Goals: Getting My Life In 2017

goals

I’ve heard this a time or two and you probably have too.  I’m actually a planner, a darn good one at that.  I’ll plan the crap out of an event.  Vacation, party, budget, schedule…… You name it and honey I’ve got a plan. What I am not, is a New Year’s resolutions maker.  Some of us assume we’ll magically transform into a new person on January 1st.  As if at the stoke of midnight, your fairy god mother will strike you with her magic wand and say, “wallah.”  It takes a catapillar two weeks to transform into a butterfly.  But let’s be real here; two weeks into the New Year and we’re already back to the same ole shenanigans from the prior year.

“So what makes this year different for me?”, you ask.  I’m using my natural ability to plan and applying it to my 2017 goals.  Normally, I’m a very private person, so announcing my goals to the world is quite difficult for me.  Although I enjoy writing my blog, I still find it hard to put my inner most feelings and weaknesses on public display.  But writing them on the blog for the world to see makes me accountable which will increase my chances of actually hitting my goals.  

Let’s get started.  With my big girl panties on, I sit here listening to “Retrograde” by James Blake on repeat, here we go.  

2017 Goals

My first and most important goal is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I’m Christian and God is important to me.  This year I’m making it a point to put God first in everything I do.  The past few years I’ve been distracted and haven’t spent as much time with God like I should’ve.  This has to change.  This year, I’m following a daily devotional.  Following a daily devotional plan is an easy way for me to connect with God on a daily basis.  I use the Bible app on my iPad and I’ve committed to the “Bible In One Year 2017” plan.  It takes about 20 minutes every morning to read through and then pray.

My second goal is to gain stronger focus and self-discipline.  This one goal will help me achieve the many others that follow after it.  I struggle with consistency and staying on track.  Last year, I was most productive when I scheduled my week down to the hour (using my natural planning abilities).  I even incorporated relaxation and flex time into the schedule.  You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t a rock star for those few weeks.  Your girl had a to-do list and everything.  But that was short lived because I became complacent.  Looking back, I got more done in a day then than I do now in a week.  

Increased focus and discipline will help me with the following:

  1. Successfully completing year 1 of medical school.
  2. Exercising 5 days a week which will help with stress, sleep, fitness.  
  3. Resisting junk food!  Lord knows I love to eat.  It might be my favorite pass time.  But, last year I let life get the best of me and ate any and everything.  Plus, I wasn’t cooking and taking my lunch to school.  Well, let me tell you.  My fat jeans have informed me just how out of hand I’ve gotten. 

So in an attempted to begin the snap back process, I went to hit the gym today.  I was met with this sign.goals

What in the world is this?  Now they know good and well, people are trying to get their life right in January and they go and close the gym.  

goals

It’s all good.  I ended up doing a quick jog around the neighborhood.  No excuses!

My third goal is to keep a regular sleep schedule.  Believe it or not, first year medical students have time to sleep if we practice good time management.  But many of us lollygag at night on social media when it’s time for bed.  I wasted so much time making the rounds.  First FB, then IG, and lastly snap chat (which I’m still learning, ahh the joys of being in your 30’s).  Anyway, my goal is to be asleep by 12 a.m. and awake at 7 a.m..  

My fourth goal is to deal with my stress and anxiety in a more constructive manner.  This ties with my above discipline goal.  Diet and exercise are key components; but it helps me if I “write” out the stress.  When I was younger, I would journal.  It was like therapy for me.  I stopped when my ex-boyfriend found my journal and read it cover to cover.  I guess you can figure out why he’s an ex. Right?  

Either way, it helped me express my emotions so I didn’t keep them all bottled up.  Imagine randomly crying because your professor asked you how your day was going.  Yup, it happened.  It just so happen, I was having a terrible week.  But that particular morning, I woke up to no running water.  That resulted in me being late and skipping breakfast and my morning coffee.  Then I missed my bus to class and I had to walk to catch a cab.  If that wasn’t bad enough it began pouring.  Mind you, I’m living in the Caribbean so it’s one of those good heavy tropical down pours.  But like the good sport I am, I sucked it up and reached for my umbrella only to remember I left it because I was running late.   So yeah, that one question, “How is your day?” made me cry.  

