December 31, 2007

Byetta and Type 2 Diabetes

I am sure most of you have seen the latest commercials on television advertising Byetta" (Exenitide) for Type 2 diabetes. Interesting to note, Byetta actually has its origin from the saliva of a Gila Monster, a venomous lizard found in the desert regions of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. When studied, the Gila Monster was noted for going long periods of time without having to eat.This amazing lizard was found to produce a certain type of protein that slows down stomach emptying. What this means is that it stays full for prolonged periods of time. Humans are known to produce a similar type of protein, called GLP-1. Hence the new drug, Byetta was born, which is actually a synthetic form of GLP-1. Byetta comes in an injectable form, but it is important to note, it should NOT replace insulin therapy for those who require it.

Byetta was approved in the U.S. market as early as 2005 and in the two years since it has been on the market, it has not yet been hit with any controversial allegations regarding serious, detrimental side effects. Remember, the keyword here is: "YET"! Eli-Lily, the producers of the drug, have reported huge jumps in sales hitting the $164.8 million mark for its third quarter in 2007. Currently, they are working on an more advanced version of the drug, Byetta LAR, which is a long acting release formula in an effort to keep sales growing.

Benefits of Byetta include delaying stomach emptying, increasing a feeling of fullness and reducing glucagon release from the liver thereby lowering blood sugar. It may also help pancreatic cells that produce insulin live longer. Additionally, Byetta has been found to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and promote, in some cases, significant weight loss. For those patients studied, the ones who lost the most weight also had a reduction in triglycerides and an increase in their HDL's, (the good cholesterol). Overall, these effects can assist individuals with not only improving diabetic health, but also in reducing cardiovascular risk factors such as those associated with stroke and heart attack.

Of course, with any drug, there are side effects to consider and if they become bothersome, discuss this with your doctor. Your physician should also be advised of any other drugs that you might be taking that may react with Byetta, so always make sure you bring your full list of medications with you when you visit him/her.

Any drug that you take may cause a severe allergic reaction, Byetta included. If you develop hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, this is considered a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately. Other less severe side effects of Byetta include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling jittery

It is important to also be aware of the signs of hypoglycemia that could be related to this medication. These are:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • and in severe cases difficulty arousing and coma

Always keep a source of sugar with you if you begin to experience any of these symptoms, and be sure to teach family members these signs as well. If anyone that you live with is unable to arouse you, of course they should contact 911 immediately.

Remember it is important that you discuss Byetta or any other medication with your doctor prior to taking it!

Follow this link to view the latest Byetta commercial on hubpages:

On the lighter side, you want to get a good laugh read this one:

Man Boobs: What's a Guy To Do

December 30, 2007

Study Finds Fat People More Likely to Have Bad Breath

Now there’s another good reason to go on that diet after the holidays. Tel Aviv University researchers have published a study that finds a direct link between obesity and bad breath: the more overweight you are, the more likely your breath will smell unpleasant to those around you. Click here to Read More.....

December 29, 2007

Wu-Yi Tea: Diet Miracle or Diet Scam

Wu-Yi Diet Tea is said to have many properties that essentially improve your health as well as promote weight loss. The benefits that are advertised about this "wonder" tea include:

  • anti-carcinogenic properties that reduce the risk of cancer

  • assists in managing high cholesterol levels

  • lowers blood pressure

  • inhibits the abnormal formation of blood clots

  • helps with digestion

  • improves immunity

  • relieves tiredness

  • Powerful Fat Burner

But are the miraculous effects of this so called "diet wonder tea" a real miracle or just another money making scam? Judge for yourself by doing your own research before buying into their high priced marketing advertisement efforts. You can start by reading this incredible article written by a fellow hubber, Maddie Ruud on

Follow this link to learn The Truth About Wu-Yi Tea.

December 27, 2007

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Consequence of War

Several weeks ago, during a radio broadcast, the wife of an American soldier spoke about the difficulties her husband was having after serving in the war in Iraq. As she wept, she told interviewers that her husband, who was a U.S. Marine, had recently found out that he was being re-deployed to Iraq, after having served one previous term. So distraught was he over the news, he barricaded himself in his home and vowed that he was NOT going back. And he never did. He was shot and killed by police that day, without provocation, according to his grieving widow.

Many extraordinary cases similar to this exist within American history, however most end up getting swept under the carpet, as military officials do little to investigate the cause, quick to arrest, and even historically known to execute deserters.

In 1945, Private Eddie Slovik became the 1st American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War. Slovic made no secret that he did not want to fire against the enemy in World War II. Because the military wanted to make an example out of him, he was shot and killed, while tied to a post, by a firing squad. It is important to note that many others were considered deserters during WWll, but Private Slovik was the only one executed for his act.

