My Parents Have Both Passed On to the Other Side

Passing On Together

I started writing about stroke prevention after my mother had a severe stroke in 2006 and later after my stoke in 2013.
I was able to see and learn first hand of the difficulties that a stroke victim faces and the challenges that caregivers face every day.
My father, James Eugene Belden, passed away from an aparent heart attack on November 5th, 2018.
My mother, Julia Mae Belden, left this earth shortly after that on December 11th, 2018. My parents were married for 55 years and loved the Lord and each other dearly.

Make Money While Disabled – Create Your Online Business

Woman writing working on a laptop

Are you physically disabled but want to work? You’re like millions of people around the world with the same financial problem. You can’t work and can’t make it on Social Security alone. What can you do?

Person in a wheelchair

Make Money While Disabled

Do you have access to a computer or better yet a laptop? working on a laptop

If YES, Then you can make money at home!

There are millions of people all around the world, some healthy and some with physical disabilities, but all of them are creating an online website that is their very own and something they can make great money on.

Are you fed up with living off Social Security? Do you have the time to learn and build something that is your own?

Then forget about being disabled and JOIN ME as I walk you through how to build your very own website.

3 Simple Steps to Build Your Own Online Business

  1. Find Something You Enjoy and are Passionate About.
    1. This could be anything you have an interest in. Do you like…….
      1. TravelPerson holding a picture of a flower
      2. Photography
      3. Knitting
      4. Fishing
      5. Furniture
      6. Antiques
      7. You name it, if you have an interest, you can find a way to sell it. You don’t need to own it either. You can sell things through what is know as Affiliate Programs.
  2. Tell the World About Your Passion.
    1. But you need people to visit your site. This is where Wealthy Affiliate will help. You don’t need any prior experience in website design or online marketing. They can help you start from nothing and have your first website built with two or three days.
  3. Keep Training to Improve Your Website and Your Product Marketing.
    1. Training is absolutely critical and this training is easy to follow. There are simple videos to watch that take you step by step through every process. You will have access to a helpful and encouraging Wealthy Affiliate Community that is up day and night around the world to help if you have questions.

It’s that simple. Within a few minutes you will be logged in and will be able to start your training for FREE to see if this is really right for you.

I Have to Admit That I Thought This Was a Scam to Start With

My son came to me over the Holiday season this last year and told me about this incredible opportunity to make money online. I quickly warned him about it being a Scam or a Get-Rich-Quick scheme and he promised me it wasn’t.

Well, you know how kids are. They will believe anything. I know I did growing up.

So, I did what any parent would do and I joined Wealthy Affiliate for FREE to take a look around. I was welcomed and advised to Click on the “Get Started Here” green tab in the top left corner of the screen to start my journey.

I took a few days off to think about if I really wanted to look into this but my son kept going on and on about Weathy Affiliate so I logged back in and clicked on the Get Started Here button.

Start words written on a sign
That’s all it took.

The training was so easy to follow and two days later I had my first website built and was getting it setup so the internet search engines would know where to look for me.

One Last Thing

I have had a stroke and now work from home. My mother had a massive stroke and my father has to take care of her Photo of husband and wife24/7 so I am very aware of what it’s like to be home bound and see the effect it takes on family members and finances.

My mother and father never get to leave the house and they struggle every month with making their finances stretch as they do their best to live off Social Security. and It’s never enough.

So, I’m not lying to you or telling you that you can do it too, in order to make any money off you. I’m in this the same as you are and trying to make ends meet, but it sure is easier to face the future having some hope that their is a brighter future that will help me with some financial freedom and flexibility.

It’s FREE to try out Wealthy Affiliate. You will know within the first week if it’s right for you and you won’t have to spend any money.

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How Can I Make my Home Better for a Physically Challenged Person?

ADA bathroom

You now find yourself in the position of caring for an elderly family member or someone who has had a major health crises that creates real physical challenges. The question in your mind now is, what can I do to change my home, or their home so it’s easier to get around in and do the things you used to do but that are now much harder? Let’s brainstorm on some great ideas to help improve this situation.

Let’s Start With the Outside of the HouseWheel chair ramp

  1. Start by getting rid of any curbs or steps that lead into the house from any door. You may only be thinking of one entrance but it will be convenient and necessary for someone living alone to have all outside exits designed without steps or steep grades.
  2. You may think it’s best to use a permanent type of material, such as concrete, but you may want to consider a wood ramp or a metal, portable ramp, as you may sell the house later and the new owners may not want or need a ramp.
  3. Consider simplifying the landscaping so there is less maintenance.
  4. Add handrails to assist in walking.
  5. Consider adding a bench to stop and sit at if the walkway is long.
  6. Make sure each outside door, and inside door for that matter, is wide enough for a wheel chair.
  7. Be mindful of any bumps at the threshold of the doorway as this can make it difficult to maneuver a wheelchair over and may cause a tripping hazard.
  8. A key less entry may be a great idea to help with entering or exiting the home.

Bathrooms

This is probably the area that is the first one people realize is going to cause problems.ADA compliant bathroom

  • Get rid of confined spaces, even if you have to tear out a wall or two. This is not just about wheel chair access but many times you will need two people working together in this space to take care of daily hygiene.
  • Install a large shower or a bathtub with a door.
  • The area around the toilet needs to be wide and free of obstacles.
  • Again, all doorways need to be wide enough for a wheel chair or another person helping the physically challenged person to walk.
  • Install handrails in the shower, tub, near the toilet and possible on each wall.
  • Install an ADA compliant toilet.
  • Make sure your shower has a place for someone to sit down.
  • Provide a portable chair or bench to use anywhere in the bathroom.
  • Ensure there is adequate room beneath any counter top for a wheel chair to fit under.
  • Install a shower head that can be disconnected and used by someone sitting down.
  • The flooring should have some texture to keep someone from slipping or tripping. Use a low pile carpet if you choose carpet. Don’t use any flooring that is difficult to maneuver a wheel chair around in. Rugs are a bad idea.

Kitchen

  • Allow room under that counter tops for someone who can cook but is mostly in a wheel chair.
  • Consider lowering sections of the counter top that would be easier for a person in a wheel chair to work at.
  • Most of the kitchen tools should be lowered where anyone can reach.

ADA compliant kitchen
Every person’s needs will be different to take special care to create the right situation for the need. You may want to hire a contractor who specializes in ADA compliant construction.

DoorsStairwell elevator chair

Use larger doors as they are easier to get through and often don’t cost anymore. 32-inch doors or larger are recommended.

Stairs

Do yourself a favor and eliminate being in a home with stairs. If you cannot eliminate stairs than here are a few options:

Other Home Accessories to Consider

Transportation

Final Thoughts

These lists are just the beginning of things for you to consider if you are physically challenged or if you are the care giver. Consult your doctor and other health care providers for more specialized information that is specific to your needs.

Remember, to find hope every day and have something to look forward to.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas of other things I have left out and that should be included here.

 

 

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries?

Wild Blueberries

Do you need to improve your health? Are you in recovery and need foods that will help you in the recovery process? Do you just want to be healthy or stay healthy?

Eat Blueberries!

Raw blueberries

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries

Do you know what the health benefits of BLUEBERRIES are?

  • Improves mental health (memory)
  • Hearth healthHealth benefits of blueberries
  • Bone strength
  • May prevent muscle damage
  • Prevents skin damage
  • Improved blood pressure
  • May reduce risk of diabetes
  • Shown to prevent cancer
  • May reduce risk of obesity
  • May make your hair more healthy
  • Increased energy
  • May help fight urinary tract infections in women

Note: It is best to buy and eat raw blueberries.

Blueberry NutrientsBlueberry nutrients

Do you know your BLUEBERRY nutrients?

  • Blueberries contain anthocyanin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Zinc

Warning: Consult your doctor if you are on blood thinners as the Vitamin K may affect blood clotting.

Blueberry Facts

Do you know your BLUEBERRY facts?

  • Blueberries have flavonoids better known as antioxidants
  • They do not contain any sodium!
  • 10 states grow most of the blueberries in the U.S.
    • CaliforniaBlueberry bush
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Indiana
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • New Jersey
    • North Carolina
    • Oregon
    • Washington
  • You can freeze blueberries in 4 minutes.
  • The blueberry bush is a relative of the azalea and the rhododendron.
  • Blueberries were first sold commercially in 1916.
  • You may be eating blueberries from South America between November and March.
  • More than half of harvested blueberries are shipped to fresh markets.

Why Aren’t You Eating Blueberries?

This is a question I just asked myself. I have had a stroke and have moderately high blood pressure that I am taking a prescription for; so, why have I not been eating blueberries? Why am I not adding blueberries to my healthy menu?

I actually do not know. But I can guarantee you one thing.

I will buy some blueberries on the way home from work this evening.

Wild Blueberries

NUTS! Foods that Reduce Stroke Risk

Small bowl of almonds

Several medical studies now show that regularly eating a variety of nuts will help reduce your risk of a stroke. There are several other dietary changes you can also make to help reduce your risks, but there is evidence that eating nuts may have the biggest effect.

Bowl of nuts

What are the Best Nuts to Prevent a Stroke

One study from the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that eating nuts can reduce your chances of having a stroke by up to 50%. The breakdown of this study can be found in an article from Nutrition Facts.

So, what are the best nuts to eat?

Can I go to the grocery story and get any kind of great tasting nuts I want, without caring about how much salt the nuts are covered in?

Let’s start with one thing that will clear up how much salt should be on the nuts. The American Heart Association recommends that you have no more than 1,500 mg of salt per day. That means you should only select nuts which don’t have salt and other spices added for flavor. Here is a list of healthy nuts I have found that may help with reducing your stroke risk:Bowl of Almonds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

Nuts are Good for Me so Let’s Grab a BIG Bag

How many nuts should you have per day? I would love to hear your experience with how much to eat and if you saw benefits or negative side effects. Please leave a comment below and share with the rest of us.

You probably don’t need a doctor or dietitian to tell you that eating too many nuts can cause weight gain, which in turn has its own heath issues so you need to eat in moderation. Isn’t that true of most everything in life? Chose moderation and you will most likely be fine.

1 ounce per day of nuts should be what you should shoot for. One ounce isn’t much; it’s about one small handful.

Small cup of Almonds
My wife and I are going to a Natural Food store tomorrow to buy “raw” nuts. That means not processed and with no salt added. We’re going to combine all the nuts listed above into a bag so I can just get a scoop of nuts out (what I can fit into my hand). This will make it easy to get a good sampling of nuts instead of selecting one type of nut each day.

Question?

I do have one question for all of you. I’m not a big fan of walnuts so I am planning on leaving them off my list. Should I leave them out or do walnuts have a big enough health benefit to include them even though I don’t love them?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

I have recently written an article about how to eat healthy, which goes list other foods that you should also consider adding to your diet. You can check it out in the link below.

How To Eat Healthy

 

Does Lisinopril Work? Can it Help Reduce Blood Pressure?

Pill bottle

I met with my doctor this week and due to my family history of strokes, plus my own stroke, he wanted to put me on Lisinopril, a blood Medicinepressure medication (Lisinopril is the generic form of the drug Zestril). The simple answer is that it does work for me. The more difficult question is, how long will I be on it and can I improve my health so I don’t need it any longer?

Please allow me to make the point of this article clear before going further. I am not trying to convince anyone that blood pressure is great and life will be just wonderful if you will just take this one little pill. On the contrary. There are real health risks and side effects to any medication. This is more about my journey and how the medicine affected me and my plan to get off the medication with my doctor’s help.

My First Hour on Lisinopril

I picked up my blood pressure medicine in the evening of February 16th, 2018. I followed the instructions for taking my blood pressure with my Omron 7 Series monitor. I sat down at my desk and relaxed while doing some work. Once I felt relaxed, I took my blood pressure. Here are the results:

Readings Before Taking Lisinopril
I took this first blood pressure reading at 11:55pm and it wasn’t too bad, in my opinion. It was 134/85.

Next I set my timer and went back to work. I didn’t change a thing for the next 30 minutes other than taking one dose of a 20MG tablet of Lisinopril.

After the 30 minutes was up I checked my blood pressure for a second time.

Readings after taking Lisinopril
You can see the immediate reduction in my blood pressure to 122/82. That’s pretty great, right?

The last thing I would like to point out is after approximately 19 hours, it looks like the medication starts wearing off and I see a slight rise in my blood pressure reading at 6:46pm. I took my next days dose at about 7:30pm and waited for 1 hour, then took my blood pressure again. My blood pressure dropped back down immediately, as it had the night before.

So, Lisinopril does work for me but that doesn’t mean I’m happy taking it.

The Positives and Negatives

The positive was the immediate reduction in my blood pressure to “normal.” The negative was a little more subtle.

I felt different in the hour immediately after taking the medication. The best way I can describe it was the feeling you get in your head when you took one to many pills of your medication. Another analogy would be if you hadn’t had much to eat all day and you sat down for dinner and had a glass of wine before the meal came out. You would probably start sensing a little “something” and reach for some bread to hopefully ease that feeling, or you might like the feeling and ask for another.

I wouldn’t necessarily list this feeling as negative, as the medication did just help my blood pressure, however, It’s strange to feel a chemical change in your body, especially when it was such a low dose.

My Doctor’s Note/Pass for One Month

This is the more difficult question about how long will I be on Lisinopril.

I received a follow up email from the doctor about my lab results and what he noticed in it. He said at one point that he wanted to put me back on the cholesterol medicine or I would have to get onto a strict diet and workout plan.

I have a scheduled follow up appointment within 2 months and I don’t want to hear the words, “I’m going to have to up your Lisinopril dose and put you on cholesterol medication because you did not make enough healthy changes in your life.”

Ready, Set, GO!

Now, I’m looking at myself in the mirror, or more appropriately, the reflection in my monitor, and asking myself…..”how serious am I about staying off medication and getting off the one prescription I am on?”