Luckliy, I always keep sunglasses on me.  So I snatched those janks on and sprinted to the ladies room to check my emotions and fix my face.

goals

My fourth goal is to make time for the things I love.  Like, I have to schedule it in my weekly calendar.  My classes this term will be in the afternoon, Monday – Friday from 1 – 5 p.m..  The best time for me to make personal time is Friday evenings after I’m brain dead from the week.  

During this personal time I want to do the following:

  1. Beach more
  2. Grow the blog 
  3. Start vlogging
  4. Make time for family and friends

This post will be the foundation to holding myself accountable for reaching my goals in 2017.  Also, I realize that things won’t change overnight.  I’m curious to know what other people are working on.  Share some of your goals and what your plan is to accomplish them.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Striving to make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Anxiety: 4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

My heart was racing.  I began chocking and then I couldn’t breath.  I felt light headed as if I was about to pass out.  Terrified, I struggled trying to figure out what has happening to me.  This lasted 5 to 10 minutes and then the feeling passed.  It was my first anxiety attack.  

anxiety

What caused my anxiety attack?

  1. Poor diet
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Stress
  5. No balance

In January of 2016, I moved to a small island in the West Indies to start medical school where I didn’t know a soul.  I quickly learned my way around and made new friends.  As I settled into caribbean life, student life began to take off like a straight up rollercoaster ride.  One minute you’re feeling the high and the next minute you’re questioning the meaning of life.  

While most of us medical students feel a sense of pride and gratitude for our opportunities, we neglect to talk about the dark side of a medical student’s lifestyle.   No one knows the stress that we’re under and the constant hit our psyche takes day after day.  We’re constantly worrying if we’re studying correctly, have we learned enough, and will we remember it all.  Check out how CNN describes depression in the medical field.  

anxiety

For me, I knew what I was getting into.  I was willing to let my personal life take a hit to follow my passion.  But you need people.  You can’t do this thing alone.  Medical students struggle with reaching out because we’re so use to doing everything ourselves.  Often times, we feel outsiders won’t understand the struggle we go through.  Trust me, the struggle is real!

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Number one, I freaking live in paradise and the beach is always a short distance away.  Number two, it’s always 80 degrees.  Yes, 80 degrees!!  Also, I’ve met some really cool people and some lifelong friends.  Lastly, we know what we’re learning will change and hopefully save lives and that’s an awesome feeling.  Not to mention, I love learning about how amazing our bodies are.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing except how I handle stress.  Oh, and maybe going to the beach a little more often.  (adding to my to-do list)

anxiety

What have I learned? 

I can’t neglect myself.  I need to eat well, exercise everyday, and I need sleep.  All this sounds simple right?  Well, let me tell you.  Once you sit through your first week of class, you quickly realize your behind and you begin to sacrifice the basics to keep up.  So, I’m taking back to the basics and incorporating food that will help keep my stress and anxiety levels down.  

4 Anti-Anxiety Foods

  1.  Spinach is high in folic acid and helps with depression.  It’s also rich in magnesium which helps to control the stress hormone cortisol.  anxiety
  2. Wild Salmon is rich in B12 and B6 and deficiencies are linked to anxiety, panic attacks and depression.  B vitamins are important for healthy nerves and brain cells.  Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which is an anti-inflammatory.  Omega-3 helps controls the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. anxiety
  3. Guavas are very high in vitamin C which also helps control the stress hormone cortisol.anxiety
  4. Seeds & Nuts.  Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan which helps with the release of serotonin, the feel good hormone.
    anxiety

Now that I’m starting a new semester, I’m going to make it a point to make sure I don’t neglect myself especially my diet.  I’ll also be incorporating more time in my schedule for exercise.  The combination between the two will definitely help my anxiety.

What strategies do you use to combat anxiety?  Let me know.

Check out my article on eating real food and find me on pinterest.