When a human being witnesses or participates in the atrocities of war; senseless murder, bombings, child killings, rape, disfigurement....some, especially those who are particularly vulnerable to stressors in their environment, are not able to cope, thus developing Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). According to the Veteran's Association, tens of thousands of U.S. solders suffer from PTSD, causing horrifying flashbacks, nightmares and intense anxiety.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), formerly known as "Shell Shock" during WWll, is defined in Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing as "the development of characteristic symptoms after a psychologically stressful event that is considered outside the range of normal human experience (rape, combat, motor vehicle crash, natural catastrophe). Symptoms of this disorder include intrusive thoughts and dreams, phobic avoidance reaction (avoidance of activities that arouse recollection of the traumatic event), heightened vigilance, exaggerated startle reaction, generalized anxiety and societal withdrawal. PTSD may be acute, chronic, or delayed".

The statistics surrounding PTSD are startling. Dr. Greg Passey, a retired military psychiatrist who treats individuals with this disorder claims that as many as one in five people with PTSD actually attempt suicide.

On December 17, 2007, Roy Thomas Bell, a 44 year old Winnipeg man who served in the armed forces for 20 years, was shot and killed by Winnipeg police when he reportedly threatened them with a bat and gun. When police arrived at the scene, Bell was pleading with police to shoot him. And they eventually did. Those who knew him suspected that this was an act of "suicide by cop" as friends claimed he was dealing with PTSD and his condition had recently deteriorated.

Most of those who join the ranks of the armed forces are young men, barely in their 20's, still developing as human beings, thus very impressionable. It becomes the military's job to make these young men "killing machines" as they develop the mentality that their mission is to either kill or be killed. When they encounter the actual brutalities of war, though pre-conditioned to maintain a certain level of detachment for their acts, their psyche becomes somewhat "fractured", as the natural inclination of human beings is that we are taught to preserve life and not take it. As this causes deep emotional scars and they return home, expected now to fully function as "normal human beings" in society, they may start to feel different. Why? Because they "are" different. How can someone who has experienced this type of horror ever be the same? Ultimately, this experience has inevitably changed them forever. For some who cannot cope, they eventually sink further and further into themselves, lost souls, not knowing where to turn.

The National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), developed by the Veteran's Administration in recognition of this growing problem, "aims to advance the clinical care and social welfare of U.S. Veterans through research, education and training on PTSD and stress-related disorders". Here you can learn more about PTSD, find a facility close to you that treats the disorder and read other published material related to PTSD.

Although the Veteran's Administration is making an attempt to confront the issue in some, perhaps some would say, menial way, the Bush Administration is perpetuating it by planning to cut health care costs for Veterans. This article taken from Think Progress explains further:

"The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans' health care two years from now - even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system. Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012. ... Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly - by more than 10 percent in many years - White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter." February 12, 2007

Whatever the reason behind the Bush Administration's decision, the cuts will negatively impact Veterans, their families and our nation as a whole. As they strive to put the pieces of their lives back together, where do Vets turn when the nation that was supposed to support them, turns their collective back?

If you are suffering from symptoms that may resemble PTSD, it is vitally important that you seek prompt medical attention. Please remember, you are not alone! Don't wait until it is too late! Your life may depend upon it!

See Internet Mental Health Links for more information about this and other mental health disorders. To see the touching video that portrays WWll Veterans talking about their horrific experiences after the war, click below and scroll to the bottom of the page:

December 26, 2007

Healthcare News: Obama Promises Healthcare for Vets

I am not a politically oriented person, however, I do find some political news interesting, especially when it comes to promises made by presidential candidates that have the potential to be broken. In the latest political news, democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was photographed tearfully embracing retired Air Force Veteran Andrew Hampton in Mason City, Iowa during a recent campaign stop. Hampton reportedly questioned Obama about the poor state of health care for Veterans, especially concerning himself with Veterans returning home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan severely disabled and in desperate need of health care. Hampton, who received a standing ovation from the crowd, was then approached by Obama who embraced him while onlookers cheered. As the crowd listened intently, Obama promised that if he were elected president, he would take care of all veterans as a way of "encouraging future generations to enter the military." Perhaps he should take care of veterans just because it's the right thing for the country to do. After all, these soldiers deserve access to the best health care available after risking their lives for us on a daily basis. What a self-serving comment! Some people will just say anything to get elected these days! We shall see, Obama, if you keep your promises or if you will be just another presidential candidate that fabricates stories to serve your own political purpose. Would love to hear what the rest of America thinks about the upcoming election. Feel free to post your comments.

The Food Pyramid for Older Adults gets a Makeover!

The Food Pyramid for Older Adults has recently gotten a much needed "makeover!" In response to the federal government's recent change in the general food pyramid guide, researchers at Tufts University in Boston re-vamped the Food Pyramid for seniors to create a more user-friendly model and to focus on the unique, nutritional needs of older adults.

The emphasis of the new Food Pyramid is on the need for seniors to get an adequate supply of fiber, Vitamins D and B12 from nutrient and fiber rich foods instead of supplements. Also stressed upon is the need for the proper amount of daily exercise and fluid intake.

