Category Archives for Health

Nursing and the Olympics

Registered Nurse: How I Got There

Everyone has their own interesting journey in life that we feel makes us more unique than the next person. We all overcome different obstacles that seem insurmountable to us. But there are no obstacles quite as daunting as obstacles that an individual pursuing a career as a nurse goes through.

After all, nursing is considered one of the most difficult degrees to pursue, so it only makes sense that the most battle tested individuals want to do it right? Well I am one of those people. And lucky for whoever is reading this, I have the opportunity to share my journey of becoming a registered nurse thus far.

I would like to think that my journey really began when I was four years old. My only memories of those days consist of me playing ice hockey and my mom, who also happened to be going through nursing school at the time. I remember watching her study for hours, and I would try to help her (or thought I was helping her) go through her thousands of flashcards, trying to repeat every term I could pronounce.

Apparently, my favorite term I would repeat was Culexpipiens, or a mosquito. It was not just the studying I remember, but the early mornings that started at 4:30 A.M. because she had clinicals at 5 A.M., or the few times she could not find a babysitter for me and my younger sister so we came with her to her lectures.

I feel that is when I started to develop characteristics like patience and compassion. I can only imagine how my patience was tested as a four-year old in a college lecture class. I learned my compassion through watching my mother in how she treated me and my sister when I am sure she was exhausted and stressed beyond comprehension by her clinical rotations. I know I did not appreciate it then, but I do now. It was back then when I believe my journey to becoming an RN really started.

I grew older and eventually showed more interest in medicine and the human body. With one parent being a labor and delivery nurse and the other a firefighter-paramedic, it was hard to not be interested in all the stories I heard. In high school I was a part of the High School Health Careers Academy.

Reaching New Heights

This was a three-year program designed to introduce a selected bunch of high school students to different facets of the medical field through special classes and internship experiences. On top of being in this special program, I was also a well accomplished student athlete and oldest sibling of four.

With that being said, I had a lot of responsibility and practice managing my time and emotions under stressful circumstances. Anyways, this program only heightened my interest in the health profession, especially nursing. I had the opportunity to job shadow doctors and nurses on different units at Mercy S Medical Center .

This also happened to be the hospital my mom worked at on the labor and delivery floor. I was selected to do a month-long internship on the labor and delivery floor and I would say the highlight was watching a live c-section. That was one of the most amazing experiences for my 16-year old self.

On top of this academic experience, a more personal event made me realize that I had the compassion, quick thinking, and ability to think clearly in stressful situations. During my high school years, my mothers’ asthma developed to a severe level. Severe enough to the point where she had to be intubated on my living room floor. These episodes would occur anywhere from 6-20 times a year.

Whether it was preparing and administering her albuterol treatments in lightening quick time, forcing steroids down her throat while she was fighting for air, giving her a dose from her epi-pen or caring for my sister and brothers for days at a time while she was in the hospital, I knew that I would make a great nurse. It was because of these moments that I further pursued my journey to becoming an RN.

Once I reached college, I obviously began pursuing nursing more aggressively. And this is where my journey challenged me to the very core. My first year of college was not unlike many other college students. I was learning to adjust to the heightened level of discipline needed to succeed in college, all while trying to balance other commitments in my life.

My journey took a unique turn in January of 2014, when I made the United States Olympic Team Handball Team which trained at Auburn University. I moved from my home and college in northern California to Auburn, Alabama. I spent the fall of 2014 at Auburn University but moved back home in the winter because of my deteriorating mental health.

Hurdles I Overcame

In the spring I was diagnosed with major depression disorder and severe anxiety, both of which I had been struggling with for over a year before I decided to seek help. During the spring of 2015, my confidence in myself was shaken, as was my desire to be a nurse. I felt that my performance in my science classes meant that I would never make it as nurse.

After several months of being on my new medication and deciding to take control of my life, I pulled myself out of a dark time in my life.Taking care of my physical health improved my mental health. In August of 2015 I began a job working as a home care aid for a quadriplegic woman on Thursday- Sunday evenings and often times working Saturday and Sunday mornings as well.

This job was on top of my other job as a day care teacher at an elementary school. But working for this quadriplegic woman cemented my desire to want to be a nurse and was pivotal in gaining back the confidence, discipline and work ethic that had been suppressed because of my depression. I did all facets of her care from helping her eat, dress, bathe, flush her bladder, maintaining her home and doing all that was necessary to keep her comfortable and healthy.

I did things for her that most 20 year olds would find gross, but I did them because I wanted to give her the best care I could. I knew that she had to give up a lot of her personal privacy because of her injury and I was sympathetic to that and the fact that I was a major component in her well-being.

