Dear Do-Good-er Politicians, Make ALL Medications Affordable

I hate politics... a lot and I only believe about 25% of what is reported on the news. What I hate even more are the months before the Presidential election. All the "hot topics"  and "injustices" that become front and center are sometimes such a joke.

One that really got me was the great cost of an EpiPen. Really. Let's talk about the cost of ANY medical condition and you know what you find?! Someone is making a ton of money off of sick people. With that said, yes EpiPens are overpriced and save lives but so do many other medications. Let's attack the big bad pharmacy as a whole.

I worked in the hospital for a long time and one of the repeating causes of hospitalization was uncontrolled diabetes. Some were there because they simply didn't take care of themselves but a lot more were admitted because they could not afford their medication AND supplies needed. Here is a post that I really found note worthy:

"Recently, you may have seen the public outcry over the cost of EpiPens. While I sympathize with you, I want to share with you a couple of pictures. These two pictures represent the cost of the life saving devices and medications that I have to use/take daily. It will never end, because my disease currently doesn't have a cure. I have Type 1 Diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. In short, my body attacked my pancreas, rendering it unable to produce insulin. EVERYONE needs insulin to live. Only difference between you and I is your body produces it's own. I have to inject mine. Every time I eat, and every time my blood sugar is at an unsafe level. Please do not confuse this with the more commonly known Type 2. Type 2 is where your body becomes RESISTANT to insulin, which is why Type 2 in most cases can be managed by diet and exercise. No amount of diet or exercise will make my pancreas work again. Now that we have that established, back to the two pictures. The first one is the ESSENTIAL supplies and medications that a Type 1 needs to survive and live a healthy life. The second, are considered "luxury" items. (I'll never understand why they are considered that by many insurance companies, but that's another story for another day). Those prices are the retail prices of the specific items for a ONE MONTH SUPPLY. Just one month! As most of you know, not everyone has health insurance, and even more don't have sufficient coverage, and while they may not pay FULL retail price, they still pay very large deductibles and co-payments. This is ridiculous! This is NOT OK! Did you know that the very same insulin in Canada costs about $25 a box? The very same insulin! It's almost $800 here in America! How is this fair?! There are mothers out there PLEADING with others to help them afford their 7-8 month old baby's LIFE SAVING MEDICATIONS AND SUPPLIES. How is this ok?! We need to see a change. You shouldn't have to pay $3,000 A MONTH just to keep yourself or your child alive!!
Please, I never post things to share. I don't ask for much but this, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. PLEASE share this post. We need to make a change, and we need it NOW. Our lives are NOT for profit!"
#mylifeisnotforprofit #makeinsulinaffordableforallamericans
              Author: Crys Allen of Boise Idaho

So here is my outcry for all you do-good-er politicians  
Make ALL Medications Affordable.

Cockroach Milk

One of my absolute favorite instagram accounts is Science by Guff

It's a little weird, super-awesome and loaded with FACTS.  

"Yeah, this one’s kind of gross. Scientists recently found that the “milk” found in cockroaches is actually super good for you. While only Diploptera punctate produces “milk” (or at least the bug equivalent) to feed its young, these protein crystals in the mid-gut of the cockroach are four times more nutritious than cow’s milk and have three times more energy than buffalo’s milk. How do they plan on milking these cockroaches? Did I ever think I’d write that exact sentence? Anyway, scientists are trying to sequence the genes of these milk protein crystals so that they can make them in a lab. “The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” says Sanchari Banerjee, a researcher on the project. They hope that this research will aid in coming up with solutions to worldwide food shortages."


Source: #Science #Entomology #Cockroaches #WeirdScience #BestOf #nutritionwithnat

Dance Like Yo Daddy! 2K16

National Dance Day 2K16

 I hope you danced like yo daddy today!

Shout out to my sister, Heelys & B.A.C.A. for getting the party started!  


A Look at School Lunches

After surviving eating lunch with my kids, I asked myself "What do school lunches look like in other countries?" 

Are they better, the same or dare I think WORSE
So I did what any good parent would do, I YouTube'ed it.  
Buzzfeed had the scoop. --> {pun intended, nerdy food joke}

When I was a kid I LOVED to eat lunch at school. It is pretty safe to say that today's school lunches {in America} are terrible. There are many factors that play into why school lunches have taken a nose dive in appeal here in the US with obesity being the number one concern. With that said, there are so many rules and regulations that schools must abide by that is has worked as a double edged sword.

The FUN of food has been removed and replaced with even more processed items {but with added fiber- like that will save us}. Food is not associated with fun but more with frustration. 

