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Health

  • Health

    Buying healthy groceries on a budget

    Eating healthy may seem difficult when you find yourself always going over your weekly budget and it always seems like healthy food cost twice as much as junk food. Healthy eating shouldn’t be hard and you should be able to buy the groceries that you want without spending too much. So how do you ditch the Ramen noodles and buy food that will fuel your body and give you all the nutrients it needs?

    Grocery Cart With Item

    Make a list and set a spending limit:

    It may seem like simple advice but making a list of your favorite healthy foods will keep you focused. You won’t be grabbing anything and everything that you see off the shelves. Every time I make a list I feel like I have no other choice but to stick with it. Another tip, use a calculator. This will give you a range of how much your groceries will cost so that you don’t end up overspending. Trust me, that has happened to me way too many times.

    Avoid Junk Food:

    No matter how bad those chips are calling your name, don’t give in. You will this save money, AND it will keep you from midnight snacking on foods full of salt and fat. Those shiny wrappers are wrapped around processed food that has a long shelf life but will not be beneficial to you, whatsoever. So focus on groceries that are more organic and stray away from foods that have 20 ingredients or more.

    Don’t by ALL your fruit and veggies fresh:

    Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are a lifesaver.  Not only do they last extremely long, but they are so CHEAP! Frozen fruit does not get rotten fast and has a lot more flavor packed into it. Canned veggies are fast, easy, and will save you a lot of money. If you can’t buy all of them fresh then these are alternatives that will still keep you on track to being healthy

    Get some grains:

    Rice is so cheap. It is a perfect side to any meal and can be made in less than ten minutes. If you are trying to eat healthy brown rice will give you the whole grain you need and keep you full long longer.

    Don’t go to the store hungry:

    I’ve found myself buying way more groceries than I needed for the week only because I was hungry, so make sure you aren’t starving when you are perusing the aisles.

    Budgeting is not easy, especially when you could easily buy cheap food that will seemingly agree more with your bank account but, if you actually take a few moments to plan your grocery store trip you can successfully walk away without a dent in your bank account and a full grocery cart.

  • Health

    Battling an Eating Disorder During the Holidays

    Can I tell you a secret? Recovering from an eating disorder or struggling with an eating disorder during the holidays is going to be tough.

    You’ll try to not disappoint your family, but everything they say will make you feel trapped. They will likely comment on your weight, how much you are or are not eating, and ask questions about why you are so skinny, or when you gained so much.

    If you begin to feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say so. Let people know how it makes you feel when they say hurtful things. They may not realize that what they are doing is bothering you. And if they do know, then call them out.

    For those of you currently struggling with an eating disorder

    I have been there. I have been all around the block and back when it comes to not eating, overeating, forcing myself to vomit. It’s not pretty. You’re using your digestive system to deal with emotional or physical baggage. I can’t promise you that things will immediately get better if you stop what you’re doing right away. Nor can I say that it is even possible to do that. But what I can say is that it does get better.

    I know. I know. You’ve heard it all before: “You look better this way.” “Eating/Under eating won’t solve your problems.” “Try going to therapy.” Though these may seem like the obvious answers to having an eating disorder, they’re not rational when your emotions control your body. Besides, someone telling you to do something versus actually helping you accomplish something are two different things.

    Keep in mind that there are people out there willing to help you. Seeking council doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you broken. It makes you strong. It shows that you are willing to acknowledge a disconnected piece within yourself and find a way to fix it, even though it won’t be easy. You can beat this, despite the self-doubt and self-deprecation.

    For those of you recovering from an eating disorder

    You’re going to go through a serious of emotions. If you haven’t started already, then get ready. There will be tears, anger, and if you are not already going through a depression it is possible that you may experience it. Continue talking to your support group, whether it be close friends, family, or complete strangers. Anything helps when you are being held accountable.

    Find forgiveness for yourself. You are not the eating disorder, you are a victim of circumstance. It is important to be your own biggest supporter. If you forgive yourself, then you can help yourself heal by accepting that things can be taken slow and will get better. You are not to blame.

    If someone comments on your weight during the holidays or any day of the year, remind yourself that they are not you. They do not know what you have been through or what you are going through. They can’t understand how strong you are, and that what you are able to eat or not eat is a step in a better direction. If you can only take three bites at dinner and that’s one more than the night before, you have accomplished something. You should take pride in the little things.

