Archive for June, 2011

What is botulism?

If you are like me there must be some food that you really like that comes in a can. Perhaps, I am alone on this one, but I love canned tuna and canned hash. Even though these two foods are my favorites, I am becoming more leary of eating foods that come in cans because of the “b” word…..botulism.

According to the CDC (2011) “botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum” (p.1). There are five types of botulism, but my focus is on the foodborne one (CDC, 2011). In the United States, foodborne botulism is responsible for 15% of the botulism cases and these cases are caused by home canned foods (CDC, 2011). Symptoms of botulism poisoning include: double vision, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness (CDC, 2011). If the disease is left untreated it can result in paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk (CDC, 2011).

I know that there are many things in life that I must concern myself with, but I am finding that one of the most important things to improve upon is my daily diet. I am truly starting to believe that most diseases can be avoided if I watch what I eat, be mindful of how the food was packaged, and try to buy and eat only organic fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Feel free to leave a comment.

Reference:

Centers for Disease Control (2011). Botulism. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/

iStudy

I had a very intense Spring quarter. I must admit that the work in my class was very challenging, but I endured until the end. I emerged from this class with more confidence as I earned an “A” in this doctoral level class. Yay!!!

I would like to congratulate all of the 2011 graduates and their families. I would also like to congratulate every student who is moving to another academic grade or school year.

Enjoy your summer but don’t forget to keep your mind sharp by reading and studying any material that you enjoy.

My Exercise Vest #2

Great news!

I have noticed a significant loss of inches in my waist from wearing my new exercise vest. I am up to wearing about ten (10) additional pounds on my weighted vest when I walk. I bet you are wondering, “Does it hurt?” It does not hurt but it is a little uncomfortable. Once I am in stride, I do not notice the excess weight but wearing the jacket causes me to sweat profusely. I am grateful for my weighted vest and I hope that it continues to yield impressive results.

Please leave a comment if you would like to discuss the weighted vest or if you have an experience (good or bad) with a weighted vest.

Bullying & The Three Little Pigs

Dear Young Ladies and Young Gentleman:

I sincerely hope that you all had a great school year. I hope that you have great plans for the summer that allow you to have fun and to also reach your personal academic or creative goals. Remember, you have to have balance (smile)!

Bullying has become a very popular topic among school-aged children and teenagers. The act of bullying someone verbally or physically is NOT a new issue. When I was kid, I witnessed bullying and when I moved to a new town in the South from California, I experienced the bullying first hand. When I witnessed bullying, I always tried to help the kid who was being bullied by telling him how to AVOID being bullied. When I was targeted by bullies, I remembered the lessons that I had once learned. First off, bullies are NOT strong, they are weak. Bullies become bullies because they feel insecure or they have been hurt by someone or something, so they have learned to take their anger out on others in order to feel powerful and to gain attention and acceptance from peers. Secondly, kids who are bullied are usually targeted because they are quiet, smart, look different, or they act differently from their peers. In essence, the bully believes that his target is WEAK in some way. Having made these distinctions, I bet you are wondering how to avoid being bullied, right? In order to avoid being bullied, you must BE CONFIDENT. When I was a kid my Dad taught me not to show fear in front of animals who were trying to attack me because if they sensed my fear, they would attack. He was right! I learned how to NOT show fear to threatening animals and to bullies. Lol!

In the story of the three little pigs, the three little pigs grew up and it was time for them to live on their own. Their mother gave them this advice, “Whatever you do, do it the best because that’s the way to get along in the world.” The little pigs each built their own homes. As you know, the first little pig built his house of straw because it was the easiest to build and he was eaten by the wolf. The second little pig built his house out of sticks, but the wolf ate him too. Lastly, the pig who built his house out of bricks was not only able to protect himself but he was able to destroy the wolf entirely. In this story, each time the wolf arrived at a pig’s house he said these words, “Let me in! Let me in little pig or I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down.” Like the bad wolf in this story, bullies are looking for weaknesses or vulnerabilities. If you are short they will make fun of that. If you are larger than other kids, they may make fun of that. Bullies will be bullies, but you have a choice about how your handle them. If you remain CONFIDENT a bully will usually back down, however there are instances where bullies are threatening with weapons and in that case you should alert teachers, principals, parents, and police in order to stop this person. In short, the pig who built the brick house was prepared for his bully, the wolf.

