Holiday Health

It is the time of year for gathering with friends and family with some full meals, heavy soups, and high sugar treats. These things can be detrimental to your health when they are not supported by useful sources of nutrition. Good news! You get to be creative in the kitchen. As I say: Most things in moderation, some restricted.

While you’re preparing those leftovers from Thanksgiving, throw in some fresh vegetables! It is the season for broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, garlic, onions, spinach, kale, cabbage, and lettuce! All these things work well as garnishes, on sandwiches, in casseroles, and soups. Well, I wouldn’t put lettuce in soup, but cabbage soup is pretty tasty!

As it cools down, think soup! Soup is nice and warming, has the potential to provide you with several nutrients (it is all about what you toss in), and supplies your body with HYDRATION. We tend to remember to drink water in the summer while we are hot; yet, forget in the winter while we are hermits. You need hydration all year long. Soup to the rescue!

[https://therecipecritic.com/vegetable-detox-soup/]

Which brings us to the stars of the show… these winter vegetables.

Garlic and Onions: Antimicrobial (bacteria, fungi, and viruses); High in sulfur which replenishes glutathione essential for detoxification; High in Manganese, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C

Broccoli and Cauliflower: High in Vitamin C; good source of fiber and potassium; contains isothiocyanates that reduce oxidative stress

Carrots: Excellent source of beta-carotene; good source of threonine which is an amino acid used to treat neurological disorders and helps thymus growth and immune cell functions

Spinach: High in vitamin K; high in beta-carotene; high in Vitamin C; good source of Manganese

Kale: Same as spinach with additional anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. I add kale to all my recipes!

Cabbage: Great source of vitamin C

These vegetables (plus, many more and fruits) are sources of metabolites and biologically active components that are found to be beneficial to overall health and several immune functions.

Phytochemicals: aid in detoxification, stimulate the immune system, prevent DNA damage, repair DNA damage, regulates hormones, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic

Flavonoids: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, inhibits neurodegeneration, regulates the immune system, antimicrobial

[https://www.growbetterveggies.com/growbetterveggies/2017/11/tending-a-winte.html]

While cooking some vegetables, be careful not to boil your soup. Why?

Vitamin C.

– Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It cleans up waste within your body by capturing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable, highly-reactive particles that cause cell damage. You want to limit these!

– Because Vitamin C is water-soluble, it is excreted in your urine. This means that you must constantly replenish this vitamin for use. It also means that Vitamin C escapes foods when exposed to heat and water. Boiling as preparation for vegetables high in vitamin C breaks down this vitamin, and it can get lost in the liquid. That is obviously okay in soups! If you are worried about the heat, just add your vitamin C rich vegetables LAST and be careful when reheating leftovers. Or, you can do what I do and just save some vegetables and add them in each time you reheat your soup.

Vitamin C is also tolerable in high doses with no upper limit toxicity. The only documented side effect is abdominal discomfort and bowel flushing in frequent mega-doses.

Yet, some vegetables love the heat!

A gentle sauté before tossing them in soup can bring out the flavors and do wonders for carotenoids found in carrots and deeply colored root vegetables! These are excellent vegetables in soups.

Beta-carotene: This is a mineral that is converted to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene has anti-cancer properties specific to the gut, lungs, and leukemia. Dietary beta-carotene is safe in high doses as the body will not convert more beta-carotene than needed. Retinol (another form of vitamin A) is already converted and can be absorbed in toxic amounts as it is readily stored in fats. Vitamin A protects your skin and mucous membranes (your first line of defense!). Vitamin A fortifies the immune system and is essential for eye health and vision.

Most of all, have fun combining flavors and find what works for you and your family. Some vegetables are a pain to prep; some are easier. Some people cannot tolerate certain flavors; some put garlic in EVERYTHING (guilty!). I capitalize on naptime for veggie prep. Hours in the kitchen may save you hundreds in the stores seeking out illness remedies. A fortified immune system is well-equipped to fight off those “seasonal” invaders!

Shalom, light, and love.

Sites to Consider:
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
https://www.livestrong.com/article/17387-nutritional-value-carrots/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/L-threonine#section=Top
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465813/
http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/elements_phytochemicals.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60
https://www.livescience.com/45293-onion-nutrition.html
https://www.livescience.com/45408-broccoli-nutrition.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cauliflower#section

Food is Your Foundation

When we think about our bodies, we usually don’t realize what powerful machines they are. How often do you listen to its needs? We recharge with sleep and fuel with food. Like a car’s performance depends on how you fuel and maintain it, so does your body. Sure, some people are presented with some bad genetics, but for the most part, the body is a healing machine!

