Category Archives: Health

Excuses Are Lies Wrapped up in Reasons – Howard Wright

The title of this post from the Seeds 4 Life caught my eye, as I have been learning about the deception of excuses. (Link to the post is at the bottom of this post)I’ve been able to take a great course from Selfhelpworks.com that has helped me change my thinking for eating healthier, which in turn is helping me achieve my initial goal of losing weight. These programs actually teach that rationalizations and excuses are LIES and that we are never without a choice. While the subjects of these courses and the post from The Seeds For Life are different, they both say the same thing. Excuses keep people in their comfort zone and hinder sucess.

To succeed at anything, you need to expand your possibilities and take steps out of that comfort zone. You need to look at your excuses and examine them against what outcomes you want and then make your choice. For example, I kept saying to myself that I’ll start eating better later because it’s a pain to make different food for my partner and myself. I would also tell myself that I need to eat those donuts in the cupboard because I was hungry, they were getting stale so my partner wouldn’t eat them, and they couldn’t go to waste. I don’t like donuts either, but that’s why I’ve gained more than 20 lbs in less than 9 years and is probably responsible for my lack of energy and fatigue (along with low iron and vitamin D, which I’m taking vitamins for). Every time I weighed myself, found my waistband too tight, or lamented on my increasing bust line, I would think “I need to lose weight.” The most I would do was track how many steps I took in a day, but did nothing about my diet. I once again let my partner dictate how I lived, even though it wasn’t how I wanted to live. I’m not a big sweets or fat-loaded food eater, but I became one over the years, and it was a hard habit to break. I knew that I didn’t “want” the stuff I was eating, but it was a habit. I wanted to eat, sometimes because I was hungry and sometimes because I wanted to “feel better” and so I’d grab ready-made convenience food. Afterward, I would feel tired and sick to my stomach after I ate way too many sweets or chips & dip. I satisfied my mental hunger/craving but my body didn’t feel better. My true choice was between eating something full of sugar or fat, feel like crap afterward and gain more weight OR chose to eat healthier foods so my body would feel better and I would lose weight.

Basically, it’s a normal human habit to make a goal or have a desire, but then make excuses to stay in our habitual comfort zone. I realized this and started to make more healthy eating choices more often than not. Now that my doctor has officially told me I have to lower my cholesterol, I didn’t have a hard time replacing butter on my baked potato with garlic infused olive oil, or choosing something other than a hamburger at the fast food joint (which sometimes means waiting until I get home to eat). In all honesty, I was never a big hamburger fan, but if we were out and passing a burger joint, I would feel hungry and want one.

I know a lot of you out there are bloggers that want to do more writing–and the Seeds 4 Life post hits on the “I don’t have time” excuse we pretty much all use. We don’t have time for a half hour of exercise (or writing, etc), but can spend an hour a night watching TV. What’s more important–doing what we say we want to do or watching that TV program? Do you want to live in the shoulda/coulda/woulda world of excuses? Or would you rather be a willing participant in life by choosing to do what you want to do?

Remember, the choice is ALWAYS up to you! I do recommend the Selfhelpworks courses if you need help losing weight, stoping smoking, dealing with stress. They are common sense courses that, more than anything, give you the responsibility and choice to change. It’s not about depriving oneself, it’s about making the choice that will improve your life. The courses are $199 each but could be free to you if your employer or health insurance rewards program has partnered with them. For example, I have the HumanaVitality rewards program, and due to my weight and BMI, I had a goal in the program to lose weight and look the LivingLean course (for FREE) as part of the goal. I’m also going through the smoking cessation course so I can help my partner when she is finally ready to quit.

Source: Excuses Are Lies Wrapped up in Reasons – Howard Wright

So, How Many People Are Sucked Into a Jet Engine?

Apparently enough people to warrant a medical diagnosis code.

If you remember (or not), I had a recent post recounting a few disturbing diagnosis codes that I’ve seen due to my line of work.  Well, a new billing code standard is coming later this year, and my employer has taken notice and announced a very interesting one that gave me a much needed Monday laugh.

There is now a code for both the INITIAL and SUBSEQUENT encounters for getting sucked into a jet engine.

If you don’t believe me, just google “ICD 10 sucked into jet engine”.

The website Lowering the Bar did beat my employer’s blog writers to the punch–they published this post almost a year ago.  I stumbled across this post while searching to see if I could find actual statistics.  No statistics, but this is just as good IMO.  They do point out that subsequent “encounter” actually means subsequent doctor’s visits/services, so all the jet engine codes are still assuming it only happened once, but you’ll have multiple doctor visits.

All I can say is “ouch” and please don’t show me the video.

photo credit: Jet Power via photopin (license)
photo credit: Jet Power via photopin (license)

What My Cat’s Vet Taught Me Before the Probiotic Craze

Several years ago, our veterinarian recommended giving yogurt with live, active cultures to our cats with digestive issues.  He had read some research that said it helps with IBS.

I had no idea.  At that time, I wasn’t a big yogurt person.  All I knew was that I preferred Yoplait’s thick and creamy on the rare occasions I ate yogurt.  (Today I wouldn’t touch it due to the additives, plus it does NOT have live AND active cultures.)

