For my Nursing Readers on Allnurses.com: Nursing Advancement

For everyone who is in the nursing profession, you have heard of a clinical ladder, clinical or professional advancement, etc. and it is an interesting how people respond to changes, even when they are for the positive to make processes to increase consistency and accountability. Have you clinically advanced and feel supported by your hospital? Read more on allnurses.com

Smoothies to start your day in 2015

There is no doubt that starting your day by doing something healthy for your body, not only makes you feel good, but it leads to you making healthy choices throughout the day. One of the best ways to start your day on a healthy note is to drink your morning meal in the form of a smoothie. They are also great for an afternoon pick-me-up snack, or sometimes, as an alternative for a calorie-heavy dessert because there are so many different “recipes” to make your smoothies that meet your dietary needs. If you are someone that normally buys your food instead of making it, there are smoothie places all over the place, but make sure that they aren’t adding calorie heavy ingredients to your smoothies (like ice cream!), and you may want to invest in a blender and make your own so you know what is going into them and you can experiment with your recipes, and save yourself some money along the way. You can cater your smoothies to your dietary needs: high protein, Omega-3 supportive, heavy on fruits, a green veggie power pack, or whatever else you might want to add in. Here are some options for smoothies for specific dietary needs, but feel free to mix and match, to make it the consistency you want (adding ice might make it colder and thinner versus adding fat free yogurt can help to thicken it up), and taste the way you want (adding agave can add a low glycemic index bit of sweetness). Also, remember that if you live in an area where fresh fruits and veggies aren’t readily available all year round, as I do, the best option is to buy fresh frozen fruits and veggies as they are usually flash frozen and still full of vitamins and nutrients that canned or less than optimal fruits and veggies won’t have.

 

The top 10 trends to optimize your smoothies:

  1. A focus on nutrition, instead of calories (i.e. higher calorie smoothies with avocados, nut butter, yogurt are OK as long as we are using them as a meal replacement)
  2. Packing smoothies with various veggies (think: spinach and kale)
  3. Chia seeds should be an for protein
  4. Oatmeal addition for fiber, flavor, and antioxidants
  5. Nut butters as protein boosters
  6. Maximizing antioxidant ingestion through a mix of veggies and fruits
  7. Keeping a mix of fiber, fat (the good kind!), and protein in each smoothie
  8. Flaxseed should be a staple addition for fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 additions.
  9. A little agave or honey can sweeten your smoothie with health benefits and they will be easy on your waistline
  10. Don’t be afraid to be creative to meet your taste AND nutrition needs!!

A few of my favorite smoothies are below, to give you some to try, and you can always get fancy and make additions.

For a Protein Boost:

Nut Butter, Oat, and Banana:

1 ½ cup Milk

¼ cup peanut butter (or almond, cashew- whichever you choose)

1 banana

2 teaspoons rolled oats

*1 teaspoon honey (optional for added sweetness)

*1 teaspoon chia seeds (for added protein)

Add all ingredients to a blender, add water or milk to change the consistency, and you have a power packed protein punch!

Citrus and Blackberry Protein Smoothie:

1 cup blackberries

1 banana

1 orange (peeled)

¾ cup Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage because I think it has the nest consistency)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender, and you can add some orange juice or more yogurt to change the consistency to your liking. This is a great morning smoothie and a way to get protein without a nut source if you have allergies or just don’t wanted the added fats!

Get Your Daily Fruit Fix:

**To add a bit of extra Vitamin C and some protein, a good base is 200ml of Orange Juice and milk (whichever type of milk you prefer- soy, cow, almond, etc.) and then start to add your fruits and fiber on top of it!

Mango Berry Mix:

Create the base (from above)

Add mango pieces (1/4 mango)

4 strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

4 teaspoons oatmeal

Blend until smooth and drink up the fruity and fiber filled blend!!smoothie 2015

Antioxidant Mix:

¼ cup pitted sweet cherries (frozen are easiest)

¼ cup strawberries

¼ cup raspberries

¼ cup blueberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

Blend them all together, and you can add water or more pomegranate juice to adjust the thickness, to get an antioxidant packed start to your day…or to make the most of your afternoon snack as a yummy pick-me-up!

Add Veggies to Your Daily Routine:

Green Power:

1 granny smith apple cored and sliced (leave the peel on)

1 ½ cup green grapes (you can go with red, but it makes the color a little funky)

½ cup apple juice

1 cup baby spinach or baby kale (packed tightly)

½ cucumber

Throw all ingredients into a blender, adding more apple juice for a thinner consistency, and drink your veggies down.