The new Food Pyramid is available in a graphic, print-out form and has icons representing foods, fluids and exercise in the following categories:

  • Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli and deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon. Canned, fresh or frozen are all acceptable forms.
  • Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose dairy products.
  • Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs.
  • Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat.
  • Adequate Fluid intake.
  • Physical activity such as walking, swimming, house work and yard work.

If you look at the top of the pyramid, you can see the little flag that reminds seniors that supplements or foods fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin b12, may be beneficial to some of them. In addition, the bottom of the pyramid reminds them to drink 8 glasses of water a day, as well as giving examples of how they can include exercise in their daily lives.

Of course, the food pyramid is meant to be a guide, only. One should always consult with their primary care provider about which meal plan is best for them. The Modified Food Pyramid entitled "MyPyramid for Older Adults" will be published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

December 24, 2007

Queen Latifah Celebrates Plus Size No More?

Have you heard the latest? Queen Latifah, 37 year old Oscar-nominated actress and singer, recent star of the hit musical Hairspray, has decided to join the ranks of Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli by signing on to endorse the Jenny Craig weight loss program! "We officially confirm that Queen Latifah will join the Jenny Craig program in January" Scott Parker, vice president of Jenny Craig told People Magazine. He added, "We are thrilled to have her support our mission of improving health by taking her first step toward achieving a healthier lifestyle." Does this mean she will no longer be celebrating her voluptuous, plus size figure? We hope not Queen! It is rumored that she will not be focusing on being a "smaller size," but will help promote lifestyle changes and healthy living! You go girl, we can't wait to see you on those Jenny Craig commercials!

Want a good laugh, read my latest hub on hubpages:
The Laughter Diet

December 19, 2007

Eating Out and Dieting Part 1

If you are like me, you are ALONE and tend to eat out alot instead of cooking for your little ol' lonesome self! The challenge, then, becomes how to continue on your weight loss journey and still lose weight, when confronted with all those tasty, high calorie menu options that most restaurants seem to offer? This post will serve to review some of my favorite restaurants and the menu plans they feature. Each week I will feature a different restaurant that I have reviewed and hopefully, this will inundate you with information along with providing you some fun and interesting options for your dining out pleasure, while still maintaining your weight loss.

I like to frequent restaurants that are conscious of my dilemma, ones that offer a low calorie meal plan or some type of healthy menu plan. I also prefer eating at places that can give me some printed information about the nutritional content of the foods I eat, IE; calorie, fat, carbohydrate and dietary fiber content. In utilizing this information, I can then make well-informed food choices for myself, or not, if I have decided that I want to splurge that night!!!

Most of you Southern Californians are familiar with
Marie Calender's, and since this is one of the restaurants that is close to my house, this is where this story begins.

When I walked in and sat down, the first thing I did was order a glass of Merlot, yes, wine is ok on a diet, as long as you only have 1 bottle and not two!!! LOL! Just kidding, but one glass is not going to kill me, so I ordered it. After reviewing the menu, I realized immediately that they did not include any nutritional information at all on it, so I asked the waitress if they had that information written down someplace else on a separate pamphlet. She advised me that they did not! Hmmmnnn, for some reason, I thought that was some sort of law in California, but maybe not. Anyways, to make a long story even longer, since I did not have that information, it was up to me to use the brain God gave me to make my choices based on my own current knowledge of healthy eating. So, in turn, I then looked over the menu.

Marie does offer a "lighter bites" menu option, but they only give you a choice of 3 entrees under that category. They also have a variety of petite salads to choose from, but surprisingly, salads, depending on the one you choose, can be pretty high in fat, carbs or calories, so, again, nutritional information would have been helpful at this point. Continuing on, the lighter bites mealplan includes:

  • Fresh grilled Atlantic Salmon
  • Roasted Turkey with Tomato Basil, and
  • Grilled lemon chicken with broccoli

Each of the above is served with a house salad with low-cal vinaigrette dressing. They also all include vegetables, but no potatoes, rice or bread. These all sounded like great choices to me. Salmon, chicken and fish are lower in calories than red mean, just remember, NO SKIN! (I know, that is the best part!) Veggies are very low in calories, virtually calorie free and having no bread etc, means no carbs, so this is a great start, but I still have no idea of how many calories etc. that I am putting into my body. Anyways, my choice for the night was the salmon. It arrived with a plate full of broccoli and tomatoes and a pretty hefty serving of fish. I only ate half of the salmon, and took the rest home for later, as it appeared to be two servings and since I am trying to lose, who needs the extra calories. It is always a good idea to make it a habit to always take home half of what you ordered and eat it the next day. Portion sizes in most restaurants are humongous, and that is probably why we, as Americans tend to lean towards the hefty side at times!

In conclusion, this restaurant serves good food, but I would like to see them incorporate nutritional information in their menu. If I were rating restaurants on a scale of 1-10, the lowest being the least appealing to the health conscious dieter and the highest being the most, I would probably give it a high 5! Stay tuned for next weeks chapter of Eating Out and Dieting, Part 2. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas if I don't post till then.