 

 

 

I Met with my Doctor Today and We Talked about Blood Pressure

My Doctor

I finally kept my appointment for my annual physical yesterday. I was not looking forward to that. It wasn’t because I don’t like being poked and prodded. I didn’t want to see my doctor because I wanted nothing to do with the blood pressure discussion and the follow up prescription fight.

Medicine

I Won the Fight!

Well, that’s not completely true. Maybe I was looking for a prescription drug fight but that’s not what I got.

I have been seeing this doctor for about 20 years. He has seen me when I was younger and more fit and he has seen me overweight after having a stroke so there’s not much for me to hide. He also knows me personally and has all kinds of history about me over the years.

The fight didn’t end up with someone all bloodied on the floor and me walking out of the office with my hands raised in the air due to my incredible victory.

Maybe next time.

Our talk was about – Can I Get Off Blood Pressure Medicine?

The exam went on like all of them. We started with the weigh in and the blood pressure test, which wasn’t that bad.Doctor

Next, we proceeded to the next phase of my standing on one leg, closing my eyes, touching my nose and reciting the alphabet backwards.

Oh wait, that is a different story.

The physical test revealed no residual effects from the stroke except my Doctor said I may still have a little slurred speech, which I promptly corrected, with a mumble, that I have been accused of mumbling my entire life and that I need to open my mouth and speak clearly.

Well, that ended that slurred, mumbled speech discussion.

So, we finally get to the part of the exam I hate with a passion. No, it wasn’t the exam that no one wants to get. It was the blood pressure prescription discussion

I started off the discussion with a plea. “Doc, I know I have to lose weight and that blood pressure is a critical indicator of my likelihood to have another stroke but will you please help me to get control of my blood pressure without medication?”

That was pretty much word for word what I said. What happened next kind of surprised me. He pulled up a chair and sat right in front of me and said, “You have to dramatically reduce your salt intake, get on a healthy diet, and you have to lose weight.” He then went on to tell me that he will work with me and schedule another checkup in 60 days but he wanted to put me on a light dose of blood pressure medicine so I wouldn’t have a stroke while I was losing weight.

The Doctor also told me, “I don’t want you on medication either, and let’s lose weight, exercise more, eat healthy and then I will take you off the medication, but, you have to do your part and lose the weight and change your diet.”

How could I argue with that?

I Left the Doctor’s Office with Optimism

Have you ever gone to see a doctor and left optimistic?

On a side note, my Doctor did tell me I was brave to come into the office during a challenging flu season.Optimistic Man

I understand that beating this high blood pressure issue really is my problem and not the Doctor’s. We all want the doctor to fix us sometimes and taking that little pill sure is convenient but that is only treating the symptom.

I was exhilarated that the doctor really was genuinely concerned about my health and my family history but he understood my concerns plus he saw the real root problem.

The Root Problem is Me!

I would, most likely, never have to talk to the doctor about many of my health problems if I maintained a healthy weight, ate right and worked out regularly.

I have written in several articles here that we need to take simple steps to improve our health and that I’m still working on these health issues of mine.

I will get this under control and will not give up, ever!

Sharing My Doctor’s Visit

I really wanted to share my visit to the doctor and the subsequent prescription medication discussion because I want you to see that Doctor’s are not perfect, but most of them want to see you get healthy.

The onus is on us to be real with our doctor about what we want and don’t want, but more importantly, we need to show our doctor we mean business and work with him/her to improve our health.

My next doctor’s appointment is in 59 days. Will I be sincere and work hard to make the improvements he wants to see?

I will let you know in two months.

 

 

 

 

Are You a Caregiver – You Understand the Difficulty of Earning Enough Money

Are you stuck at home? Do you have problems getting around or are you a caregiver that cannot leave for significant Laptop for Home Businessamounts of time? Have you ever asked yourself “how can I make money with an online home based business?” Can you have a business without having a product to sell? The answer is YES!

Is Social Security Enough?

My Mom and Dad have learned the hard way, more than once in life.

They have no retirement. We were poor growing up so we didn’t have much. Later in life they started making more money but they never put much of their money away, so when tragedy hit, they only had one option.

Social Security

Wouldn’t it be nice to not be in that situation?

So, here my parents are, both of them on social security. My Dad could still be working and making more money but he has to be with my mother 24/7 which leaves him out of a job he can leave the house for. There are millions of people like my Mom and Dad all over the world. What are they to do?Bills

I have talked with my Dad many times about his finances. My Dad is really good with money and he does a great job of making his money last but they do have to sacrifice. They wear old, worn out clothes, they don’t have internet, they had to get rid of the car because they couldn’t afford the insurance, gas and maintenance expenses.

The received a $40 dollar cost of living raise from Social Security one year, but it was such a strange “coincidence” that their health insurance rose by exactly $40 within the same month. Then, some government official has the nerve to tell them that the cost of living hasn’t gone up. Ha! Don’t make me laugh.

So, my Dad is sitting at home taking care of my Mother and has no ability to make any extra income. Well, he does wash windows for some of the neighbors but that just gives him enough money to plant a few flowers outside their back patio.

Is there another solution for millions of people in the same situation.

Yes!

But wait. Aren’t’t there a lot of scams out there?

We Have All Been Scammed

So, you have kept reading so far but you’ve been scammed before and we all know that con artist like to prey on the elderly. Well, I’ve been scammed also and I want none of that myself.Scams

How can you tell you are being scammed?

  • Did the letter, phone call or text come out of nowhere?
  • Are they talking about a lottery?
  • Did they ask you to send some money?
  • Did they ask you to pay to start the program?
  • Did they tell you that there’s only a few spots remaining?
  • Did they tell you to keep it a secret?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?

The real problem here is that many seniors are not making enough money to make ends meet. We all want to believe that we may just get lucky and things will begin improving.

We all know the answer here. If it is too good to be true, then it is! There’s no “probably is.”

The only solution is to find a real opportunity that you will be able to work on at home and also realize that it will take some time and will require some patience. So, here’s the answer.

Wait! I Have Questions!Questions

  1. I don’t have anything to sell – You don’t need to have a product, in fact it’s best if you don’t with all of your responsibilities.
  2. I don’t know anything about working online – That’s great. Millions of people started out just like you.
  3. I don’t understand all the new lingo – That’s ok, neither did I.
  4. I’m not good with the internet – Is it too late to learn something new?

Usually, many of the questions are asked out of fear or lack of knowledge about a subject. Well, maybe it’s time to start working on something you are unfamiliar with because your current situation does not offer much hope for a better future.

The Opportunity is Wealthy Affiliate

I learned about Wealthy Affiliate from my son. He told me it was a great opportunity and I responded with “it’s most likely a scam.” He kept talking about this Wealthy Affiliate, so I decided I needed to look into it more for his sake. I needed some more support to show him how it was a get rich scheme, ponzi scheme or an outright scam.

LearningLet’s cut to the bottom line. Wealthy Affiliate turned out to be a great opportunity to earn money online. You can join for free and take part of the training course for free. They give you one week with unlimited access to the site and the community to experience the training and the community.

It took me two days to understand that Wealthy Affiliate was about quality training, building a website “For Free”, learning about how to create quality content and how to get ranked on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Let’s be honest here. Wealthy Affiliate may not be for everyone because it does require some work on your part and patience to let things grow and become successful.

But, aren’t you stuck at home with no way to make additional income? Are you willing to look at an opportunity “For Free” to see if it may work for you?

You need some hope. You need something to look forward to. You need something to help you engage with the outside world. Isn’t it about time you start something and take one simple, “Free” step?

The Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine Review – Holistic Medicine

Pragmatic Medicine

Product: Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine & Holistic Medicine ReviewEncylcopedia

Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Size of Container: (11.2 ounces)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

(Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine, Product Overview

My Dad has been a stroke caregiver for my Mother for seven years now. He has been diligently looking for healthy alternative to prescription medicine since he was thrust into the caregiver role.

There were several times in his first several years as a stroke caregiver where medicine and the type of care provided nearly created significant health issues, primarily for my Mother, and then also for my Dad.

My Dad’s health issues centered around some blood pressure and cholesterol medicine along with the stress of being a 24/7 caregiver.

It took several years, but through some helpful advice and some trial and error they have been able to be off most of the medication they were started on and have now found natural vitamins and supplements that they are adamant about them saving their health and most likely their lives.

First Hand Experience at a Semi-Retirement Community

My parents live in a semi-retirement community, yet I would personally hesitate to call it that. Most of the senior citizens there have significant health problems and are mainly there due to the proximity to the hospital and rehabilitation facilities plus the condos are built solely for handicap individuals.

My Dad sees and hears day after day of friends that live near him struggling with mental and physical issues due to health problems. Most of these people are on massive amounts of medication.

Retirement Community

The insight into “excessive” medication or “negative side effects” of multiple medications started about one year after my Mother’s stroke. One of the first problems they discovered was the lower body muscles “locking up” or “stiffening up” due to the cholesterol medication. They tried several types of medication and finally found one, and at a lower dose, that seemed to have no negative side effects.

It was about this time that my doctor prescribed cholesterol medication to me and it didn’t take long for me to experience the same muscle “stiffening” in my lower body as my parents had described. I have been active all my life but within one week of starting one of the cholesterol medications, it became extremely difficult for me to even walk a “half” of one mile.

I bring this one example up that both my parents and I had to show some of the issues people, on some medications, experience. The other issue is that many of these people are not just on two or three prescribed medications. They may be on 10 or more.

I am no doctor. I am an engineer and a stroke survivor myself, and that much medication just sends warning signs all through me.

Holistic Medicine

Partial Definition: holistic medicine looks at an individual’s overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-beingNatural Remedies before recommending treatment.

This brings us to the present time after my Dad tried several approaches, working with doctors, to “limit” the amount of prescribed medication they were taking.

After trying many doctors and health professionals near them and some on-line, they found one medical source they claim “changed” their lives.

Health Alert by Dr. Bruce West

They finally found a doctor that looks at your overall wellness, natural remedies, vitamins and supplements to keep people away from prescribed medication. He recommends a book that has a holistic approach to health and you can find it at the link below:

Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine Volumes I and II

You Need to Look for Yourself, Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine

We all need doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other health providers but it is all of our “own” responsibilities to ask questions and do our very best to find ways to stay healthy or improve our health so the prescribed medicine will find less application in our lives.

Do yourself and your family a favor and start eating healthy, become more active as a family, take natural supplements and vitamins and look forward to a more healthy future.

Healthy Future
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about the Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine and leave a comment below.

Stroke Education for Caregivers – Caregivers Need Help Too

My father has become a full time caregiver since my mother had a serious stroke about 7 years ago. He has beenBook tornado diligent about leaning how to take care of my mother through this time but there were many days he didn’t know who to turn to or what sources to read. I have spent some time with my dad lately to find out what worked for him and my mother and most of the information in this article comes from his practical experience. This is His stroke education for caregivers.

This is advice from someone in the trenches who has found a way to keep both he and his wife healthy, out of the hospital and has kept my mom out of a nursing home.

The Night of My Mother’s Massive Stroke

I remember getting that call late at night from my sister. She lives near my parents so my Dad had called for her help right after calling 911. My sister told me that my mother was being rushed to the hospital and they thought it may be another stroke.

Hospital HallwayMy mother’s first several strokes, decades ago, were considered light strokes which she was able to recover from. This stroke was different.

I made the 4-hour drive in record time and I remember walking into my mother’s room and seeing her within 6 hours of the initial stroke. I remember talking with her and hearing the nurse talking about how they were going to run several more tests and keep her there “to keep an eye on her.”

My mother’s speech was fine at that time and then a second stroke hit her again right there while I was standing in the hallway right outside her door. I believe that is the point were my Dad’s long journey into the caregiver world really began.

One and a Half Months in Rehab

What I am about to write is not meant to be critical of the medical staff that treated my mother after this stroke. This is just my father’s recollection of what happened and how things transpired as he struggled to learn how to care for my mother.

My mother stayed at the hospital’s heart unit for about one week and then was transferred to a long term rehabilitation center connected to the hospital were she spent the next month and a half.

Times were tough for my dad at the hospital but I don’t think everything really settled in until he started seeing her recovery process at the rehabilitation center. He was able to stay with her there much of the time and had access to all the medical staff and physical therapist as he started to learn the real extent of what the massive stroke had done to my mother.

Rehabilitation
This first month was spent watching the rehabilitation staff work with my mother to discover what speech issues they were dealing with, the mental impacts of the stroke and to fully understand how quickly she was recovering and to what extent she may not recover.

This was a stressful time for my Dad but one of hope for a speedy recovery. My Mother and Father had always spent a lot of time in prayer and this remained the same for them there in the rehabilitation center.

My Dad asked a lot of questions and had a lot of information sent his way even though he may not have remembered it all. We always said my Dad was “hard of hearing” but he really was doing his best to understand this.

The month and a half was about up and the insurance company told the hospital that they were not paying for any more of the rehabilitation and that she wasn’t showing enough improvement. I remember my Dad being pretty upset at this as my mother really needed some additional specialized treatment from the rehabilitation staff. Well, this is a subject for another time and not one to get mad about once again.

It was just amazing to hear the doctor say that the insurance company was dictating how long she could stay even though it was the staff’s recommendation that she needed to stay longer. Maybe I should get off this subject.

My Dad’s First Month As a Caregiver

Maybe I should get to the point of this article. This is about my Dad’s journey to becoming a great caregiver for my mother and really stepping up to the plate and becoming the loving husband he was always meant to be. I must add here that my Dad’s love for my Mother and his dedication to her has surprised everyone in the family. My parents have been married for over 50 years and have always loved each other but this stroke put everything in a completely different perspective.

He learned about being a caregiver through “hard knocks.” He said he really didn’t learn that much from the doctor’s but he did agree that every stroke is different so he wasn’t blaming them. Most of his caregiver knowledge came from the rehabilitation center and through learning at home.Caregiver

He learned really quickly that stroke patients need a lot of fluids. My mom passed out at one point and my dad learned from the paramedics that she needed twice as much water as he had been giving her.

Another time the nurse noticed my Mom’s eyes looking “glassy” and recommend that my Dad get her medication adjusted.