I was always so excited to work for her even if it was at 6 in the morning and I had to empty her full catheter bags or whatever else she needed me to do. The relationship and bond I had formed with this 64 year old woman showed me that I had the compassion, skills and work ethic to be a nurse.

That fall, I made the President’s List at Sierra College while taking a full load of courses that included microbiology and statistics, on top of working 25-40 hours a week between two jobs. I did all of that because I wanted to be a nurse.

In the spring of 2016, I reached a point in my life where I decided that I was mentally and physically healthy enough to try to move back to Auburn and continue training with the Olympic team and pursuing my degree in nursing at Auburn University.

Work,Work, Work

And that is exactly what I have done! I took the risk again because I knew I could do so much better for myself than the first time. I had matured and proven I had the discipline and skills to be a nurse. Even when I was not accepted into the Auburn University School of Nursing for the fall of 2017, my faith did not waver and I am proud to say I have been accepted for the spring 2018 te!

I am paying for my education on my own through loans and out of pocket while training, going to school and working at Starbucks. As amazing of an honor as it is to be a member of the U.S. Olympic team, I receive no stipend from them and am doing it totally out of my desire to be the best individual I can be, and the educational opportunity it is providing me.

Whomever is reading this, I hope you see how much of an impact I want to make as a nurse. I want to impact lives in a positive way, especially in a time where many people need something to bring their spirits up. This is what I am truly happy doing.

One Nurse’s Story

How it all began

When I was younger, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always a nurse. The only reason I wanted to be a nurse at that time was so I could wear scrubs everyday, to look just like Meredith Grey from the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Little did I know, a few years later my dreams would be crushed because my favorite show was definitely not like the real world. When I got into high school, I started getting involved in service work.

During that time, I went on four mission trips, and I found that I had a huge passion for service. It was such an incredible feeling seeing how much of a difference I made in other peoples lives just by helping with simple things we take for granted everyday. I knew that helping others was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I decided to look further into nursing.

I decided to become a Certified Nursing Assistant in order to get my feet in the water and see what the medical field was like. During my clinicals at a nursing home, a resident pulled me aside and asked if I would shave his beard.

I wheeled him to his room where I brushed his teeth and shaved his beard. After I was finished, he grabbed me by the hand and started to cry. He looked at me, and thanked me over and over again for what I had done for him. As I left his room, I was speechless. I could not wrap my head around how his whole day was turned around just because I shaved his beard and brushed his teeth; two things that people do on a daily basis without even thinking about.

I realized that people take health for granted every single day. While some people grow up living a normal, healthy life in their home, others have to spend their lives in a hospital bed. This experience lit the fire for my passion in nursing.

Certified Nursing Assistant

While I was training for my first official CNA job, a resident sat down next to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained to him that I was in training. He asked me, “Why on earth would you ever want to work in a place like this?” His question caught me off guard so I responded with the typical answer I felt any nurse was supposed to say; “I want to work here so that I can help people like you get out of here.” It wasn’t until three months later, during the last conversation I had with a very special lady, that I got to experience and see the truth behind my words.

Throughout my career as a CNA, I had never seen anyone more determined than this women to get better and stronger in order to go home. She had big plans to do with her kids and grandkids once she got better, which were her motivation during her whole recovery.

On my last shift with her, we were discussing school. She told me “Sweetheart, you just keep doing what you’re doing and let nothing stop you. I know you’ll be just fine.” I responded with, “I’ll keep doing what I’m doing the best I can in school, as long as you do the same while you’re here,” and that is exactly what she did.

When I came to work the next week, I was notified that she was discharged. I had to hold back my tears because I was so happy that she finally got to go home and be with her family, after four months in rehab.

The joy I felt from helping this woman get through her journey on this long, hard, and painful recovery was absolutely overwhelming. Like I said earlier, I knew I wanted service to be part of my life, but this was the first time I was fully content that I could live this passion through nursing. Actually, I learned that nursing someone back to health is one of the best services you can do for someone.

Working as a CNA has not been easy. In fact, most cases do not end up as happy as the lady’s did in my story. To be completely honest, the bad days tend to out number the good. A CNA’s responsibility is to help someone with activities of daily living. This includes dressing, assisting in the bathroom, showering, feeding, changing, and transferring patients.

Where to next

But despite the long shifts, exhaustion, terrible smells, difficult patients, and sad families, since this experience, I have never once second-guessed why I am doing it. The gratitude and pure happiness, whether it come frequent, seldom, or never, that someone expresses for taking care of them is an indescribable feeling.

