Basic Steps to a Healthy Pregnancy

If you are planning to have a baby, or are already pregnant, give your baby the best possible start. Miraculously, many women have an apparently health pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby without any thought at all. However, many are not so lucky and sometimes that perfectly healthy baby has health issues early on such as rashes, allergies, ear infections etc. As an obstetrics nurse with 40 years experience in childbirth and prenatal education, I would like to encourage you not to leave the health of your pregnancy and baby to chance. Take steps now to be healthier.

Start with a good physical from your midwife or MD. Ask your practitioner about a thyroid panel and Vitamin D level. Make sure your iron stores are good. If you are vegetarian, ask your health care provider about B12 supplementation. Start on your prenatal vitamins and minerals and of course, if you have not quit smoking do it now. The effects of 1 cigarette a day after the 4th month of pregnancy are still measurable at age 10.

Take a good look at your diet. Write down everything you eat for 3 days and then check it off by the following list.

1: 7 colors daily: Blue – berries, elderberries;
Purple – plums, grapes, purple cabbage;
Red – tomatoes, radishes, cherries, red peppers, red onions;
Yellow – lemon, mango, lemon, grapefruit, yellow tomatoes, grapefruit;
White – cauliflower, onions, garlic;
Orange – oranges, tangerines, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and yams;
Green – lettuce (not ice burg), celery, cilantro, parsley, cabbage, napa cabbage, kale, organic spinach, swiss chard, bok choy.

2: 7-9 Servings of fruits and vegetables

3: Complete protein at every meal (pregnancy, nursing and children) *

4: Good fats – Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Omega 3 fatty Acids. raw seeds and nuts

5. Whole Grains 3 to 4 servings for pregnant women

6. Get rid of calories without food value-pop, chips, candy etc.

7. Limit or eliminate the white – white flour, white rice, and sugars of all forms.

This may seem overwhelming. Do not let it be. Just start educating yourself and move towards making this list the basis for your food intake.

Last but not least, schedule your first prenatal as soon as you have conceived. Information gathered in your first trimester is used for treating any pregnancy complications that should arise.

Please start a list of questions for your care provider, so you can get all of your questions answered. This information is not intended as medical advice, but as information to discuss with your midwife or doctor.

* Complete proteins come from combining various protein sources. As a general rule meat, fish, poultry and milk have a more complete protein balance. Egg whites are the best. Quinoa and soy beans are the top of the plant proteins. It is good to vary the protein sources in your diet and eat combinations of plant proteins.

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Eating Seafood – How To Avoid Bones

There are two very simple ways to avoid coming across a hidden bone when eating a fish dish. The first is to buy fish from one of the larger species which have large central spines and few small bones. The second way is to take out the small bones from pin a flat or round fish.

The benefits of the larger and firmer fleshed fish

Tuna and Monk Fish are two prime examples of larger fish. They both have firm textured flesh, strong spines and few of the smaller lateral bones. Tuna being considered very similar to lean Beef, and Monk Fish on a par with Prawns and Lobster. The recipe alternatives from around the world for both fish are enormous. Check on the Internet for cooking suggestions from the simple to the more complex. You will be able to create a wonderful bone-free meal.

How to remove bones from the more complex species of fish

A few years ago I dined with a business associate who ordered Whitebait as a starter. Whitebait are the tiny pencil thin fish coated in milk, seasoned flour, deep fried and eaten whole. My colleague decided to fillet all the fish. It took him a while, to concern the waiting and kitchen staff who were wondering how long it would before serving the main course.

His expectation of a boneless piece of fish was a little extreme. With most people the concern is to remove the hidden, lurking throat assassin – the small pin bone. Ask help from your fish supplier to remove them, and state your concerns about any remaining in the fish you buy. If on your return home you still find a bone in the fillet then try another fish supplier next time.

If help is not at hand then complete the task on your own. You can easily find the bones. They are usually either in the stomach wall or down the length of the fish in the centre of the fillet. Gently feeling around will find them. Using a set of tweezers will remove the smaller bones, with a small filleting knife coming handy to cut out the bones in the stomach wall. You will end up with a totally bone free fillet and be able to cast all your worries aside.

With some types of firm textured flat fish, such as Dover Sole, the fish will not need filleting. You will find that after cooking, the fillet can easily be removed from the carcass of the fish.

Why Are Salmon So Special?

The crystalline waters of Alaska host one of the world's most valuable resources: healthy, natural, nutritional fish. Alaska has recognized the importance of their marine life, and has taken firm measures to ensure that the waters around their 34,000 miles of coastline remain pure, and that the fish living in those waters are harvested in a way that is sustainable and eco-friendly.

