission rates (which I believe is due to people not understanding the disease or its transmission)you can have HSV-1 present in your groin and HSV-2 that will present in your face...awesome how viruses adapt to modern life, huh?  Mostly due to oral sex transmission is how this fun little adaptation occurred.  The good news is that HSV-1 in the groin has low rates of recurrent outbreaks, and same for HSV-2 present in the face.

HSV can have no signs or symptoms when latent, but still can be transmitted to another person (5% of people with HSV-1 can transmit through their saliva even in a latent phase.)  Although, it is most easily spread when there is an active outbreak.  HSV-1 is the most common of the two viruses, making it the most commonly spread of the two viruses.  The good news (kinda)?  If you have HSV-1, you have some immunity due to the creation of antibodies by your immune system, so you are at a lower risk for getting infected by HSV-2.

What can trigger HSV outbreaks?
UV light exposure (i.e. sunburns- so always wear SPF lip protection when in the sun if you are prone to cold sores)
Hormonal changes (PMS)
Cold, flu
Changes in the immune system
Trauma to the skin

How do I know an outbreak is coming?
Most people can tell a few hours before the outbreak occurs because they feel a tingling in the area that the virus is replicating, you can see redness, and feel some heat and pain in the area.  Within an hour or a couple of hours the sore occurs....they can be large vesicles that are fluid filled (appeared to be filled with pus) and are surrounded by a reddened area.  The first outbreak is usually the worst and all recurrent outbreaks are usually not as painful or large.

What can you do?  There are topical treatments that are over the counter, such as Abreva and Releev (benzalkonium chloride with echinacea).  Abreva claims to shorten cold sore duration by a few days, and Releev claims to relieve symptoms within 24 hours.  Prescription topical treatments are Acyclovir cream and Denavir cream, which claim to reduce cold sore times by only a half a day.  And a prescription oral pill is Valcyte which can be taken daily as a prevention for outbreaks, or can be taken at the first signs of outbreaks and can significantly decrease outbreak lengths.  BUT, all of these treatments need to be started before the vesicle (or sore) actually, at the first sign of tingling, you should have a treatment on hand (whichever your HCP suggests works best for you) and start treatment immediately.  And, as noted above, wear sunblock on areas prone to outbreaks, limit stress, and note when your outbreaks occur (are they PMS related?)

Also, people with decreased immune systems due to chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, cancer, other illnesses, are at a much higher risk for outbreaks due to a decreased immune system, so if you are someone with a history of either HSV-1 or 2 and have any of these issues also, please discuss with your HCP and they will most likely give you a standing prescription for treatment.

If you are one of the MANY Americans affected by HSV, don't be embarrassed!  So many people are affected, and granted it is not the best week of your life walking around with a sore on your face, but that is why there are drugs to treat it, and noticing the early signs are important, so that you can talk to your HCP about an standing prescription maybe or how best to treat/prevent your outbreaks.  And, bring this up with your HCP, there may be a stigma in the general public, but within the medical field, we understand and want to make your comfort and health a priority.  Talk to your HCP and bring it up, drop the stigma!!!

Yours in Good Health

Friday, May 14, 2010

Celiac Sprue, may be affecting you!

It's also Celiac Awareness Month!!!  Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress. Celiac disease is a digestive disease effecting the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  People with the disease cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye.  Gluten can also be found in many foods but also as a filler in many products that are not foods such as lip balms, medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.  Celiac disease is once of malabsorption and an immune response to gluten, which makes it a very uncomfortable and difficult disease to have.  The little villi (the finger-like protrusions in your small intenstine that absorb nutrients from the foodstuffs in your intestine)get destroyed by the immune response to the gluten. Without healthy villi, you will be malnourished because your body cannot absorb any of the nutrients from food.

Symptoms?  For Infants and children the symptoms are usually more digestive, but can vary person to person:
Abdominal pain and bloating
chronic diarrhea
weight loss
pale, foul smelling, fatty stool
*for children, a poor nutrition at a young age can cause stunted growth, poor enamel on teeth, delayed puberty, and failure to thrive in infants

Symptoms for adults are usually more varied:
unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
bone or joint pain
bone loss or osteoporosis
tingling/numbness in hands or feet
missed menstrual periods
infertility or recurrent miscarriage
canker sores inside of mouth
itchy skin called dermititis herpetiformis

People with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.

Celiac disease affects people in all parts of the world. Originally thought to be a rare childhood syndrome, celiac disease is now known to be a common genetic disorder. More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people. Among people who have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.  Celiac disease is also more common among people with other genetic disorders including Down syndrome and Turner syndrome, a condition that affects girls’ development.