You can't eat your birthday cupcakes before this time

No Popsicles at track & field day because they are considered a competitive food item {even though the heat index might be 105 degrees!}

There are so many cant's that no one wants to come up with the can's

But Japan did. Their obesity rates were on the rise. They brought food {and a toothbrush} to the forefront and began to educate their children.

This is Japan.
This is Japan's school lunch program.
>>>Be like Japan.<<<

Food for Thought: Bizarre Ingredients We Eat

The Bizarre & Nasty Ingredients We Eat!

My weekly grocery shopping happens in one of two forms: The Mad Dash or The Turtle Pace

  • The Mad Dash is when I grab  tried and true foods and run. 
  • The Turtle Pace is when I have a lot of label reading to do (and am kid-free #canigetanamen). 

Obviously The Turtle Pace is a must when you are reading labels and comparing products. Label reading gets tricky and frustrating about 10 seconds in. That's one reason I started posting Try This, Not That food product comparisons. My intention is that it will alleviate some of the stress associated with label reading. While most of the Try This, Not That posts focus on the calorie copntent and nutrient breakdown (carbs, fat and protein), they do not breakdown the ingredients. 

There are some ingredients that are commonly used that might make your stomach hurt! I'm a visual person and when I came across this graphic my eyes nearly popped out of my head --> human hair and anit-freeze! 
No Sir. 

It's time we get educated on what these "mystery" ingredients really are.

Despite the fact that there are certain regulations on what a food label should contain, the labels often give us only partial information. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of L-cysteine, an ingredient that can be found on labels on some types of breads? This weird-name ingredient is an amino acid used in the baking industry as dough conditioner, and the cheapest and most common way to synthesize it is from human hair

Or were you aware that cellulose, an ingredient found in different kinds of food, is actually wood pulp processed and manufactured for food supply?

Take a close look at the infographic below and learn the origins and meaning of 14 bizarre food ingredients.

14 Bizarre Ingredients Hidden in Your Food Labels
A special thank you to Dana for providing the graphic details!

A Girl and Her Baggage

I loathe stored, plastic shopping bags.

I don't know exactly why I hate collected plastic bags (especially in a kitchen). It stems back to my childhood and the 900 plastic Wal-Mart bags that my mom stored on the side of our refrigerator for safe keeping. I hate those things but man were they a necessary evil. We used them for everything but my two favorite uses were: 
  1. gift bags (and you better hope the old receipts were removed). 
  2. travel luggage. Yes, you read that right. I'm pretty sure one of my brothers still uses a plastic bag instead of actual luggage. #truthbomb
I also hate grocery shopping-- another story for another post. And what do you get 900 of when you finish grocery shopping? Plastic-freaking bags. So after 15 years of vowing to bring my own bags to the grocery store, I. FINALLY. REMEMBERED. 

I was feeling all puffed up with pride and even snapped this picture to text Sweet Stuff when I realized the sad truth. Where my bags came from...

Yea, that's right, I brought all the bags I had been collecting on the side of my refrigerator.

I have officially turned into my mother.

Now they will be stored in my trunk. Cycle broken. I'm a fighter.

#acceptanceisthefirststep #thestruggleisreal #breakthecycle #baglady #greenliving #gogreen

Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

To wrap up the school year, a local elementary had a health fair and I was asked to teach a class. My assignment was to teach the kids the importance of staying hydrated. I decided addressing second graders would be best if I used the Go, Slow and Whoa approach used by the We Can! campaign.

Here is a breakdown of the lesson, feel free to use it!

Lesson Plan: Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

Objectives and Goals: 
To introduce the concept of making wise beverage choices using the Go, Slow and Whoa approach.

The basic idea is to designate a variety of beverages into four categories (Go, Slow, Whoa and STOP) based on nutritional content. This is  a very basic list and numerous beverages can be discussed and added.

It is important to discuss that beverages in these categories are not "bad" just that sometimes we need to make choices based on what we are doing.

What to Create:
  • a poster board of a traffic signal with black foam board and construction paper
  • search google images and collected, printed and laminated all the drinks listed on the image above
  • large Stop sign
    • I got a large Stop sign poster from my local teacher supply store and taped a paint stick to the bottom for a handle. {picture below}
References to Read:

Class Discussion:
Go: healthiest option and appropriate for everyday consumption.
Slow: occasional drinks, not everyday choices. These beverages usually contain added sugar.
Whoa: least healthy options. These beverages contain added sugar, fat and in some cases caffeine. They provide excess calories and should be chosen on special occasions and not weekly.
STOP: The STOP category lists 2 beverages that are not appropriate for school-age children to consume: coffee (cold or hot) and energy drinks. 


*Sports drinks are listed in both the Go and Whoa groups. Sports drinks are a GO when a child is actively participating in prolonged play or sports (at least 45 minutes of active play and when there is excessive heat and perspiration). It is a WHOA drink if chosen in place of water or during casual activities (watching TV or leisure activities like bowling, etc.). 