    Continuously thinking about how you could do something better will only make you more sad or angry. If you take a small bite and hate yourself for not being able to take a larger or smaller one, then you will go back to where you started from. Let yourself have these moments. Digest the progress.

    Here are some links to check out from GirlSpring that cover eating disorders

    http://girlspring.wpengine.com/the-nine-truths-about-eating-disorders-from-the-cast-of-to-the-bone/

    http://girlspring.wpengine.com/signs-of-eating-disorder/

    Here are some external links to aid in recovery

    https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/stages-recovery

    https://www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/7-secrets-to-eating-disorder-recovery/

     

    If you have any questions for me about my journey or would like to share your own story, please comment down below.

  • Health

    Endometriosis

    Endometriosis

    An important health issue for women is that of endometriosis.

    It is a condition in which there is tissue growth surrounding the uterus and other areas where it shouldn’t be. The extra tissue growth can be found and located in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas that surround the uterus. Excess tissue growth also has been located on the vagina, cervix, vulva, and the other regions surrounding the genitals. This extra growth can cause pain because the growth bleeds. This is similar to the lining of the uterus during a menstrual period. Since the blood cannot leave the body quickly, it causes swelling and pain in the areas where the extra tissue is.

    According to womenshealth.gov, 11% of women living in the United States have endometriosis, which is equivalent to 6.5 million women in the United States. Endometriosis can affect a girl or a woman that has had her menstrual period, but it is more prevalent among women who are in their 30’s and 40’s. It is more likely for women to get endometriosis if their menstrual cycles are short (27 days or fewer), if their menstrual period is longer than seven days, or if there is a health problem that prevents the normal flow of menstrual blood.

    There are some significant symptoms of endometriosis. Pain is the most common symptom.

    Women will feel different types of pain with endometriosis. The pain can range from painful menstrual cramps, chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis, pain occurring during or after vaginal sex, abdominal pain, pain that occurs while urinating and having painful bowel movements. In some rare instances, blood is found in the urine or stool. Another severe symptom is excess bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods. If this happens, it is essential to check in with a doctor. Other symptoms include not being able to become pregnant and digestive problems (especially during periods).

    There is still some speculation as to what is the cause of endometriosis.

    Some researchers think that these factors may explain why endometriosis occurs: hormones, previous surgery in the abdominal area, problems in the immune system, genetic factors, and problems with menstrual period flow. However, there are methods of prevention and treatment.

    Even though there is no established way to prevent endometriosis, you can lower the level of estrogen in your body to reduce your chances of getting it. You can lower your level of estrogen by exercising regularly (more than 4 hours a week), not drinking an excess amount of alcohol, not drinking an excess amount of drinks with caffeine, and using some form of hormonal birth control. If you do have endometriosis, there is no cure, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms. Hormonal birth control is one way to help with symptoms if a patient is not trying to get pregnant. Another option for patients who do not want to get pregnant is an IUD, which stands for intrauterine device. An IUD can help with the pain and bleeding.

    If a patient with endometriosis intends to get pregnant, a medicine called GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonist may be recognized. It can help regulate the growth of endometriosis. Surgery is also another method of treatment to remove the extra tissue.

     

    If you have more questions about endometriosis, go to this website: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis

     

    Credits:

    “Endometriosis.” Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16 Mar. 2018, www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis.

     

  • Cooking, Food, Health, Holiday

    How to Have a Gluten Free Christmas

    How to Have a Gluten Free Christmas

    Recently, I got tested by my doctor and found out that I was gluten intolerant.

    Do I ignore this diagnosis most days? Yes. If I didn’t, would I feel a whole lot better? Absolutely. Around the holidays, it seems impossible to avoid gluten. The holiday season tempts me at every family get together or holiday celebration. I want to eat every bread, cookie, and a piece of cake at holiday parties.

    For starters, a lot of people don’t know what gluten is or what types of foods have gluten.

    According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye.” Gluten helps food maintain their shape. It acts as “a glue that holds food together.” Basically, gluten is found in basically anything made with dough or batter. Gluten appears most often in bread, cakes, cookies, etc. What does NOT have gluten, however, are foods made with rice, corn, or oats. This means corn chips and corn tortillas, rice-based cereal, rice noodles, and oatmeal are safe to eat as long as they don’t have any wheat flour added.

