Author Archives: Julie Riley

About Julie Riley

Buried under health issues- mental and physical- something had to give. The past cannot be changed, the future can. I am on a journey to integrative holistic wellness in the exceptions of life. Health is not just for health nuts.

Improve Your Medical Relationships and Know When to End Them

It is unfortunate that this conversation keeps coming up with various people connections.  I am fortunate to have found a wonderful nurse practitioner who is caring and cares about my natural lifestyle.  My kids pediatrician doesn’t out right reject it and I am determine to convert with each success.  Our additional successes in therapies and treatments have set a core belief in an integrative health approach.  However, we have had incredibly negative experiences and these are a shared experience.  Ghost child’s visit last fall with her ENT was disastrous.  From a dismissive and massively insensitive doctor to a nurse who told my daughter she needed to behave so she will not “end up with hearing aids and people look at her funny.” You heard that right.  Oh, this ate at me for months.   This isn’t the first time either, I have heard from the hallway “give her what she wants.”  We never went back there either. That’s toxic and that toxicity leaks out.     It affects your physical being directly, possibly directly your mental health.  Been there.  Being able to communicate with your doctor affects your emotional and soul health too.  When things don’t go right, a variety of negativity seeps in and can take over.  From discouragement/despair to trust to hope- you ability to find success in a doctors visit for you or someone you love effects everything.  Make your visits work for you and find the medical professionals who want to help you.

It’s a 7 Step Thing:

1.  Write everything down- every freaking detail.  Symptoms, sleep patterns, language, bowel movements, sensations, school/home/work performance, breathes wrong, any odd thing. Write it down and share.  Let the medical professional sort it all out.

2.  List medications and supplements.  Or take pics.  I take a lot of supplements and they might interact with other medications.  I took a picture of each one and it already has the dosage on the front. Easier on the both of us.

3.  Ask for explanations and lots of whys.  Whys like a four year old. Get an understanding of tests and results.  If your medical professional gets annoyed see below.

4. Get a folder, carry it, and get copies of everything.  EVERYTHING.  I mean, EVERyTHING.  You never know what you need, when you need, or why you need something.  Get a copy then or by mail.

5. Go with you gut.  Even if it seems crazy to whomever you are talking too.  I used to be shy about sharing my concerns and deep instincts.  It has bitten me in the ass.  Don’t hold back but be respectful.

6. If follow up is required, DO. Call back if you do not hear back within time they have specified. If they didn’t specify, it’s carte blanche.  Be respectful at first.  Then you can get assertive if you must.

7.  Use reminders- paper or technology.  You have a lot going on and follow up is difficult to follow up with.  Set reminders because number six is significant. I have had major fall throughs.

So what happens when you have jerks you encounter? Power of second opinion.  Or third even.  I have sought a third 🤚.  The extent of your power of second opinion does depend on a few things: your financial resources, insurance company guidelines, time, and mobility.  We are fortunate to have health insurance; however, it does require phone calls, member website research, and lots of detailed reading to know what our rights are.  Finances, time, and mobility spread out visits and progress may not be as fast.  Work with what you have and call who you have too in order to make it happen.  Those awful experiences that occurred are ABSOLUTELY unacceptable.  For those who share similar experiences, it’s ABSOLUTELY unacceptable for you too.  Get that second opinion. Additional to that second opinion, these offices do need to know when things or they go wrong.  Our last experience fell on deaf ears in a place that serves those with ear/hearing issues.  That irony is not lost on me.  After I knew we had a second care provider, I took to their social media and review sites.  At least I can warn those who might follow us.  Your voice is your power.  You cannot control their choices, but you can guide them.  I would not recommend leaving a negative statement without communicating it directly first to the professional or leaving the practice altogether.  Have a positive note? Spread that every where.

This is in preparation, being reactive, and getting proactive.  Get on medical review sites, ask a trusted medical professional, and check with your insurance company when looking for a medical professional.  Ask about board certifications, malpractice suits, and read patient reviews.  Use your judgement and gut.  If you are going to use social media for recommendations, please write specifically what you want in that doctor and ask for specifics as to why a person is giving you that recommendation.

Don’t lose hope.  We have spent years working through the hearing loss, pain, testing, language disorder, and more malfunctions.  That’s just one kid! We have us and other children too.  TMost people interact with a medical professional as some point in their lives.  Please share this post.  And subscribe to notjusthealtnuts!

Namaste and open the communication lines

The Fluidity in Your Food Life

celebration close up hand illuminated

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This morning I checked out the 4th forecast and out came a deep groan.  Today hit over 100 ° F by eleven am; the festivities in a couple of days are predicted to be the worst.  The solar energy, vitamin D boost, sweat cleanse, and family time are the positives I am desperately going to hold on too.  Cling on too.  We will be armed with tons of sunblock, light clothing, and hydration for the negatives.  The state of dehydration affects your entire body and mind.  We must be prepared. However,  hydration is more than just the intake of fluids.  It’s how much, what you take, and what you eat.