In the meantime, I have just written a dark and grisly tale on hubpages about the dark side of medicine. Check it out here:

The Dark Side of Medicine: Doctors and Nurses Who Kill

December 16, 2007

Foster Your Creative Side: A Cure For Depression?

Are you more analytical or perhaps more creative? Are you good in math, but weak in organizational skills? Are you also confused yet? If so, then rest assured that much information can be found on studies that help to determine actually which side of your brain is most dominant. Why is this important? Because amazingly, research has determined that each side of the brain controls different "modes" of thinking and most of us prefer one side to the other! Want to find out which side of your brain dominates the other? Take the hemisphere dominance test now! Understanding whether you are a "right brained" person or a "left brained" person, in this author's opinion, can tell you a lot about yourself and give you much needed insight into your personality.

According to Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsycholgy and Behavioral Neurology, "Researchers have uncovered evidence that illnesses, such as depression, are associated with one half of the brain and that by activating the brain's healthier other half, a person's condition may improve" (March 2002). Therefore, it may be safe to say, accordingly, that when creative individuals activate the right side of the brain, or their "creative" side by indulging in creative experiences, their depression lessons! At least this has been part of my life experience!

I have been contemplating this concept for some time now, and thinking about how it has applied in my own life. As as I mentioned in an earlier post, I suffer from chronic depression. In the last few weeks, however, my depressive symptoms have been somewhat alleviated because I have embarked on a mission to re-release my creative side, or my "right brain" so to speak. I have always been very creative. For years, I played piano, guitar and as a child, accordion. I was also very involved in theatre and dance and have written poetry since I was a wee tot! Hence, I am classically "right brained". For a significant period of time, however, I stopped doing all these things that literally made me feel ALIVE! Consequently, in my opinion, I became increasingly more and more depressed almost to the point of not wanting to live! It was only when I started to get my creative juices flowing again that I truly felt that my depression was starting to lift. I have been amazed ever since!

The point of this post is as follows...If you are an individual that suffers from chronic depression, perhaps you are right brained as well? I invite you to challenge my theory and see if fostering your creative side will help you with your depression. Can you draw or paint? How about gardening or creative writing? What about trying out for a play or singing in your church choir? Anything that nurtures that creative spirit inside you will serve the purpose. Try it for 30 days and see if you feel better! What have you got to lose, except those nasty, debilitating symtoms of depression!

For more interesting articles related to depression and other interesting topics, please visit my
hubpages! I would love to hear your comments about this post? I will revisit again when I do further research on the topic. In the mean time, let your creativity flow!

December 15, 2007

Depression: Are Carbs Making Us Sad?

I am 100% addicted to carbs! I crave
them mercilessly. I dream about them at night! Like a dog with a bone, I salivate just thinking about them! Like many Americans today, however, I also suffer from dreaded. chronic depression. Now wait a minute, before hitting the back button, amazingly, there is hope while we strive to answer the question of the hour? Are chronic depression and carbohydrate consumption related and are carbs actually poisoning out bodies literally making us sad? This theory may not be new in conception, however, I am becoming increasingly more aware of just how significant the concept is, given our hectic, junk-food-junkie lifestyles.

According to, "Depression isn't just sadness or joylessness. It is a lack of physical, emotional and psychic energy that combines with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, and then literally sprinkled with self hatred." If this definition were in the dictionary, you would probably find my picture right next to it as this totally defines how I have felt for many, many years. It was not until recently, however, that I started to actually associate my depression with my carbohydrate intake.

Think about how you feel when you load yourself with carbs? A sudden burst of energy followed by an inevitable "crash", right? This "
crash" ultimately leaves you feeling even more sluggish than you were before you indulged yourself! Physiologically, carbohydrate metabolism can be simplistically explained as follows:

  • Carbohydrates metabolize into sugar. When you eat a meal loaded with carbs, this causes a sudden significant increase in the sugar in your blood, or blood glucose.

  • In response to this "sugar overload" your amazing body produces insulin. In this case, an "overproduction" of insulin which in turn, leads to a dramatic drop in blood glucose levels, which leads to the symptoms of a "sugar crash".

In turn, think about doing this over and over to yourself, for year and years at at time? You can imagine the impact this can have on your body and the toll it must be taking. I believe that this endless cycle of carb binging and carb crashing is strongly associated with chronic depression. In the years that I have been plagued by this disorder, there have been periods of time, usually very brief, where I have made myself "carb free" and felt an amazing lightness of being, almost transforming myself in just a few short days! But these times do not last for very long, as the stress of my life and my job, (yes, I know, these are excuses), once again initiate the cycle and here we go exploding into another carb binging nightmare all over again....and again, and again!

So, you ask, what can we do about it? I have made numerous attempts to find a "quick cure" for my depression. From antidepressants, psychological therapy, 12 steps programs, colon hydrotherapy, gym memberships, etc., etc., etc. The bottom line is, in my humble opinion, the only way to stop the cycle, is to change our diet and to begin to cut out the carbs. I do not mean totally, however, as any healthy diet is not complete without a certain percentage of carbohydrates. What I mean is the excessive carb binging that causes the extra stress on your body that continues to perpetuate the depression.