Celiac disease is usually diagnosed through blood tests, biopsies of the small intestine (through endoscopy where a small tube is entered through the mouth into your stomach and a small sample is taken- don't worry you will gets lots of happy drugs and not remember anything!!), through diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis, and through screening for autoantibodies (which is not routinely done in the US unless you have an affected family member).

Treatment?  A gluten-free diet!!!  It is much harder than you think...there seems to be gluten in everything these days.  Here are some foods that are allowed and should be avoided:

Allowed Foods
Indian rice grass
Job’s tears
wild rice
Foods To Avoid
  • including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut
  • wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein
triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Other Wheat Products
bromated flour
durum flour
enriched flour
graham flour
phosphated flour
plain flour
self-rising flour
white flour
Processed Foods that May Contain Wheat, Barley, or Rye*
bouillon cubes
brown rice syrup
chips/potato chips
cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
communion wafers
French fries
imitation fish
rice mixes
seasoned tortilla chips
self-basting turkey
soy sauce
vegetables in sauce

* Most of these foods can be found gluten-free. When in doubt, check with the food manufacturer.

If you have any of these symptoms, try avoiding these foods and see if your symptoms improve, then got talk to your HCP for a further work up.  As I stated before, many people have different reactions/responses to celiac disease, so many chronic issues that people have, that are unexplained, can be relieved with a change in diet, and removing gluten is one lifestyle change that can be made which can have great effects on your overall health.

Also, this is good info to have when having friends over for dinner with celiac disease so that everyone can enjoy the meal :)  Its always nice to serve food that doesn't make people sick or cause anxiety!!

Yours in Good Health


For more information you can check out these foundations/associations- there is a ton of research being done on celiac disease currently: 

American Celiac Disease Alliance
2504 Duxbury Place
Alexandria, VA 22308
Phone: 703–622–3331

American Dietetic Association
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606–6995

Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Boulevard, #1
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 818–990–2354
Fax: 818–990–2379

Celiac Sprue Association/USA Inc.
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131–0700
Phone: 1–877–CSA–4CSA (272–4272)
Fax: 402–643–4108

Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
Phone: 215–233–0808
Fax: 215–233–3918

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
31214 124th Avenue SE
Auburn, WA 98092–3667
Phone: 253–833–6655
Fax: 253–833–6675

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
224 South Maple Street
Ambler, PA 19002–0544
Phone: 215–325–1306

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
Phone: 215–233–0808
Fax: 215–233–3918

The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign

To meet the need for comprehensive and current information about celiac disease, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), launched the Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign. The Awareness Campaign is the result of the combined ideas and efforts of the professional and voluntary organizations that focus on celiac disease, along with the NIDDK, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visit to learn more about the Awareness Campaign.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Potassium? That's bananas!

Potassium is an electrolyte that we all know we need, and just like sodium can be excreted through too much sweating, from vomiting/diarrhea, certain medications (like diuretics or laxatives), and not absorbed due to a poor diet.  Potassium is key in helping to regulate many of the bodies functions such as blood pressure, bone mass, the nervous system, muscle function, heart/kidney/adrenal gland functions.  One current reason why a lot of younger people become hypokalemic (low potassium levels) is due to fad diets like the 'colon cleansing' diets; you are taking in fluids, pills, etc that act as a diuretic,  because you are not eating a normal diet, having numerous bowel movements, and your potassium levels drop down. On the opposite side, hyperkalemia is usually due to kidney dysfunction (the inability to excrete potassium seen in renal failure and people on dialysis), with disorders of the adrenal glands, and due to certain medications like ACE inhibitors (cardiac medication), Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs  (i.e. ibuprofen), Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (cardiac medication), and potassium-sparing diuretics (i.e. aldosterone).

 Most people won't notice when their potassium levels decrease at first, but usually the first signs are muscle cramps and muscle weakness.  The signs of severe hypokalemia are heart palpitations, electrocardiogram (EKG)changes, and arrythmias (mis-beating of the heart), which can all be deadly and are VERY serious.  Hyperkalemia is usually noted by nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, and tingling sensations; it can also become more severe and cause cardiac changes and become deadly.    The treatment for each is similar; figure out the source of the hyper/hypokalemia and fix it!  If you have low potassium, which would be most common in healthy young adults, it is to increase potassium in your diet, and if it is medication related, change the medications.  For hyperkalemia, the treatment would be to decrease dietary potassium, change medications (if related), and/or start dialysis to assist your kidneys in the excretion.