A lot of my Dad’s caregiver education came from their continued long term rehabilitation at the Myers Center there in Springfield, Missouri. The staff has been a huge help to both of my parents. This is also the location were my dad was able to attend caregiver classes, for free, and learned a lot from other people who were going through the same things he was dealing with.

My Dad told me he wouldn’t wish what he had to go through as a caregiver on his worst enemy. No one can even come close to understanding what a caregiver goes through unless you have been in their shoes. My Dad told me that about 90% to 95% of the caregivers he knows have left their partner and put them in a nursing home. This isn’t a comment to disrespect caregivers, it’s more of a reality check on how hard it is to take care of someone full time. This has been challenging for my Dad to work with my Mother, now turn the tables and ask yourself if my Mother could even physically take care of my Dad if she was the caregiver.

My Dad spent a lot of time reading magazines, talking to other caregivers, and the rehabilitation staff. He had signed up for several mail order supplements and programs to help stroke victims, many of which he returned and got his money back. He finally found a few sources He and my Mother really love and trust.

One doctor that he swears by (and I assure you that my Dad doesn’t swear) is the Health Alert by Docter Bruce West. This is one of the doctor’s that puts the emphasis on health and supplements and wants to get people off their medication.

Dr. Bruce West
One thing he has learned from Dr. West is that Cod Liver Oil is important to helping with high blood pressure. They are taking several supplements to help with their blood pressure but one thing my Dad is always warning me about now is to not buy the “junk” in the stores. “You need to find companies that make the really healthy stuff.” That’s about as “medical” as you will hear my Dad get.

Through this time he as seen the need to be aware of how their prescribed medication is affecting them. He has had to ask doctor’s several times to change the medication, due to negative side effects. A nurse once “whispered” to him while at his home, when out of earshot of another medical staff member, that they need to do their best to get off the medicine and never be on more than three medications at one time.

I will be writing more on caregiver resource in the near future but suffice it to say here is that all caregivers need to research for themselves what is needed for the one they are giving care to because every situation is different. My Dad just want’s to warn people that “the medication is killing you” and that he thinks that many of the elderly deaths are caused by the medication and not just old age or accidents. He believes that the causes of deaths are attributed to other things when many times the death is due to things like kidney failure which can be traced back to the medication.

Once again, please remember that this is not a professional’s opinion, only the opinion of one caregiver who has been living this “challenging life” for more than 7 years now.

7 Years Later – How Has My Dad Made It Work?

One thing my Dad was emphatic about is that you need to find a doctor who will “really” work with you and try to help get Medicationyou off medication. My Dad said that “the medication was killing us.” That’s a strong statement but this comes from someone who has done all he can to improve both of their health and has a desire to live a long and healthy life free of medication.

My Dad started to sum up the long road to recovery and improving their health. He said “when it finally got to Life and Death, they realized they had to make a change.” He told me, “don’t wait until it’s too late. You need to make the changes now so you don’t find yourself in our situation.”

My Dad also added in a parting shot to me that “sodas are dynamite to your health.” That was not meant to be positive.

I would like to give you a link to a great resource on AARP. They have a quick summary of websites and phone numbers that caregivers and family members may find helpful.

RESOURCES CAREGIVERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

My Final Thoughts for You and Your Family

Caregivers may have the most difficult job in the world. They do not get enough credit for all the things they have to do and no one really understands what they are going through.

My personal recommendation is that we all should do more to help take care of our families and help relieve those who are the primary caregivers. They need a break and some kind of vacation. It may not be much but even the smallest things can help.

I will leave you with this last thought.

My Dad can’t get away from my mother for more than about 2 hours but what we have done is for me to find time to come and visit them and wake up really early to head over to a restaurant together for breakfast. This is just a nice quiet time for my Dad to relax, drink some coffee, and just enjoy some quiet time were all he has to do is relax and enjoy is breakfast. This may not seem like much to most of us, but this is something he really looks forward to.

Breakfast
Oh, and we always take some strawberry crepes back to my mother so she can also enjoy a wonderful breakfast.

Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit Review – Squeeze Balls for Stroke Patients

Product: Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit ReviewGaiam Hand Therapy Kit

Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit, Product Overview

Have you ever felt like your grip was weak or maybe you’re recovering from a stroke and you just needed something to help you get your strength and coordination back?

The Gaiam Hand Therapy Kit may be just what you need to consider. It includes a set of three color coded balls with varying amounts of resistance. An exercise guide comes in the box that shows you several types of exercises you can perform which will help strengthen your fingers, hands and forearms.

Here are some Typical Review Comments from CustomersExercise Guide

  • My hands felt much better
  • My hand strength started to increase
  • Great price
  • They help with arthritis
  • They help me deal with stress better

Positives

  • Three stiffness levels for individual needs
  • Full color exercise guide included
  • Helps strengthen hands and forearms
  • Great value for the price
  • Prevents stiffness
  • Relieves joint pain

Negatives

  • You can overwork your hands so talk to your doctor or physical therapist about how often to exercise your hands.
  • You need to keep them clean as they will pick up things like dog hair.

They Really Do Help, Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit

There were many days after my stroke when I was looking for something to help with my hand dexterity and strength. I remember my right arm and right leg just not working correctly. It was nice to have something I could keep close by and used to work my hands out when I was bored or knew I needed to get some exercises in.

I have also watched my mother struggle in her stroke rehabilitation and having something for her to work with was even more critical as her stroke was more severe. Her arm mobility and strength was greatly reduced but I have watched her over many years continue to use these to help here. She may not be making great improvements but I believe tools like the Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit are helping her to at least not lose the strength and mobility she currently has

I strongly recommend that anyone pick up this hand therapy kit as it will help people with physical issues and those that are completely healthy but may want to relieve some stress.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about the Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit and please leave a comment below.

Squeeze Ball Exercises for Stroke Patients – I Need a Squeeze Ball

So you’ve had a stroke and one of your arms has lost some mobility. What are you going to do? Don’t forget the easySqueeze Ball things to start with that doesn’t cost much money. Ask someone to get a squeeze ball that will help you strengthen your hand.

This is so inexpensive but you will have all kinds of time when you can pull that little ball out and try to strangle it. I don’t mean to be sick but you may need some emotional support for you to focus your anger, out through your hands, on to that cute little ball.

Here are Some Squeeze Ball Exercises for Stroke Patients

I know that you are going to be getting or have already gotten advice, suggestions or orders for you to complete certain exercises on a regular basis and that is exactly what you need to do. Consult with your physician and/or physical therapist.

Now, just in case they haven’t told you about this adorable little smiley face that needs to have its face roughed up, here are some great hand exercises you can use right in the comfort of your own home.

Many of the exercise below were taken from an article in Flint Rehab.

  • Hold the squeeze ball in your palm and squeeze it as hard as you can. Hold for a few seconds then release. Repeat 10 toWorking the Ball 15 times on each hand. Do this exercise two to three times a week, but rest your hands for 48 hours in between sessions.
  • Squeeze the ball with your fingers and thumb but keep your fingers straight. Squeeze and release.
  • Pinch the ball with your fingers and keep the thumb extended.
  • Place your hands out flat with the ball in your palm and then press the ball with your thumb only.
  • Keep your hand flat and roll the ball up and down your palm by flexing and extending your thumb.
  • Place the ball on a table and place your hand on top of it. Then, while keeping the hand flat, roll the ball from the base of your palm to your fingertips.
  • Place the ball on a table and place your hand on top of it. Then, push your palm down on the squeeze ball and then let it back up.
  • Roll the ball between your fingers starting at your thumb and index finger then roll it between your fingers toward your pinkie then return it back to your thumb and index finger.
  • Lay your hand flat and keep your fingers straight. Use your thumb to roll the ball in a circle on your palm.
  • Place the ball in between two fingers (pick any two fingers), then squeeze and release.
  • Lay your hand flat and keep your fingers straight. Use your thumb to push the ball side to side across the width of your palm.
  • Hold the squeeze ball between your index finger and middle finger then press your thumb into the ball and release.
  • Place the squeeze ball on a table then push on the top of the squeeze ball with your thumb and all of your fingers and then release.

There are many other types of hand exercises for stroke patients but I’m going to attempt to keep these article focused on one topic. I will cover other exercise in a future article.

Keep the Squeeze Ball Close By

The squeeze ball is easy to carry with you and is convenient to use if you have some down time. Squeezing a ball can Weight Traineralso get your mind off your situation at times. You don’t even need a health problem to get great benefits from this.

I have heard many people say in my life that you need to give your muscles a chance to relax and re-build, which I don’t disagree with, but I also don’t think you need to wait 48 hours between exercises or any particular amount of time. You should be able to work your hands out any time you desire.

This next story is just one of personal experience and I just put it before you to get you to think about your exercises and all the opinions that will come at you.

I remember playing football when younger and all the times in the weight room. We worked out different body parts on different days and made sure we gave our muscles time to rest and grow or strengthen but I will never forget one little guy that everyone was afraid of.

This little guy ended up being the nose guard on defense. He was right in the middle of these huge guys with massive muscles, but this guy wasn’t afraid of anyone. This may have been partly his personality or the way he was raised but there was more to it than that.

Strong ManThis guy worked on a farm throwing bales of hay back before we had all the fancy round hay bailing machines. He worked all summer throwing thousands and thousands of bales and he evidently wasn’t listening to any sports trainers telling him to rest 48 hours before he threw some more hay.

This guy built the strongest, smallest looking muscles that were wirery and by gosh, STRONG. He was so strong he could beat any of the big guys in arm wrestling and many or them were almost twice his size. How could this little guy be so strong and so effective among giants?

The answer, in my humble, non-scholarly opinion, was repetition. He had no choice but to work hard every day without a break. Maybe he got one day off a week, and maybe his rest was sleeping at night but he built “real” strength by working his body, all the time.

Update: 02/06/2018

I would like to reiterate here that you should consult your physician or physical therapist before extensive use of hand therapy exercises. 

I bring this up for you to not be afraid of using that little squeeze ball to your hearts content. You may want to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about this, which doesn’t hurt my feelings, as I am not a doctor. I am just a stroke survivor who looks for any way possible to improve my life and those of you who choose to listen.

Beach Sunrise

Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper Review – How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

Food Chopper

Product: Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper ReviewFood Chopper

Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Size of Container: 9 1/4″ height, 3 1/4″ diameter

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper, Product Overview

Have you ever started chopping some vegetables with a knife and stopped after sweating, with your hands aching because of all the chopping? Then you remembered that you had a handy, easy to use food chopper in the cabinet right next to you. I think we sometimes just enjoy doing things the hard way.

The Pampered Chef food chopper is a lightweight, easy to use and easy to clean food chopper.

BladesThe chopper has a flexible cap that is great for storage and also allows you to keep small quantities of food enclosed for chopping. It has a clear plastic casing that allows you to watch while you chop. The Pampered Chef’s food chopper has a unique stainless steel blade that rotates with every plunge and is great at chopping consistently. The more you chop, the finer the results. The food chopper is simple to disassemble and perfect for washing in the dishwasher.

 

You can click on the link below for a quick preview of the Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper in action. Scroll down to the section “Related Video Shorts”

Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper Video

Food Chopper Video

Using the Pampered Chef food chopper cut my meal preparation time in half over chopping with a knife. Maybe I’m slow at chopping with a knife but cooking became much easier with this food chopper.

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables & Why a Food Chopper Helps

Kid Eating an AppleThis all started with me trying to find a way to get my kids to eat vegetables!

I discovered a simple recipe with pasta, chicken breast and a lot of vegetables. I chose a lot of different types of vegetables I knew my kids were “OK” with and then “kind of” snuck in the vegetables. They first wrinkled up their faces and said “no way” but then I convinced them to just try one small bite.

That was the end of that story. My kids realized that Dad was not always trying to be sneaky but had their best interest in mind, like stuffing vegetables down their throats.

So, now that you see the dilemma and my solution to getting my kids to eat vegetables, the next problem came with chopping up all of those vegetables. That’s where the Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper came to my rescue.

Here are a list of positives and negatives I have found from experience and with other reviews on-line.

PositivesNuts

  • Easy to use
  • Great for chopping nuts & vegetables
  • High quality materials
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Easy to clean
  • Great for washing in the dishwasher

Negatives

  • The groves on the plastic that hold the handle to the plastic case may eventually break. This is our second Pampered Chef food chopper and we absolutely love it but we had to replace our first chopper after 3 or 4 years. We did not hesitate to buy a replacement as it is a great kitchen tool for us.

The Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper Reduced My Time in The Kitchen Substantially

I normally wouldn’t be so bold about making such a statement but it is absolutely true.

It’s great when you can easily grab something close by you in the kitchen and it’s ready in moments to make your life easier. Then, when you’re done, you just pull a few pieces apart, place it in the dishwasher and you’re all finished.

=> Buy the Pampered Chef Food Chopper Here <=

I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about the Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper and please leave a comment below.

Is Sauerkraut Good For You? – Sauerkraut is a Superfood

Have you ever heard anyone tell you to eat more SAUERKRAUT to improve your health? Guess what? Sauerkraut is considered by many to be a super food. Get past thinking of sauerkraut as a garnish for a fatty sandwich, hot dog or for bratwurst. Start thinking about how you can include this more in some healthy meals that you never considered before.

So what exactly is sauerkraut?

What is sauerkraut?

Believe it or not, sauerkraut is chopped cabbage that has been pickled in brine and allowed to ferment until sour.Sauerkraut

Does that not make your mouth water? Ha, not for most of us.

Would you be surprised that sauerkraut did not originate in Germany. The Chinese were the first ones to develop it. Sauerkraut became a staple of the German diet in the 1600s and soon made it’s way to North America.

Sauerkraut is traditionally served with pork, sausage, steamed potatoes or dumplings.

How is sauerkraut a potential super food when it is typically served with fattening foods?