Make practical changes for healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

That difficult workout could kill you.

workout

I  work in the emergency room as a medical scribe.  I’m exposed to many mind blowing cases and I’m learn a ton daily.  I’ve recently learned, that it is possible to workout too much.  Gasp! Over doing it can cause rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo).  It’s a condition that breaks down skeletal muscle tissue into the bloodstream eventually causing kidney failure which can lead to death.  The condition is considered rare, however I see approximately one case per week.  Seriously, mind blowing!

The cases I’ve witnessed have one common denominator, difficult workouts.  So, how are difficult workouts linked to rhabdomyolysis?  WebMD, states rhabdo is caused by direct or indirect muscle injury.  When most people think of muscle injury they imagine accidents or trauma.  Well, when we workout we are purposefully damaging our muscle tissue.  It’s that burning sensation that we crave which lets us know we’re “really” working out.  

Most of the time, we’ll experience muscle fatigue which is our bodies way of stopping us before we injure ourselves.  However, some people try to push through this feeling going above and beyond their max.  While it’s great to challenge yourself when working out, it’s more important to listen to your body.  

OMG, will I die if I workout to hard?  

I try my darndest not to bombard my physicians with constant questions, but I always have soooooo many.  What causes rhabdo?  Who’s can get this?  How do I prevent it?  Can I still max out at the gym?  

workoutWhen I’m presented with some new case that I think could affect me, I mentally freak out on the inside.  After a few minutes, I pull myself together and start researching.  Then I try to formulate intelligent questions so I don’t sound like a complete idiot.  

After many google searches, I found quite a few articles associating rhabdo with crossfit.  While I haven’t personally seen any cases where the patient admitted to crossfit activity, having done crossfit in the past, I can understand the association.  

The cases I have seen have varied from weight lifting to just difficult daily exercises.  They are normally diagnosed by analyzing symptoms and blood test.  Some common symptoms include muscle weakness, swelling, inability to move, dark urine, or inability to urinate despite staying hydrated.  

workout

The most interesting thing I learned is many times, patients diagnosed with rhabdo have been using some type of dietary supplemental or performance enhancers such as diuretics, creatine, or stimulants.  The problem is that some performance enhancers may cause electrolyte imbalances increasing your chances of rhabdo from prolonged usage.  

While I have nothing against dietary supplements, I’m not a big advocate of them.  The only supplement I take is cold pressed cod liver fish oil.  My chemistry professor told me years ago, they were a waste of money and my physicians have reinforced his claim.  Interestingly enough, half of my physicians (approximately 5/12) still take dietary supplements in the form of multivitamins.  Their reasoning is, they realize their normal diet doesn’t provide them with maximum nutrition.  They admit that most of their supplement is literally flushed down the toilet as urine but they rather have something over nothing.  

So what’s the take away?

Listen to your body.  After difficult workouts, give your body sufficient time to rest and heal.  Don’t over do it.  Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.  Avoid taking performance enhancers if possible.  I’ve noticed, blood test of those with rhabdo have high amounts of creatine and low amounts of potassium.  

Most importantly, if you’re starting a new workout regimen consult with professionals.  Still kill it in the gym, but be safe.  This is by no means a reason not to to stay active.  

If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.  Everyone will not react the same way, but if your body feels “off” seek medical attention.  

Hopefully, you learned something.  I did.  

Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle.

Tiffany Rebekah

Follow me on Pinterest or Instagram and check out my article on Eating Real Food.

Beginners Guide To Green Smoothies

Beginners Guide To Green Smoothies


Beginners Guide To Green Smoothies

Have you ever made a disgusting smoothie?  Here is a basic smoothie guide for beginners to ease you into the game.  

The USDA recommends a daily consumption of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables.  Drinking green smoothies can help you reach that goal.

WARNING!! Be careful with excess fruit.  Although fruits contain essential vitamins and nutrients, it also has sugar.  All sugar reacts in your body the same regardless of its source.  Remember too much of anything is not good.  Your goal should be to acclimate our taste buds to tolerate less fruit and more greens.