 So, knowing that most likely when I have cramps, it is dehydration and low potassium, when I do get muscle cramps, I usually reach for some fresh fruit or juice, and as I wait for the potassium levels to come back up and the muscle cramps to end...a heat pack on the muscles does wonders!  I tend to get ridiculous cramps in my calves after long busy shifts when I know that I did not eat/drink enough. Also, after an extensive workout, later in the day, muscle cramping can be a sign of needed an extra potassium boost.  What are some Potassium rich foods to grab? Everyone thinks bananas are the "go to" for potassium, but you will be surprised to see what foods have higher levels:
(It should be noted that the average healthy person should eat around 70-100mEq or 270-390g/dl of potassium per day)

Foods with Potassium         Serving Size     Potassium (mg)
Apricots, dried                    10 halves          407
Avocados, raw                     1 ounce            180
Bananas, raw                     1 cup 594
Beets, cooked                    1 cup 519
Brussel sprouts, cooked 1 cup 504
Cantaloupe                       1 cup 494
Dates, dry                         5 dates            271
Figs, dry                            2 figs 271
Kiwi fruit, raw 1 medium 252
Lima beans                        1 cup 955
Melons, honeydew 1 cup 461
Milk, fat free or skim 1 cup 407
Nectarines           1 nectarine 288
Orange juice                       1 cup 496
Oranges                             1 orange 237
Pears (fresh)                        1 pear 208
Peanuts dry roasted, unsalted 1 ounce      187
Potatoes, baked,                  1 potato       1081
Prune juice                         1 cup  707
Prunes, dried 1 cup 828
Raisins                                1 cup 1089
Spinach, cooked                   1 cup 839
Tomato products, sauce           1 cup 909
Winter squash                       1 cup 896
Yogurt plain, skim milk 8 ounces 579

hope you all get your potassium in any which form you choose!!

Yours in Good Health


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just not feeling quite right...

I know that this isn't the most uplifting  of topics, but really important for your own wellness and for those around you.  May is mental health awareness and suicide prevention month.  Depression is a very serious problem, that can cause an array of health issues, but be easily overlooked by oneself and by people close to you.  SOmetimes it is just a feeling of not being "right" or feeling "off" or being really sad or listless, and it can effect different age groups in different ways.  This is a topic that is really important to me, and I think should be better screened for by HCP's in general, but I look towards patients and their family members to mention if you see any of these signs or symptoms because if you don't tell us what is really going on, it is very difficult for us to notice these symptoms during your appointment:

-Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
-Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
-Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
-Reduced sex drive
-Insomnia or excessive sleeping
-Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
-Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing, or new aggression
-Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
-Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
-Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
-Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
-Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
-Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
-Crying spells for no apparent reason
-Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches that aren't related to allergies, etc. that don't respond to OTC medications (i.e. ibuprofen, acetaminophen)

Young Children: can show signs of hopelessness, sadness, worry.

Teens: Can be irritable, anxious, angry, and avoid social interactions. Also, changes in sleep patterns....are they up all night for no reason?  Sleeping excessively?   We also need to be aware that during the teenage years is when other mental disorders can start to become prominent.

Elderly: fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, feel bored and helpless or worthless, and avoiding social interactions.  With the elderly, there are usually other health issues involved, so people can tend to link in the symptoms of depression with their other disease processes, so it is important to b aware of the signs.

For some people the signs are really severe and very obvious, but for other people, they are very subtle and occur over a period of time making them much harder to notice.  But, awareness of the signs is the first step, so please take notice in your own life and of your loved ones and do a mini checklist to see if they have these symptoms.  If you or your loved ones do, please call your HCP and make an appointment to talk about it, OR if you want to talk to someone immediately, you can call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.  I also encourage you to talk to anyone...a friend, family member, clergy member. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with because the first step to getting help is to realize that there is a problem.

If you/your friends/loved ones have thoughts of suicide or homicide please seek help immediately and call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department for help.

Yours In Good Health


Monday, May 10, 2010

Boost your daily exercise

Last year I was unable to run for a couple of months, and it was absolutely killing me.  My doctor told me that I was allowed to walk as much as I wanted, he just really didn't want me running for a bit.  Well, I felt like I was constantly walking and seeing all the results of my running going down the drain (I am obsessed with noticing muscle formation in my legs and it makes me really sad when I notice that they aren't as cut as they should be).  So, I decided to get ankle weights, just 3 lbs, and I thought that they were too light at first, but let me tell you, at the end of a few 4 mile walks with my dogs, I totally noticed a difference, and I saw the definition in my calves coming back!On average, you lose an extra 180 calories an hour using 3 lb ankle weights, which isn't a huge amount BUT it is an extra calorie deficit, and you are building muscle, which helps you burn more calories during the day.