A year or so after our vet suggested yogurt came the Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis.  And then the probiotic pill commercials.  “Buy this to keep your digestion ‘regular,'” the commercials tell us.  Later, my partner’s gastroenterologist actually confirmed that probiotics are necessary.

So, our vet’s knowledge carries over to humans.  Who knew?

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the live good bacteria that your gut needs to function properly.  Gastroenterologists will actually prescribe a probiotic if you have stomach issues and can’t find any other underlying cause.  Or if they find you do not have any of the necessary good bacteria in your stomach.  That’s what happened to my partner.  She had NO bacteria whatsoever.  While no bad bacteria is a good thing, having no good bacteria is bad.  That can still lead to digestive and other stomach issues.

There is also research that suggests there is a link to gut health and your brain.  While there isn’t a lot of concrete probiotic research yet, there is enough to show this is more than just commercial hype and a new health fad.

If you don’t have digestive issues, you may not need a pill, but eating probiotic rich foods is still a good thing.  Non alcoholic fermented foods (like yogurt) and beverages supply probiotics.  I’m experimenting with fermented foods myself, but for now I’ll focus on yogurt.

What yogurts are the best?

My yogurt
My yogurt

As I said, CHECK THE LABEL.  The probiotics are the live AND active cultures.   My personal preference is to have at least L. acidophilus and B. lactis on the culture listas these are two of the three probiotics in my partner’s doctor prescribed Florajen3.  There are many other cultures, as well, that may be just as beneficial since which probiotics are the best still seems to be a guessing game.  So, if you see live and active cultures, at this point you don’t need to stress over what they are.  Unless you really want to stress over it.

I also recommend that you know everything that’s in your yogurt.  I now make my own yogurt (including strawberry yoplait-style for my partner).  The best yogurt is too expensive, and I want control over what’s in my yogurt and how it tastes.  If you still want to buy your yogurt, just read the label.  There are yogurts (like Siggi’s, a thick Icelandic style yogurt) that use just milk and cultures for their plain yogurt.

And for the record, Dannon’s Activia has their own patented culture.  But I’m not aware of any independent research that actually says their probiotic is better than any others.  If you check their ingredient list, Activia only says it has active cultures, and also has one of the rare ingredients that I recommend you stay away from . . .

http://activia.us.com/probiotic-yogurt/products/activia-black-cherry
http://activia.us.com/probiotic-yogurt/products/activia-black-cherry

Carrageenan!  That’s a known cancer causing ingredient that’s used as a thickener in quite a few dairy (and non-dairy milk) products.  Research also indicates it can promote glucose intolerance than can lead to diabetes, and exacerbate the condition if you already have it.  The Food Babe and her followers have put pressure on organic companies to remove it, and several are now phasing out their use of carrageenan.  I don’t like to be a food alarmist, but this is one additive I will not knowingly ingest.

In a later post, I will share my yogurt making recipes and tips.  If you want to start now, feel free to do a google search.  There are tons of how-to pages.

Yogurt is super easy to make, so if you have any cooking skills at all, you can do it!

Medical Misadventure?!

I work for a health insurance company, so I see all sorts of diagnosis codes.  For those that are uninitiated, almost all medical conditions or reason for seeing a doctor have a diagnosis code that is used on health insurance claims.

Most seem normal enough, and self explanatory, like diabetes without complications, preventative exam, alchohol withdrawal, or closed femur fracture.  Even if it’s a broad category (like back pain), you still have idea of what the issue is.

However, some are puzzling and even alarming.

Like . . .

Medical Misadventure?!

Photo credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] / Foter / CC BY
Yes, that’s a real medical diagnosis.  I saw it.

It really bugged me because it sounds so arbitrary.  What does misadventure mean, exactly?

I pictured something akin to a screwball episode of I Love Lucy.

But medical diagnoses are rarely humerus humorous.

So, then, is it one big medical screw up that can’t be classified as anything else?

Did a medical instrument get left inside during surgery?

Did the patient wake up during surgery? (A friends father did this and yelled at the surgeon “your damn saw blade is dull!”  True story.).

Did they do the wrong procedure?

Pretty much.

Definition from the Free Dictionary:

“misadventure:  An unintended result of an action, as in an occupation-related “homicide by misadventure”. In medicine, the term has become a euphemism for a therapeutic error, as in a surgical misadventure in which the wrong leg was amputated.”

SCARY.

Medicare has specific codes for surgeries performed on the wrong body part and the wrong patient, so does that mean it’s done to medicare patients more often than the rest of us so they actually figured they needed a separate code for it?

I know mistakes happen.  We are all human.

It’s just pretty scary when it’s in the medical realm.

While my partner gets irritated when she is repeatedly asked for her name, date of birth, and the procedure she’s in for, I am glad they now triple check prior to surgery.  They even mark the body part to be operated on.

She may be annoyed with all the questions, but I’m sure annoyed wouldn’t describe her feelings if they operated on the wrong body part or performed the wrong operation.

She should feel lucky that’s not on her list of medical diagnoses.

Have any Medical Misadventure stories?  Please share!  I am definitely interested.