Food Fun: Ice Cream {in a Bag}

It ain't Blue Bell but it's fun, fast and fresh! 

Make single servings of ice cream {in a bag} in just a few simple steps.

This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and simple to create. I do this with my kids to kick-off summer. We pick fresh berries (strawberry, blueberry or blackberry- depending on the farm and season) and then come home and make our ice cream. It's fun but I also spin it off as a science project and a sweet treat for their hard work after "picking" all day.

#foodfun #nutritionwithnat #summertime

So Let Me Get This Straight...

Everyone has their passions. Some are passionate about animals while others are passionate about cars. I have many passions and obviously nutrition and wellness are pretty high on my list. I don't know it all but I know I learn something new everyday and I try to keep an open mind.

The health field is a mean beast. Why? Because everyone has an opinion and the "quick fix" to virtually any health concern. People will believe ANYONE as long as the information tells them what they want to hear.

"But Dr. Oz said fill in the blank." 

"Yesterday on Fox News they said they found the right way to do fill in the blank." 

The honest answer is that people will believe those that SHOUT the loudest. Whoever has the best marketing campaign will win. When it comes to health and wellness, I try to look for alternative treatments before jumping on the pharmaceutical bandwagon. Alternative therapies have no voice... no SHOUT factor. Simply put, these therapies do not provide great wealth like a new pharmaceutical drug can. 

For instance, why take red yeast rice, reduce the amount of animal products from your diet and start walking 20 minutes 3 days a week to lower your cholesterol; when all you have to do is take a single pill (Lipitor) daily and not make a single lifestyle change? 
(side note: some of the side effects of Lipitor: muscle aches, joint pain, upper belly pain, dark-amber colored urine, and my personal favorite-- yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes)

I believe in medicine but I also believe in alternative treatments. I think it all boils down to common sense. If something sounds to good to be true, it is. If something sounds too far fetched, it is. But if an idea or treatment offers a new approach to healing and has minimal risks, give it a try. 

Alternative Therapy: Essential Oils
I was introduced to Essential Oils (EO's) about 6 months ago and was a real skeptic. Why was I a cynic? Because I was arrogant, I just couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that something as simple as peppermint oil could help my boys breathing better than the $200.00 prescription inhalers that their pediatrician ordered. And I didn't want to take the time to learn. I was taking the easy road and buying right into the "quick fix" ... like most moms, I was too busy.

image source: someecards

All thanks to the encouragement of my best friend, one thing lead to another and I bit the bullet and dove in. I started out with just one roll-on called Breathe Away in an effort to help my boys with their seasonal asthma attacks. 

After 6 months I am completely sold on EO's! I have been using them daily on myself and several family members and have really put them to the test. From issues of joint pain to hot flash relief to trouble sleeping, these oils have really done the job! I feel that EO's are a natural pharmacy that is poorly understood and in-turn under utilized. Their SHOUT factor is poor.

In just a short time, I have become a "user" and an oily snob. I only use one brand, Young Living Essential Oils. I trust where they are sourced from and the purity of the oils. 

If you have ever been curious- give it a try! If you have ailments and want to try a natural, affordable approach- give it a try! If you just want a good, clean smell in your home- give it a try!

And if your a "user" whats your favorite and why?

Tutorial: Upcycled Tote

I loathe grocery shopping (with or without kids). I shop either one of two ways. 
  1. I have a kid(s) in tow and make the mad dash. A mad dash translates to me pushing a cart as fast as possible down key aisles and throwing (yes, throwing) the staples in the cart.  
  2. I am alone and have the mega list. This is a tragic love story for this dietitian. I spend WAY to much time looking at labels, having mental debates with myself and sometimes "glancing" in other peoples carts in the checkout line. #shameful 
It never fails when I get to the checkout line, I see all these prepared shoppers with their reusable shopping bags and I always say to myself "next time". Well next time finally came and I made my totes! I couldn't believe how simple and cheap it was to make them. 

I know, I know. Now you are jealous and want cool bags like me, don't worry you can make your own grocery bags in three simple steps.

Step 1. Find an old t -shirt, the larger the better. I went to the thrift shop and got a bag of old, x-large shirts.

Step 2. Turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom straight across. It is literally on straight line across and you can't mess it up. Following the seam line of the shirt will make it really simple to sew a straight line. If your line is a little off it doesn't matter because it is the inside-bottom of the bag.  My 9 year old zipped it right up!

Step 3. Turn the shirt right-side out and fold in half. Cut the sleeves off. Cut a square at the neck (see picture #3).

Unfold and BAM! You have a fun, durable tote.