As a CNA, I have learned that in nursing—through all the sadness, there is a little joy; through the overwhelming stress, somehow you always feel at peace; throughout the bad, good can be found, and most importantly through the seemingly endless struggles, you keep your head up and there will be successes. So to the man in my first story, this is truthfully “why on earth I would ever want to work in a place like this.”

As a CNA I have the opportunity to help people just simply live life. I want to take my career in nursing further, to not only help people with every day activities, but also have the chance to save people’s lives. Life is a blessing that can be given, taken, or changed in an instant.

I want to make sure that everyone that crosses my path has the opportunity to live a long life and on top of that, a healthy one. I know that nursing is the career path meant for me. Therefore I will be attending, a nursing school in the spring or summer of 2018 to continue my next steps on my journey to becoming a RN.

Amla: The Latest Miracle Food?

Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is a fruit that may have many health benefits, enough to fill an entire book. It’s used a lot in Ayurvedic medicine due to its benefits. It’s seen as a way for your organs to rejuvenate, for your immune system to perform at its maximum, and even slow down the aging process.

In addition, it helps the digestive system by enhancing the absorption of vitamins and minerals.  Besides that, it can even improve your liver, reduce inflammation, and even take care of your appearance. It’s said to improve your skin tone, and even prevent gray hairs and baldness. It even helps you with weight loss.

There are even more benefits to this fruit, and it all sounds too good to be true. However, there has been research on Amla, revealing some amazing findings on what it can do for you. One is its antioxidant powers.

Amla’s Benefits

Amla, whether in whole or powdered form, has a variety of antioxidants. These help to provide protection against things such as free radicals. These cause diseases and even aging, and antioxidants alma benefitshelp to prevent that.

Amla has been known as one of the best superfoods you can have, especially when it comes to heat resistance. You can take it as a supplement, and that helps to protect your skin against UV rays and pollution, both of which can contribute to aging. Specifically, Amla extract can protect against free radicals from the UVB radiation in sunlight. This causes your skin to break down, giving it wrinkles and making it saggy.

Another finding is that Amla may help to prevent cancer. It has properties that are anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and more. These help to prevent and even treat some kinds of cancer. One, known as pyrogallol, can prevent the spread of cancer cells on lung cancer. Pyrogallol can even affect other kinds of cancer too.

Diabetes Benefits

Type 2 diabetes is no laugh matter. It’s growing, and many people attribute that to our poor diets. With diabetes, you need to control your blood glucose levels, and people usually do it with drugs. However, Amla, according to one study, was much more effective than the leading drug used to control blood sugar levels.

It only took three grams a day of powdered Amla to control levels, much easier than taking  a lot of drugs. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go off diabetes drugs and just take Amla. Diabetes is too life-threatening to take that risk. Also, if you take Amla with blood sugar meds, it may cause your levels to drop way too far. As such, talk to your doctor beforehand.

There may well be a case to be made though for the benefits daily Amla supplementation to help prevent the damage that leads to the diabetic condition in the first place.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is increasing in our society at an alarming rate. Even children are now being diagnosed. Replacing processed, high sugar supermarket junk with natural superfoods would be a great start to avoiding this debilitating disease and this article has some other important tips.

Heart Disease Prevention

Heart disease has always been one of the biggest killers of Americans. This is caused by inflammation and oxidation in your heart. If Amla lives up to the claims of being an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, you better believe that it will help out against heart problems. It also prevents blood cells from sticking to your walls. This is the primary cause of heart disease.

alma healthy food

According to recent research, there is some link to the Indian gooseberry giving you protection against cardiovascular problems. In addition, it may slow down lipid peroxidation, which is another factor that causes heart attacks. In addition, it may improve your cholesterol levels. It raises the good kind, and also lowers the bad kind.

There are some drugs that help you to prevent bad cholesterol, but they never raise your good. Also, they may contain side effects that are harmful. Meanwhile, if you take just take three grams of amla powder, you may lower your cholesterol.

Doctors can give you drugs (with side effects) to lower your LDL cholesterol. But it’s not often that a substance will also raise your HDL cholesterol at the same time, without reported side effects. These valuable health benefits were observed with just 3 grams of Amla powder a day.

So is it True?

The research gives some insight of the benefits of this fruit, but it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. The combination of all the substances that are found in Amla are not exactly easy to repeat in a proper study. Besides that, researchers concentrate on finding a cure instead of looking for something that can prevent it in the first place.