The wolf COULD NOT bully the pig that lived in the brick house because the pig was PREPARED and he (the pig) was determined to DEFEND himself.

Tips that may prevent bullying:

1) Never show that you are too shy or that you are uncomfortable in your body or your environment.
2) Never become emotional in front of a bully. If a bully says, “You are ugly!” You can say something like, “No, I am not ugly, but I sure wish you would stop acting like you think I look.” The bully will be stunned and probably not bother you again, but if he tries keep being strong.
3) Make eye contact with confidence and let the bully know that you are not afraid and that you will not allow yourself to be mistreated. He/she (bully) may not listen but he will start to think twice about bothering you.
4) Always hold your head up high to show that you have good self-esteem and that you love and care about yourself. Bullies may be less likely to bother you if you appear to be strong-willed.
5) If you need help improving your confidence, perhaps you should join a sport, learn a skill, or take a self-defense class in order to build your self-esteem.

Please leave a comment if you would like to discuss this topic further. Also, feel free to read the reference links below for more information on the topic of bullying.

References:

Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence (2011). Bullying resources. Retrieved from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health http://www.jhsph.edu/preventyouthviolence/resources/programs/bullying.html.

Ricks-Bricks (2011). The three little pigs. Retrieved from http://www.shol.com/agita/pigs.htm.

Congratulations Graduates and Students!

Celebration Balloons

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Dear Young Ladies and Gentleman:

I just want to tell you that I am very proud of your accomplishments this year. You have finished another year of your educational endeavors and you should be proud of yourself. You went to school everyday and gave it your best effort, you were respectful to teachers and fellow students, and you did this despite any obstacles you may have faced (i.e. not wanting to get out of bed, being late, being sick, or being affected by family problems). You are awesome!

For those student who have graduated, I am especially proud of you all. By graduating, you are moving closer to your personal goals. Continue to make goals for yourself and work hard to achieve those goals. Do not become fearful if there are delays along your journey, just trust that you will continue to “win.”

As you all embrace the joys of summer, please remember to continue to read at least a 100 page or more book per month and continue to practice your math, science, and foreign language skills. Try to spend at least two hours a day on your studies so that you will be well prepared when school begins again in the fall.

I love you all and I wish you the absolute best that life has to offer!!!

“Like”, “Love”, or “In-Love”

All I can say is “wow!” I have been spending time with a few guys lately and all I can is, “It’s a jungle out there!” The idea of dating is a joke because MOST men think that dating means that I am willing to have sex with them and that is NOT the case. I don’t have sex outside of marriage but I am noticing that MOST men, or at least the ones that I have met, keep trying to push the envelope on that issue. Ok, let me calm down, cause this topic really gets me UPSET. Anyway, I felt the need to speak out about an issue that has been plaguing me when it comes to men. Please understand that I am simply speaking for myself in this matter and NOT all women. In my time of “old school dating (meeting or having dinner with a man)”, I have noticed that the men that I have dated do not listen, value, or care about the opinions or feelings of me as woman. I also feel like they really don’t value any women at all but they think that they have just enough game to change my mind about my personally beliefs and feelings about life, love, sex, etc. In speaking for myself, I must first say, that I HATE it when other people try to speak or think for me. I can do both of those things quite well for myself. Secondly, I am an adult woman, not a child, this means that I am capable of making my own decisions. With that being said, when I say that I “like” a guy I know what that means and I mean it. When I say that I “love” a guy, I mean that too. When I say that I am “in love” with a guy, I would mean that too, although I have never said these words yet. The men that I have spent time with continuously try to tell me what I think and how I feel. How insane is that?! How I feel and what I think are ideas that must come through me. Maybe children or people with low self-esteem would fall for such silly shenanigans….but I really wish that men would stop playing this game. It’s dumb!!!

When I say, “I like you” to a guy I simply mean that I am interested in getting to know him. I am also saying that there is something about him that interest me enough to want to take the time to know him better. It’s also important to note that I abhor wasting my time, so being liked is a good thing for a man in my world. Being “liked” however is just my first stage of interest. After I have shared with a guy that I like him it is up to him, in my world, to take the next step as a man if there is going to be a next step. If a man never makes the next step, then I totally understand and I do not do anything to change his mind.

When I say that I “love” a guy, I simply mean that I love him. The Greek language has several tenses of the word “love”. When I say that I love a guy I am using the phileo type of love. This kind of love means that I have fond feelings of him and that I think he is a great man. I must admit that I love all of the men that I have attempted to date, but I have not been “in love” with any of them.