Carrot Cucumber Smoothie:

1 cup carrots (I use baby carrots….but if you don’t have a Vitamix or a Ninja, you may want to opt to use carrot juice to save your blender from over working it’s blades and motor!)

1 cucumber

1 cup apple juice

Mix them all up until smooth, adjusting the consistency with apple juice, water, or carrot juice and get your days servings of veggies all in one delicious drink!

Added tip: Think about adding some flax seed or chia seeds to any recipe to add Omega-3’s for heart health, and you can also think about adding a scoop of protein powder (think: whey) to any of the smoothies to add protein, especially if you have had a hard workout to help and support muscle re-growth.

From start to finish, making a smoothie, to cleaning up your blender, is about a 15-minute process that can add loads of nutrition to your diet, in a simple and delicious way. Whether you are trying to stick to a healthier diet, looking to lose weight, or support a healthy pregnancy, smoothies are the best way to add a power boost of nutrition that is filling and satisfying. Start adding a smoothie into your daily routine, and omit a high calorie snack or meal (like breakfast), and start to feel the healthy difference!

Yours in Good Health

B

Nurse Empowerment

For all of you dedicated readers, I have taken a small break, and I appreciate you all checking to make sure I am alive and still in the blogging world- fear not, your questions will be answered!!

I have taken a small break, as I have had a TON of stuff going on in my world, which you all will learn about very soon, but one of the really exciting things is a collaboration with a bunch of great innovative nurse leaders on a book about nurse empowerment.

I wrote a chapter about something very near and dear to my heart, as I spend a LOT of time every day working on this project and helping nurses improve their skills with cardiac and respiratory emergencies, through running a Mock Code program. Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 10.11.43 AM

For all of you interested in learning more about the book, Form Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses’ System please check it out here.

And for those of you interested in my free giveaway to help others start a program just like mine, which I am so passionate about, please feel free to download my PDF right from here:

mock code tips

I appreciate all of your support through this process!!

In Good Health

B

Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

I love the excitement that surrounds the holiday season and culminates with New Years Eve! Granted, I am not a particular fan of going out on the town to celebrate New Years Eve because there tends to be a little too much excitement on some people’s behalves, prices are twice what they normally are, and it is either the most amazing night, or you set your expectations too high, and the night is ruined by something silly (or someone crying.) I’d rather wage my bets and be with loved ones and close friends, which may go hand in hand with my decision to not make resolutions for the New Year.new-years1

It’s not that I think I am someone who is above reflecting upon that last 12 months and finding ways to improve myself, or my life in some way, we can all find ways to make positive changes, but that is more of a process that I do a few times a year, on dates that are important to me (a few random dates that would mean nothing to anyone else annually and my birthday.) I think it is great when people feel the excitement that comes with ending one year and beginning another, and with that fervor comes the decisions to make some changes that are deemed resolutions that they will keep up all year…and usually fade away a couple of months later.

Some of the most common New Years resolutions that I hear year after year:

 “I will go to the gym every day.”

No, you won’t. It’s actually not healthy for you to train 7 days a week; you will actually over train, your body will need a break, and you will take that break, feel guilty about it, and by the end of February and beginning of March your resolution is caput. A lot of people tend to stay away from the gym when they feel guilty, instead of getting back on the horse and getting to the gym, stay away from the gym. Don’t be that person, set a more realistic resolution, like getting to the gym 3-4 times a week or try to get 20 minutes of exercise a day 5 days a week, which can include walking a couple of miles, doing yoga at home, walking stairs, really any type of exercise that you don’t have to go to a gym to do; you won’t always have the time to get to a gym, it’s a fact of life. Set a realistic goal that you actually know you can attain, and you will get in shape and feel better about yourself.

 

“I am going to only eat healthy foods. No more snacks and unhealthy food.”

This is a great resolution, but it is really tough to maintain. People start off awesome with this one: preparing healthy snacks and lunches for work, the night before, they feel good about being healthy and make time for it, then as there is a deadline or need to work late, or the winter blues get you down, you don’t have the energy at night one night to stay up and prep those meals, and there goes the healthy cycle. For women, there is that monthly draw to sweet or salty foods as part of our hormonal flux, which is unfortunate, but VERY real. And, it is OK to indulge in sweets every now and again. Because if you deprive yourself of those snacks that you crave, instead of just allowing a small indulgence every now and again, you end up craving more and more and you tend to over indulge. Eating healthy is an awesome goal, and I think that more people should make it a habit/goal, but set your sights to something realistic, which allows you small cheat meals every now and again. Even the people you see in Men’s/Women’s Health magazine allow themselves a cheat day, and sometimes you can trick yourself with fruits and veggies to curb your sweet tooth; just plan ahead and know that you will want a sweet or salty nosh at some point, so plan to make some baked sweet potato “fries” with some sea salt to satisfy your salt craving, or have fresh fruit already cut up to kill off your sweet tooth…and have some chocolate on hand just in case of emergencies! When you eat healthy, you tend to feel better about yourself, so while I fully support this resolution, don’t just say it, do it!