But then, you ask, "what about my carb cravings?" I know for myself, that the intense cravings I get for carbs are overwhelming at times. Like a junkie seeking heroin, the urge to binge to satisfy my ever-incessant carb appetite can cause me to have an out of control urge that leads me into temptation, ultimately forcing me to feed my craving! The following is a list of things that I have found in my research to help curb the carb cravings and hopefully lead the way to a more productive lifestyle:

  • Protein---Increasing protein can actually help curb your carb cravings. The next time you feel inpired to binge on carbs, try indulging in a handful of delicious nuts and seeds.

  • Vegetables--Veggies are tasty, healthy and really low in carbs, but some are lower in carbohydrates than others. Better choices include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms and summer squash. Try a salad with all of the above with some low calorie dressing.

  • Flax Seed Oil--This is something completely new to me. Studies have found that Omega-3 Fats are of the highest nutritional value. Flax Seed oil has the highest content of Omega-3 fats and has been found to help reduce the craving for carbs! It can also help to create a feeling of satisfaction and fullness in our bodies. Additionally, it actually stabilizes insulin levels and lubricates our intestines while it increases the metabolic rate which promotes weight loss. It has also been found to reduce depression. Isn't that great! Have it right out of the bottle however, and don't mix it in with cooking as this decreases the benefit. Recommended dosage for adults is usually 1 Tbsp. daily or 3000 mg. capsules two times per day.

  • Water--Drinking 8, eight ounce glasses of water daily can help give you a feeling of fullness and aid with your mission of trying to decrease your carb cravings.

  • Low-carb food choices--Portion control and choices of carbs are very important in a successful carb-reducing endeavor. Try whole-grain bread instead of white, brown rice instead of white and whole fruits instead of fruit juice.

  • Exercise--As always, exercise is important to not only help reduce unbalanced cravings in your body, but to assist you with elevating natural serotonin levels in your brain to help alleviate depression.

  • Avoid alcohol--Alchohol is the absoulute worst thing that you can do if you are trying to curb carb cravings. Alcohol is pure sugar and not only impedes your self-control, causing you to ignore your noble mission to reduce carb intake, it also leads you down that same, familiar path of causing a surge in blood sugar leading to the "sugar crash", leading to worsening depression. The endless cycle, once again.

Don't think that you can do it? If all of the above seem overwhelming, start slow and work your way into making better choices. Pick one or two lifestyle changes that will work for you and just DO THEM! Stop making excuses and instead make changes! This will enable you to lead a healthier lifestyle in the long run and not commit suicide because of your carbohydrate induced depression. In the end, we always seem to make things more difficult than they really are, when it is really, quite simple. CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE, CHANGE YOUR MOOD!

December 12, 2007

Why Do Fatty Foods Taste So Good?

This evening, I went to Marie Calender's for dinner. I am trying to watch my calories, so I ordered from the light and healthy menu plan. I had Atlantic Salmon with vegies. The waitress brought me a salad initially, as an appetizer and while I was eating it, I thought to myself how bland it tasted. Then, she brought me the Atlantic Salmon and it looked divine. However, instead of my ever favorite tarter sauce, rich and loaded with calories, she brought me some sort of vinagerette to dip the fish in and when I did so, I thought, YUKKKK!!!!!! So, as the blogger I have become, I started right then and there to write about my experience. Why, oh why, does blue cheese dressing and regular, fat-filled tarter sauce taste so much better than vinagerette dressing? I vowed that when I arrived home, I would do a little research and here it goes. Some people think that those tastes that we crave are "fundamentally wired in" to us, at least that is according to Dr. Zata Vickers, a food scientist at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Vickers believes that we are acutally programmed to LEARN to like certain foods, ultimately the bad ones. Studies have shown that when we are born, we have inherent likes for certain tastes, such as sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (the latest "5th taste" found in meat and broth). We are programmed to like the high fat foods as they are the ones most loaded with high caloric value. Dr. Vickers believes this goes back in history to when we were hunter-gatherers and as a matter of survival needed to focus on the most calorie-rich foods. The problem with this concept, however, is that food, for most of us, is no longer a scarce commodity. Think about it. What do you crave more, donuts or or broccoli?. Dr. Vickers believes that much of this is psychological and that we are conditioned to crave certain foods actually since childhood. "If you go to a birthday party that is a lot of fun when you are a kid what do they have? They have candy or some cake," said Vickers. Studies have proven that our liking for foods increase when they are paired with fun. Think about why McDonald's calls their kids meal a "Happy Meal" and puts a toy in the box. Dr. Vickers also believes that there is something we do wrong at the dinner table with our kids. When trying to get kids to eat vegetables, parents often say, "if you eat your peas you can have dessert." Dr. Vickers believes that "if you want your kid to like peas that is not a good thing to do at all." She feels that when we use rewards for eating better, we tend to like those healthy foods even less and like the reward food even more. So, what is the moral to the story? I believe that if we are to change our eating habits, we need to reprogram our tastebuds along with associating non-fatty foods with FUN! So, the next time you have a dinner party at your house, try cooking FAT FREE. Or, the next party for your kids, consider learning how to reduce the fat content when baking a cake, by trying a low fat, low calorie cake, such as this Lemon Pudding Cake or Low Fat Chocolate Cake. I bet your kids won't even know the difference and it will be much healthier for them in the long run! Learn to indulge yourself with healthy foods, to savor every bite of what is actually good for you! In time, just a few short weeks, your tastebuds will rejoice in the flavors that you have taught them to love!

