Author Archives: Ted Wagner

Counseling 101: What I Did After Knowing My Depressive Disorder

Once my depression diagnosis came out, the psychiatrist gave me two options. The first one was medication. She said, “I could give you antidepressants. You could take them once every day for an entire month, and then we could do another checkup and see how it affected you.”

Since no one in my family ever had a condition that required them to take antidepressants, my parents were extra inquisitive about what we could expect from the drug. I was thankful for that because it turned out that antidepressants did not have a lot of positive feedback from my psychiatrist’s other clients. They apparently reported feeling sluggish, tired, and sleepy all the time – as if they were always sedated. Still, since there was technically no cure for depression – or for most mental disorders for that matter – mental health professionals feel obliged to prescribe them.

Of course, I did not want to do anything with the drug that might or might not be good to me. I was a teenager and a lesbian; I already had enough to deal with at that moment. When my parents asked about the second option, the psychiatrist started talking about counseling.

Source: pexels.com

If you had not heard of counseling in the past, it referred to the treatment where you would talk to a counselor about your issues. The counselor would not resolve your problems for you. Instead, they would listen and help you reinterpret what you were talking about so that you could see another way out of your issues.

Nevertheless, as I mentioned in the first half of this blog, counseling was not a popular method of dealing with mental disorders at the time. Mom and dad were not worried about being seen coming in or out of the councilor’s office. What they were more concerned about was that it might be a waste of money. They could not fathom how talking and doing nothing else could make my depression go away.

The thing was, I was pretty desperate at that point. I had not felt like myself for months, and I was tired of pretending to be happy in front of everyone. I eventually coaxed my parents to see that counseling was the lesser evil than taking antidepressants.

Through the psychiatrist, I signed up for my first counseling session.

Source: pexels.com

What I Learned To Do During Counseling

Counseling was not awful, but it was not for the faint of heart. I had only been it’s been there for only one hour during the first session, but I had already found myself sobbing.

The primary reason was that the counselor would make you recall everything that happened in the past that might have contributed to the depression. For example, I might have set myself up for it when I refused to make friends with others when I was much younger. My condition might have just gotten full-blown because of the breakup and my inability to come out to my parents.

Still, I would like to share a few ideas I learned – and did – during counseling.

Accept Who I Was

I realized that it felt impossible for me to get accepted by my parents because I had not entirely accepted myself. I was a lesbian – I knew that – but a part of me might still not want to believe it. Hence, I was quick to assume that mom and dad would disown me if they found out.

Source: pexels.com

But the fact that I was still very much loved at home proved that my worries were baseless. I worked on changing how I viewed myself so that I could finally accept who I was.

Cope With Negativities

When I became single again, I finally considered the consequences of coming out. I did not think of that before because I had Trisha – I felt we could resolve any issues together. However, once she’s gone, I stressed the possibilities of getting bullied or not getting accepted by society because of my gender preference.

Luckily, I had a counselor to help me cope with my negativities. She taught me that other’s opinions did not matter. As long as I was happy and not walking all over everybody, haters could hate anytime, and I should not be bothered.

Source: pexels.com

Decide On What I Want To Become In Life

Towards the end of my counseling journey, the counselor said, “Every improvement that you have made so far is appreciable, yes. But have you decided on what kind of person you want to be?”

The question caught me off-guard since no one had asked me that before. I was only 16 years old; I had not thought of that ever. After a few minutes of thinking, though, I replied, “I want to be an honest person. I know how it feels to lie to my loved one, and it’s not great. I will do my best to stay true to myself and stay away from my negative thoughts.”

Final Thoughts

Nine years later, I am now a certified gastroenterologist. I have fully embraced who I am and never needed to go back to counseling. Despite that, the lessons I learned from my counselor will always stay in my heart and mind.

Counseling 101: How I Got Depressed

Whenever I would tell people that I got depressed at 16, their reactions were almost always the same. Someone some would say, “Oh, I am sorry for what happened to you. You must have had a rough childhood to get diagnosed with that. If not that, I would hear something like, “I hope you have gotten away from your mom and dad.”

Whenever I heard all those things, I would tell those people to stop blaming everything on my parents as calmly as possible. It is unfair for my parents to be accused as the cause of my depression. Granted, it happened when I was young – when I was living under their roof – but I went through some circumstances in life that they did not know of until the crap practically hit the fan.

Source: pexels.com

What Brought On My Depression

You see, I had always been a lonely person. I did not have many friends growing up; I was mainly happy to stay in my room, read a book, or watch TV with the family. Sometimes, my parents would feel the need to pay my cousins so that they would drag me out of the house and hang out with me.

This worked for the most part, and I learned to like my cousins’ friends. However, when I turned 15 years old, we played spin the bottle. The basic idea was that whoever the bottle’s mouth would land on, they would choose who to kiss.

When it landed on a girl named Trisha, the boys oohed because they were eager to get chosen by a cute girl. But everyone went quiet when she pointed at me.