Sauerkraut is a super food – No Matter What it is Served With

Sauerkraut is still good for you even though most people think of having it with less than healthy foods. Here is why sauerkraut is considered a super food by many. An article by AARP sums up why sauerkraut can be so beneficial and I will only list some of the reasons here:

  1. Sauerkraut contains many vitamins
    1. Vitamin C
    2. Vitamin K
    3. Calcium
    4. Potassium
    5. Phosphorus
    6. The fermentation process makes the nutrients easier for you body to absorb.
  2. Sauerkraut boost you digestive system
    1. It contains probiotics, especially when made at home (or not cooked)
      1. Has been shown to lessen gas (not sure about that claim), bloating, diarrhea and constipation.Weight Loss
  3. Sauerkraut may help you lose weight
    1. It is a low calorie food
    2. It contains a lot of fiber
  4. Sauerkraut may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
    1. Probiotics has been shown to affect people’s memory
  5. Sauerkraut is good for your heart
    1. It can reduce cholesterol
    2. It can reduce triglyceride levels
    3. The fiber in sauerkraut may get rid of the cholesterol on the walls of arteries and blood vessels.

One note of caution is that sauerkraut is fermented with salt which makes it high in sodium. Look for sauerkraut with low sodium or find a recipe that will have less sodium that you can make at home.

So, how can we make sauerkraut even more healthy for us by not serving it with hot dogs and bratwurst?

Healthy Meals with Sauerkraut

I have recovered from a stroke and I am doing my best to eat healthy and exercise more so the idea of benefiting from Bowl of sauerkrautsauerkraut is interesting but I need to find more healthy things to serve it with.

I learned right away in several diet programs that skinless chicken breast was one of the “go to” proteins. There are many healthy proteins but this is one of my favorites. One of the things I like to keep around the house is healthy foods and snacks for when hunger hits. I also remove most of the unhealthy items so I am less tempted. I have a family so I am not allowed to remove all unhealthy foods.

Every week or twice a week I will bake four skinless chicken breasts and place them in a sealed container. I keep some of my favorite sauerkraut on hand plus some fruits and vegetable. It never fails that life happens and nothing healthy is planned for dinner or I get a late night craving. When this happens I choose a healthier option than processed foods or a quick trip to the local fast food drive thru. Here’s the simple thing I do:Chicken Breast

  • Cut up one cooked chicken breast into bite size pieces.
  • Place approximately 1 cup of sauerkraut over the chicken.
  • Microwave the meal for 2.5 minutes

Presto, I have a healthy meal that keeps me satisfied for hours.
I won’t go into all the foods to eat with sauerkraut but here are a few websites with healthy sauerkraut recipes:

Please don’t blindly start chowing down on sauerkraut.

Be Careful with Sauerkraut

Maybe you have read this far and now you’re ready to get big plate of sauerkraut with some other healthy foods. Stop and read the rest of this first.

Sauerkraut has some side effects and other things you should be aware of. Here is a short list:

  • 1st, sauerkraut will lose many of it’s health benefits if you cook it or buy it in the store. It may be best to find your local health food store and look for a low sodium and uncooked sauerkraut that still has probiotics.
  • 2nd, sauerkraut is usually high in sodium so just be aware of this.
  • 3rd, there are some initial side effects you need to know so it’s best to introduce smaller portions of sauerkraut initially and then build up when your body is used to it. Some information below is referenced from an article at Livestrong.:
    • Intestinal gas and bloating
    • diarrhea and abdominal cramps
    • dietary imbalance

PainI can attest to some of these side effects. I took off at a sprint and dumped a huge amount of sauerkraut on my grilled chicken breast. Oh my! What a mistake! Remember that sauerkraut is also high in fiber so that is part of the problem when you’re not used to a lot of fiber in your diet. I remember the first week of eating a significant amount of sauerkraut. I was bloated, had a lot of gas and was constantly sitting on the toilet begging for mercy. All I was thinking was, “who needs an intestinal flush or a cleanser when all you have to do is eat sauerkraut!”

Wow! I’m lucky those days are gone as my body has adjusted to the sauerkraut. Please keep this in mind and start off with a small amount of sauerkraut and build up to more.

Sauerkraut is not just for the ballpark

Reading an article on sauerkraut may have been the last thing you imagined reading today. The thing is, there are so many healthy foods that many of us don’t consider eating. It’s good to read and research new things. If you want to improve your health by eating better and exercising more, it’s best to just take one thing at a time.

You may find that sauerkraut is not something you ever want to eat and that’s fine; but keep your eyes open and look for new things to incorporate into your life that may bring incredible health benefits.

Beauty

 

 

 

 

Exercises for Stroke Victims – Should You be Doing That?

One of the common messages I have seen in my research is that stroke victims need to exercise. But what kind of Exerciseexercises for stroke victims?

That’s a difficult question to answer and actually not even possible for me to answer as every stroke victim is different. You may have fully recovered from your stroke and then others may have long term physical problems that limit their exercise options.

The primary thing you need to do is talk to your doctor, physical therapist or healthcare provider and follow their advice.

Slow and Steady or HIIT

For this article I am going to be speaking to people that have fully recovered physically from their stroke or mostly recovered.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. So, my question has to do with, is it better to take a long slow walk, for example, or spend 20 minutes doing interval sprints on a treadmill?

HIIT Training

One of the things I have already discovered in my research is that most recovering stroke victims do not get near the amount of exercise that we need. The other thing to consider is that most stroke patients are older and will not be as active as young people.

Another thing that keeps coming up to me in my personal life is that as I get older, I don’t want to workout as intense as I did when I was younger. But this is really the crux of my question here. Slow walk or intense speed walking or even more intense intervals of walking and running. This is just one example and this can be applied to any form of exercise.

I came across some research in NCBI called “High-intensity interval training in stroke rehabilitation.” There seems to be HIIT Trainingsome support for increasing our intensity in workouts over just taking it easy. This has led me farther down this path of HIIT training. I am well aware of HIIT training but mostly when it is used for younger folks, either athletes or those who are trying to drop weight quickly, but what about using it for people recovering from a stroke?

This is where I come back to personal observation and experience. There are many people more qualified than I am to research and present their findings on an academic level. My focus here is from a practical stand point. Does it make sense and does it fall in the category of common sense? To many times I think we look for some doctor or professor to write some scholarly article before we give our opinion but too often, experience and common sense gets left out of the picture when it should be front and center.

My Common Sense Approach to Exercise

Let’s start with a couple of ground rules. First, lets understand that I’m probably acting out similar to other stroke victims and let’s all agree that I am not the resident expert in this field.

WalkingMy exercise over the last four years has been more of the slow and steady type. I have found that I would rather take a long walk than go hit the gym hard or even just do interval training in the neighborhood with walking and running.

Now let’s all agree here that walking is a great form of exercise and if that’s all you’re doing than you are still doing better than most of the population.

The problem I have found is my energy levels are dropping and my metabolism also, among many other things. This is partly due to age but how much is due to the stroke and relegating myself to a slower, easier lifestyle.

This may be fine for you but again, I am bringing this back to my experience.

Walking regularly will help anyone lose weight who is also on a healthy eating plan so I don’t want to take away from that. But, there is something else I am noticing. I am not as strong, flexible or energetic as I used to be. Now, I can just blame it all on age but I’m not so sure that’s all there is to it. I am 52, presently and I have notice plenty of 50 year olds who are still extremely active. My point here is that I believe I am giving in too much to the age issue when I still have a lot of energy and ability to remain active.

So, what am I going to do?

Working Out Like a Healthy 50-Year Old

I believe to many times I will give into the stroke victim approach and say, “well I need to take it easy, as I have had a stroke and I am getting older.”

Nonsense! I’m 50 years old but I’m not dead!

Alive

It’s time for us to be sensible about our lives and what we are capable of. Don’t act like you’re 20 years old again and get stupid with exercise, but then don’t go to the other extreme and act like you’re in a nursing home and can’t go to fast or you’ll knock someone over.

The sensible thing to do is, first consult your doctor or health professional to get their advice on what activities you should be involved in and at what intensity. Second, go ahead and take some nice long walks, especially with the one you love, but don’t leave out the more intense training sessions where you really get your heart pumping.

It would sure be nice some day if someone would pick up your story and point to you as a great example of someone who stayed active, healthy and lived a long and rewarding life.

I haven’t given you a definitive answer here other than to consult with your medical professionals and stop thinking that you have to really take it easy. Your situation may require you to take it easy and if it does, then just be consistent with your exercising. However, if you can do more, than stop procrastinating, or thinking your too old.

Your most likely not to old. So be smart and consistent and go live a little.

What is the Best Way to Reduce Cholesterol?

High cholesterol can be a major risk factor for strokes. Cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries, reducing Clogged Arteryblood flow to the heart and brain. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is reduced or stopped. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients. High cholesterol can lead to a stroke. So, my question is “what is the best way to reduce cholesterol?”

We’ve all heard about it and many of us have been put on cholesterol medicine, but I want know what is the best way to reduce cholesterol naturally or through, diet, exercise, etc. I don’t just want to be told to take this pill. I want someone to point out all the ways to reduce cholesterol and let me make an educated decision, with my doctor.

Your Doctor’s Advice

DocterMost of us rely on our doctor’s, especially with more severe health problems like heart disease and stroke. I want to point out right away here that the choices made on how to reduce your cholesterol level needs to be made between you and your doctor. Tell the doctor if you are experiencing side effects to a prescription and be forthright with the medical staff if you want to pursue more natural means of reducing your cholesterol.

I have been in several situations where I was told they were going to put me on several prescriptions and I basically said “No!” I asked the doctor to work with me on monitoring my health more regularly and asked him to help me find other ways to improve my health without using medication.

I don’t want to be on prescription drugs the remainder of my life just because I have had a stroke.

Ways to Reduce High Cholesterol

Here is a list of several ways to reduce high cholesterol “without” medication:Fiber

  • Limit the use of saturated fats and trans fats
  • Include more fiber into your diet
  • Eat right
  • Eat more oats
  • Eat more barley and whole grain foods
  • Eat more foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acidsFish
  • Eat more beans, nuts, and seeds
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more eggplant and okra
  • Eat more apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits
  • Eat more soybeans and foods made from them
  • Add whey protein to your diet
  • Reduce sugars
  • Exercise
  • Lose excess weight

Some items in this list were found in an article from Health Harvard.

Let’s Focus in on the Best Ways to Reduce High Cholesterol

As you can see from the previous list, there are many natural ways to help us reduce high cholesterol and all of them are within our control. There are times when people need to go on cholesterol medicine but my focus here is to help find ways to do this naturally, in hopes that we never have to take a pill.

Here are the main things at the top of many lists on how to reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost your good cholesterol (HDL).Eat Healthy

  • Limit saturated fats and trans fats in your diet
  • Eat more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
  • Eat healthy
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to you diet
  • Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Increase soluble fiber
  • Lose weight

I’m About to get Into Trouble

I am not a doctor. I am only a stroke survivor.

There are so many ways to reduce high cholesterol and the opinions as to what are the best ways are many. Let’s do what I always recommend here and just simplify this a little.

We’re not trying to be perfect and claim that we are all going to make the changes overnight. We’re also not claiming to abide by every item on the lists above. The main theme here is to start with something simple and then add to it over time.

So here are Rick’s thoughts on the best way to lower high cholesterol:

  1. Start the process of eating healthy
  2. Cook with healthy fats
  3. Add more fruits and vegetables to you day
  4. Start eating more fish

Walking

If you will start “moving” towards these four items above then you will become more healthy and you will, most likely, have a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life.
 

What is the Number One Way to Reduce Blood Pressure?

The best way to reduce blood pressure is by losing excess weight. There are a lot of other factors that fall in line right behind this and there are different opinions as to what is the most important, but losing excess weight, eating right, and increasing your physical activity always seem to come in right at the top.

Weight Scale

The Best Way to Reduce Blood Pressure

Let me start by saying I am an engineer, not a health professional. I have just experienced a stroke and several other people in my family have as well.

I have done some research to help me bring some solid information to you but part of this is also based on my experience with high blood pressure. So, let’s get to the bottom line. My experience with high blood pressure has shown me that my weight gain or loss is directly connected to my blood pressure. I understand that everyone is different but my experience also falls in line with what the Mayo Clinic says about it. Now they don’t say weight loss is the number one way to reduce high blood pressure but it is #1 on their list followed by exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Let’s go through some of the top ways to reduce high blood pressure and then we’ll come back to weight loss at the end.

Top Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication

This list comes the Mayo Clinic article.Blood Pressure

  1. Lose extra pounds
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Eat a healthy diet
  4. Reduce sodium in your diet
  5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Cut back on caffeine
  8. Reduce your stress
  9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
  10. Get support

Why Can Weight Loss Reduce High Blood Pressure?

The Mayo Clinic, Heart.org, the Department of Health and Human Services, Harvard Medical School and many others Fit Personwill put obesity pretty high on the list of significant factors that can raise your blood pressure.

Blood pressure is known to rise and lower with your weight. Additional weight puts more pressure on your heart and has many other associated health problems. Being over weight can also cause diabetes in addition to high blood pressure.

You don’t have to look very far to understand that excess weight is a problem and for people with heart disease or those with a high risk of a stroke. No wonder the doctor and nurse will always talk to you about your diet and getting to a more desirable weight.

My Weight and High Blood Pressure

I started noticing the correlation between my weight and blood pressure in the mid 1990s. My blood pressure was getting a little out of control and my doctor impressed on me to do something about it. I was young enough at the time, mid 20s, that no one was concerned and they said it was ok for my blood pressure to be slightly elevated as I was an athlete and stayed active.

One day I started on a serious exercise program and it was amazing. My blood pressure went from around 140 over 85 to 125 over 80 within only about two weeks of working out hard. This exercise program was a combination of weight training and intense aerobic exercise but also included eating healthy.

Weight Training

I really can’t tell you how many times this happened over the course of 30 years that my blood pressure would start getting out of control and then I would begin a serious exercise program and “Immediately” I would have an incredible drop in blood pressure. Now, I will agree that I not only changed my activity level but I dramatically changed the way I ate and serious weight loss was always an immediate result and then my blood pressure improved literally overnight (a few weeks).