Hospital Acquired Infections On the Rise: What you Can Do to Help Prevent

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the ICU and I had a patient who was in isolation for MRSA of the blood. I was in the room with the patient, in my isolation gown with gloves on, etc, and the doctor came to evaluate the patient that particular night. He walked in the room, without gloves, without an isolation gown, was leaning against the patients bed and talking with the patient for about 10 minutes. I watched as he left the room, amazed, because as he walked out, he did NOT wash his hands or use the sterile hand sanitizer that is at the outside of every door. When I tried to speak to him about it, he became very defensive, and left the unit. Appalling, yes, but folks, it happens ALL THE TIME! This article is about Hospital Acquired Infections, and what you can do to help prevent them!

A Hospital Acquired Infection (HIA for the purpose of this article) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as:

  • an infection acquired in the hospital by a patient who was admitted for a reason other than that infection.

  • an infection occurring in a patient in a hospital or other health care facility that was not present or incubating at the time of admission. This includes infections acquired in the hospital but appearing after discharge and also occupational infections among staff of the facility.

HAI's occur throughout the world and impact both developed and resource-poor countries.

HIA's are one of the major causes of death and increased morbidity among patients admitted to the hospital. Additionally, they increase disability and emotional distress of patients and may lead to even more disabling conditions, which can impact quality of life. They increase the overall length of stay for patients, causing health care costs as a whole to rise exponentially. This is due to an increase in the use of drugs and the increased necessity for isolation equipment and further laboratory tests or other diagnostic studies.

Contributing factors to Hospital Acquired infections are the advanced age of patients admitted to the hospital, the greater prevalence of chronic disease among them and the ever-increasing use of invasive procedures that weaken the defenses of the patient.

It is also important to bear in mind that organisms acquired in the hospital can be transmitted throughout the community through discharged patients, visitors and staff. When these organisms are multi resistant, this can cause significant disease in the community, as well.


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the 4 most common HAI are

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) 32%

  • Surgical Wound Infections 22%

  • Pneumonia 15%

  • Bloodstream 14%

Each of these are associated with some sort of invasive procedure.

UTI's are associated with the use of foley catheters. This is a device that is put into the patients urethra to drain the bladder of urine. Many times, this is necessary, but hospitals tend to leave them in too long and do not change them often enough if the patient is admitted long-term. Recommended length of time before changing a foley catheter is about 3 weeks in most facilities. Sterile technique should always be used when inserting. If the catheter does not go in right the first time, a new catheter should be inserted, never inserting a device that has been contaminated by placing it in the wrong spot, and believe me, this does happen.

Surgical Wound Infections can occur in the operating room from improper surgical technique or at the bedside from not using aseptic technique during dressing changes or wound care. Surgical wound infections can also be related to extended pre-operative stay and improper skin preparation. It is always recommended that a patient shower preoperatively with an antimicrobial skin prep such as Hibbaclens to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin during surgery.

Pneumonia is often associated with the use of ventilators that assist the patient with breathing. Improper suctioning technique can be a contributing factor to HAI as is the length of time the patient spends on the ventilator. Keeping the patients head of bed upright at 30-45 degrees has also been shown to reduce infections.

Bloodstream infections can be caused by asterile techniques of IV catheters or central lines at the time of insertion. Peripheral IV catheters should be removed and sites changed according to the hospital policy, usually every 72 hours. Central Lines stay in much longer, but the dressing needs to be changed every week, and sterile technique should be used when changing the dressing, including wearing a mask. If it appears that an IV site or Central Line site is infected, it should immediately be removed and evaluated.

What Can You Do?

Obviously, you cannot be at the bedside of your loved one 24 hours a day. But there are some things while you are visiting the patient that you can do to prevent the spread of HAI.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER YOU TOUCH THE PATIENT. WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER YOU PUT GLOVES ON. I put this in capitol letters because HAND WASHING IS THE NUMBER ONE DEFENSE AGAINST INFECTION! Not only should you wash your own hands, but make sure all visitors and staff do so as well. This includes doctors and nurses. If you see a doctor or nurse not washing their hands, it is not improper to advise them to do so. If they refuse, tell the hospital manager. This is your loved one we are talking about and you must be their advocate.