That's a lot to brag about when Alaska salmon are in such high demand. Alaska's response to this demand has been measured and responsible, ensuring that the world can continue to enjoy wild salmon for generations to come. What is that makes these fish so special, and the focus of so many great grilled salmon recipes?

For one thing, salmon is a rich source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, while being low on the harmful saturated fats and Omega-6 oils found in other animals. Alaska salmon live a rigorous natural life, and this vitality ensures lean fish with high quality texture and taste. The clean water and healthy organisms keep the salmon free of toxins and impurities in their environment and diet.

Look up grilled salmon recipes, and you will consistently find sources from health-food and low-calorie sites and cookbooks, proudly displaying the nutritional facts of each recipe. These sites will tell you not just how to cook salmon steaks, but will also likely boast about the variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients packed into a savory salmon feast.

Salmon can be cooked fresh, thawed, or frozen, and this means that it can be enjoyed year-round, even long after the fishing season has ended for a given year. Grilling salmon is a summer-time activity as American as flipping burgers or baking apple pie, and is a whole lot healthier to boot. The versatility of salmon is another thing that makes it so special. It works in any cuisine, from Asian to French, and can be served as a main entrée, or worked into appetizers, salads, and soups. Just crack a cookbook; you'll be amazed at the number of grilled salmon recipes.

You do not need anyone to tell you that salmon makes a delicious meal, but if you have been wondering what makes this fish so special, remember that Alaska salmon is also a highly nutritional food, and represents a sustainable practice that you can be proud to participate in.

Why Diabetics Should Eat Lots of Shrimp

Shrimp is one of the best food choices a diabetic can make. Here are some of the main reasons:

Shrimp Has LOTS of Omega-3 ( Omega-3 Fatty Acids) and This Is Extremely Important To the Diabetic

Diabetics have damaged cell membranes. They are "insulin resistant" which means they do not respond normally to insulin when it signals the cell to uptake glucose. Glucose can not get across these damaged membranes at the normal rate, and therefore, this sugar builds up in the bloodstream reaping havoc with your body.

Repairing these membranes involves eliminating certain things from your diet, especially trans fat which gets subsituted into your cell membranes where the healthy omega-3's should go. This damages your cell membranes and makes them too "stiff." Even if you eliminate trans fat, if you do not get enough omega-3, you will not be able to repair and maintain those damaged cell membranes. Shrimp is one of the very best sources for omega-3.

Shrimp Has the Best Kind of Omega- 3

There are several different types of omega-3.

First, there is a difference between plant derived omega-3 (ALA) and animal derived omega-3 (DHA and EPA). Humans can not use the plant version (ALA) without first converting it and we can only convert about 10% of what we eat. The rest is wasted. Also, diabetics and older people convert at even a lower rate. Therefore, it is best to eat the animal form of omega-3 which we can more easily use.

Second, the omega-3 in shrimp and other crustaceans (a type of arthropod) is attached to a phospholipid molecule. This is exactly what is found in the membranes of humans and is easier for the body to absorb than when it's attached to triglyceride molecule like you find in fish.

Shrimp Is Very High In Protein, Very Low In Fat, and Contains Virtually No Carb

Each bite of succulent shrimp is packed with protein and hardly any fat. Plus, it has virually no carb. Since diabetics need to lower their carb intake and increase their protein intake, this makes the composition of shrimp meat perfect for the diabetic.

You Do not Need To Worry About the Cholesterol Thing

Shrimp got a very undeserved bad rap regarding cholesterol. Yes, it is true that shrimp meat contains cholesterol BUT it is extremely low in saturated fat which is actually what raises cholesterol in humans. In fact, eating shrimp actually raises the good cholesterol.

Shrimp Tastes Great – What a Treat!

Most diabetics have to give up or at least drastically reduce some of their favorite foods. However, here's a food that is simply wonderful in taste and is almost always thought of as quite a treat that is simply perfect for the diabetic to eat. Thank you Mother Nature!

Weight Loss and Side Effects of CLA

Does Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) have any bad side effects? Does it work for weight loss? CLA has been sold for many years as a fat loss supplement based on the weight loss and body composition (ie losing fat and gaining muscle) changes seen in studies using mice and rats. Does is work in humans? More recently research in humans has shown that it can be used to increase fat loss. In this article we'll look at some of the benefits of CLA as well as some of the potential side effects. In addition to weight loss studies there have been (and are currently) countless studies looking at the effects of this fatty acid on reducing inflammation, fighting cancer, and in the treatment of other conditions.