Source: pexels.com

Back in those days, girls kissing other girls was hardly a thing. And if there were ever a lesbian in the midst, you would know immediately because they wore boy clothes. However, Trisha was as girly as you could get with her skirts, long hair, and poise. Because of that, no one knew that she was batting for the same field until that moment.

What did I do, you might ask? I would be a wuss if I ran away, so I let Trisha kiss me. Her lips were so soft and tasted like strawberry due to her flavored Chapstick. I would not have known that we were kissing for a couple of minutes if my cousins did not pull her away from me.

I did not tell anyone about it, but that was the day I realized that I was a lesbian.

Why I Got Depressed

Before going home, I made my cousin’s promise to keep what happened a secret – especially to my parents. While they often told me that I should not have a boyfriend my age, I did not think they would appreciate it if I came to the house with a girlfriend. Luckily, my cousins were fantastic, so they vowed not to tell anyone about my gender discovery.

Source: pexels.com

The thing was, Trisha and I began to date soon after that. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that she could not come out to her parents as well, considering she was extra careful not to get caught when we’re out. We could only be ourselves whenever we were behind closed doors, pretending to have slumber parties.

I was too naïve to think that my relationship with Trisha could go on forever. One day, she merely called to say that she was moving to another state with her parents. I said we could still make it work, but she did not even want to think about it.

The breakup technically made me feel blue, but what got me depressed was that I could not cry to my parents about it. They would get upset about me breaking their #1 rule. Then, their feelings might worsen if they learned that I was into girls.

Only when I started having suicidal thoughts that I felt the need to ask for mental help.

Source: pexels.com

How Did My Parents Take It?

My parents were both shell-shocked, of course. I got so good at hiding my gender preference and my depression from them that they did not see anything amiss in the last few months. We even celebrated my 16th birthday in the Bahamas, and they never saw a smile leave my face.

If I was honest, my mother took the news a little worse than my father. As a traditional woman, it was challenging for her to accept that her only daughter might someday get married to another woman instead of a man. However, I begged her not to worry about that for now because I was still young, and anything could happen.

My parents took me to the only psychiatrist at the city proper for a diagnosis. When the doctor confirmed my assumption, I felt more relieved than scared. Finally, I had a name for all the loneliness, emptiness, and darkness I had been going through: depression.

But what’s the next step after that?

 

Note: This is one-half of a two-part blog. Stay tuned for the next one.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dysthymic Disorder

I got diagnosed with dysthymia before I dealt with gastroenteritis. The latter was technically a result of my depressive disorder, considering there were months pre-diagnosis when I would not eat for up to a week. Part of me did not want to live; another part of me wanted to see how long I could stay without eating and keeling over. One day, when I felt super dehydrated, I ended up drinking the contaminated water from the faucet, causing me to have a viral infection.

frequently-asked-questions-about-dysthymic-disorder

Source: pexels.com

A few days at the hospital could have made anyone rethink their life choices and want to get rid of all their issues. However, it was challenging to do for someone with dysthymia like me.  

Can dysthymia be cured?

There are no known cures for depressive disorders. Also, dysthymia may not be cured through a medicine-based approach since this condition is more complex than we might think. However, people who live with dysthymia can live a life of happiness and contentment. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who can support you and who understand you. 

What does dysthymia mean?

Dysthymia is a long-term and chronic form of depression. It can be characterized by feelings of loss of interest, hopelessness, laziness, and low self-esteem that can last for years, which can also affect your daily life, relationships, and school or work. For other people, if you have dysthymia, you can be described as gloomy with the incapability of having fun, and you may tend to complain a lot. 

frequently-asked-questions-about-dysthymic-disorder

Source: pexels.com

What condition does a client with dysthymia have?

If a person is diagnosed with dysthymia, they have a chronic form of depression. This condition is also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). Again, this condition is much like any other form of depression with the effects of its symptoms; however, PDD can last for years. As a result, people diagnosed with PDD or dysthymia can lose interest in daily life and become more withdrawn. This is not something they can control, as this is part of what they are diagnosed with.

What is the best medication for dysthymia?

People with dysthymia are often left undertreated as they only can visit their family doctors where they only report physical symptoms. If you are looking for the perfect medication for this diagnosis, treatment and cure are the same for any major form of depression. The most common drugs to take are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or dual-action antidepressants. You must not self-medicate; always check with your doctor before taking any pills.

Is dysthymia a disorder?

Yes, it is a disorder. It is also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder or PDD. This is a relatively new diagnosis that combines the two earlier types of dysthymia and a chronic form of depression. Much like all the other forms of depression, PDD can also cause a feeling of great sadness and even hopelessness, which may affect your mood and even your behavior. 

Is dysthymia a form of bipolar?

No, it is not a form of bipolar disorder, but it co-occurs with other mental illnesses. It is a double depression where it happens along with the dysthymia that was previously diagnosed. However, if a person switches from Dysthymic moods to hypomanic moods, this can sign a mild form of bipolar disorder. 

frequently-asked-questions-about-dysthymic-disorder

Source: pexels.com

How do I know if I am bipolar? 