I’m not trying to scare you, just make you aware.  It’s better to us fruit instead of plain sugar or sweetener.  Unlike plain sugar or artificial sweetener, fruits come with other essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs.  It’s always a better idea to sweeten your smoothie with fruit.  

Just be mindful of the amount you use.  Keep your fruit servings to 1-2 per day.  

Beginners Guide To Green Smoothies

beginners guide to green smoothies

Additional Tips

  • If you choose bitter greens, use acidic fruits like pineapple or oranges.  It helps to balance the bitter taste.  
  • Choose a liquid without added sugar such as plain coconut or almond milk.
  • Let your fruit ripen.  Banana are sweetest if they are heavily spotted and almost over ripe.  

As you become better with making your smoothies start to decrease your fruit and add more greens.  Your goal should be to adjust your taste buds to less sugary things.  

Click here for smoothie don’ts.

beginners guide to green smoothies

If you are struggling to get your fruits and vegetables in your diet, try making green smoothies.  I’ve been able to improve my diet using smoothies.  It’s kept my blood pressure down and relieved me of irritable bowl syndrome.  

Check out a few of my smoothie combinations here.

Make practical changes to promote a healthier lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah

Find me on Pinterest and check out my article on eating real food

5 Reasons Your Smoothie Sucks

Eager to improve your health, you decide to take a swing at green smoothies.  Seems like an easy way to get more fruits and veggies in the diet, right?  Well it is unless your smoothie taste like a cup of wet lawn clippings.  Forcing down a cup of wet grass is miserable and you’ll quit before you figure out your magic formula.  

The smoothie bandwagon is crowded with new people hopping on everyday.  I’ve had a wagon seat for over a decade.  It’s definitely the easiest way for me to consume my fruits and veggies.  I’ve had my fair share of mud smoothies and I want to share my mistakes.  Hopefully I can save you from a glass of disappointment.

So, before you head to the grocery store, buy tons of fruits and veggies, and start blending, pump your breaks.  Listen to what I’m about to tell you or you’ll give up before you even get started.

Reasons Your Smoothie Sucks

5 Reasons Your Smoothie Suck

  1. Too many ingredients – The best smoothies are simple.  The biggest mistake is trying too many combinations in one glass.  Start out with two ingredients and build from there.  
  2. Using bitter greens – Until your taste buds become accustomed to drinking raw veggies, you’re going to hate the way your green smoothies taste.  Start with a mild tasting green like spinach.  Then slowly add other greens a little at a time until you acclimate your taste buds.  Start with 1/2 of a cup of your greens of choice and increase it by 1/4 until your comfortable.  
  3. The wrong combination of ingredients –  Some foods have competing flavors and when mixed taste horrible.  Other foods complement each other and taste great when mixed.  Learn which flavors marry well.  (More to come on great combinations)
  4. Your blender –  You don’t need an expensive blender to make a great smoothie.  Although, if you’re as serious as I am, you’ll want a good quality blender.  Some blenders need more liquid to get a nice smooth consistency.  Don’t over pack your blender and learn its limitations.  For weaker blenders, blend the liquid first and add the solid ingredients slowly until you get your desired thickness.  
  5. Picking your fruit – The best fruit by far to blend is the banana.  If you let it ripen properly, it becomes extremely sweet.  I like to wait until it’s heavily spotted.  Choose sweet tasting fruit and you won’t need to add additional sweetener.  Other great choices are pineapple, mango, and dates.  

Make practical changes to promote a healthier lifestyle.

I hope this helps. 

Tiffany Rebekah 

Follow me on Pinterest and check out my article on eating real food

Sweet Bananas

Reasons Your Smoothie Sucks

GMOs: Link Between Lymphoma and Pesticides

Controversy

I’ve been met with a great deal of opposition in social media lately regarding GMO and pesticide safety.  Although there are countless research articles reassuring us they are safe, it still raises concern.  Who’s funding this research?  Should I really be concerned with GMOs?  Who do you trust?  