  • Make sure you wear isolation equipment provided by the hospital. Make sure all visitors wear it as well as staff. If you see staff entering the room without it, kindly advise them to put it on. If they continue, then notify hospital management. When you remove the isolation equipment, WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN!

  • Become an advocate for shorter hospital stays for yourself and your loved ones. This means you may have to look into home health upon discharge, but longer hospital stays increase the chance of developing HAI therefore it is better that the patient recover at home.

  • Become an advocate of minimal use and early removal of invasive devices, ie. Foley Catheters, ventilators, central lines, etc.

  • Become an advocate for prudent use of antibiotics and antimicrobials. Make sure if the patient does go home on antibiotics that the ENTIRE dose is taken as directed, even if they feel better. Resistance to medication can occur if the course of antibiotics are not complete.

It is hopeful that these tips can help you shorten the stay of you or your loved one in the hospital and ultimately reduce the incidence of HAIs in the long run for your family and your community. For more information on HAI, please visit the WHO or the CDC.

Let the Spiders Crawl

You all may be wondering why I am writing this post. Well, this is a new site and I am trying to do everything I can to get RN Online out there and recognized by some loyal readers and some creepy crawly search engines. Hence, this post. I would appreciate you linking to this site and posting any comments you may have. Below is required by Technorati:
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December 11, 2007

Eating Oatmeal to Promote Weight Loss

Recently, before I went on my diet plan that I mentioned below, I was working in the ICU, and a co-worker and I were talking about dieting and weight loss. I was telling her that I felt rather bloated lately and that someone even asked me if I was pregnant! NOT A GOOD QUESTION TO ASK SOMEONE, FOLKS, BY THE WAY! Anyways, she started encouraging me to eat oatmeal to promote better overall health and, I did. And now I want to share the benefits with you. Oatmeal is actually a really delicious way to help you lose weight. Research has proven that people who eat oatmeal with moderate exercise LOSE WEIGHT. Here are some added benefits of eating oatmeal daily:

  1. Oatmeal is high in protein, about 7 grams per serving. Research has proven that protein helps to give you a feeling of fullness and also promotes lean muscle mass.
  2. Oatmeal is high in fiber about 6 grams per serving. Fiber is important in maintaining regularity and also promotes weight loss. Fiber also gives you a feeling of fullness and satisfaction so you tend to eat less.
  3. Oatmeal is an excellent source of whole grain. For overall health, you should have at least three servings of whole grains per day. Research has shown that those who eat a diet rich in whole grains tend to weigh less.

So, I have to say, I have been eating oatmeal now for breakfast every morning. I tend to like the flavored packets, they are quick, easy and taste great. I must say that I do feel more regular and less bloated since I have been doing this and it feels great! For more information about weight control, weight management tips and oatmeal, visit

Lose Belly Fat and Get 6-pack Abs

Let's face it, belly fat is so unattractive. The fact of the matter is, a high waist circumference is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and Cardiovascular Disease. Improve your overall health by reducing your waist size and losing that nasty belly fat. If you want a tight, sexy stomach like the one seen here, then you should click below to find out the truth about how to get 6-pack abs. This is the number one abs program on the internet today. Lose that ugly belly fat by Clicking Here!

Lifestyle Modifications that Can Prevent Disease

Most of us do not make changes in our lives unless something prompts us to do so, perhaps an unexpected illness, accident or emotional upset. Let's face it, we do NOT like to change. We are comfortable where we are at! Right! Being a nurse and working in the ICU, I frequently encounter people when it is too late. For these individuals, disease process has set in and for many of them, lifestyle changes at this point are ineffective. As a nurse, I am also an educator. No matter how sick the individual is, they do not leave my ICU without education. Most of the time, it is on lifestyle modifications necessary to keep them from coming back to the hosptial. Ultimately, they must change their ways. Their old behavior is what brought them to the hospital in the first place: ie; smoking, drinking, overeating, sedentary lifestyle, you name it, they have done it and that is why they are flat on their backs having nurses clean them, turn them, suction them, whatever! The bottom line is, if they were able to make one or two small changes in their daily lives, it could dramatically improve their overall health and ultimately help to prevent future hospitalizations. So, with that said, let's review some lifestyle modifications that you can make to improve your health and prevent disease so that I don't have to see you in my ICU!