How much water should you drink? National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine   gives guidelines on how much fluids you should take in at the very least.  According to the site, I just carry around a bottle all day because I need to take in around twelve eight ounces per day.  Food can count!  Some conditions require more fluid intake such as activity and heat,  Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention outlines other reasons.  Know and watch your fluid intake.

lime cocktail drink with two straws

Photo by EVG photos on Pexels.com

What about what you drink?  Plain water for the most part is best but doesn’t have to be the only means of fluids.  There are some you need to limit or completely avoid.  Sugary drinks such as juices and sodas needs to be limited in down, cool periods all the time.  In hot temperatures or activity, it needs to be avoided.  This goes for caffeine and alcohol too.  A non- synthetic dye water flavor may help you achieve your hydration goal.  I love herbal teas and I have been drinking lot on ice lately.  Infused water is an excellent way to make fluids enjoyable and reach those next goals in what to eat for hydration.

 

What can I eat to hydrate?  Your food life is two fold on hydration.  You can eat foods loaded with water.  You need to eat consistently to help your body absorb, hold, and use water better.

These foods have a considerable amount of water in them

  • oranges
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • cantalope
  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • celery
  • grapefruit
sliced fruits on tray

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Sports drinks are known to help with hydration and keeping hydration in short periods.  The main reason are electrolytes.  In a simplistic term, electrolytes are salts in the form of minerals that help with hydration and cleanse your bodily systems.  The electrolytes you need are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, phosphates.  You can eat these easily.

Foods rich in most or all needed electrolytes

  • White beans
  • Dairy- yogurt/ kefir particularly
  • Fish- especially salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and walnuts
  • Dark greens- notably kale, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, spinach, chard
  • Tofu
  • Baked goods with baking soda
  • Fruids: Bananas, water melons,
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut water
  • Tomato
  • Egg plant

Each of these foods offer it’s unique contribution.  A rotation/combination of each offers the best impact.  Drink and eat to keep your body and mind at it’s best, certainly in the scorching sun.

close up photography of eyeglasses on pineapple

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Namaste and be fluid

 

Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey

Feel like you’re under water? Not even head above water, but under it?  Keeping track of news on all fronts and watching social media, a lot of you are right with me.  Over that past month we have been hit with curve balls dodge ball style.  The latest developments are experiencing new aspects to ghost child’s disorders and handling them.  We still have a bunch of children with ever expanding needs and change to their growth.  My husband was in a car accident that has developed increased anxiety (once managed) with migraines.  Redreignofterror pulled on my neck and pulled out a pre-existing condition that has taken over a month to be pain free and we are finally on the road to managing that. In our lifestyle readjustments we are starting to discover stable ground even among the rough days.

There is one technique we are using that is a common thread is all of this: Breathe! We are digging deep and finding those deep breaths In my early twenties I will be ever grateful to the professionals that linked me with biofeedback.  It started a path in realizing how nature can heal and modern medicine is more than pills for pain management. She was a professional who looked beyond the symptoms.  We discussed various aspect of my life to deal with the migraines and anxiety I had at the time.  The take aways for me was food as healers and the importance of breathe.  This has grown to a food relationship beyond just food and a journey to meditation.  Minus this neck deal recently, my migraines the past few years went from 25/30 days of pain to just a few a year.  It took time and trials but it was well worth the effort.  My husband is working on new habits with breathing techniques.  Our children, some more than others, are reminded to breathe.   Ghost child has taken to exploration in meditation.

Below is a basic breathing exercise with suggestions for individuality.  I am not affiliated with any company and have experimented with all options, if not use some of them daily.    Learning to control your breath and mind is an individualized journey with common threads.   Play around with it to find your niche.  It does take time and consistency.  You are learning a new habit.  In experimentation, give it a few days to see if its a good fit.   Time and commitment increase success and benefits. If you are frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed these can benefit you greatly.  It’s important to note that this is not a total sum treatment.  I take natural supplements and have sought professional help in the past.  My breathing and meditation is a continuation of management and healing.  My husband takes anxiety medication to level out chemical imbalances and has further medication for the really bad moments.  This is a growing practice to manage his anxiety plus daily medication.   If you feel like you cannot function in daily life or barely are, please seek professional help and ask about adding these to your treatments.

What does controlled breath actually do to your body? Immediately your body is taking in more oxygen which is great for concentration.  Your nervous system begins to get under control.  Regular practice increases these benefits.

The best benefit is that there is a lot ways to do this.

Techniques, Apps, & Ideas

There are lots of approaches to creating this habit.  Controlled breathing can look like guided imagery, meditation, breathing exercise/pranayama,  and more.  