When I got back into running, I tried with the weights, but that was a touch too much for me...I was lucky to get three miles without dying!  But, I started wearing my ankle weights while doing housework (vacuuming, doing laundry, etc), while running errands (under pants, of course), and even at work.  It tires your legs out so much and puts a little extra exercise in your every day movements that you wouldn't normally have. Plus, it was hidden, so it was my own little secret that I was getting a workout while running to each Code Blue!

 If I have a great run or workout, I don't bother with the ankle weights, but if I have a day where I am running around doing errands, and I know that I won't have time for a proper workout, it gives my body a little exercise that I know I wouldn't be fitting in otherwise.  Also, you can get spicy and move up and down the weights to work best with your level of activity and comfort; they can be purchased for pretty cheap at Target or Amazon; there are super expensive versions, but really all you need is something to strap onto your ankles that isn't huge and bulky!  The ones that you can change the weights in tend to be a bit more pricey...I just bought a 3lb and a 5lb version because it ended up being cheaper than the adjustable version.

Also, low weight stimulation to your muscles, while helping to tone the muscles, also helps to adhere them to your bones, thus making your bones stronger, so this is a good suggestion for those of us who don't get enough calcium OR anyone over the age of 30 to prevent osteoporosis.  So, while helping burn a few extra calories, it also prevents the degradation of your bones!  And, notice what a difference walking, running, etc feels like when you take the weights off- you feel like you are floating on air!!

Yours in Good Health


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Instead...give it a try!

Sorry fellows that this has been a very girly week of topics...but, that's just where my mind is, and the requests I've been getting!!

There is a product that I have been using for years, I love them (cue the cute dogs, girls sharing giggles over  a cup of coffee, etc) which is a feminine hygiene product called Instead.   It is a product created by a nurse, and can be left in for 12 hours at a time, and it is an amazing product!!  It is shaped like a diaphragm, except the plastic is really thin.  It is a soft collection cup that cannot be felt while it is inside you; you squeeze it and then insert while in a sitting position and it pops right into place outside of your cervix.  To remove, just stick one finger up, grab the edge and pull down.  It is amazing because you can "set it and forget it", I have never had issues with leaking or the product falling out, becoming uncomfortable, etc.  And, what really sold me?  You can still go and get your bikini wax and no one is any the wiser that you have your period!  Also, it can be in place so that you can have relations, and it's your little secret :)

Now, there are other products on the market that are similar, but this is the one that I find most comfortable and easy to use.  It should be noted that it is not the most eco-friendly as they are disposable after each use; diaphragms can be used, cleaned, and reused; I will be honest with you, that kind of creeps me out.  I am sure that some of you reading this think this whole concept is creepy, you do need to be comfortable with your own body, but I think that the true security of knowing that I won't have any embarrassing high school moments at the beach or in white this summer is totally worth it.

You should give these a try and let me know what you think...check out the web site The one problem that I must make you aware of, is that outside of a random Walgreens in San Francisco, I cannot find them in traditional stores, so I by them either at or but I but 6 months at a time, so it doesn't really impede my life at all!  If anyone knows other places to find them, please let me know!!

I hope you guys try them and like them!

Yours in Good Health


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Start them young on the right foot

I am not a parent to any human beings, I clearly have two dogs, and I HATE when people give me advice related to my pooches (I almost made the statement that I hate when people without dogs give me advice related to my dogs, but really, it is all unsolicited advise!!).  So, I am going to preface that I am not a parent, and not preaching about how to raise a child here at all, but I have touched on it before in my blogs on nutrition, and I do think it is important to teach by example, and a new study just caught my eye the other day, and I wanted to pass it along because it deals with the devils drink, as I like to call it: SODA!

 Now, I am never one to turn down a nice gin and tonic, or to not drink ginger ale when I have a sick stomach, but daily consumption of soda (diet or full sugar) really is horrible for your stomach (causes ulcers) and for your pancreas (your risk of type II diabetes goes up thus increasing your long term risk for pancreatic cancer), along with the standard issues of obesity, tooth decay, caffeine dependance, and weakening of bones (phosphoric acid in soda can leach calcium off of your bones- creepy!!).  Also, there are new studies showing that increased soda consumption increases cardiovascular risks (i.e. stroke and heart attack) too because of the dyslipidemia (literally a disruption in lipids, or fats, that are in the blood....too much fat in the blood leads to plaque build up on cells and artery/vein walls) that occurs.