Now, here is the big kahuna for me. I have never been “in love” with a man; therefore I have never used these words. In the Greek language the words used for being in love are ” eros” and “agape” . These two love types mean that the love feelings expressed are romantic and long-lasting types of love. Anyway, I make this distinction because I would like to make it clear that I am not confused about how I feel as a woman. I know when I am in love and I also know when I am NOT in love……and to date I have NEVER been in love. For me, the guy has to DO a lot of things to make me fall in love with him. First he would need to love and serve God, be honest (integrous), be respectful to himself, to me, and to others, be loving to himself and to me, be self-motivated, successful, kind, decisive but not rude, and consistent in our relationship. I am a woman that would never fall in love with empty words. If I ever fall in love, it will be with a man who loves God, seems to keep his word, works hard, and who seems to be honest. I understand that one can never really “know” someone but we can know them based on what they say and do at a particular time. I just had to say this as some men think that it is ok to be inconsistent and inconsiderate in a relationship with me but somehow that I will fall in love with them anyway. This will NOT happen!!! Love happens for me in my head first and if a man and a relationship do not make sense to my intellect, then neither he nor the relationship, will ever make it to my heart.

I know this is deep, but I had to say it, just food for thought. Please leave a comment if you would also like to share an experience.

“I know where my shampoo comes from, do you?”

The other day one of my sister’s and I were having a conversation. One of my older sister’s is a hair care vendor. She is awesome at her job and she has taught me a whole bunch. I am a public health professional and I am always looking for ways to improve my health and the health of others. My sister told me about the best hair care products to use. We went back and forth about which products were the best and why. She gave a few samples to me and I loved the products. Some of the shampoos and conditioners were made with fish eggs and my hair really loved it. Another shampoo was filled with shea butter and other oils which kept my hair from drying out.

During the conversation with my sister, we both agreed that we must be careful of the types of shampoos and conditioners that we put on our heads.

We realized, “What goes on your head, goes into your head!”

After this discussion, I decided to look at the shampoo that I had purchased from the store. I was saddened to find out that my favorite shampoo is now being made in Mexico. As a public health professional, I have learned that many other countries do not have the strict rules that our country has in terms of items that can be safely sold to consumers. I looked in the ingredients of my favorite shampoo and realized that the product is made is Mexico and that the product has water in it. Get it? The water in the product was from Mexico! Wow! I was about to put that product on my head and it would have seeped into my brain. I began to ask myself, does Mexico, have the same rules that we have when it comes to safe drinking and washing water. I am not sure……but I doubt it. This new discovery has caused me to buy shampoos that are made in America and that cost a little more than the shampoos that can be purchased at Target or Walmart. I know that times are tough, but we must stay healthy by using products that we know were made in safer (Western) environments.

I understand that many American companies and companies that sell to Americans have moved their operations to Mexico, China, and India in order to save money. As a consumer, I feel that I have to protect myself by buying products that were made in the U.S. or other countries that have advanced public health and safety systems. Also, it is important that the products were not tested on animals. Yes, I realize that nothing is perfect, but at least I will do my best to purchase the safest items and not just the cheapest ones. I would rather spend a few extra cents on quality than to spend a lifetime buying prescriptions or paying for medical costs.

Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

My Two Favorite Cooking Oils

Six years ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was very aware of the fact that high blood pressure can lead to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and eventually premature death. I was way too young for a such a terrible diagnosis, so I took some time to examine what I was eating as I was under an immense amount of stress, but I was not able to control that part of my life at the time. I checked my cabinets and realized that I was eating too many foods fried in canola and vegetable oil. In my opinion, those oils do not pass through human veins very well. Clogged arteries lead to high blood pressure and I was living proof. At that time, I made several changes. I began to drink over one gallon of water per day, I exercised, and I received acupuncture treatments in order to remove any blockages that may have built up. In less than two years, I was off of the blood pressure medicine that my doctor subscribed.

Today, I use extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil to cook my foods. When I go to the doctor for check-ups, I am given a clean bill of health and I haven’t had high blood pressure in at least three years. I love both of these oils because they have multiple uses. I also use the extra virgin olive oil in my hair and it really makes my hair grow. The extra virgin coconut oil can be used as a body mosturizer and in the hair. I love these products!!!

Feel free to leave a comment.

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