This can be a different experience for different people. Some might have a difficult time sleeping, while others tend to sleep a little too much. It can sometimes feel quite overwhelming, especially with feelings of failure, the death of a loved one, or even guilt. This can then trigger suicidal thoughts. Other signs that you could look out for are difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, and even over or under eating.

What is a bipolar person like?

Those diagnosed with bipolar disorder can go through both episodes of depression and episodes of mania or an overwhelming feeling of joy, excitement, a lesser need for sleep or rest, and bursts of energy. This can be different for many people, meaning that the experience is unique for other people, so bipolar disorder does not have a particular look or type. 

Can a bipolar person truly love?

Everyone in this world is entitled to love and be loved. As someone with bipolar disorder, you might feel scared to involve yourself in a romantic relationship because you would never really know when the right time is to spring the information on your partner. Still, of course, you can genuinely love and be loved. As long as you keep yourself honest with your partner, stick with your treatment, and make sure that you are keeping an open line of communication with the person you are involved with.

What are the four types of bipolar?

The four types of bipolar are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic disorder, and Mixed features. The first type can involve periods of severe mood episodes. The second type is a milder type of mood elevation, which also involves mild hypomania, which alternates with severe depression. Cyclothymic disorder means there are brief periods of depressive symptoms that may not be as bad as fully hypomanic episodes. Lastly, mixed features are all these different symptoms of opposite mood polarities. 

At what age do signs of bipolar appear?

Signs of bipolar disorder can start even during childhood; however, it is more uncommon than adults. This only happens to at least 3% of the recorded cases. Signs may start to show up during the late teenage years to early adulthood, but this can also happen to children again. So, make sure to keep a lookout for the different signs of bipolar disorder no matter the age. 

What triggers a bipolar episode?

Triggers for bipolar episodes are lack of sleep or a change in your sleeping patterns, sudden bursts of anger or emotions, stress from heartaches, alcohol and substance abuse, and antidepressants, and other medications. However, this can be different for other people as bipolar is a very personal experience, making every one unique. 

frequently-asked-questions-about-dysthymic-disorder

Source: pexels.com

Signs of bipolar in a woman?

There are many different signs that both men and women with bipolar disorder can experience. There are no specific signs for one gender. Still, the symptoms are usually: irritation, bursts of energy, reduced amounts of sleep, increased frequency in talking, rapid speech flows, being easily distracted, and even an increased or decreased appetite. These are signs that both men and women share who live with bipolar disorder. 

Final Thoughts

I am still lightyears away from feeling like my old, cheerful self. It might not even happen in this lifetime, given that dysthymia was a chronic mental disorder. Despite that, I finally found a good balance between my emotions and actions, and I no longer starved to death. I would say that’s a significant win, to be honest.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Are Eating Disorders

People with eating disorders suffer from severe disturbances with food and their body image. As a result, their eating behaviors and mindset suffers, which often results in numerous health issues.

Source: picpedia.org

Eating disorders affect millions of people worldwide, regardless of age and background. Around 9% of the global population suffers from an eating disorder. These conditions typically appear during the teenage years or may develop over the years, often between 12 and 35.

The three primary types of eating-related disorders are binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. In the early stages, patients are often in denial that they have a problem. 

People with these eating disorders are extremely critical of their bodies and tend to have low self-esteem. There is an intense fear of gaining a few pounds or being overweight, leading to a dangerous course of action.

Eating disorders frequently occur with other mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can develop genetically and may run in families. At the same time, researchers are also studying how eating disorders develop from a combination of factors. It includes biological, social, psychological, and behavioral factors.

When not addressed, the physical and emotional symptoms of eating disorders can result in fatal health conditions. As you develop an unhealthy eating behavior, it impacts the appropriate nutrition your body is getting. It can result in malnutrition, cardiovascular problems, digestive issues, and diseases in the teeth and mouth.

However, with medical care, people with eating disorders can develop sustainable eating habits and improve their overall health.

For more information, here are the frequently asked questions about eating disorders.

Is seeing a therapist free?

There are various options for you to see a therapist for free. Chances are, there are community centers near or around your area that offer free to low-cost therapy options. You can try looking it up online or checking in with your state government. On the other hand, some private therapists offer the first session for free. Some organizations provide free to low-cost teletherapy.

Can you choose to have an eating disorder?

No, eating disorders are not a choice. This line of thinking is one of the most common misconceptions about eating disorders. Eating disorders are illnesses that are not solely about food. Patients with eating disorders typically turn to or away from food because they deal with difficult emotions or situations. If left untreated, it could turn deadly as it has one of the highest mortality rates among mental illnesses.

How often should you meet with your therapist?