 

“I am going to get more organized.”

Some people are inherently organized, some people aren’t. This is something that a quick stop to the Container Store and $500 won’t fix. This is a true lifestyle change that takes time and effort. I applaud all of you who want to get organized: having an organized brain and home is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and it helps you stay on track with every other goal you set for yourself. Part of getting organized can be prepping healthy meals for you and your family, making a schedule to get to the gym, or de-cluttering your home. Setting a resolution with lots of opportunities gives you more opportunities to succeed!

Set yourself up to succeed in the New Year, don’t set yourself up to fail! If you hit your goals and keep going, you will only feel better and better about yourself and keep moving forward. So, Cheers to 2015 and the year of setting goals and creating resolutions that we can actually attain towards a healthy lifestyle!

Yours in Good Health

B

When to head to the Emergency Room, and when you should stay home!

Emergency RoomThere is no getting around it: healthcare is expensive. Even with insurance, it can be tough to cover the co-pays, and following the rules of which healthcare practitioners you can see (and then the waiting period) can be really confusing. But two things that most people don’t realize are that the co-pay for emergency care can be quite expensive, up to $175 per visit for some insurance companies, and, depending on the city and time of day, Emergency Department (ED) waiting times can be up to 20 hours, so it really is important if you are debating going to the emergency room, to know if you need to be there, or not.

Read more at Amerikanki.com

Yours in Good Health

B

5 Ways to Eat Heart Healthy through the Holiday Season

It’s probably not at the forefront of your thoughts when cooking for the holidays, but whether you or a loved one has heart disease yourself, or it isn’t an issue in your family, it’s important to protect ourselves from the risks of unhealthy foods! Eating those decadent holiday foods, that are deceptively high in fat and cholesterol, can build up plaques in our arteries and increase our risk for stroke and heart attack. The good news is that foods high in antioxidants and fiber can help to prevent those plaques from forming and can actually protect your heart. And, a lot of those heart healthy foods are actually really yummy and easy to add on to any menu! What are the best heart healthy foods?

Read on over at Amerikanki.comhealthy foods

Yours in Good Health

Bridgid

 

Healthier Holiday Meals: Trim the Fat to Stay on Point this Holiday Season!

Usually during the holiday seasons we are bombarded with candy, baked goods, holiday parties laden with fattening comfort foods, and combined with cold weather that makes most people less active, we are in a dieter’s nightmare. Come January 1st everyone is looking to get back on their healthy tracks and get back into shape and work off all of those indulgent foods, but what if we never fell into the Holiday food trap? There are ways to make those comfort foods that you love, but just make them healthier and equally as good (if not tastier!). Get the scoop and the fixes here on Amerikanki.com

Yours in Good Health

B

Organic Veg

AllNurses.com: Thank you, Florence Nightingale!

A Nurses Perspective. Around this time of year, I like think about the previous year: what has changed, what has stayed the same, and what I am truly thankful for. It is easy to have a negative day, or a positive day, and just focus on that, but it’s the big picture that is what is most important.

Read more on AllNurses.com

In Good Health

B

NurseB Hallway

Get Your Kids the Damn Flu shot….

Whether you ‘believe’ in flu vaccinations or not, as long as you are informed to the risks and benefits of using vaccines, as an adult, that is totally your choice to not get them. However, when it comes to your children, really learn the risks of not vaccinating your children…the flu is more serious than most people think, it can be devastating to a child, and you cannot keep them in a bubble of protection forever. You can do whatever you want for yourself, but arm your child with the protection their immune system needs to ward off the flu this season.

Check out the rest of Nurse Bridgid’s post on ScaryMommy.com

Yours in Good Health!

FluShot

Nurses Just Doing their Jobs….

There are some times as a nurse that you are really put under the microscope why you do what you do every day. Sometimes the reasons that we look more closely at our practice is because of questions from unlikely sources, that aren’t in the field. That happened to me recently and it really has made me think about responding to the ‘thank you’ from a patient with the phrase, “I’m just doing my job”…..

Read more on Allnurses.com