Non-GMO-project

I stumbled upon an interesting PubMed Central publication, a biomedical and life science journal, that links lymphoma to pesticides.  The “GMO & Pesticide safety committee” has some explaining to do.  

Is the link to lymphoma a false claim?  How can we tell?  For those without a science background let’s show you what to look for. 

What is research? 

Respectable research follows some form of the scientific method.  A question is asked, research is done, and observations are made.  Based on what’s observed,  a hypothesis is developed.  A hypothesis is an attempt to explain answers to posed questions, almost like a prediction.  Then the hypothesis is tested.  

The test must be clear, concise, and repeatable.  Other scientist should be able to duplicate the experiment and achieve similar results.  The experiment results are analyzed, summarized, and reported.  Those reported results are then used by other scientist to answer new questions and the cycle continues.     

link between lymphoma and pesticides

 

Image adapted from www.sciencebuddies.org

All respectable research must use some form of this method.  This is a simplified version as it can become more complicated.  I share this with you so when reading “research” you can ask yourself if it follows this basic form.

So, back to the issue of pesticides being linked to non-hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).  This article says there is a positive association with NHL and occupational exposure to some pesticides.  It notes that further research is needed to investigate epidemiologic trends with more pesticides [1]. 

My opinion 

Occupational exposure pertain to farmers and their workers.  Average people do not experience the same exposure as workers do.  However if there is even a possibility of risk, I’m good.  I’ll continue to avoid conventional produce if possible.  I’ll let the confident GMO scientist be the guinea pig.    

link between lymphoma and pesticides

link between lymphoma and pesticides

 

Images adapted from www.inlander.com

So, are GMOs and pesticides safe?  You have to decide for yourself.  My advice is research, educate yourself, and then decide.  If you’re interested in the research I found, check it out.  It definitely opens the door for concern.  

I hope this was helpful.  

Make practical changes to improve your lifestyle.  

Tiffany Rebekah 

Follow me on Pinterest and check out my article on eating real food. 

1.  Schinasi, Leah, and Maria E. Leon. “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Occupational Exposure to Agricultural Pesticide Chemical Groups and Active Ingredients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. MDPI, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 June 2015.

Why is organic food so expensive?

Why organic food is so gosh-darn expensive?!?

Why is organic food so expensive?

 

It’s a frustration that has plagued us for years:  How come these bananas laced with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides cost 0.59/lb., when those bananas grown organically cost 0.90/lb.?  I mean really, who wants to eat pesticides?  According to a Walmart survey, 91% of their shoppers would prefer organic food if it were cheaper.  But many of us base our decisions on our wallet.  Trust me, I get it and we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our health to save a dollar.

But seriously though, why is organic food so expensive?  We’ve been told organic farmers charge more because it’s much more labor intensive.  A year ago, I would’ve fed into that jargon.  But the truth is conventional farmers are subsidized by the government.  They get free money to use pesticides.  I’m definitely over simplifying the process, but that’s what it shakes out to.  Organic farmers do not get these subsidies ergo, higher prices. 

So, ironically I saw this TEDx video shortly after my grocery run and became angrier.  The lecture discusses the real cost of organic farming.  This eye opening lecture taught me a few things.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

Why is organic food so expensive? 

So, if you’re trying to steer clear of pesticides what are your options?  Choose produce with thicker skins and not grown under grown.  For example:  

  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Citrus
  • Avocado
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Kiwi

I’m sure after you view this video you’ll be just as bothered as I am.  It begs to question who’s really benefiting from using pesticides.  Ask yourself these questions.

  • Does it really benefit our society if everyone is healthy?
  • What would happen to the healthcare system if more people were well?
  • If more people are well, who will buy medications from pharmaceutical companies?  
  • What would happen to insurance premiums if a healthier nation made fewer claims? 

I hope leave you with food for thought.  Make practical changes for a healthier lifestyle. 

Find me on pinterest and check out my article on eating real food.

Tiffany Rebekah

 

Check out the difference in these pineapples.  

Why is organic food so expensive? Why is organic food so expensive?