It depends on many factors, including the treatment you’re receiving, your therapist, and most of all, your schedule. However, many therapists have suggested that you should meet at least once a week in general. In some cases, meeting every three weeks might still workable, but more than that is not worth it. It would be harder to make progress with more gaps between sessions, especially if you’re still getting to know your therapist and vice versa.

Is therapy worth the price?

Because it’s an investment in your health, therapy is worth the price. Effective therapy doesn’t instantly cure your illness per se, but it gives you the necessary tools you can use to confront your troubles. When you step out of the counseling room, you should be able to apply what you learned eventually. With the tools and insights your therapist gives you, you’ll know how to process and understand things even on your own.

Why do therapists charge so much?

As with other professions, therapists charge so much because it costs a lot to become educated and licensed. Other reasons why include the overhead costs of a practice. If you’re finding it too expensive, consider checking with your insurance if it’s covered or looking into a community or public health center.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a disorder that has to do with an obsession with nutritional or healthy food. Rather than the amount of food, the quality of the food is the central focus of orthorexics. They frequently check nutritional information and food labels. Those who suffer from orthorexia avoid eating out or eating food prepared by others. They also tend to worry about cleanliness and fear sickness from “bad” food.

How common is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa affects both women and men. With women, around 0.3 to 0.4 percent of young women suffer from the illness. On the other hand, men are just as prone to suffering anorexia. Studies have found that men make up 10 percent of those found with anorexia nervosa.

How do I eat less?

If you’re trying to eat less, you should ensure you don’t go hungry or starve in the process. What’s more, you should still eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Your meals should be filling enough to last a little more than a couple of hours. Consider increasing the portion of vegetables on your plate. Make sure you have lean protein with every meal and drink water afterward. Lastly, you should eat mindfully–no distractions allow you to eat without unknowingly binging.

What is Bigorexia disorder?

Bigorexia or muscle dysmorphia occurs when you are overly-fixated on your body being too small or having too little muscle. Those who suffer from bigorexia tend to spend hours in the gym, obsess over what they eat, and perceive their body as not good enough. Bigorexics can become prone to steroid misuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Source: flickr.com

Why do I struggle with eating?

You might struggle with eating because you are responding to a difficult situation. Usually, eating problems are not solely about being hungry and wanting food. When you struggle with eating, you might find it stems from trauma or low self-esteem. Other times, it’s your surroundings that make you turn to or away from food.

What does Diabulimia mean?

Diabulimia is a combination of the words “diabetes” and “bulimia.” It describes the condition of having an eating disorder and diabetes simultaneously. The term “diabulimia” is not an official medical term. Instead, doctors usually give a dual diagnosis. There’s a term particular to the two conditions because those with diabulimia tend to manipulate their insulin administration.

Who is most likely to have an eating disorder?

There is no particular demographic that is at risk of eating disorders. Instead, there are those with certain traits that are prone to developing eating disorders. These traits include having a pre-existing mental condition or having a close relative with an eating disorder. Perfectionism and a negative self-image are also factors that lead to eating disorders. Often, a combination of these traits is at play and puts the person at risk.

What is the mortality rate of anorexia?

For every 1000 persons, 5.1 persons die directly due to anorexia nervosa annually. Studies have shown that anorexia has the highest and deadliest mortality rate among all eating disorders. On top of that, eating disorders are second to opioid overdose in terms of mortality.

How long can anorexia last?

There is no specific time as to how long anorexia lasts. Recovery from anorexia is how long it takes you to recover and how long you stay recovered. It all depends on the treatment you are receiving, your support systems, and your self-will. The process isn’t a walk in the park, but it is possible to recover from it completely.

What food kills hunger?

High-fiber or high-protein foods and foods with healthy fats all curb or “kill” hunger. Examples include vegetables like broccoli, apples, avocados, and whole grains. High-protein foods can be lean meat, soy products, Greek yogurt, and eggs. If you’re looking for dessert, studies have shown that dark chocolate effectively suppresses your appetite.

Source: pixabay.com

Regardless of your age, background, weight, and gender, you can suffer from eating disorders. However, many studies say that the condition is more prevalent in women. Regardless, it results in having a distorted sense of body image and a negative outlook on food.

There is a way to recover from eating disorders. It’s vital to seek medical treatment in the early stages for eating disorders because people with eating disorders are at risk for medical complications and suicide. Recovery takes time, and the treatment path is different for everyone. But a complete recovery is possible.

An eating disorder specialist can take care of you. They can diagnose by getting your medical history and conducting a physical exam and other tests. It’s important to be honest, and clear about your eating habits for an accurate diagnosis. It is only through which that they can provide you with the best care possible. 

Treatment will vary depending on the type of eating disorder. But most of it would involve regular health check-ups and talking therapy. Depending on the patient’s needs, the treatment may be a combination of psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and medications. 

Most eating disorders are best addressed through individual therapy. But most binge eating disorders involve group therapy. The eating disorder specialist will also provide a guided self-help program for continuous treatment.