    It’s safe and healthy for anyone to avoid foods with gluten. To an extent.

    Those with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder diagnosed by a doctor) must avoid gluten every day. As a result, people prevent painful symptoms. Learn more about Celiac symptoms and treatments at the Celiac Disease Foundation website: https://celiac.org/

    Those who don’t have Celiac, but have gluten intolerance or sensitivity (like me!) should still avoid gluten. You can still consume a small amount of gluten. However, you may experience problems such as migraines, anxiety, depression, upset stomach, fatigue, abdominal pain, and iron deficiency.

    Before you make any diet changes, consult a dietician or medical professional.

    For me, an extremely food-motivated person.

    That means I have a hard time practicing self-control around foods I want to eat. Especially bread, cookies, cakes, and biscuits. Even though I know that I’ll feel better if I cut them out of my diet completely. If you feel like you may have any form of gluten intolerance, stay gluten-free for this holiday season. In January, see if you feel any different at the beginning of next year.

    Here are some recipes that will help you accomplish this without feeling left out from all the delicious holiday food:

    Grape and Cheese Board:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/jkk3az5okpjrcu

     

    Popcorn Snowballs:

    Find the recipe here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/141793088243731373/

     

    Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip (serve with gluten-free crackers/pretzels):

    Find the recipe here: https://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/cream-cheese-cranberry-dip/2/#wprm-recipe-container-44418

     

    Cornflake Butterscotch Crunchies:

    Find the recipe here: https://www.greatgrubdelicioustreats.com/butterscotch-crunchies/

     

    White Chocolate Candy Cane Heart Pops:

    Find the recipe here: https://onelittleproject.com/how-to-make-candy-cane-hearts/

     

    Cranberry Barbeque Meatballs:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/tecyljqkzlrpin

     

    Peppermint Popcorn:

    Find the recipe here: https://pin.it/ssbkacz7k7emnj

     

  • Health

    What to Know About Your Flow

    You may know by now a little bit about your menstrual cycle.

    But do you know all the sanitary options available to you? I remember starting with a heavy flow. Back then, I thought that pads were the only option for me. I used to go through twelve to thirteen heavy pads a day. That’s a lot. I was always uncomfortable with the way the pads felt. It was almost like wearing a diaper. I was self-conscious about whether other people could tell I was wearing them, too.

    There was one incident where I had to get to class quickly and couldn’t get to the bathroom to change my pad out. I ended up bleeding through the cotton and onto my pants. I was mortified. A friend of mine came to my rescue and gave me her jacket to wear around my waist. She then let me in on her little secret: she used tampons! I had no idea that tampons were an option for me. I thought they were only for girls who had lost their virginity. Boy, was I wrong. The school’s health education program had failed me.

    She explained to me that wearing a tampon is not the same as having intercourse. It also does not feel the same. Depending on your flow you can buy sizes ranging from lite to super heavy. If one size does not feel comfortable, try getting a different size. You should also know that the size of your tampon has no reflection on your body aside from how much of your uterine wall you shed.

    If you try tampons and you still have trouble with excess fluid getting on your clothes, look into panty liners.

    Panty liners are small, thinner versions of pads. They are specifically designed to create an extra barrier between your flow and your clothes. It is also okay to use more than one panty liner or pad at a time. Tampons are strictly one at a time. Just be sure to take proper care of your sanitation devices. Do not forget to change out your pad every 3-4 hours. The same rules apply to tampons and panty liners. The box may suggest that the product will last longer than that but be safe and try to avoid going over 4 hours.

    If you are trying to cut back on your plastic waste, or do not find tampons, panty liners, or pads comfortable, then there are reusable cups. A common reusable cup is known as the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is a small, plastic, form-fitting cup that holds a certain amount of fluids. Once the cup is full or you have had it in for a couple of hours, you can remove the cup and dump the waste into a toilet. You will need to be sure to use soap and water to clean the cup each time before reuse. This process may seem like a bit much, so it surely is not for everyone, but it can be useful.

    Here are some references to using menstrual pads, tampons, etc.

