When I first started to work with my health coach, she suggested since I didn’t like to cook that I make a smoothie. I decided to try it out. I got some of the ingredients. Some of the ingredients I had to order online. The first day I had all the ingredients, I went to the grocery store to get the bananas. The bananas were supposed to be frozen but I didn’t think it would make a difference. I was so wrong. Instead of almond milk, I used regular milk. I put all the ingredients in the blender and it was a disaster. The smoothie came out watery and brown. I looked at it and I told myself that I had to at least try it. I got a spoon and had 2 spoonfuls. It tasted a little bitter. I put it in the refrigerator hoping that after about 5 minutes of chilling in it, it would taste better. When I went back to the fridge, it was even more brown and it looked disgusting. I threw it out. I got afraid in that moment. If I didn’t like the smoothies, then what next. Would my health coach have another solution that would allow me not to cook and not time consuming? I told myself to keep trying and to actually follow the recipe that she had given me. I finally got it right on the third try. I realized why the strawberries and the bananas had to be frozen. That third smoothie I loved it. It wasn’t bitter, it was actually sweet.
My Smoothie Recipe:
4-5 frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana
7-8 blueberries (added by my mom one day without me asking, but it helped)
1 teaspoon of protein powder (Vega Sport Performance Protein berry flavor)
1 tablespoon of coconut butter (Kevala Coconut Butter)
2 teaspoons ground flax seed
1 handful of baby kale
almond milk (almond breeze vanilla flavor) just enough to cover the fruit
Whether patients know it or not, they affect the nurse. I may not always tell a patient that but it’s true. I still remember the best patient I’ve ever had. The patient was so grateful to be alive and it was just radiating from the patient. It was a joy to take care that patient. *Another patient that affected me the most was a young man. He was in his early 20s. He had had diabetes since he was a child. He came to the hospital to have his leg amputated. Even before the amputation, he couldn’t get up by himself to the bathroom. I tried to teach him about diet and exercise but it fell on deaf ears. He was literally just beginning in life and he was going to have a limb amputated. A month later he had to come back to the hospital to have a little bit more of his leg amputated. I decided that if I wanted to see my patients change, then I was going to have to be the change I wanted to see in them. At that point, I was 180 pounds. I would get winded just going up one flight of stairs or walking fast down the hallway. I hadn’t exercised in years. I hadn’t eaten a vegetable or fruit in months. I lived off of doughnuts and fast food. I didn’t love myself. I spent so much money on fast foods and doughnuts. I have saved so much money now that I eat healthy. I no longer go to the grocery store to get doughnuts or jump in my car to get fast foods. Sometimes I would drive 30 minutes from my house to get fast food because I had already been to the fast food restaurants around my house that week. I didn’t want the fast food workers to get too familiar with me and then they would know how much fast food I ate a week. I wanted them to think that this was a once a week thing. I remember, when I was checking out at a grocery store, the cashier asked me why I would buy doughnuts when I had all this other healthy food in my cart. I made up a lie and said they were for work. In reality that was my breakfast. When I went grocery shopping, I would put fruits and vegetables in the cart. They would eventually end up in the trash. I didn’t want any one to know that I was just going to the grocery store for doughnuts to eat. I wasted so much food. I could have fed the homeless with all the food I threw away. One time, I actually ate a healthy meal. It was pork chops and potatoes. I got sick 30 minutes later. I hadn’t eaten “real food” in months. My system was so used to fast food and doughnuts, it got confused when I ate real food. It was like I was living a double life. I had to portray to the patients that I knew how to eat healthy and exercise but I wasn’t living that kind of life.
*Identifying factors of the patient have been changed to protect the privacy of the patient.
I had just gotten my first job working as an RN in a hospital back in 2011. It was a very stressful job but it taught me so much. When I became the charge nurse, it got even more stressful. I lived an hour away from the job. I had to wake up at 4 am and leave my house by 5:15 am to make it to work on time. I would never have time to take a lunch break. I would eat 2 small sausage biscuits before I left the house. The biscuits were the frozen ones from the grocery store. During my 12 hour shift, and sometimes 16 hour shifts, I would have 2 packs of graham crackers and some apple juice. When I was driving home, I would feel like I was going to pass out. I was so sleepy and tired. Sometimes I would have to stop on the side of the road and take some deep breaths to keep myself awake. I would also have to drink a Coke to help myself stay awake. I was getting worried that I would harm myself or someone else on the road. Some days I would get home from work and think to myself, if it wasn’t for the grace of God I wouldn’t be here. I would be in the car driving, slapping myself, singing at the top of my lungs, and dancing to stay awake. I always had the air conditioner on. It was snowing one time and I had the AC on. So I went to the doctor because I wanted to see if there was anything wrong with me. I got an appointment with the nurse practitioner instead. She did a complete physical and took some blood. She surprised me by asking me if I took my lunch break. I told her no. Most days I just worked through my lunch break. Some times I wouldn’t eat for 9 hours. Some days I didn’t even take a bathroom break until my shift was over. I told her what I ate. She told me that I wasn’t eating enough to keep a baby alive. She was the only one in the medical field that stressed the importance of eating healthy and taking care of yourself. If any one else had asked me what I was eating, I would have told them. I didn’t tell her what I ate on my days off because she only asked what I was eating at work. If she had of asked I would have told her that I was eating doughnuts almost every day when I was off. I knew that wasn’t helping me feel any better. That was contributing to my tiredness at work and while at home. It would still take me a couple more years to get help for my eating disorder.