The chance for complete recovery increases the earlier the detection is. As such, it’s crucial to identify warning signs of eating disorders. If you have concerns about the eating behavior of yourself or someone you know, it’s important to seek immediate professional help.

Mental Health And Digestion – Healthy Habits To Improve Digestive System

Do you often feel that there is something wrong with your body that you just could not explain? Do you always suffer from an upset stomach? If that is the case, then your body telling you that something is not right. An upset stomach serves as a warning of an assisted digestive system. However, its damage is not limited to physical aspects only because there is a tendency that the gut microbiome and inflammation affect the brain. That is because digestive problems are also associated with mental health conditions since they are sensitive to different types of emotions such as anxiety, sadness, anger, and even depression. But there is no need to be alarmed. There are ways to help the gut, and here are a few of the following healthy tips you can consider.

Source: pixabay.com

Eat A Considerable Amount Of Fiber – The consumption of a significant amount of fiber is vital to the digestive system to function properly. It feeds the healthy bacteria with enough nutrients while eliminating toxins and other harmful wastes from the body. When prebiotic fibers are digested, it nourishes the healthy bacteria by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of inflammation along the lining of your gut. It reduces the chances of having irritable bowel movements syndrome and prevents the possible risk of developing colon cancer. The primary sources of fiber are nuts, beans, vegetables, and fruits.

Regularly Consume Fish – Fish is one of the most significant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial to the digestive system. That is due to its anti-inflammatory properties that help prevents various digestive issues. The fatty acids not only energize the healthy bacteria in your gut but also help in your memory as you age as the nutrients play a significant role in brain development. With that, it is vital to consume at least 3 to 5 servings of fish per week. Some of the fish choices you can consider are tuna, salmon, and sardines. If in case you can’t consume enough fish in a week, you can consider eating flax seeds, nuts, and soy, for they also contain enough omega-3 fatty acids.

Source: pixabay.com

Eliminate The Consumption Of Junk Foods – Junk food is genuinely one of the most harmful foods to consume. Not only it causes an increased risk of obesity, but it is also a known cause of certain diseases like cardiovascular diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, and other forms of cancers. Junk food damages the digestive system because it influences the unhealthy bacteria to cause metabolic illness. Also, besides its caloric bomb, these unhealthy foods contain too much sodium in them. This harmful chemical increases the risk of high blood pressure development, causing major health problems, particularly stroke and heart disease.

Spend Time To Eat Well – It is not new information that a lot of experts require you to spend time eating well. It is essential to note that digestion starts in the mouth, where it chews and process the food before it gets down to your stomach. Do not just swallow food. It is necessary to chew the food so that the enzymes in the saliva can break down carbohydrates. When that happens, it becomes convenient for digestion since the gut will not exert too much effort and energy in the digestion process. Also, ensure that you do not eat in large quantities, especially before going to bed, for this will cause an upset stomach.

Source: pixabay.com

Drink Plenty Of Water – Too many caffeinated drinks such as soda and coffee can damage the digestive system. It can harm your health because the water in your stomach that keeps healthy bacteria gets thrown out of balance. Caffeinated beverages tend to alter the gut microbiome’s function when it gets filled with too many acids. When that happens, it can cause a variety of diseases such as acid reflux and heartburn. Therefore, it is vital to reduce its consumption and hydrate the body with water. Water helps eliminate gut problems, facilitates a healthy digestive process, and promotes a better immune system.

Reduce Stress – Perhaps you often experience things at school, work, or at home that is not going smoothly. It makes you feel stressed, and this particular thing affects your gut, whether you believe it or not. Too much stress tends to disrupt the normal functioning microorganisms in your intestines. Also, it gets tied to your diet because you are more likely to eat unhealthy food when you are stressed, which creates a bacterial imbalance that eventually somehow impacts your mood.

Source: pixabay.com

These are simple changes that promise to improve the quality of your digestive system. If you try to incorporate these into your life, your gut will surely thank you. But remember to consult an expert first before making any changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Family’s Guide To Protecting And Improving Digestive System

The digestive system is one of the most diverse and complicated systems in the human body. It is where specific parts work in complete unison to accomplish a single task. It serves to transform raw elements of an array of food into the energy and nutrients needed to keep humans functioning and alive. But despite that well-known information, a lot of people take their digestive systems for granted. Some examples of their bad habits are not eating healthy and nutritious food, not drinking enough water, and taking too many substances that can potentially damage the digestive function. Good thing there are ways to improve the digestive system, and here are some of the following.

Source: pixabay.com

Chew Food Thoroughly – Chewing is the most underrated process that a lot of people fail to recognize. It is a requirement for proper digestion because of chewing’s ability to break down large pieces of food into smaller particles. When food gets chewed properly, it becomes significant in creating the mouth’s saliva, which is essential for its digestive enzymes. Also, chewing food into smaller particles reduces stress in the esophagus and reduces excess lingering bacteria in the intestines. Thus, it makes the whole digestive system more capable of absorbing nutrients from the food. Chewing for about 20 to 30 times also contributes to the better taste of the food.