I remember on many occasions that the doctor would ask if high blood pressure was a problem in my family and my immediate answer was always an emphatic no! My blood pressure is directly connected to my weight.

I didn’t and still don’t today have the medical expertise to conduct research and write a peer reviewed article about the connection between weight and blood pressure but I can still stand here and shout from the roof tops that “WEIGHT IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO BLOOD PRESSURE,” and I would argue that with any scholar in the world.

My Final Thoughts

It’s true that everyone is different and I may get people that adamantly disagree and they may be absolutely correct.

My point will not be to argue with that person or argue about the finer points or the different factors that can affect blood pressure. My point will be to look someone in the eye who has extra weight to lose and do my best to impress upon them the importance of getting to a healthy weight and to not forget about the other things like nutrition, exercise, salt intake, processed foods, limiting alcohol, cutting back on caffeine, reducing stress, etc.

The goal here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is to help others reduce the risk of a stroke by natural methods and to stop relying on doctor’s and medication when your own education, determination and healthy choices can do the majority of the work for you.

Success

 

Take your future into your own hands and don’t start thinking about this after a stroke, like I did.

 

 

 

 

Stroke Prevention Nutrition – Can I Eat Meat?

I think I’m at risk of having a stroke or I just had one; can I eat meat?
Steak
 

 

 

 

 

Yes, you can eat meat but let’s break this down so it’ clear to all of us.

Say No to Red Meat – Or at Least, Most of the Time

You can have a steak, once in a while, but a juicy steak like the one pictured above, maybe once a month.

This is hard for me because I love steak, especially a rib eye steak. But I had a stroke so I can choose to ignore the advice from the medical professionals and dig in, or I can create a better and more healthy lifestyle that will extend my life and improve my quality of life.

What Kind of Meat Can I Eat?

This is what you’ve all been waiting for. The meats I can eat:Chicken Breast

  • Eat fish at least twice a week (fish high in Omega-3)
  • Eat lean meats
  • Eat Poultry
  • Eat other proteins that are not meat

The types of meats listed above are recommended by the Stroke Association, the Food Revolution, Harvard Medical School along with many other organizations or institutions.

I do recall one thing my vascular Neurologist told me when I was laying in the hospital bed after my stroke. He told me I needed to switch to mostly a fruit and vegetable diet, like the Mediterranean diet but he did add one glimmer of hope. He said “about once a month, I will allow myself to have a filet mignon” but I will eat healthy meats the remainder of the time and focus more on fruits and vegetables.

Filet Mignon
So once again, moderation is key and you don’t have to cut out everything you love. You just need to start making healthy changes and be characterized by eating healthy. I say characterized by because almost no one eats perfect all the time. There are situations in our life where we need some flexibility to live.

Below is a more extensive list of healthy meats you should be incorporating into your new lifestyle.

Eat Fish High in Omega 3

Fish that is high in Omega 3 from the Mayo Clinic:Fish Market

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Lake trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Albacore tuna
  • Halibut

Eat Lean Meat

Here are some lean cuts of meat that you should consider.Lean Meat

  • Sirloin
  • Tenderloin
  • Chuck
  • Round
  • Lamb tenderloin
  • Lamb loin chops
  • Lamb leg
  • Lean pork

When buying ground beef, select 90 percent or higher lean meat. It is best to choose meats labeled as “Choice” or “Select” instead of “Prime”, which usually has more fat.

Eat Poultry

Chose white meat. Ground chicken and turkey breast is best and look for 90 percent lean ground chicken or turkey. Here is a quick list of healthy poultry:Chicken Breast

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Skinless turkey breast

Protein other than meat

There are plenty of other healthy protein sources besides meat that you should start becoming familiar with. Again, start simple and easy by picking some of these you already like:Nuts

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Legumes (peas and lentils)
  • TofuEggs
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Low fat milks and cheeses
  • Low fat cottage cheese

There is a nice list of lean proteins on the Food Network you should check out.

This is a Lifestyle Change

Most of us probably grew up having meat, and most likely unhealthy cuts, at every meal. It may have been the primary staple in our diet. I know it was for me. I remember most every breakfast had to have some bacon or sausage on the plate.

But, as a stroke survivor, I realized that I needed to make better protein choices.

These choices actually begin by making fruits and vegetables the main portion on your plate while making the protein a side dish. That’s hard for many of us to overcome because what is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks, “what’s for dinner tonight?” It’s not dinner if meat isn’t the main player on the menu.

Now I know that some of you have already started to make this mind shift and lifestyle change, but for many of the rest of us, this is still an ongoing battle.

One of the things I keep mentioning in articles here is to “keep it simple” and “start with something easy.” I’m going to re-state that here again. Many of these lifestyle changes will take years to fully incorporate into your life. Don’t fret doing it all perfectly today, just take one step and start eating some healthy proteins you already like.

So, here’s my new motto…………”Keep it Simple and Enjoy the Ride Along the Way.”

The last part of the motto is for us all to realize we can be happy and satisfied while we’re on the journey and we don’t have to wait until we reach our destination.

What’s for dinner?

A Great Dinner
Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

I’m Laying in a Hospital Bed – What do I do After a Stroke?

Now all the fuss has died down and the doctor’s are finished with all of their tests. Your family is leaving the hospital to go Ambulancehome and get some rest. Everyone has been horrified at what has happened and what effects there may be on you and are asking question like “do you think they will fully recover.” The nurse leaves you alone and only your plus one is with you. Now you start asking yourself the same questions as you are trying to make your body move and fix your slurred speech. The question really then becomes, “what do I do after a stroke”.

So, What do You do After the Stroke?

Maybe I was a reaching there a little with this situation because I remember a lot of activity going on around me and people trying to give me instructions and educate me on how to eat better and on and on but guess what? I was struggling to remember anything and many times I would hear stuff and then watch it go right out the other side of my head. If it wasn’t for my wife, I wouldn’t know most of what was relayed to me over those two days.

Thinking about LifeThere will be a time, probably after leaving the hospital, when you will really get some quiet time and begin thinking about your future. Depending on the severity of your stroke the thoughts could vary wildly. My suggestion is to be positive about where you are heading. Don’t think about all the negative things. Focus on being alive and having an opportunity to encourage someone or maybe you want to finally do something you have always wanted to do and this stroke has caused you to slow down enough to change course in life, for the better.

My mom wrote me a letter a few days ago and she told me to remind everyone to always have a positive attitude. My mom had an incredible mother who was one of the most positive people I have ever met and that definitely rubbed off on my mom.

I can’t tell you everything is going to be perfect and you will have a full recovery. What I can tell you is that from my experience and my mother’s experience, being positive and having hope are two of the most important things you can have right now.Positive

I have fully recovered but my mom hasn’t. Do you want to guess who is the more positive person between the two of us is? Of course, it is my mother.

Great Advice

You will get a lot of great advice from medical professionals but I would like to leave you with three of the most important things you can immediately begin working on.

There are many other things to add to this list but these are really important and you don’t need a prescription or doctor’s permission to begin these.

Encourage Others

You may be asking me, “shouldn’t other people be encouraging me?” Well, yes, but if you can take your eyes off of yourself and think about how you can help others, your life will be greatly enriched.

Encourage
Consider beginning a journal and write all the things down you are going through. Don’t write them down to dwell on the negative but write them down with the hope to use your experience to help someone else.

I am not finished with my journey in life as I strive to become more healthy and reduce my risk of another stroke but no matter what happens, I want to help others to never have a stroke or to reduce their risk of a future stroke and to never take our eyes off of helping others no matter the situation we are in.

If you can do this, you will look back on your life and smile.

Happy Life

Start Walking After a Stroke – Your Blood Pressure Will Improve

High blood pressure is one of the leading factors that may lead to a future stroke. Your blood pressure will improve as you start walking. You will see a rise in your blood pressure after any exercise but as soon as you are physically able, start walking after a stroke. Studies show that regular exercise is important to reduce the risk of a stroke.

Walking

Walking isn’t Cool. Isn’t it Better to Run?

I can give you all kinds of information on the internet why walking is better than running but can we just stop and think about this for ourselves for a moment. Running may be fine for young people but those of us who are here reading this post are probably not young. No young person I know worries about having a stroke.

We’re talking about walking versus running for middle age to elderly folks.

What are the benefits of running:Running

  • Improves your health
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Relieves stress
  • Prevents disease
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves your mood

What are the negative effects of running:

  • Will limit the amount of muscle you can add
  • More likely to cause aches in your joints
  • There are studies that show potential heart issues after running a lot over many years
  • Injuries from hazards and from not stretching enough

What are the benefits of walking:Walking

  • Improves your health
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Relieves stress
  • Prevents disease
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves your mood
  • Strengthen your bones

What are the negative effects of walking:

  • Low intensity will equal limited results
  • Greater time will be required to burn calories
  • Injuries from hazards (but not as likely as from running)

Well, those are all things that came from searching the internet but now let’s look at life experiences.Joints

  • My joints start hurting when I run more than five miles
  • I have met several runners with knee problems or knee replacements from all of their years of running
  • Running does get your heart working harder, which is good
  • Walking is better to be done with a friend or friends (socializing is good)
  • It’s easier to enjoy nature, the sights, sounds and smells when you walk

Don’t get me wrong. I do like to include some running when I go on a walk but the older I get the less I care about huffing and puffing and the more I like to enjoy a long walk with a friend or just by myself. It’s nicer when taking you best friend (a dog) on a walk. You will improve your health and get in shape when walking. Realize that it will take longer or you may have to spend more time walking to get the results you would have gotten on a shorter run.

How Will Walking Reduce My Blood Pressure?

Some of the following information comes from WebMD.

Blood PressureA Korean study showed that walking 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. The study included 23 men with hypertension. Blood pressure dropped 5 points after a 40-minute walk and 3 points after a 10 minutes walk.

One of the findings that came out of this study was that you can do all of your exercise at one time or you can split it up into smaller time frames and you will still achieve similar results. The time duration is similar to the CDC’s recommendation of 30 minutes per day.

The important things is to get started and make it a regular part of your day.

Is it a Good Idea to Start Walking Soon After a Stroke?

Yes.

I want to add here that this is a stroke victim’s opinion and not a health professional’s opinion. This is based on personal experience and research.

Exercise will help you reduce excess weight, lower high blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol and improve your mood. The first three items are known to affect your stroke risks. Dr. Argye Beth Hillis, MD. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has this to say about exercising right after a stroke:

Johns HopkinsHow interesting is that. Exercising before and after a stroke can lessen the severity of a stroke and improve your recovery? Wow! Is that a wake up call to all of us or what?

Let’s Get Moving

It doesn’t take much time or research to see how important exercise is for stroke victims. Since most stroke victims or people with a high risk of a stroke are elderly, the question comes back to what kind of exercises are the best.

From what I have observed, walking, swimming and light strength training is common among the elderly I see who do workout. Plus, it is obvious that these are the same people who will have greater joint problems and coordination issues.

Walking

So, chose a few low-impact activities and start moving. You won’t regret it later.

 

 

How to Eat Healthy – Help Me to Get Started

We all know we need to eat more healthy, especially the older we get. But have you really sat down and asked yourself Dietthe question on how to eat healthy? I’m mean really thought through it. Did you just join a diet program or throw yourself at the gym thinking that someone else would tell you everything you needed to know and bless you with the focus and determination you would need? Well, that wasn’t enough for me.

How My Journey Began

I will make this quick but I was a year around athlete through high school and into my first year of college. Remember the days long ago when you could eat anything you wanted and never count a calorie?

FootballThen the activity started to slow down and no one ever set me down and said “Hey! You do know you have to start eating less, right?” That’s when the pounds slowly started finding their way onto everything around me. Of course not on to me, but everything else. RIGHT!

Fast forward, oh about 30 years, and WHAM! I’m literally on the floor with a stroke. I can’t communicate with my wife, my kids are terrified and then the neighborhood lights up like Christmas at 4am. Not a fun time.

So, here I am today, 5 years after my stroke, and you would think that I have it all under control. Not true. I have learned a lot and I am slowly turning the titanic around but a lifetime of unhealthy eating is hard to change overnight.

Help Me to Get Started

The “Help Me” is for you and me.

I agree that hooking up with someone or a business that understands people, food, and health issues is a good thing. I have done it myself and a lot of what I know today has come from research and joining those programs. Here are a few programs I have joined or learned from:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Steelman Weight Loss Clinic
  • Body for Life
  • Gold’s Gym
  • Local nutritionist
  • Internet

All of these programs, business and/or people can help you succeed. Everyone should begin educating themselves on health issues with examples like these.

Diet

I am currently a member of Weight Watchers and Gold’s Gym and I actively search the internet for information relating to stroke prevention nutrition and exercise.

One word of caution is that I am not in the heath care field. I am just a stroke survivor who is working hard to reduce my risk of another stroke.

So let’s go a little deeper into the food.

Foods that Can Reduce Risk of a Stroke

I am not a nutritionist so please do your own research after reading this.

The first thing you want to do is eat foods that will help lower your blood pressure. The following list is from Healthline.

  • Leafy greens
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Collard greens, etc.Healthy Meal
  • Berries
  • Red Beets
  • Skim Milk and Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Salmon (fish with Omega-3)
  • Seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Squash seeds
  • Garlic & Herbs
    • Basil
    • Cinnamon
    • Thyme
    • Rosemary
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pistachios
  • Olive Oil
  • Pomegranates

You should also do your best to reduce your fat intake, and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and alcohol you consume.

Here are some foods to include in your day that may help lower your cholesterol from Harvard Medical School:

  • Oats
    Barley

    • Oatmeal
    • Cheerios
  • Barley and Whole Grains
  • Beans
  • Eggplant and Okra
  • Nuts
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Peanuts
  • Vegetable OilsSalmon
  • Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, and Citrus Fruits
  • Foods Fortified with Sterols and Stanols
  • Soy
  • Fatty Fish (with Omega-3)
  • Fiber Supplements

You also need to limit saturated fats and trans fats.