  1. Stop drinking.....if you drink too much, either stop or cut down. Alcohol contributes to a long list of illnesses, including cirrhosis of the liver, esophageal varices, GI bleeding, ulcers, pancreatitis, depression, obesity, and the list goes on and on.
  2. Stop smoking.....if you smoke, either stop or cut down. Smoking is another huge risk factor for many illnesses, including heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, emphysema, COPD, and yes, guys, I hate to tell you this, but IMPOTENCE. Stop smoking people, it smells bad and makes you really sick!
  3. Increase your physical activity.....If you live a sedentary life, you need to GET MOVING NOW. Inactivity contributes to obesity which is a risk factor for disease, such as heart attack and stroke and diabetes. Inactivity makes you depressed and feel really bad about yourself. If you don't have time to exercise, then increase your steps or daily movements. You can do this in many different ways. Why not park in a spot farthest from the entrance to where you are going, and not waiting for the closest parking spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of sitting on the couch after work and watching TV, sit on the floor and watch TV while doing Yoga, or stretching. MOVE IT OR LOSE IT IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU FOLKS!
  4. Once again, drink plenty of water. Take a bottle of water with you EVERYWHERE YOU GO, unless of course it is contraindicated. Water hydrates and flushes the body of all the junk we put into it. Water is a natural diuretic. Water increases your metabolism. Drink 8 eight ounce glasses per day for optimal health.
  5. Eat a well balanced diet.....I am not saying go on a diet. I am saying if you drink soda, cut it out. Drink water instead. If you eat potato chips in front of the tube after work, try popcorn, unbuttered instead. If you eat 5 slices of pizza on pizza night, cut it down to 2. Include a combo of 5 fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Don't binge eat. Eating 6 small meals a day increases your metabolism and actually helps you lose weight. Don't skip meals. Always eat breakfast. If you simply modify your diet, instead of going on one, you will be more apt to stick to your lifestyle changes and see better results in the long run.
  6. Meditate daily.....take time for the emotional you! Take time to breathe, to enjoy the sunshine, each and every day. Even if it is only for 5 minutes, sit down, do some deep breathing exercises, stretch and just think about how grateful you are for being alive, for all of your blessings. DESTRESS yourself to a better you. For more tips on how to meditate Click Here!

Now, I guarantee you, if you follow the simple steps above to lifestyle modifications, you will change your life and I will not be seeing you in my ICU!

December 10, 2007

Fast Diet Weight Loss Plan to get you slim for the Holidays

If you are like me, you need to go on a diet before Christmas, just so you can fit into that slinky little holiday number you bought before you gained a few extra pounds! If you are interested in a quick, easy weight loss program then you need to try this one. With this simple program, you can lose 9 lbs every 11 days. This is no joke! I tried it and it works, and it is still working, and I plan to be in my skinny clothes by Christmas day. I have already dropped a dress size in the first 11 days! With this plan, gone are the low carb, low calorie, low fat diets. They just don't work. Instead, you will focus on fat loss and this diet teaches you just how to do that! Get slim for Christmas. Have more energy, be excited about life again when you see the new you emerge in just 11 days with this great, simple weight loss program.
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Avoid Overeating for the Holidays

Well, folks, the holidays are approaching and we are all looking forward to the tasty delights that await us during those special holiday dinners. Maybe a delicious, savory honey glazed ham, sliced to perfection paired with golden, Gulliver Cream Style Corn and Sweet Potato Casserole will adorn your holiday table. Or perhaps you prefer a tryptophan loaded, Golden Brown Turkey filled with Roasted Chestnut Stuffing and tangy Orange Cranberry Sauce on the side. Whatever your pleasure may be, most of us ultimately overeat during the holiday season and end up gaining a few extra, unwanted pounds. To avoid having to commit to yet another weight loss program for the New Year, try these simple tips that will help you make better choices in the long run and avoid overeating for the holidays.

  1. Whatever you do, don't starve yourself all day before attending your holiday dinner parties. This is a holiday no-no which will definitely cause you to overeat at the holiday mealtime. Make sure to eat a healthy, well balanced breakfast and lunch prior to attending any holiday party.
  2. Drink plenty of H2O, (water that is folks). In fact, drink a full glass of water before sitting down to the holiday dinner. Drinking water gives you a feeling of fullness and also ultimately increases your metabolic rate. This will help you burn those extra holiday calories. It is recommended that you follow the 8x8 rule, meaning drink 8, eight ounce glasses of water per day.
  3. Eat an apple before you sit down to your holiday meal. Studies have found that those who eat an apple before a meal consumed 187 fewer calories in comparison to those who don't. Eating an apple before your meal will also give you a feeling of fullness, which will help you to avoid overeating.
  4. Exercise, exercise, exercise. Plain and simple, your weight is determined by how many calories you consume minus how many calories you burn. So, if you consume more calories, as is often the case during the holiday season, then simply exercise more to balance out the excessive caloric intake. Adding an additional 15 to 30 minutes to your exercise regime will not only help you avoid excess holiday pounds, but it will cause you to be more conscious about what you are putting into your body during the holiday season. We cannot say enough about exercise!
  5. Take along healthy snacks to your holiday affairs. Yogurt, nuts, fruit, protein bars, whatever your favorite healthy snack may be, having a snack before the big, sit down can help you avoid extra or excessive portions.
  6. Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol erodes your committment to portion control and making careful food choices. Alcohol adds calories to an already calorie-overloaded holiday dinner. If you must have a drink, then limit yourself to 1 and you will thank yourself in the long run. Remember, it is unsafe to drink and drive and it is also unsafe to drink and diet!

We all want to enjoy the holidays without the additional stress of worrying about gaining weight. RN Online hopes the above information will keep the holiday pounds off, and the holiday smiles abundant!

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