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.