The Journal of American Dietary Association did a long term study starting in 1996 with 5 year old caucasian girls (roughly 170 children and parents as subjects), looking at the health/dietary differences between girls that were drinking soda at age 5 and those who weren't.  I didn't find the outcome shocking at all, but I did find it very sad; The girls who were drinking soda at age 5 continued to do so through age 15 and had an extremely low milk intake a higher intake of foods with added sugars, lower protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium in their diets. Basically, these children were eating processed foods and drinking soda on a daily basis as their normal diets.  This significantly increases the rate of obesity and type II diabetes, and treating type II diabetes becomes much more difficult when people have no concept of healthy meal choices.  So these children are engrained with these diets, and it is virtually impossible to change their eating habits.

These girls were set up at the age of 5 for increased cardiovascular risks for stroke and heart attack, diabetes, and cancer, all because of poor eating habits stemming around the consumption of soda.

I remember when I was young, and it was a a HUGE treat to be able to drink soda; special occasions only!  And I remember my mom always ruing the decision as we were bouncing off the walls, but it was always water and milk only, and juice with breakfast.  Granted, I am very lucky to have the mom that I do, she still treats me like her baby whenever I come home, making me snacks and meals galore!! But, even with busy working moms, who don't have the time to cut carrot/celery sticks and have them waiting as an after school snack, there are so many healthy snack options at the grocery store to choose from, and if you fill your house and fridge with healthy stuff, your children will learn to eat healthy stuff and that it tastes good!

So, please try and limit soda intake for younger kids and allow them healthy choices when you can control what they eat, so they learn what's healthy, and we can only hope they continue that path as they grow up and make their own choices, but try to set them up for success in life and decrease their risks for long term illnesses as much as you can.  And, honestly, in this economy, a Brita filter for a month giving fresh clean water, is a boatload cheaper than even generic brand soda!

Yours in Good Health, and for all the little ones out there :)


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

UTI's: How to prevent them!

All the ladies out there know the feeling of having to pee so badly, getting to the bathroom, and one drip of razor blades seems to be the only thing coming out: the dreaded UTI (urinary tract infection).  There are OTC tests that you can buy at your local pharmacy to ensure that what you have is, in fact, a UTI (but we all know the horrid signs). And, your HCP will most likely write you for a course of antibiotics (usually cipro unless you have an allergy).

Some little UTI  facts: Women are 30% more likely to get a UTI than men, it is the top three reason women go to their MD each year, and 60% of all women will experience at least one in their lifetime. These are the times that it is not fun to be a lady!!

But, for those ladies (and some gentlemen) that are prone to get UTI's: How can we prevent them?  Actually a few simple steps can help you to stave off the dreaded infection:
- Ladies always pee directly after sex (the peeing out helps to flush out the bacteria pushed into your urethra)
-Wipe from from front to back....both after peeing AND pooping
-Drink your eight glasses of water a day (AKA 2 liters). It, again, helps to flush out your urethra and prevent a back up of bacteria
-Drink cranberry juice (or any other citrus juice) the Vitamin C and acidity therein helps to make your pee more acidic and kill bacteria in the urethra.
- Try to use contraception other than spermicidal jelly (nonoxyl-9 triples the risk of UTI's and bacterial vaginosis in studies) or diaphragms (which can bruise the area near the bladder neck and make it more susceptible to bacterial infection)
-Women past menopause should use vaginal estrogen cream
-Young women should avoid bubble baths...they don't "cause" UTIs per say, but certain soaps can irritate the urethra and make you more prone to get UTI's. I.E. Mr. Bubble is one to avoid, for certain!

Just some easy tips that can help you prevent future UTI's.  If you get them after every time you have sex, even if you pee directly afterwards, your HCP may write you for a prophylactic dose of antibiotic to take after each time you have sex.  Try these tips, and if you still have recurrent UTI's, talk to your HCP and find some way to work prevention into your life!  There is no reason to live in fear of UTI's!!!

Yours in Good Health


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

just a yummy and relatively healthy recipe I wanted to share

Serves 16
Enjoy this hearty carrot cake for breakfast, a snack or dessert. Serve it warm or at room temperature (I like warm!!)
Natural cooking spray
1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup dried currants
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a (9-inch) square baking pan with cooking spray and set it aside.

Pulse oats and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and mix well. In a second large bowl, combine carrots, maple syrup, currants, coconut and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through and deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to let cool before cutting into squares.
Per serving (about 2oz/67g-wt.): 190 calories (50 from fat), 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 230mg sodium, 32g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 19g sugar), 4g protein