Becoming a vegetarian? Organization and information could be the secret

We all have thought about that, either by curiosity, by interest, or by a legitimate decision to make changes. How is it to be a vegetarian? Reality is that every day thousands of people around the globe make the decision to start more than a new diet regime, a new lifestyle, as vegetarians.

The reason? Well, there are several. First, we can find those who refuse to consume animal protein in an attempt to preserve those lives and to set a precedent against what they can see as animal cruelty. Others have done their research to realize that they can get their protein intake just from plants and grains, and decide to go that way to avoid the cholesterol, antibiotics and other things that you could have while consuming animal protein. Finally, there is a whole group of people that follow the idea that all the animal proteins are not only bad but also a trigger for a good number of health conditions that kill thousands of people every year. We are talking about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, just to mention a few ones.

Is all that true? It depends on who you talk to. It is true that well-known experts from around the world have studies and research that show a certain connection between the consumption of animal proteins and the risk of developing diseases like breast cancer and diabetes. It is true that there are documented cases of patients which have greatly improved their health by changing to a vegetarian lifestyle. It is true that most of the meat and chicken that we find at any supermarket in the country is plagued with antibiotics and other substances. It is true that animal cruelty has been a common practice in several farms where chickens, pork, and cows are hosted for production of meat, eggs, and milk. We all have seen the images, articles, and investigations around those topics. But the only truth that you should consider is your own one.

Every person is a unique universe. Only you can determine what is good or not for you. Only you can make the decision to try different things or to stay with what you already know. What’s important here, is to research, to read about the topic, to talk to different kind of people, to evaluate the pros and cons, to consult your doctor and to finally make a decision having in mind that you are who best know yourself.

In case you decide to become a vegetarian, start by reading about the benefits and the possible effects in your body. The internet is full of websites and pages where recipes, tips, and even coupons are available for those who have decided to start leaving behind the animal proteins.

Organize your menus, make a budget, look for easy recipes and plan ahead your meals, and take baby steps. Once you know what you are going to eat every day, it’s easy to continue. The struggle is to look for new dishes, but again, your cyber friends could be the key.

We always say that changes are good. If this is your case, enjoy it! You will discover a whole new world ahead of you. Just remember that balance is a good word to define whatever you do in life.

 

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Menopause…how to face that monster?

Did you know that there is a North American Menopause Society? Well, yes! It means that menopause is a very important issue that needs to be analyzed, studied, discussed and understood in all its capacity.

Let’s start by saying that for decades, menopause has been treated like a monster that comes at a certain point of a woman’s life to destroy everything in its path, starting with the self-esteem and continuing with the comfort, and many other things that women once considered essential to living with. However, science and modernity have contributed to making that natural transition smoother and less traumatic one for today’s women.

Now, it’s important to understand that even though menopause it’s a natural event, it’s actually a complex process and it needs to be accompanied by specialists. In order to be ready, to understand, and to know how to act once this process has started, it’s imperative to be informed.

The first thing every woman should know is that menopause, which by definition is the permanent and natural ending of menstruation, usually starts between the ages of 45 and 55, but there are women who experience it at 30 or 40 or it could even start at 60, so there is not a day already marked on your calendar. However, there are symptoms that you can read and that will let you know that you are already on the menopause path.

If you are experiencing irregular periods, mood changes, hot flashes, sleep issues and vaginal dryness, chances are that you are in the phase known as perimenopause, and that’s basically your body letting you know that the menopause process has started, but it will be confirmed only when you have stopped having your period for 12 consecutive months. Once you detect those first signs, consult your physician.

There is no reason to be miserable, to skip your social life, or to feel bad about what’s happening in your body. If you are conscious about the expectations, and you walk this road alongside your doctor, then, relax. Remember that you are not alone, that as in every process, human beings always adapt, and above all, remember that there are several things that your physician could do for you to relieve the symptoms. Facing this phase of your life with optimism will be of great help. Enjoy the journey with the new you!

The Opioid Epidemic and Our Responsibility as Patients

It’s not a secret. The headlines are all over the place: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and social media are talking about the opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of Americans. We hear the stories, sometimes we know someone who lost a loved one due to an overdose, but how many times do you think about your own responsibility on this epidemic?

Probably never. If the tragedy doesn’t knock on our door, there is not a real reason to look at it in depth, right? Well, no. Reality is that according to statistics revealed in 2016 by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015 we had 20.5 million Americans 12 or older with a substance use disorder. From them, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

To continue with the numbers, between 1999 and 2010, 48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses. That was 7 years ago and unfortunately, the numbers have increased.

Yes, it is a declared epidemic and it involves all of us. Why? Because we all are patients, and at some point we may need, use or be prescribed pain relievers or painkillers. According with the CDC and other experts, it is important to be informed, to talk to your doctor, to ask all the questions you need to be answered, and to be proactive as a patient while in treatment.

Pain relievers are prescribed not only to adults, but also to children after a sports injuries, or a surgery. While doctors and medical personnel are aware about the risks of opioid medicines, it is also important that parents and patients understand the importance of following the physician’s instructions, and also the importance of understanding the consequences that opioids might have if they are misused.

A big portion of addicts to heroin started using painkillers and developed the addiction due to misuse of those medicines. It is not about doubting your doctor’s recommendations, or questioning your treatment, it is about knowing and understanding how those medicines work, what they do to your body and, at the end of the day, it is probably about you making the decision to use them or not, or to ask for possible alternative treatments to your doctors.

The patient-doctor relationship should be a two-way one. Information is the key and this one in particular should be openly shared with our families, children, and other people. Don’t be afraid of asking more to your doctor. The next time you see your physician, start that conversation.