Tag Archives: Health

A Pretzel Story

2 Feb
Typical brands of Potato Chips at a superstore.

Image via Wikipedia

So I’m sitting here, typing and munching on organic pretzel sticks. Not because I wouldn’t rather be enjoying a slice of pizza, but because my body isn’t as forgiving as it used to be, say when I was like 17. Sure potato chips would probably even taste better, but years ago after gaining a considerable amount of weight, I took the responsibility of educating myself on what I was putting into my body.

I approach diet as I would philosophy or any other course for that matter. I have intellectualized it. And although I do still indulge in foods that I like and do still get much pleasure from eating, I realize that what most American’s are probably missing is the educational part of diet. If you just listen in on a conversation about food and you hear someone rationalizing the low-fat cookies they bought so they could eat more or even the 100% fruit juice that they can’t live without because it’s healthy, you’d realize that people are misguided and misinformed about the food they eat.

Primarily I don’t think it’s the what, it’s the how much. However, they are related because if you eat the wrong things, you’ll be hungrier faster and subsequently need more. Now I’m not going to go into my tirade of diet and nutrition (yet) but here’s my advice. Make wise choices with food. Yes, you can still enjoy it, but read the labels and school yourself on what they mean. If a serving is 10 chips and you eat the whole bag, you ate more than a serving. Doesn’t seem like a big deal until you add up all the extra servings of everything you consumed all day. It only takes 3500 calories to make a pound! And only a few extra pounds before a new dimple or roll appears and your clothes don’t fit!

For the Love of Spirulina: Tales of a Junkie

24 Aug

Image by bradley j via Flickr

I never thought that I’d be so reliant on vitamins/minerals and the like but as I sit here alternating between green and white fragments of the building blocks of my body betwixt sips that would equal 24 ounces of water, I must admit that I have become quite addicted to the little suckers.

Yes, I am a vitamin junkie.

Now my statement is made in jest, but when I don’t take them, I do feel the difference and I swear by them, as they have cured certain feminine ailments and are the base for most of my beauty regime (along with sleep) which have resurrected my hair skin and nails from the dead on several occasions. There is a science to it though and my addiction is firmly based in research in books while using myself as a guinea pig. And I do not, I repeat DO NOT use them in place of nutrients I can get from actual food…

The funny thing is that when I was little I rarely took anything consistently, not even Flinstone vitamins, and as I aged I was too focused on other things to make anything part of my daily regime outside of studying. But with age comes responsibility or in my case the recognition that my body is not as resilient as it used to be, or perhaps I am doing a bit more damage to it than I used to? On second thought, I really doubt that so I’ll definitely let age have this one. I have found though in some way that vitamins give me peace of mind, the reassurance that there really is a solution for my stress, decrease in energy, or excessive hair shedding that does not involve me visiting another health care professional who would “fix” my problem by prescribing me some “wonder drug” that I would come with a barrage of side effects. I never would have thought I’d be the lady that totes around a pill-box and randomly pops pills throughout the day, but while everyone else is busy searching for the fountain of youth, guess what? I think I may have found it :-)!

In Love with a Greek…

9 Aug

So I tend to err on the side of heavy/cynical in my posts, but here is a light one for you, but on a topic very close to my heart.

Healthy Living…yeah I’m sure you’re already thinking, here we go again but this isn’t a push for a fad diet or exercise craze of any kind. Just a few helpful hints for all those that are looking for the secret…

Over the past few weeks (well since I turned 32 actually), I have been having an affair… on my YOGURT! I was a loyal Yoplait eater pretty much all of my life, rarely even branching out into other flavors, let alone brands. But I had been reading about the greek yogurt craze and decided to give it a whirl (I mean, I will try almost anything once). And I fell in love. My standard Peach Harvest Yoplait has been replaced by Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt. The immediate benefits: it’s not too sweet and more filling. But it also has tons of protein and healthy bacteria that your body needs. It’s a great way to get more of what you need and less of what you don’t in a healthy way.