Eat A Lot Of Fiber – Fiber plays a significant role in the digestive system. With its soluble property, it promotes a healthy digestive tract flow. It allows food to move through the intestines quickly, making it convenient for digestion. It keeps bowel movements soft and regular as it absorbing excess water in the intestines. Fiber also helps in cleaning the colon cells to keeps the overall function of the digestive organs active and healthy. Some examples of the good sources of fibers are beans, nuts, oatmeal, apples, berries, citrus, pear, and barley. When still unsure if the food contains fiber, just stick with the unprocessed and natural produce.

Source: pixabay.com

Eat Warm Food – A lot of people have this habit of cooling down their meals before eating. However, there is a significant reason why it is important to eat warm food. That is because warm food gets easily digested when swallowed compared to cold ones. Also, eating warm food helps prepare the body and give it more time to relax while eating. So when there is a slow meal intake process, it helps the body avoid using excess energy only to break down food particles. Thus, it would be best to incorporate soups or tea in the diet.

Drink Enough Water – Water is entirely essential for the proper function of the digestive system. It is the main component that delivers the food to the cells so that the body can easily absorb the nutrients and minerals. And aside from water’s intestinal fluid regulation, it also aids in the easy elimination of excess energy nutrients. Water also supports all functions of the body’s digestive system, including breaking those particles that are not appropriately chewed, keeping the food warm, and flushing down unwanted food debris in the gut.

Source: pixabay.com

Drink Less Alcohol – Contrary to what others falsely believe, alcohol does not help in digestive function. In fact, it is the other way around. Alcohol slows down nutrient absorption, sprains the stomach muscles, and interferes with acid secretion. It disrupts the flow of good bacteria in the digestive system and replaces it with bad ones. Alcohol carries the bad bacteria from the stomach and passes it onto the small intestine, where it tends to produce a toxic compound called endotoxin. Too much alcohol leads to acid reflux, which eventually causes inflammation to the tissue of the digestive tract. It then leads to gassiness, delayed digestion, diarrhea, and vomiting. In some unfortunate cases, it results in gastritis, internal bleeding, and ulcers.

Cut Down In Sugar – Sugar is an essential component that fuels the body. However, too much of it is dangerous, not only for the digestive system but for the overall bodily function. Sugar contains fructose, and when overeaten, it stays in the gut for an extended period. It causes gastrointestinal bloating. It is when sugar draws water in the large intestine and prevents it from being adequately absorbed. Over time, sugar promotes inflammation in the bloodstream that leads to certain diseases such as stroke and heart failure.

Source: pixabay.com

It is vital that you understand your commitment to keeping you and your family’s health a top priority. These are just some of the following things you can do to protect and improve your family’s digestive systems. Some of these habits are easy to follow, so there is no point in making excuses not to practice them. You can always choose improvements. Every lifestyle changes you make for the better can go a long way.

How To Prepare Your Meals During A Pandemic

Almost all countries ordered city-wide lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19. This lockdown meant lessened supplies, decreased workforce, several closed restaurants and stores, and fewer trips to the market. For families with children, it was a meal planning frenzy. This statement is most especially relatable to people who often turn to fast food chains. Everybody had to figure out a game plan for supply runs and ration the supplies they could buy.

Since it seemed impossible to keep hoping for fast food deliveries, people started grappling with home-cooked meals. Here are a few tips for healthy and safe lunches to help you ease in the meal prepping during a pandemic.

What’s On The List?

  • A Healthy Meal Plan

Prepare a grocery list based on your family’s likes and preferences. Visualize what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Make a list of meals they like suitable for the number of days until your next trip to the supermarket. This tip helps you avoid going back out too soon. Corresponding to each meal are the ingredients and quantities to make grocery shopping quicker and efficient.

Source: unsplash.com

“Limit purchases of tempting foods like chips, sodas, cookies, and ice cream. They are high in empty calories and run up your grocery bill,” according to American Society for Nutrition members Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD, FAND and collaborators. Aside from that, cut out highly processed food from your diet. These are your packaged snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and desserts.

While on a supply run, try to get in and out of the grocery as fast as you can. Therefore, create a grocery list of healthy meals in mind. Take note of the supply shortage, so be flexible with your meals and already have in mind replacement meals or ingredients. 

  • Eat Your Fruits And Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables may be hard to come by these days, but when they’re in stock, better take what you can finish. An alternative for this is frozen fruits and veggies. They may have lesser nutrients and vitamins compared to fresh ones, but they will last longer. You may also cook fresh vegetables into soup, allowing an extra couple days worth of serving.

Source: unsplash.com

  • Canned Goods As A Replacement

In the event fresh produce like fish or vegetables aren’t available, you may opt for canned foods. Canned chickpeas, veggies like tomatoes, beans are a good source of glow food. They are easy to store and prepare. For your grow food, you may choose to swap fresh seafood with canned tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc. These choices are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, and protein. Quickly whip up a sandwich or salad with the canned goods in your home.