Amla may help prevent all these diseases, and we won’t know until all the research reveals it. After all, powdered Amla is not expensive, and is easy to take.

However, not many people in America know about this food. This may because it’s uncommon in these parts. That’s why the word needs to be spread.

If you think that Amla can help you out, feel free to share this article with others. If we got the attention of more researchers, maybe the superfood’s secrets will finally be unlocked, and we’ll have a superfood that is a little more than just hype.

Right Choices for a Healthier Body: Grains Vs Fats

It’s a fact: obesity is a rapidly growing disease. Knowing the effects that being even moderately overweight can have on your general health is sufficient enough to make you stop and think. But as you consider a healthier lifestyle, inclusive of healthier eating, you will find that there is a plethora of information available.

Often, the sources are conflicting on what foods are best for weight loss; for maintaining a healthy weight; and for optimal functioning of your body. You can however wade through it all and make the best decisions if you are armed with some simple facts.

Not All Nutrients Are Created Equal

We have been conditioned to think of ‘fat’ as a dirty word when it comes to our food intake. In fact, ‘carbohydrates’ is more of a four letter word than either ‘fats’ or ‘oils’ in terms of what should feature predominantly in your diet. Your body does need all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals, along with water and fiber).

If any one is missing, then the body cannot function at it’s optimal levels and disease or illness will be the result. It is the proportion in which you take the various nutrients that can make the difference between unwanted weight gain and welcomed weight loss and control.healthy choices information

Remember the old food pyramid with a heavy carbohydrates base and a tiny triangle of fats and oils at its peak? When it comes to the proportions, think of taking that pyramid and inverting the contents.

So what you get is a heaping helping of protein, fruit, vegetables and fats and oils, but the carbohydrates are kept to a minimum and carefully selected. Sounds crazy, right? In your head you are probably thinking, “Wont all this make me – obese?”

Carbohydrates and Insulin

Truth be told, it’s all the carbohydrate that we have been consuming over the last few decades that have led to the obesity crisis we are currently facing. Why is this so? – The insulin factor. Some carbohydrates, such as grains and their highly processed derivatives, lead to a sharp increase in the level of insulin in the body.

One of the functions of the hormone insulin is to enlarge the adipose fat cells in the body, allowing more fat to be deposited. This storing of fat causes weight gain – weight is what you want if you are expecting a few years of famine ahead.

On top making it easier for your body to store fat, if your diet is high in carbohydrates, it will also lead to you having more fat to store. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates are digested to form sugars and excess sugars are stored as fat in those burgeoning adipose tissues.

Furthermore, if you continue to consume a lot of carbohydrates, then your body does not get the chance to use up its fat stores as energy. The result is a increase in girth and a feeling that you are being punished for eating in the way you were told.

There are carbohydrates (whole oats, and certain fruits and vegetables for example) with what is called a low glycemic index. This means they digest slowly and are not likely to cause a sudden increase in the insulin levels. Additionally, they are high in fiber which is required to keep your digest tract functionally in a regular way. Keeping modest amounts of these in your diet cannot be faulted.

Protein and Satiety

Your meal should leave you feeling full (not beached whale stuffed) for awhile, giving your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients you have eaten. This feeling of satiety is readily achieved when the meal is protein rich.

Eating lots of healthy protein is great for tissue building and repair, as well as ensuring that you are not heading back into the kitchen for a snack shortly after your meal. Your protein choices should come with the labels ‘free range’ or ‘grass fed’ and should include eggs, seafood and lean healthy choices

The body is unable to store protein and excess protein in got rid of by way of urine. So protein consumption cannot make you overweight. This is why diets that focus on fruits, vegetables and protein are best for weight control.

Fats and Weight Loss

Your body needs reasonable levels of certain fats in order to ensure that it is able to carry out all its functions. Remember learning in Biology that there are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins? The vital vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble and this means that they must be digested, absorbed, and transported along with fats.

Added to this, is the important factor that certain fats help with the level of satiety you feel after a meal. Actually, they are even better at it than the protein discussed earlier. For sources of these ‘good for you’ fats think coconut, avocado, amla, butter (from grass fed cows, please), nuts and seeds.

Previously unfathomable, it has now been realized that some fats can actually help in considerably reducing body fat and thus contribute greatly to weight loss. These include the coconut’s saturated capric acid and the avocado’s monounsaturated oleic fatty acid.

And don’t worry – as long as the extra fat in your diet is of the healthy kind, then it is unlikely to lead to  the nightmares you would normally associate high fat intake with. Atherosclerosis and high bad cholesterol levels are not a consideration around moderate consumption of these healthy fats choices.