Here are some other strategies, which (along with exercise) I’ve implemented that helped me lose (the 20+) pounds in 2005 which I have virtually kept off since. And yes, I do eat, regularly, and good stuff too! 🙂

  1. Always eat breakfast
  2. Become a snacker (eat often, never let yourself get hungry)
  3. Don’t keep temptations in the house, reserve them for special treats you actually have to go and get (i.e. soda, ice cream etc. )
  4. Eat what you like, but in moderation (I still eat pizza).
  5. Educate yourself about what you are consuming (what is an actual serving size and what’s in it)
  6. Drink lots of water and get lots of sleep (you’d be surprised what your body can do on its own)
  7. Fiber is key (it helps you feel full, find it in hidden treats like waffles and fruit bars)
  8. Water down all sugary drinks-juice included (people make fun of me, but after a while you can’t tell)
  9. Start with a small portion, then go back for seconds.
  10. Carbs are your friend, if you choose the right ones.

Good luck and happy health journey! Any specific questions, feel free to post.

When Self-Help Isn’t Enough

27 Jun
List of psychiatric medications by condition t...

Image via Wikipedia

“I’m actively in therapy for the things that I haven’t gotten closure [on],” says [Tyrese] Gibson. I’m living the life of my dreams, but there’s still some stuff going on in me that nobody in my life could help me get closure [on]. So I’m getting help.” (Ebony Magazine July 2011 issue)

I’ve been there (a few times). In 2007 I was transitioning out of working in corporate America. It was extremely challenging to adjust to my “new lifestyle” and no one around me seemed to get what was going on with me. I didn’t like being in that place but I couldn’t seem to pull myself up off of the couch and shake it off. In struggling with all that I was dealing with, I started to isolate myself in hopes that I could figure some things out, but I had to face the reality that I couldn’t handle these feelings by myself. That was the second time I decided to seek professional help through talk therapy.

As a psychology major in college I had developed a profound level of respect for the field and believed that sometimes professional help was what everyone needed. Sometimes all the self-help books, pep talks with girlfriends and your mama along with hours of prayer, are just not enough. Because I understand what therapy is and how it helps, I have never been ashamed to admit that I am not only an advocate but a participant. However I had to accept that there is a stigma associated with Psychotherapy (especially in the Black community). The challenge though is that emotional trauma along with mental disorders are very real issues that deserve not only attention, but treatment. These issues can range from substance abuse to unresolved parental issues, feelings of abandonment, stress, depression, and ADHD among others.

Here are the facts according to the Center for Disease Control

  • 1 in 2 Americans has a diagnosable mental disorder each year.
  • 80-90% of mental disorders are treatable
  • African-Americans are more likely to experience a mental disorder but less likely to seek treatment (than their white counterparts) and one of the primary reasons is… stigma

In order to live your best life, you cannot afford to carry around emotional baggage. Every time we choose to judge an individual who is getting help or dismiss someone as crazy instead of encouraging them to get help, we are responsible for reinforcing the stigma. I challenge everyone to take stock of your life and urge you to address the issues that may be creating mental and emotional damage. Even if it seems small, anything that is inhibiting you from being the best person you can be, deserves to be addressed. You are worth it!

Tyrese said it best, “A real man [or woman] won’t carry pain. A real man faces and deals with it. I wish somebody would say something to me. ‘Hey, man, you seeing a shrink?’ Absolutely, Jack.’ ”


Sweat it Out

3 Oct
Woman in a rowing boat

Image by National Media Museum via Flickr

As a black woman, how many times have I heard that the reason why black woman don’t exercise is because they don’t want to sweat their hair out. First of all, to all that believe that statement, shame on you for falling victim to the ever-present stereotype. For those women who actually choose to sacrifice health and a fly body for your hair, do you know how ridiculous that is!?

Hair is a superficial thing that we have given entirely too much influence over our lives. Yes, it is a crown. But only such. And shouldn’t keep you from protecting that which actually gives you life (your heart), or the sensation of adoration that you feel for your hair (your brain). Exercise is essential to the health of your overall body which includes the hair. We all want to look good, but having a fly hair style and a fat ass (not in a good way) or better yet, high blood pressure is projecting a false reality that you are actually fly. Being fly, hot, or whatever term you use to describe your flawless style is all-encompassing and should be a reflection of what you are inside as well as what you are on the outside.

Ladies: IT’S JUST HAIR! I would rather a world of beautiful healthy people and let’s face it, if you drop dead due to health issues associated with inactivity, no one will appreciate your hair anyway! So, lets work to erase that notion and sweat it out.