  • Find Healthy Snacks

Everybody tries to avoid snacking, and everyone fails consistently. Snacking is a favorite pastime, so stock up on healthy snack options like yogurt, crackers, nuts, cheese, or dried fruits. 

Practicing Food Prep At Home

  • Washing Food

It’s good to see people become more careful in handling their food, but sometimes they go overboard. Other people wash their meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs in water or juices. This food preparation practice is highly unrecommended by experts. It may promote bacteria from raw meat and poultry to spread to other utensils, surfaces, or clothing. Experts refer to this as cross-contamination.

Source: unsplash.com

The Food and Drug Association advises consumers to wash their hands thoroughly before rinsing their whole vegetables and fruits only. Wash these items under running water and rinse them off with a clean cloth or paper towel. It is also acceptable to mix baking soda in the rinsing water as they wash away pesticides. Never use soap or detergent to “clean” your food. You may unknowingly introduce chemicals to the food you eat.

  • Kitchen Hygiene

Keep your kitchen space clean from unwanted bacteria or other harmful elements. Frequently wash utensils and kitchenware with hot, soapy water every after use. Avoid reusing plates or cutting boards to cooking different food like veggies then seafood. 

  • Cooking, Serving, And Storing Food 

Each type of raw meat has different temperatures safe enough for cooking and consuming. Make sure to cook meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe minimum internal temperature. When serving food, they should be warm at 140°F or warmer. Another tip people tend to forget to allow cooked food to cool before refrigerating them.

Source: unsplash.com

It’s quite overwhelming to switch toward planning and cooking your food. We’ve been used to eating a mix of comfort food, fast food, and junk food. And now, healthy meals require an acquired taste. We urge you to choose healthy options and snacks and practice proper food preparation practices at home. During extraordinary times, a healthy immune system may save you from contracting the disease.

Ways To Volunteer And Give Back To Your Community

 

Source: volunteermark.com

 

The 2019 Socal Conference was a great opportunity for sponsors, supporters, and benefactors of the Southern California Grantmakers community to connect and gather together to learn about the current trends that are emerging in the business, home, and work sectors. Everyone was in the mood to exchange information about policy trends, business strategies, and various critical issues that have affected their communities. There were training and workshops available to community members who were designated to learn different types of volunteer work to help improve their communities and teach the other community members as well, especially the youth.

Here are some ways that volunteers can help their community improve.

Organize A Yard Sale

If you have a knack for business or marketing, think about putting up a yard sale for your community, promising the proceeds to a charity that you have wanted to help. There’s always an appliance, equipment, or furniture in mint condition that’s lying around in your house. These things still have value, and some people who can’t afford to buy a new one will surely consider purchasing them.

Visit A Senior Facility

There are a lot of nursing homes that have become new homes for the elderly whos families are busy or no longer around, and many of these older adults need care, attention, and love from the outside world. You can volunteer one or two hours of your week to visit these homes and interact with the seniors, maybe ask them how they are or what their favorite food or television show is. If you think you won’t learn a thing or two from them, think again. You will have a wonderful time listening to their past and how they lived their lives.

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Donna Dules, a Meals-on-Wheels recipient, is hand-delivered her ready-made meal from Luke Schroeder, 11, son of Tech. Sgt. James Schroeder, 7th Mission Operations Squadron, in the local Abilene community June 30, 2011. Children ages 9-18 from the youth center here perform a Meals-on-Wheels route every Thursday morning in the city of Abilene. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chelsea Browning/Released)

Source: dyess.af.mil

Cook And Serve Food

America may not be on the list of poorest countries in the world, but there are still thousands of hungry and homeless people everywhere. There won’t be enough volunteers and philanthropists to feed them, so preparing meals and serving these groups with free food will definitely help a lot. Join Meals On Wheels, volunteers that serve more than 2 million seniors daily, or better yet, organize your own in your community.

Help Out At Your Local School

Teachers are stressed, fatigued, and overworked, and they badly need help. If you think you have language, math, or any skill that can help a student learn, then be a volunteer tutor. You can also read stories to preschool children so the teachers can do their paperwork while you’re at it. Cleaning the school grounds is also a great idea. Your efforts will surely be appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Tips On Creating A Diet Plan Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of our lives right now, and this includes food-related practices. More and more groceries and supermarkets are operating on a limited time table, if not closed. Some restaurants only allow takeaways as well. Lastly, a couple of items on your grocery list might not be available in the stores due to supply constraints.

Despite these happenings, it is essential that we still take good care of our health. It is also crucial while we’re in the middle of the pandemic since we need a healthy immune system to fight back the virus. With this in mind, here are some tips that can help you draft your diet plan despite the said crisis.

Plan Ahead

Do not just think about what you’re going to prepare for you and your family for the next three days. Instead, you should visualize your meals from breakfast to dinner for at least a week. You have to consider which viands you have to prepare, the exact ingredients needed, the food preparation method, and the amount of time and energy you will need to make the meals.