If you have been endlessly trying to lose weight by cutting calories and fueling up on grains and low fat foods without getting any results. It may be time to kick things up a notch and get your metabolic rate improving.

Rather than eating less, it time to start eating more of the right kind of fats. While doing so avoid grains that will spike your insulin levels and before you know it you will be fitter, feeling healthier, more energetic and looking better than before.

5 Sure Ways to Kickstart Your Metabolism

Metabolism is a term that encompasses several different processes, including elimination of waste matters from one’s body, production of energy and bodily growth. Your metabolism is influenced by numerous factors such as genetic heritage which is beyond your control and nutrition as well as the environment which you can influence, up to certain point. This means there are things you can do to give your metabolism a boost.

The Basics

Since there are so many factors that come into play when determining one’s metabolism, there are several different ways in which you can change it. Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts and magical pills but rather some slight changes which will turn your metabolism around and burn calories faster.boost metabolism

Now if do this right you may find yourself becoming hungrier which is sort of the opposite of what you want because more food means more weight but larger appetite means that your metabolism is kicking it up a notch.

You know those people that seem to eat all the time, yet they never gain any weight. That means that their metabolism is speedy, and that they can consume more calories yet never get fat.

However if you manage to kickstart your metabolism it does not mean you are going to obtain a lean figure overnight but you will have a good foundation which combined with proper nutrition and exercise will help you maintain proper weight for which your body is built. Here are some of the things you should adopt as habits:

Never Miss Breakfast

The most common mistake people make is to skip breakfast. There is a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs a pretty heavy dose of nutrients and energy to get itself going, as well as to function all throughout the day which is why breakfast is essential.

You may be fond of those extra 30 minutes of sleep but trust us if you sacrifice them in order to make yourself a healthy breakfast it will start paying off soon. Try getting up and making a smoothie. It’s quick and easy to make and you can chop up your favorite fruit and mix it with protein powder, oats, bran, or seeds, for a healthy and balanced meal.

Never Take the Elevator

Any chance you get, use the stairs. In fact implement that same approach just about anywhere you can. You can read the morning paper or surf the internet by standing up at a counter instead of sitting down. Instead of taking the car or a bus to work try riding a bicycle or walk if it’s not too far away.

Don’t worry, these activities will not wear you out and they will keep you feeling energized and fresh during the day as well as boost your metabolism and burn calories.

Find the Right Balance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat

While each person is unique sticking to a ratio of 50 percent of protein, 35 percent of carbs and 15 percent fat in your diet should give a decent idea of how your diet should look like. You don’t have to get it exactly right, just remember to have a meal which contains protein, carbs, and fat.

Green Juice Is Your Friend

Substances found in leafy veggies like chard, kale, or spinach are awesome metabolism boosters. They will solve most of your digestion problems, elevate your energy levels and help release toxins from your body. The best thing about greens is that there are so many to choose from.

Try including beet, amla (Indian Gooseberry), dandelion or collard greens in your diet. Spice up your drinks with herbs like rosemary and peppermint. Apart from providing the intense flavor, they are also very healthy.green_juice_help_32

There are several different ways through which you can get a hold of green juice. You can visit your local health food store and buy some cold-pressed, raw green juice. You can also blend your veggies with some water, and drink it that way.

The ratio is totally up to you, just remember to keep it thick enough so that you consume some fiber in the process. The best way, and the most time-consuming and expensive one, would be to make your own freshly-squeezed green juice and mix it with carrots and apple for example.

Introduce Resistance Training into Your Exercise

Following your regular exercise routine and doing stuff like cycling, running, or walking is a good way of keeping yourself in shape but it produces results up to certain point because your body becomes used to it. A good way of breaking up that routine and boosting your metabolism would be to introduce some exercises like lunges, squats or push-ups. Once you becomes used to these, introduce some resistance into the equation. The goal is to keep your body guessing and your metabolism on its toes.

Another great tip would be to perform exercises that engage your entire body, instead of a single muscle group. For example you can combine a squat and a shoulder press into a single exercise, all the while using a weight. This will engage your legs and glutes, as well as your arms and shoulders at the same time.

The Summary

Now, if you scroll back to the beginning, you will also see that we mention genetics as one of the factors that plays a large role in how your metabolism functions. Some people will need to do more to kick into high gear while others will need to do very little.

You can’t change your genetic makeup but you can choose not to give up, stick to your routine, and wait for the results to come which they will. Like we said there are no shortcuts. Following these few simple rules requires very little work on your part and the pay-off is well worth the effort.