This is why I bring attention to what you put into your body and that of your littles. Let’s start with your littles. Children’s bodies are in a rapid growth spurt. What you feed that growth spurt matters. If they don’t receive food of substance, that is when illness presents itself. Illness is merely an imbalance. The body will take everything it can from what it is given, but if nutrients are lacking what can you expect? With a lack of nutrition, the body becomes fragile and other organisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi) are able to take over in that weakened state. Coupled with environmental toxins, you have a storm brewing and what you see is respiratory illness, stomach issues, and chronic conditions.

Yep. I said it. Nutrition impacts health that much. Do you feed yourself to fortify your body, aid in its growth, and provide for optimal functioning? If not, ask yourself why? How much longer are you going to allow your energy to be nonexistent, mood to be negative, and body to reap the consequences of a bad diet? If not now, then when?

No, I’m not here to sell you some gimmick diet. I’m here to alert you to any concerns you may have about your health before it becomes the concern of multiple parties. This is lifelong. Do your research. There are plenty of health food companies on the market, choose one to help supplement your diet. Make the changes now before you are changed by a crisis. Do. Your. Research.

I don’t need to know what is going on because you know. You are the only one who can command your health and the health of your littles. You can get all the advice you can handle, but you are the person who controls your body. If not you, then who?

Shalom, light, and love.

Sites to consider:
https://youtu.be/GYlKqiH1N_s (old, but relevant!)
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/

This One Is for the Nurses, Everyday

As Nurses Week rolls around each year, we always come upon those inspirational quotes that show the heart of nursing or the altruistic values that (we hope) drives all nurses into the career. We pat each other on the back and administration provides gifts and food to the staff. For that week, we get a passing “Happy Nurses Week!” or “Thank you for what you do!” from staff and even the patients and their families. For that week, we get recognition for the care we provide to our patients and their families. This week is not enough.

No, I don’t think we often deserve praise. I think of this week quite differently. I believe this week is when nurses look for meaning in their careers. They are grounded again. Nurses need to remember their intentions more than once a year. In a career of burn-out, we need to be reminded of the spirit of nursing frequently. How is your attitude? Do you check it regularly? Is your mentality affecting patient care? Does your mood influence your team? Are you impacting them positively or negatively? What do you do to ground yourself again? Is burn-out rampant in your facility? What are you doing to avoid burn-out in yourself?

Sometimes I catch myself sighing at a patient’s chief complaint or thinking “You’re fine. Go home.” What I do when this happens is: I imagine this is a family member of mine. How would I want them to be treated? I want to be sure nothing is wrong, so I work hard to gather all the necessary information for the doctor to diagnose the patient promptly. I don’t wait. I get it done. Time can wreak havoc on nerves and delaying care can be detrimental to outcomes.

Next, I make the patient comfortable. I remind myself that the emergency department can be a scary place. Sometimes, we think it is their favorite place to be. Maybe that is true for a few, but we still provide the same care. We do it with a smile even when the patient is berating, pushy, or rude. We do it with a genuine smile when the patient is scared, good-intentioned, and kind. We do it for everyone, including family members. We sit and explain what is happening to calm fears or worries. We remove ourselves emotionally when things don’t work out.

During tragic events, we put on a mask so that we can still provide care to others. We protect patient privacy and guard our hearts. I remind myself of those situations when I find myself low in the compassion tank. Nurses have funny ways of coping, don’t mistake these ways as the core of their being. We have inside jokes and try to make each other laugh. We get annoyed with each other and drown ourselves in work. We are still people.

We are people who put our children in the care of strangers to go and care for strangers. We are people who leave our families to comfort yours. We are strong for patients when our personal lives fall apart. Some of the best people I’ve met are nurses, and for all that we experience, I believe nurses must be reminded of their core values more than once a year.

I will close with my nursing philosophy that I drafted over eight years ago… It is a bit wordy, but I still read it from time to time. I have since changed my philosophy, as I am continually growing. Take care of yourself and remind yourself of what placed you in this role! Inspire yourself regularly and seek to inspire others.

20180508_122940.jpg
Previous (left) vs Present (right). A perpetual work-in-progress.

 

Shalom, light, and love.