  • Articles, Health, Sheroes, Woman's History

    Important Women in the Field of Mental Health

    May has just ended, and is mental health awareness month, which is why I want to celebrate the achievements of some of the many women who have made significant advancements in the field of mental health. Before we can get into that, here are some important mental health resources:

    Free online counseling: https://www.betterhelp.com/
    Birmingham Crisis Center Teen Hotline (call or text the following number): 205 328 5465

    Here are some of the most important ladies that have made some lasting impressions on the field of mental health.

    Dorothea Dix (1802-1887)
    Dix was an important activist on behalf of the mentally ill in the US. She helped establish the first generation of American mental asylums through a rigorous process of lobbying. Additionally, she helped change people’s perception of the mentally ill as being more human than animal in the US and in Europe.

    Eve Johnstone (1943- present)
    Johnstone has contributed a hefty amount of research to the clinical study of schizophrenia. She is most famous for her 1973 study that shows the differences in the brains of schizophrenic patients vs the control group. Additionally, she has written a total of 6 books on the topic of schizophrenia.

    Melanie Klein (1882-1960)
    Klein was a psychoanalyst that contributed knowledge and techniques that influenced child psychology and therapy. She thought that children’s play was their primary way of emotional communication, and attempted to decipher the specific meaning of child’s play.

    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004)
    Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in near death studies. Near death studies is a field of psychology and psychiatry that studies the after effects of near death experiences on individuals. She innovated the 5 stages of grief, which is known as the Kubler-Ross model. Her book On Death and Dying came out in 1969, and was groundbreaking for the time period.

    Sula Wolff (1924-2009)
    Wolff worked as a child psychiatrist in Britain with children who were mostly socially withdrawn and reclusive. She is the author of 2 different books on the topic of child psychology. Additionally, she was the first person to receive a grant from the Medical Research Council Grant to study child psychiatry. Her work emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

    Wolff also understood and pushed the importance of talking to and addressing children in a non stigmatizing way. In the end, her work became used as the basis for a lot of research being done today on Aspergers and autism.

    sources:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Dix
    https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/dorothea-lynde-dix
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalysis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Johnstone
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Klein
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_K%C3%BCbler-Ross
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sula_Wolff
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_studies
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/famous-psychologists/sula-wolff.html

  • Health

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    As my freshmen year of college was coming to an end, and my summer of returning back to my hometown was there in front of my face, I felt an immediate shift of sadness for the things that were to come of my life. I felt that I had made so many great strides in self discovery, while away from home. I had felt that all of the self reflection wouldn’t be worth living up to because of how trapped and isolated I was post the first college experience that I had been given. On the ride back home, I thought of all of my friends that I would miss and the experiences that I would miss out on simply because of distance. I was stricken with grief and longing for how my life had been on my own.

    That same summer I had dealt with serious bouts of anxiety that put me in the hospital. I could not stop overthinking. I could not stop thinking less of myself, or stop myself from being high strung on the things that weren’t even real. However, after a visit with my doctor where I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, I decided to take my depression and anxiety into my own hands.

    In order to prevent the constant, never ending thought cycle I started to read books and allow my imagination to wander through that realm instead of focusing on things that I could not control. Books gave me the opportunity and outlet to feel free again. I liked that words created that type of safe space for me in order to express myself in the way that I wanted to do it.

    Music was another aspect of my life that gifted me with the outlet to allow myself to be as imaginative and free spirited as I wanted to be. On my favorite episode of Steven Universe, Garnet and Connie perform a song called “Mindful Education” that touches on surrendering to our fears. Also, in a way to deal with my environment, it was the only thing that created a sense of healthy boundaries.

    Whenever I feel my seasonal depression approaching, I make sure to pay close attention to my immune system since it is closely associated to our emotions. Nutrition is an important part of who we are and not many people know or understand that. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “individuals experiencing depression are also not necessarily getting the carbohydrates, proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that they need.” Before anything else, make sure to include a balanced meal in order to take on the day and be the best person that you know that you can be for yourself.

    Tackling depression is an ongoing cycle and something that we all have to experience one way or the other. An important part of my growth and development in this area was understanding that I was not alone. And in order to feel like I was not allow, I needed to take proper steps to make sure that I was taking care of myself in the way that I needed to be doing.