Putting It All Together

Much of what I write here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is based on personal experience I or a family member has gone through but I liked the way that Harvard Health Publishing wrote “Putting It All Together“.

Putting It All Together

My Final Thoughts

I would like to go into each food above in more detail to help you but this article would grow to three times it’s size. Plus there are many experts and organizations that have the detailed information that I just touched on. Take the time to research these foods.

The best path forward, in my opinion, is for you to introduce a few foods at a time. There is not a single person I know who has been “permanently” successful changing their entire diet overnight. Those that have the most success take one step at a time, and one food at a time.

Make it easy on yourself and start with some simple things you already like and then also find a weight loss program or dietary guide that will help you with the rest of your journey.

My journey started four years ago, and I don’t think it will end for at least 20 or 30 years.

Develop a mindset with a hopeful attitude, looking to the future for a vibrant, healthy life.

Together

The road to a better life starts today.

 

 

 

 

Prevent a Stroke by Exercising – Or do you Sit and Wait for It?

Did you know that the lack of exercise is one of the factors that can contribute to a stroke? Exercise matters even more ifExcercise you have already had a stroke but our tendency is to exercise less after a stroke. You can help prevent a stroke by exercising.

It’s Time to Start Moving

Most young people never think that a stroke is in their future so they tend to ignore advice from older people who have been around a while. I know this as I never thought I would have to worry about a stroke. The more important point I want to get across is exercise is even more critical if you have already had a stroke.

Did you know that your risk of a second stroke is about 10 times higher if you have had one in the past?

DoctorThis is not an easy topic to discuss as there are many types of strokes and the physical effects are different for everyone. The most important thing I can say here is everyone needs to get direction and recommendations from their doctor or physical therapist.

My stroke was light so I fully recovered physically within two months but others may have trouble walking so “exercise” will be different for all of us. This is where your health care providers will help create a program that is right for you and your situation.

 

So, let’s focus on what I hope we can all do. We can stay determined to keep moving forward, no matter how hard, no matter what is asked of us, and not give up. Someone once told me that they felt like it was ok to give up trying because they were always going to be a certain way. Trust me when I say, “I can relate.” But let me ask you something.

What kind of life will you have if you give up?

Storm
Here’s the worst case scenario. You find that you never get significant improvement in your mobility. So now what? Are you still going to give up?

HOPE

BELIEVE

FAITH

SOMETHING TO PLAN FOR

The Future
We all need something to look forward to or plan for. I am not saying to be unrealistic but we have to find something to believe in. We need something to hope for. We need something good.

My Parents

My mother has had several strokes in her life but she was able to recover from all of them. Her last stroke was a different story. It was an extreme stroke that has left her with a severe speech problem and other physical problems that causes my father to be with her 24/7. The stroke happened in 2011 and she has not made any significant improvement even though she goes to physical therapy several times per week.

I bring this up for one important reason. Both of my parents have found a way to keep positive and hopeful in a difficultHolding Hands situation.

This is critical because they continue to talk about things they are looking forward to doing again and that they believe my mother will fully recover. I have often thought about telling them that the physical recovery may not happen but I could be wrong and more importantly, the hope and optimism they have is a huge part of what keeps them happy.

We all have to find ways to deal with all kinds of situations in our lives. My parents are dealing with an extreme situation but they are optimistic and hopeful. People constantly come up to them and ask them how are they always so happy and how do they get along so well.

One of the primary reasons is their faith in God but another reason is they never lose hope and the thought of a better future. They have been married for 51 years and have made it through many situations and this one is more difficult but they handle it as they have with all the things in their life. They pray together first about everything.

Hope for the Future
 

 

 

So You Thought This Was Going to be About Exercising

Well it is about exercising but there are so many other things that are more important and we cannot all do the same kinds of exercise.

You have to be determined and make exercising a priority. I can tell you that I have missed out on a lot of exercising because other things were a higher priority when they shouldn’t have been. We all have reasons other things are more important but for a stroke victim, eating right, exercising, reducing salt, etc., along with a few other things, should be right at the top of our priorities as this will determine if we have another stroke or heart attack.

MAKE EXERCISING A PRIORITY!

Find out what exercises you can safely take part in and make it happen every day. It doesn’t matter if your exercise is squeezing a ball multiple times. It doesn’t matter if it is going for a brisk walk or a lap swim. It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in bed, a wheel chair or if you are completely mobile.

What matters is “We” do all that we are capable of and do the things that are going to improve our lives.

Keep your chin up and find ways to be positive and hopeful. This is a critical part of your well-being. I’m not a health care provider so this is just coming from my personal experience with my own stroke and watching what my parents are going through.

Stay motivated, stay focused, keep your priorities right and find your hope for a brighter future.

Mountain Lake

Pasta with Chicken and Vegis – Do You Think the Kids Would Eat It?

I have been on a slow journey towards eating more healthy and working out. One thing I have struggled with is how to introduce more vegetables into my lifestyle and hopefully my families as well. Well, I have a winning recipe that I developed over time that my kids love and it is filled with all kinds of vegetables. I call it Pasta with Chicken and Vegis.

Pasta with Chicken and Vegis

Shopping List

Here is my shopping list for my Pasta with Chicken and Vegis

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Vegetables (start with the ones you like or think you will like) I used the following:
    • 2 red onions
    • 2 green bell peppers
    • 2 red peppers (The yellow and orange peppers have too much skin that peels off when cooking)
    • 2 heads of broccoli
    • 1 bunch of asparagus (my kids like this one ok but they prefer I leave it out)
    • 2 zucchiniBegin Chopping
    • 2 squash
  • 16 oz. angel hair pasta (preferably whole wheat pasta)
  • Alfredo garlic sauce (prefer light and consider only using half of the container)
  • Pam olive oil spray (olive oil is also healthy so you could use some of both)
  • Tony Chacheres Creole spice (sprinkle on the chicken breasts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

A Little Planning

The meal takes about 1 hour to prepare and cook. The most time-consuming process is chopping the vegetables. A food chopper would significantly reduce your prep time. Here are a few food choppers that can really help:

  • Cuisinart food chopper
  • Pampered Chef food chopper (we have this one and love it)
  • KitchenAid food chopper
  • Ninja Master chopper
  • And many others

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure you have the few spices you will need. Next, let’s start putting it all together.

Meal Preparation

Once your oven is heated to 350 degrees, rinse the chicken breast and add the seasoning. I add these seasonings:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Tony Charchere’s Creole seasoning (I’m not sure when or where we heard about this but we almost always add it to the chicken we cook.

I quick note on the chicken. It is best to buy fresh chicken, like Smart Chicken or a similar healthier quality.

Chicken Breast

You will notice at your first glance which chicken breast are the better quality. The two on the left are fresh chicken that doesn’t shrink much during the cooking process and the two on the right, well, those are the frozen kind you find in a bag at any grocery store. I know we can’t always afford the healthier versions but this is one of the exceptions I personally make.
Cook the chicken at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I flip my chicken over after 20 minutes.

You need to use the largest skillet you have as the vegetable will want to jump out while sauteing them. It’s probably because they know we don’t want to eat them.

Once you start the chicken cooking than it’s time to start chopping. I like to start with the red onions, green bell peppers, followed by the red pepper. None of these are spicy even though I often cry over my onions and yes, I am a sensitive guy.

Vegetables

Red Pepper

Spices
Now Make sure you add some salt and pepper to taste along with the Pam olive oil spray or one that you prefer. You will need to keep adding the spices as you cook as you will be adding additional ingredients.

Onions & Bell Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, chop up your broccoli.

Broccoli

My advice is to chop off most of the stem and only keep the good stuff. We get too much of the stems when we buy bags of broccoli in the stores.

Next is the asparagus. This is a great vegetable but my kids have actually asked me to leave this out even though they still scarf the meal down with it in.

Asperagus

I would recommend you chop the vegetables into smaller pieces as this also keeps them from looking so obvious. This is just one of my little tricks to get focus off the vegetables and onto other things.Stove Top Setting

This is the time when I turn my burner onto medium/high which is 9 out of ten on my stove top. This works best for me.

 

 

Now it’s time to get your zucchini and squash into the skillet.

Zuchinni

You will see if you look closely that I cut the zucchini and squash in half and then in thirds long ways again to keep them bite sizes. You want to keep the vegetables from looking too large as this may turn off your kids.

In the Skillet
The chicken should be finished by now so pull it out of the oven, let it cool then cut them into bite size pieces.

Cooked Chicken
Let’s get the pasta boiling. Our family likes angel hair pasta the best and we have grown use to using whole wheat pasta. The store was out of the whole wheat pasta today so we went back to the enriched pasta for this meal. Many people put some salt in the boiling water but you may want to refrain from that as lower salt is better for your blood pressure.

Start the Pasta Boiling

Place the cooked pasta in a strainer and rinse it with cold water. I believe cooling the pasta with cold water stops the pasta from cooking longer as it sits.

Stained Pasta
Place the chicken into a large bowl or container and mix in the sauce you prefer. I recommend a light Alfredo garlic sauce and try only using half of the sauce. You will get the flavor and your arteries will thank you later.

Add Sauce to the Chicken
Next, add the pasta to the chicken and sauce.

Your vegetables should be cooked by now. Taste it for the consistency and spices you like. I personally like the vegetables cooked down a lot but make sure to stir occasionally and don’t cook them too hot.

Now you’re ready to add your pasta, chicken and sauce to the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Your dish should look similar to the picture below.

Finished Meal
Let’s wrap this up now as my back is aching a little, I’m hungry and tired of cooking.

I recommend placing the pasta into smaller containers. This will help with several things. It will help preserve the food and it may help you to reduce the risk of overeating. It’s also good for those who are counting calories if you want to know exactly how much you are consuming.

Servings

Serve and Enjoy

This is a dish that I “tweaked” over several years and was shocked and pleasantly surprised that it has become one of my kid’s favorite dishes.

I would love to hear your comments and changes you might recommend and any similar dishes that you love.

Please leave your comments below.

 

 

 

 

Foods that Prevent Strokes – Much of This is Up to You

You’re healthy today, right? There’s no need to worry? Are you sure? Great Health

I wish someone would have knocked some sense into my head when I thought life was all glorious and nothing bad could ever happen to me like a stroke. You would think that even knowing I have a family history that includes strokes that I would listen.

I hope you’re listening today.

Fat Matters

Harvard Medical School lists a healthy diet as one of the top five ways to reduce your stroke risk. Cutting back on saturated fats, consuming less sugar and red meat are some of the first things you should consider.

Substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats such as peanuts, avocados, almonds and sesame seeds. Fish, walnuts and canola oil are also good to include. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good fats to include in your daily lifestyle.

A new favorite healthy fat of mine is Olive Oil. It really adds some deep flavor to your food.

Fruits & Vegetables

You may not want to hear this but we need to include more fruits and vegetables into our meals. Why fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables include many important vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Vitamin A, C & E
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorous
  • Folic Acid

Eating more fruits and vegetables can help protect you from Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.

You may think that adding more healthy foods to your day is difficult, and it may be to start with, but just start with one or two of your favorite foods. I started with apples and bananas. Next, I started adding in cantaloupe and small cups of fruit with no sugar added. You will be surprised on how little steps will lead to big changes.

Here are some great ideas of fruits to add to your day:

  • ApplesGrapes
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados

Now try some of these vegetables:

  • Broccoli
    Vegetables
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • zucchini
  • potato
  • celery
  • asparagus
  • onion

The main thing to do with vegetables is to start with ones you like.

I have another great idea for you.

Take some of your favorite vegetables and create a grilled chicken and pasta dish with them. Go easy on the pasta and consider using whole wheat pasta.

Here is a dish I make that my kids absolutely love and they don’t even realize over half of the dish is vegetables. I’m not going to layout a specific recipe but I will give you some general ideas that you can “tweak” to make it work for your family.

Pasta dish

  • 1st, I buy some quality chicken breast and start baking it. I normally use 2 pounds of chicken and cook it for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I like to salt and pepper the chicken lightly before going in the oven and Tony Chachere’s Creole spice really adds some additional flavor.
  • 2nd, I chop up my vegetables and get them sauteing in a large pan using Pam Olive Oil Spray. Olive oil adds some great flavor but the Pam keeps the calories out. Saute these, then add some salt and pepper until they are cooked right for you (try to go easy on the salt, your arteries will appreciate it). I cook mine for about 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Make sure you keep adding Pam to keep the vegetables from burning. Here are the vegetables me and my kids love to include:
    • Red onion
    • Green bell pepper
    • Red bell pepper
    • Broccoli
    • Zucchini
    • Squash
    • I like to add asparagus but my family likes it better without this one
  • 3rd, cut up the cooked chicken breast into bite size chunks and add them to the vegetables.
  • Lastly, I like to use Bertolli Light Alfredo sauce. Toss it all together and serve.

This dish tastes great and makes meals for several days.

One word of advice. Buy some Rubbermaid containers or Pyrex Food Storage containers to separate into smaller portions. This will do wonders for helping you eat less by keeping the food in smaller, sealed containers.

Drink Water

You should switch to water instead of sodas and even fruit drinks. I like to keep some fruit drinks around for the times I start wanting something more than water but my experience is, water will help you feel more full but more importantly it keeps you hydrated. Most every dietitian will tell you to drink approximately 10 glasses of water per day. I have met a few health providers who disagree with this so just do some of your own research and find what is best for your body.

Water
The bottom line is that water is much better than about anything other drink you can put in your body.

How About Some Meat – Or Some Proteins Please

I love meat. I know some of you don’t but we all need some form of protein. You should include some healthy protein in your daily diet. Here are some ideas.

  • FishProtein
  • Chicken breast
  • Lean beef
  • Eggs
  • beans
  • soy foods
  • nuts
  • Seeds
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

The main idea to understand here is that protein shouldn’t be the biggest portion of the types of food you eat and fatty, processed foods, including that juicy steak should rarely be on your plate.