Source: flickr.com

Once you have listed down everything you need, that’s the only time you should go to the grocery. Take note that you should minimize your trips to crowded places like these as it’s too dangerous. Therefore, make sure to maximize your shopping time by buying enough stocks for 1 to 2 weeks.

Prioritize Fresh Products

You should also make it to the point that you maximize the food available in your pantry. However, you should know how to prioritize. The most important rule that you need to keep in mind is to use the fresh ingredients first or utilize those with shorter shelf life.

Examples of these include reduced-fat dairy products, vegetables, and fruits. One technique for your fruits and vegetables to last long is by freezing them. Do not worry as they will retain their original nutrient profile despite staying inside the refrigerator.

Source: flickr.com

Listed below are some nutrition-packed food that has longer shelf lives.

  • Grains: frozen brown rice, instant oatmeal, refrigerated pizza crust, couscous, and quick-cooking pasta
  • Bread: whole-grain English muffins, bread, bagels, corn tortillas, frozen whole wheat waffles, and wraps
  • Sauce: salsa and tomato pasta sauce
  • 100% Juice: shelf-stable cartons, canned, frozen
  • Eggs: egg whites in packages, fresh eggs
  • Soup and Broths: shelf-stable cartons, frozen, canned
  • Vegetables: plain frozen, sun-dried, low sodium canned, sturdy fresh vegetables (onions, potatoes, broccoli, and celery)
  • Fruits: plain frozen, dried, canned in water or juice, and sturdy fresh fruit (citrus and apple)
  • Cheese: cubed or grated hard cheese
  • Nuts and seeds: canned, bagged, nut butter
  • Seafood: fish fillet, canned tuna, sardines, and salmon, and frozen shrimp
  • Frozen chicken, pork, and beef

Control Portion Sizes

Being at home for an extended period due to lockdowns and quarantine may lead to overeating. Partner this with this inactivity, then you’re prone to a health disaster. Therefore, if you’re drafting your diet plan, make sure that your portion sizes are at par with the standard.

You can do this by seeking assistance from national food-based dietary guidelines. Here you’ll find what constitutes a right yet healthy portion. Be mindful that adults and young children have different allocations, and you need to consider this when preparing a meal.

“The healthiest meals emphasize whole grains, vegetables, and fruits—serve them in the greatest amounts. Meat portions should be smaller—this will save money and help keep dietary saturated fat in check,” share Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD, FAND, and co-authors.

Try Online Shopping

Source: pixabay.com

We’re living in the digital age now. Most food companies who are trying to control their losses brought about by the pandemic are now extending their services via the online platform. As a household, you should utilize this approach. It will not only save you a lot of time but will also minimize your people-to-people interaction.

Keep in mind, however, that unlike supermarkets, you have to wait for a day or two to receive or pick up your orders. Therefore, it is vital to plan and manage your groceries.

Limit Sugar Intake

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar intake per day. This amount is equivalent to less than 5 percent of an adult’s total energy intake; therefore, if you crave for something sweet, better to consume fresh fruits than any other delicious dessert.

Always remember that one can still achieve proper nutrition amid these unfortunate circumstances. All you have to do is follow the tips above and partner this with a physically active lifestyle.

IBD: Overview, Causes, And Symptoms

Abdominal Pain, Pain, Appendicitis, Bloating

Source: pixabay.com

The distinguished organizers of the 2019 Gastroenterology Conference did well with structuring the program and topics of the event. There were discussions, presentations, and the exchange of knowledge and insights among the various participants focused on gastrointestinal health research. The conference further brought together a diverse scope of gastroenterology, including a brief explanation of common GI diseases such as infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancers of the GI tract.

Below is a brief discussion of a specific GI condition, inflammatory bowel disease.

Overview

Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is composed of a range of intestinal disorders that cause long-term inflammation of the GI – specifically – the digestive system. The digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, respectively. The system functions to break down the food that a person consumes, extract the healthy substances from it, and get rid of waste products. If there is swelling anywhere along with the digestive system, this interrupts its normal process. IBD can ultimately be very painful, troublesome, and in worst cases, life-threatening.

Causes

The precise cause of IBD is not known, but genetics and abnormalities in one’s immune system are apparently associated with the disease.

Genetics. If your parents or other siblings have been diagnosed with IBD, then there is a higher likelihood that you to may develop the disease. This is why researchers have associated it with having a genetic component.

Immune System. Typically, your immune system protects your body from organisms that cause infection and illness. If you have IBD, on the other hand, and a viral or bacterial infection occurs in the digestive tract, this may evoke an autoimmune response, wherein your immune system attacks your body’s healthy cells.

Symptoms

The symptoms of IBD depends on where the inflammation is located and how severe it is. These include:
Source: upload.wikimedia.org
  • Diarrhea
  • stomach pain, bloating and cramping secondary to bowel obstruction
  • bleeding ulcer
  • anemia and weight loss.