These options were carefully chosen to keep it basic and simple.  

Four, Seven, Eight Breath

Breathe App

This is an app I have experimented with (not affiliated with) and liked it best among many.  It gives visuals to guide breathing and options to personalize your practice.  There are other apps and don’t be afraid to experiment.  

Headspace App and Website

Another app that offers areas of individual needs. There are a lot of apps out there but this is my favorite because of ease of use and personalization.

Insight Timer App and Website

The app is used almost daily on my phone.  If a lot of options overwhelm you then this may not be the best fit.  It’s versatility is a huge plus for me.  Most of the options are free, but there are courses on beginning meditation among many others.  I love the guided options, music options, nature sounds.  The timer was updated recently and I am hooked.  I can change sounds,  time, bells/chimes/bowls plus set intention of yoga, breathing, prayer, meditation, etc.  

 Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

This is a personal resource sharing how I found meditation obtainable with ADHD.  There a variety of reasons staying focused in breathing or meditation, this isn’t just for ADHD. 

Setting a breathing exercise routine or meditation habit can give relief in a stressful situation, provide clarity,  or a means to control your mind.  It’s helpful in the negative moments.  It’s better as a habit.

It starts with two simple steps: Inhale. Exhale.

Check out in the coming weeks.  Food relationship explorations have been happening and food as delicious healer ideas are to come!

 Breathe with me

Namaste 

Check It Out

On the side bar is a Facebook icon.  This links to my facebook page.  Same name. Same me.  A bit more informal me.   Today I posted a quick meal idea.  Sometimes there are short notes.  A meme or two.  It’s our snap shot version.  Check it out and like to follow!

 

Namaste

I want to say this sharing is because of recent events.  In honesty, these losses are indicative of a pervasive reality.  Mental illness is tucked in many corners of humanity, no one is immune.   In a little more than a week I am sharing the story behind my tattoo.  My story has much to do with my mental illness and my victory in my journey.  However, yesterday in the physical pain, fatigue, and mental frustration, I know all too well how quickly I could slip.  Therapy, chemical stability aid, inspiration, and reminders are necessary.  My tattoo is my permanent reminder.

IMG-0456

The largest part of my tattoo is a Lotus.  This flower is unlike many others, its survives in a wide range of temperatures and muddy waters.  I am a wife, mom, advocate, friend, artist, writer, sister, daughter.  Roles built over time and ones that I cherish.  With that I am a survivor of abuse and the social taboo it comes with.  I’ve been told that I shouldn’t share that part of my life because it would make others uncomfortable.  Then I became further isolated.  Anxiety and depression were the roller coasters of much of my life.  Panic attacks and withdrawn.  I felt voiceless.  I am a medical illness hurdle jumper with stumbles here and there.   I am an ADHDian.  It’s been a wide range in my life.  As a conqueror, I am not just blooming.  I am changing.  The butterfly right up on my shoulder symbolizes that crucial mindset of transformation.  I can and do choose to change how my past and current situations are used.  They do not wholly define me.  Written below all of this is 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Those are words I have held dear to for years.  Those words remind me that my Creator designed me for a great purpose and, like a lotus, my roots are deep to thrive despite the mud.  The act of creating is a process.  It takes time, effort, and there are mistakes.  Through the transformation and healing in mental illness, it is a similar process. My creation is flawed, but valuable all the same.

Here’s the thing.  There was a time the darkness was deep.  I didn’t believe in the value of my life and my silence festered the wounds.  It was baby steps, but I found that last shred of strength and sought help.  In the battle we need allies and professional ones.  If you are in that darkness, keep one foot in front of the other with hands out.  We need you.  There’s isn’t another you.  Seeking help isn’t weak, it’s boldness.  You have it in you.  To take it further, I have taken medication in the past to help me.  I found a natural path that works best for me.  It doesn’t matter the means: talking, breathing, medication, supplements, or do all of it.  Grab a hold of your life line.  My hope is that one day your story will become a tattoo, artwork, song, writing, oral story that will empower you and empower others.

Additionally, we need advocates.  Our perceptions on people with mental illness need to change. Perceptions on the illnesses themselves need to change.  The health care system needs to change.  Our interactions with each other needs change.  A simple start is giving grace, checking in with those around us, and be present.  Compassion and deeper connections are imperative.  Become aware of yourselves, others around you, and share resources for help. Be that shoulder.  Make that call.

As always, my soul honors your invaluable soul

Life Lines

National Suicide Hotline 

  • 1- 800- 273- 8255 Hotline
  • 1-800- 799- 4889 TTY Hotline
  • Suicide Prevention Website (online chat option and specific areas of help)

Crisis Text Line

  • Text Home to 741741

Domestic Violence

Sexual Assualt

Postpartum Support International