Here’s a quick question and answer from Harvard Health about how much red meat you should consider eating on a daily basis.

Please Join in The Discussion Below

This would be a great time for you to leave a comment below or share a favorite healthy dish that others of us could benefit from and please don’t hesitate to ask questions.

 

 

 

 

Can You Prevent Strokes – Reduce Your Stroke Risk

Hard Work

Can you prevent strokes? Yes! We’re not talking about stopping a stroke while it’s happening, rather this is a discussion on how to reduce your risk of ever having a stroke.

Fat Cat

Let’s Have a Real Talk about What Factor’s Contribute to Strokes

Here are the most common factors that may contribute to a stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Carotid Artery Disease (narrowing of the arteries)
  • Diabetes
  • Arrhythmia or AFIB
  • Prior stroke
  • Age
  • Family history
  • Heart attack
  • Amount of exercise
  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Drinking

That is a long list, but there are other things that could have been added to it. Don’t get discouraged about how big the list is, rather be encouraged at how many things are on the list that are within your control.

My Stroke Education

I never really cared much about strokes until I was laying in the hospital after my stroke in 2013. I have been educated many times over things that lead to strokes since then but it wasn’t until recently that I really started asking the hard questions.Education

  • Why does my doctor seem so concerned about my blood pressure?
  • Why does it matter if I have bacon in the morning and cheeseburgers at lunch?
  • What does my family history have to do with anything?

It seems like I never “really” listened to the doctor and nurses after I had the stroke but now things have changed and I guess I’m fearful that another stroke is in my future.

So, How Can We Prevent a Stroke or Reduce Our Risk?

Let’s keep things simple and out of the lofty world of medical jargon.

Look at the list above and consider all the things we can do immediately to prevent a stroke or reduce the risk of a stroke.

  1. Reduce your blood pressure
    1. Eat healthy – Mediterranean Diet for example, but there are many other types
    2. Reduce salt intake
    3. Exercise regularly
    4. Reach a healthy weight
    5. Limit the amount of alcohol consumed
  2. Reduce your cholesterol
    1. Cook with low fat oils or healthy oils like olive oil
    2. Eliminate trans fats
    3. Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, spinach, etc.)
    4. Increase fiber intake
  3. Increase your physical activity (walking is something easy everyone can do)
  4. Reduce your weight to a healthy level
  5. Stop smoking or cut back
  6. Stop drinking or have only one drink per day

These are six extremely important steps all of us can take to prevent strokes or reduce the risk of a stroke. Some of these are hard for us to do but they can be done and should be done.

Exercise
Think hard about this. What is the alternative? We can ignore the simple things in front of us that all of us can control, or we face the possible future of being physically incapacitated and most likely in a nursing home some day when we all know that we would not bet cared for as well as we would like.

There are several things on the list above we have no control over but my advice is to forget about those things we can’t control and focus on what we can control.

What’s in Your Future?

Hard WorkDo you and I want to take the easy way out, for a short period of time, and live life as we please? That’s a pleasant thought right now sitting in our comfortable chair while we still have the ability to feed ourself, bath ourself and use the bathroom without having someone there to watch us in such a private matter. This is serious.

We need to take the hard road now so that we can live a better life now and in the future.

It’s your decision and my decision. I have made my mind up to take the hard road and live a longer, healthier life.

 

 

 

 

Omron 7 Series Review – Convenient Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Omron 7 Series B.P. Monitor

Product: Omron 7 Series (Wrist) Blood Pressure MonitorOmron 7 Series Wrist BP Monitor

Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Guarantee: 5 Year Limited Warranty

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Omron 7 Series Wrist B.P. Monitor, Product Overview

I love the Omron 7 Series wrist blood pressure monitor. There are times when I am in a hurry or want the convenience of taking my blood pressure quickly, without lifting my sleeve up. The wrist monitor is small enough to fit in a brief case, purse or backpack and can be taken with you wherever you go.

The Omron 7 is quick to use and silent so it is easy to use anywhere. It has an irregular heartbeat detector and uses an averaging method to give you a more accurate blood pressure reading.

This wrist monitor uses Bluetooth to help track your B.P. and can sync to a smartphone app. This is a great monitor to use along with an upper arm monitor at home.

The Omron 7 Series wrist monitor has placed high in several top rankings for 2017 and 2018.

Best BP Monitors

Personal Reference

I started using the wrist monitor after I had my stroke. My doctor insisted that I take regular readings several times each day. I started out with an upper arm monitor, mainly due to the belief that an arm monitor was more accurate but as time went on I realized I needed an easier and more mobile friendly monitor when on the road or at the office.

I have taken enough B.P. measurements now that I know the differences between the readings I get at the doctor’s office and my own readings at home. The great thing about the “at home” monitors is I get real time feedback if my blood pressure changes quickly, which allows me to take preventative measures before things get out of control.

Positives

  • TruRead for more accurate readings
  • Easy to read display
  • Lightweight and easy to take on the road or to the office
  • Irregular heartbeat detector
  • Tracks 100 readings
  • Bluetooth technology that allows readings to sync to your smart phone
  • B.P. risk indicator
  • Great value

Negatives

  • Only stores readings for one person
  • Cannot download memory

=> Click Here for the Best Price for the Omron 7 Series Monitor <=

This is a Must Have, Omron 7 Series Wrist Monitor

As a stroke victim this is a must have for me to monitor my blood pressure regularly. It is a great product and it is simple and easy to use.

A side note: I have purchased the Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor and have a more extensive review as I opened it up, prepared to use it, then compared it to previous blood pressure monitors I have owned.  Click HERE for a more detailed review.

Amazon Image
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about Omron 7 Series Wrist Monitor and leave a comment below.

What are the Best Foods for Stroke Victims (Survivors)

Healthy Meal

So you had a stroke or know someone who has. You are in rehabilitation and recovering and you’re finally thinking clearly enough to start asking, “how do I eat better to prevent a second stroke?” This is not about a diet, rather it is common sense from easy research to help you change your lifestyle.

What are the Best Foods for Stroke Victims/Survivors

Eating a diet low in fat and salt is an important first step as it will help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are great healthy options that will help fill you up, are known to be good for your heart and have much better nutrients than fast food or processed food. Here are some foods that a stroke patient should eat regularly:Healthy Meal

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Grains or Breads
  • Lean Protein, Primarily skinless chicken and turkey
  • Low Fat Dairy Products
  • Fish several times per week
  • Limit Salt
  • Limit Alcohol

Five or six smaller meals per day may be a better option for some survivors.

Why Certain Foods Can Decrease Your Risk of a Stroke

There are many factors that may contribute to strokes. Three of the factors are:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Blood Pressure
  • Obesity

BP MonitorFoods high in sodium will lead to higher blood pressure. One of the first thing a doctor tends to look at is your blood pressure. They then turn to your cholesterol levels and if you’re not careful, they will soon have you several types of medication. It may be important to start on some medication to keep from dying or becoming incapacitated but the focus should be on temporary medication, not a lifetime of medication.

Obesity is primarily a function of too many calories from processed foods and a lack of physical activity. Our focus should be on making healthy changes to our diets which will help with cholesterol, blood pressure and weight loss.

The emphasis, from our point of view here, is not on joining a weight loss program immediately, but to start with a simple plan to introduce healthier foods and eliminate foods that have gotten us to the place we are today. I would strongly encourage any stroke survivor to find a Mediterranean type diet and start looking at ways to introduce it into your life. This has been a challenge for me but after several years I have finally begun to make permanent healthy improvements to my new eating lifestyle.

We all must move beyond the thought of a temporary diet and on to a permanent lifestyle change.

Food for Thought

Be aware that stroke victims may lose their appetite. It is important to make sure the person eats regularly. Serve foods that the stroke survivor likes and make sure the meal is served in a comfortable, pleasant location. Keep distractions to a minimum and watch the survivor closely for choking or other eating problems.

Cozy Place
A healthy diet is an important part of recovery so look at this as a lifestyle change and one of the more important things that needs to be done quickly.

Also, consider that stroke survivors may need meals prepared for them as they will be more tired and easily distracted. Someone should stay with the survivor if they are well enough to live alone and watch for problems with eating, and mobility and make sure they take their recommend medication regularly.

It’s time to start eating to change your life. Let’s make that a positive change, one that will last a long time.

 

 

 

 

Attitude and Recovery – Is Your Attitude Affecting Others?

Positive Outlook

You’ve heard the saying that attitude is everything or attitude is half the battle, but did you know that Attitude and Recovery go hand in hand when you are trying to overcome health problems? I could quote thousands of articles and research that show a direct connection to your attitude and how quickly you recover from things such as cold’s, the flu or even more traumatic health issues such as broken bones, strokes, heart attacks and the list goes on.

Is your attitude holding you back from a stronger or quicker recovery or is it making your life more miserable or more enjoyable?

Recovery with a Bad Attitude

The amount of research and scholarly reports on attitudes and health is enormous and is beyond the scope of what I would like to address today. We’ll save the hard stuff for later.

My personal experience living with or watching others around me dealing with health problems seems overwhelmingly Angerobvious. I don’t need doctors or scholars arguing about the details of their studies and if the data was taken correctly or if some other bias interfered with the conclusion.

The issue is, from my personal experience, that people with bad attitudes or who are hostile to those around them, struggle with more health issues or the time it takes to recover. Just think of situations in your own life where someone who is or was sick and was mad at everything and everyone. For one, it seems like they are always sick or want you to believe so and maybe more importantly, they drive family and friends away from them who may be part of their health care of even helping with clean up around the home.

Who wants to be around an angry person? So, someone may be able to make a case that angry people have the same amount of health problems as a happy person but what about health issues of a person with a bad attitude which can be directly linked to bad hygiene or mold and mildew in the home because no one wants to be around them to help clean up or maintain the home?

You can put all the arguments away and answer this question for yourself. Would you rather be around someone with a great attitude and positive outlook on life and would you be more willing to go out of your way to help them when they need help?

Yes – Recovery with a Great Attitude – Is Better

As I mentioned above, I could delve into the health articles to come up with support for this argument but instead of that, how about we look at some personal experience.

One stroke victim, we will refer to her as “Wonderful” and another wheel chair bound, physically challenged victim, we will refer to her as “Hateful”. Holding Hands

“Wonderful” has to be taken care of 24/7 and can’t eat, shower, go to the bathroom or do anything on her own without someone by her side every moment of the day. “Wonderful” is always positive to everyone around her and is rarely ever down. She can barely talk but if you make out her saying “how are you”?, your answer had better be Wonderful or Awesome. Even though she is difficult to talk to, everyone loves to be around her and does their very best to be supportive and helpful.

Upset“Hateful” is also physically challenged but not from a stroke. Her health problems are more to do with age and a lifetime of not taking care of herself, which has been followed by her body giving out. “Hateful” is always correcting most everything you say and is always changing the subject to something she is interested in. She doesn’t even care to listen to her own children or grandchildren. There is something obviously different when you walk into her house. The awful smell hits you in the face immediately and you can just watch how uncomfortable everyone is and then notice as they can’t wait to escape the place.

My point I want to make between these two women is this. They are similar in many ways, growing up in loving families, having a long life, and also having similar physically challenging problems, however, their situations couldn’t be more different. Both husbands are wonder, loving and caring men and both have been married for decades to these women, yet there is an obvious difference in how people feel and react when walking into these homes.

Please let me add one more piece of information. Neither of these women are recovering. They are trying to physically recover but no significant recovery is evident.

Dealing with Your Health Problems

I guess I should have labeled this article something more like, Living with Your Health Problems – How Do You Want to Live?

I believe being positive helps with your recovery but it also helps as you are dealing with things, whether you are recovering or not. There are things we can all do to improve how we treat people and how we live. The first thing is to recognize that changes need to be made and then start dealing with them one at a time.

How Can You Switch to a Great Attitude?

Here are some things you can do to start making changes found in Harvard Medical School.

  • Don’t dwell on your age – A positive outlook on age may increase your life span.
  • Focus on what is most important – Chose to deal first with important issues and life may become a little less stressful.
  • Practice mindfulness – Practice living in the moment and try not to be so judgmental.
  • Keep a sense of purpose – Even later in life, you can start something new or volunteer to help others.

Pick one thing from the list above and start making a change.

The Injuries Are Different – But You Have Control

Every situation in life is different but the bottom line is, we all have to learn to live with, cope with, or recover from things in our lives.

Positive Outlook
How we choose to deal with life will have a profound effect on ourself and others around us. Don’t find yourself looking back on life and wishing you had done it better.

Start making the change now.

 

 

 

 

Omron 10 Series Review – Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly

Omron 10 Series

Product: Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm BP MonitorOmron 10 Series BP Monitor

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com & Walmart

Size of Container: 2.1 pounds

Guarantee: 2 Year Full Warranty

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Omron 10 Series B.P. Monitor, Product Overview

As a stroke victim, I have found the need to monitor my blood pressure more frequently than the typical time between doctor’s visits. The Omron 10 Series is a great tool for me to keep track of my blood pressure and especially to help warn me when my blood pressure levels become dangerous.

The Omron 10 upper arm blood pressure monitor has an Easy Wrap Comfit Cuff. It has a large display making it easy to read and it can save 200 readings. The Omron 10 takes three readings and calculates the average blood pressure for a more accurate reading. You can also sync your monitor to your doctor through a smart phone for more real time updates.

No At Home Blood Pressure Monitor is Perfect

Let’s be clear about one thing and that is no at home blood pressure monitor will be perfect. The best thing you canBP Monitoring do is to track your blood pressure readings taken by your doctor and then monitor your blood pressure daily at home. Once you calibrate the Omron 10 Series Monitor at home and company multiple readings to your doctor’s readings, you will start to get a feel if the at home readings are high, low or right on.

The most important part of monitoring my blood pressure at home is that I can get an instant report of how my blood pressure reacts to a stressful situation, excessive physical activity, etc. To me, the accuracy of any monitor is less important than the real time feedback I get as life happens around me.

Another important feature that may be important to many people is the irregular heart beat detector.

Positives

  • TruRead for more accurate readings
  • Extra large display
  • Has an irregular heartbeat detector
  • Has a blood pressure risk indicator
  • Easy wrap ComFit cuff
  • More than one user can store readings
  • Saves 200 readings
  • Bluetooth technology that allows readings to sync to your smart phone and doctor
  • Great value for the options offered

Negatives

  • Batteries not included
  • Monitor can take a while to get use to

=> Click Here for the Best Price on the Omron 10 Series Monitor <=

Must Have, Omron 10 Series Blood Pressure MonitorOmron 10 Boxed

I never gave blood pressure monitors much thought when I was younger and more healthy but as I have grown older and suffered a stroke about 5 years ago, I realize the importance and value of having a quality “at home” blood pressure monitor. The Omron 10 Series B.P. monitor is really a must have for anyone with health related problems.

 

I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about Omron 10 Series blood pressure monitor and leave a comment below.

So You Had a Stroke – What Now?

Stroke Testing

So you had a stroke, what now? That’s the question we probably all ask our self at some point while sitting in the hospital room or at home later. Are you going to make changes to recover and reduce your future risk of a stroke or are you going right back to the bad habits that helped you get where you are today?

My What Now Moment

My “what now” moment came five years after my stroke. It’s crazy that it took that long. Hospital Test

You would think that while being run through all the testing there at the hospital that I would have been saying “NEVER AGAIN”. I don’t actually ever remember saying it. I know my family was saying things like, “I’ll bet you will be motivated to make healthier changes now, right”?

My real “stroke what now” moment came much later. I had made many attempts to lose weight and eat better but all of them ended in failure because I just did not have the determination to start with easy changes and follow through with them.

The problem is that not only did I not lose weight, I actually gained weight as the many “diets” I went on failed, due to “the me” factor. Any diet can work but it has to become a lifestyle change.

So, now I am 20 pounds over what I was when I had the stroke. I have been making good progress in changing my diet but I have not been successful at exercising regularly. Recently I have been feeling a little pain in my left arm which is not good, which brings me back to my “what now” moment. I haven’t made the changes I needed to make in the last five years and I fear that I am getting close to another stroke or heart attack.

I really am at a serious “what now” moment.

Is it Too Late?

I hope it is not too late for me to make some serious changes. Is it too late? Only time and the future will tell.

It is now or never. I may live a lot longer, taking some pills to put off the inevitable, but with my family history, time is not on my side. I recently wrote about taking some simple steps to help get started in my “Where Do I Start” article.” I have a quick update on the steps I noted I was going to take this week. So far I refocused on eating more healthy, I walked 1 mile before going to work today and then while at work I took a break from sitting and climbed seven flights of stairs. I am already feeling better just doing that.

I believe that it is not to late for me and I want to encourage you to start improving your health even if you think it is too late for you.

Moving Forward

Now What?

I am not in the health profession so these are just my thoughts as I went through my stroke recovery.

FaithMy first word of advice is to keep a good attitude as you engage in your recovery. Part of this advice comes through watching my mom during her recover in the last seven years since her massive stroke. One comment my mom and dad get over and over, when they are at the rehab center is, you always have such a great attitude and you have been dealing with this for a long time. Then they ask, “how do you do it”? A big part is their belief in God and the comfort that comes from their faith. No matter if you believe in God or not, your positive attitude has more of an effect on you and how you approach hardships while at the same time provides encouragement to others around you.

The second thing that is important is being dedicated to following your physical therapy no matter how long it takes. There are really two choices when you break it down. You can be positive and move forward with your rehabilitation or you can have a bad attitude and give up. I link these two things together because of personal observation that people with a negative outlook on life, tend to give up more quickly on their recovery. A negative attitude affects you in a multitude of ways and it also affects the people around you, some who may be helping you.

This brings me to my third “Now What” thing to do and that is to come up with some simple things that you can begin making to improve your recover or outlook on life. There may be some big things to do or programs to join but I believe the most success comes from you looking at your life and start taking one step at a time and make some simple easy changes.

I laid out some easy things in my last article so I won’t go over those again, other than to reiterate the best approach is to make simple changes then move on to bigger changes later.

Talk to Your Doctor or Physical Therapist

Please do yourself a favor, while starting little things at home to improve your health, and talk to your health care provider. I personally haveDoctor an issue with people pushing me to prescriptions before giving natural remedies time to work but every stroke victim is different. My recommendation is to find a doctor that uses both medicine and natural remedies and works toward eventually getting you off most of your medicine or all of it.

The biggest risk we all take is thinking we don’t need any medicine and will lose the weight and lower our blood pressure on our own, then we won’t need to take medication. That is my personal attitude but I know I need to go in for another check up and just make it known to my doctor that, if I need to be on medication, I only want it to be on them temporarily. We all just need to be careful and make the right decisions when dealing with a potential future stroke.

Final Thoughts Moving Forward

I want to leave you with these final thoughts on moving forward. Take some time to think about how you want your life to look in five or ten years. Time will fly by and you may find yourself shocked that you haven’t made any positive changes in your life or you may be pleasantly surprised that you have made huge gains over the years as these little things just added up.

Do your self a favor and really ponder your future. Many good things have come out of bad situations. I for one, am moving forward with determination to improve my health and help others do the same.

Looking Forward

 

 

 

 

Stroke Prevention Nutrition – Where Do I Start?

Moving Forward

My focus in researching strokes is learning how to reduce or eliminate strokes, starting with all natural methods available to all of us. During the initial searches I have done, I have found several primary steps anyone can take without even stepping into a doctor’s office and considering medication. The main things we can do to reduce the risk of strokes are:

  • Stay active or increase your physical activityWalking
  • Maintain your healthy weight or lose unwanted excess weight
  • Continue eating healthy or improve your eating habits

Today I would like to focus on Stroke Prevention Nutrition. This is big topic to cover so I will just introduce some basic ideas in this article and delve deeper in future articles.

Stroke Prevention Nutrition

One of the first things I heard while in the hospital after my stroke was “you have to change your diet.” It was a little foggy while trying to concentrate on the words coming out of the doctor’s mouth but I definitely heard words, like

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Lean Proteins
  • Mediterranean Diet
  • …….(the rest of what he said got a little foggy)

The question you all are asking is, did I follow what the doctor said (after my wife repeated it to me at home many more times)? The answer is a resounding no. I have tried to change my diet but the truth is I have gained additional weight and have not changed my diet permanently.

 

I want to place my stroke disclosure here for everyone. I am not in the medical profession and I have not reduced my stroke risks yet. All I am is a stroke victim (and it seems to run in my family) and I am still working every day to make positive changes and along the way, I hope to help you make changes to keep far away from this horrible health problem.

How Do I Start Eating Healthy

Let me just start with the simple answer. We need to stop eating fast food, processed foods (at home or a restaurant), and high calorie drinks. I am not going to hit you with a lot of industry labels here. I just want for all of us to hear it put simply, including myself. It is more difficult but we need to make more of our own food at home and concentrate on fruits and vegetable way more than we have in the past.

Strawberries

Without even going into high fat, low carb, high fiber……. I think we can all understand the simple stuff. Take some time at first without even making major changes to your diet and list what you are eating every day and be honest with yourself. No one has to see your list. You (we) just need to know what we are shoving into our mouths. You will be horrified on how much junk and how many calories you are eating every day and over time that just adds to more weight, higher blood pressure, and a higher risk of stroke.

Note BookThere are some great resources on the web, in the store, and on your smart phone that will make it extremely easy to do some basic tracking. Do your best to track what time of the day you eat, what you eat and how much of it you eat. What is going to happen is you will understand quickly why you have gained weight and why it is so hard to get it off. Once you have tracked your food for a few days to a week then it’s time to start thinking about easy changes to start improving your diet.

Diet is Not a Bad Word

Everyone thinks that “going on a diet” is a bad word. Well, it is if “going on a diet” is just something you do once in a while and there is no long term benefit for the changes or if the changes are not sustainable.

Diet Definition: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. (Definition found on Google)

The word diet is primarily used to describe how you commonly eat. Most of us fall into the “See Food” diet category. If we see it, then we eat it. So let’s start changing our diet without going on a diet. There are many good diet programs available and here are a few of them:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Nutrisystem
    South Beach Diet
  • Mayo Clinic Diet

And the list goes on and on and on. These are some great places to start but let’s wrap up here by just making some easy changes that all of us can do.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Difficult changes in life are always best to do one step at a time.Walking on a Beach

  1. Stop or reduce bad habits. This could be drinking to many sodas, eating out to often, cooking with high fat oil or butter.
  2. Start exercising or increase your physical activity. You don’t have to join a gym or do things that feel like you are killing yourself. Start by taking a nice walk. I don’t care if anyone thinks that walking is for old people. Even young people like to go for walks along a lake or in a park, especially if it is with someone they like.
  3. Begin adding one fruit or vegetable a day into your new “sustainable” diet.

These are just a few simple things we can all start with.

Let me tell you a few things I have done which have been easy to sustain. I immediately slowed down on the number of Mountain Dews I was downing each day. I started taking my dogs for a walk, especially on beautiful days. I added some natural applesauce and bananas each day as I like these and it’s not hard to tell myself to keep eating them. I also found a great pasta dish that my entire family enjoys that is actually pretty healthy. It has a reasonable amount of pasta (it’s not mostly pasta), grilled chicken breast and several types of vegetables that we all like. Put all of that together with about a half of a cup of light Alfredo sauce and you have a great tasting dish and no one even realizes they are eating a lot of vegetables.

It’s really that easy to start making changes.

How About We Start this Together

It does not matter if a healthy diet is all new to you or if you have already started working on it. Let’s decide on a few new things to do differently this week. I have been working on this a long time and here are a few things I am going to do differently this coming week:

  • Re-focus on eating more healthy for the entire week.
  • Add boiled eggs to a few meals.
  • Go for a walk at least three times next week.
  • Buy a lunch cooler to take some healthy snacks or lunch to work.

That’s more than a few things but I have been working on this for some time so I may have a head start on you. If you’re new to this than try these few things:

  • Only have one soda per day and try switching to a low calorie version.
  • Go for one walk if you have been a couch potato.
  • Pick up a fruit you like at the store. Maybe even try the small fruit snacks with no sugar added.

This is easy to start and it doesn’t even cost money by joining a diet program or paying for a gym membership.
It all starts with one step and that is for us to make the decision to start.

Young Friends Walking

 

 

 

 

About Rick & My Stroke

Rick Belden

Strokes run in my family but I never thought it would happen to me.

My Early Years

I grew up living in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington. Our family was always outdoors working on our land or going camping nearby. I lived for sports in high school, playing year around. I was able to eat anything in any amount and nothing seemed to ever stick to my body except muscle. Of course that all changed after college as I moved into my career as a transportation engineer designing highways. That line of work involved a lot of sitting, designing and attending meetings. The weight started adding up while the physical activity became nearly nonexistent.

 

I knew several people in my family had strokes, including my Mother. I cannot recall how many light strokes she had but there were several of them. One stroke my Mother had when she was pregnant with my little brother, caused here to go into convulsions. My brother died during the convulsions and my Mother lost about half of the use of her right arm.

Many years went by and everything was fine with my Mother and myself but then the strokes hit my Mother again and myself for the first time.

My First and Only Stroke to Date

One day in January 2012 I had been working many late nights on a highway project. I had about three nights or more of very little sleep or none at all. It was easier to do that when I was younger. We made our submittal on the project and I took a sigh of relief and went off to bed. There was nothing to worry about and I could rest easy now that everything was finished.

I’m not sure if was partially to do with my family history of strokes, the stress of the job or not eating well during that time or if it was the extra weight I had gained. It may have been all the above. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling numbness in my right arm but it must have been me sleeping wrong on my right side. I rolled over and tried to stretch out my arm to grab the nightstand to just re-position my arm to get the tingling to stop but the next thing I knew I was rolling over on to the floor. I tried to push myself up but nothing was working right. My wife realized something was wrong and asked me if I was ok but the words in my mind came out all garbled and I couldn’t get my mouth to work right.

What a scare that was for me and my family. My children had never been so scared. The firemen and the paramedics came and the next thing I knew I was having a nice vacation in the hospital for about three days. The doctor had to relay most everything to my wife because even though I was listening and nodding my head, most of the information was leaving my mind as quickly as it arrived.

It took my about two months before the numbness in my right arm, right leg and right side of my face went away and physically, everything returned to normal. It took about six months before I could sit down for long periods of time again and concentrate on my work as I was able to do before. Fifteen minutes was about the longest length of time I could focus on work before having to get up and clear my head.

You would think that light stroke was all I would need and I would completely clean up my life to reduce any future stroke risks but that wouldn not be the truth.

WHY I WANT TO HELP STROKE VICTIMS

I want to help people reduce the risk of having a stroke for personal reasons. I have seen what happens firsthand to people with even a light stroke but now I have seen my Father have to take care of my Mother 24/7 since she had a severe stroke in 2010. This is partly a path I want to take to help myself and keep my immediate family from having to care for me if I ever have a severe stroke. I didn’t realize that anyone who has had a stroke has about a 10 times increased likelihood of having another stroke.

It became obvious to me, even after a short time of stroke research, that proper diet, weight loss and increased physical activity were some of the most important things anyone can do to reduce the risk of a stroke.

MY GOAL

My goal here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is to help people who have had a stroke or are potential stroke victims to follow along with me as we discover together how to reduce our stroke risks. I have to warn you in advance though that I am against medicine to reduce the risk of stroke. I understand that many people need to take proper medication but I truly believe that there are lifestyle changes and natural remedies that can help most of us in this journey we are on.

 

I hope you walk with me through this for yourself and for your loved ones. I believe I will have great things to share with you, not only in ways to reduce stroke risks but also in my personal success story of making changes based on what we find here together.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Here’s to a Brighter Future,

Rick

www.strokepreventionnutrition.com

Click on the image below to see a YouTube video of my stroke story.

My stroke story