Ever since 2007, there has been an increase in use of CLA as a fat burner. This is due to the release of a meta-analysis (basically a review of several scientific studies) published in the May 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which concluded that 3.2g / d of CLA can induce moderate weight loss in humans. CLA is an attractive weight loss supplement and many people use conjugated linoleic acid as part of a fat loss supplement stack (ie a group of compounds and herbs taken together to maximize effects) because unlike many other weight loss supplements it is not a stimulant and you do not suffer the nasty side effects of getting the jitters, increased heart rate, or worse – increased blood pressure. This is especially as there are not many effective options for non-stimulant fat burners on the market.

Let's now look at two more studies that involve people taking supplemental CLA. The first study was again published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers found that when people supplemented with 3.2 g / d of CLA (this is generally the recommended dosage for weight loss purposes) they burned more fat and more specifically they burned more fat when they slept!

This is true.

Not only did the subjects that took CLA burned more fat when they slept, the fat they burned was NOT fat they had recently eaten; it was actually stored body fat that they were burning. This study gets even better as the researchers reported that the individuals that took CLA had decreased urinary protein losses. In other words the CLA group had improved protein retention when they slept. These are really interesting findings. If I owned a supplement company that sold large dosages of CLA – my new headline would be "CLA – Scientifically Proven to Burn More Body Fat and Build Muscle while you SLEEP."

So CLA can work for weight loss but are there any side effects? Again in 2007, another study was published that looked at the effects of CLA on weight loss, this time in obese people. In this study, the participants were given CLA dosages of 0, 3.2, or 6.4 grams / day. At the end of the study the group that received the 6.4 g / d of CLA experienced a significant increase in a compound called C – reactive protein or CRP for short. C – reactive protein is a protein that is released from your liver. It is commonly used in the medical field as a general marker of the level of inflammation in your body – higher CRP means more inflammation.

While there was an increase in CRP, it was truly not clinically significant as CRP levels remained below what is considered normal (Normal CRP levels are 3mg / dL). It is also important to see realize that the people in the study that had increased CRP as a result of taking a CLA supplement were taking 2x the 'recommended' dose for weight loss and also that people that obese normally have higher CRP levels (this might have come into play here as well). The group that only took 3.2 grams per day did not have any increase in their CRP levels.
Based on the findings in the studies that I've mentioned above and the review of studies from article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is seems that 3.2 g / d of CLA can be safely taken to boost weight loss.

The next question that you should ask is …

What do you do with these findings? At the moment not a whole lot … CLA is a nice add-on to a fat loss program but "add-on" is the key word. CLA is perfect for nutrient stacking as combing these effects with a supplement like green tea extract (which has also been shown to boost weight loss), increased non-exercise physical activity, and multiple meals throughout the day will surely boost your fat loss. If you are not spot on with your nutrition, training with weights 3x per week, and doing 3 interval sessions per week then do not waste your time with CLA and focus on the more important things.

Importance Of Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Emergencies occur anytime, anywhere, which is why being prepared is something that most people should exemplify. The American Heart Association took this belief by heart, which had served as the basis of their program called Pediatric Advanced Life Support or PALS. AHA originally developed PALS classes in 1983 as response for the needs of resuscitation guidelines and trainings that would aid health care professionals in providing care for patients especially for children. Since then, PALS provide health care professionals the skills and knowledge to properly respond and treat critically ill patients suffering from cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies, specifically infants and children, whether in or out of the hospital.

PALS is a program that follows simulated clinical scenarios and learning stations to actively encourage students to learn and practice life-saving skills individually, as a part of a team and as team leaders. PALS give emphasis on the importance of basic life support CPR for the survival of patients, integration of advanced pediatric life support intervention as well as the importance of team communication, interaction and cooperation during resuscitation. The realistic simulation involved in PALS course reinforce major health care concepts that include basic life support care proficiency, cardiac arrest management, recognition and early management initiation for peri-conditions, algorithms, ischemic chest pain and coronary syndrome identification and treatment, effective team interaction, and recognition of other life-threatening conditions in order to administer initial care.

To get PALS certification, individuals are required to take PALS course. This could be done in two different ways either through AHA approved online PALS providers or through attending PALS classes in medical schools or hospitals. If you are looking to complete your PALS certification immediately, you could go online and complete your PALS course from your computer at your own pace. If you are more adept to learning in a classroom setting, it would be more preferable to attend in medical schools or hospitals that offer PALS course.

PALs classes have a standardized curriculum wherein students attend a classroom-based education led by an instructor with video aid and skills conducted throughout and are provided with materials for continuing education that is strongly based from AHA's "assess-categorize-decide-act." PALS course lasts for 14 hours long and most providers offer it for two intensive days. On the process of the course, an AHA PALS instructor is the one who facilitate the discussion around simulations and video-based lessons and students are required to participate in 12 core clinical cases. They are also expected to complete and pass a written examination before they receive their certification.

PALS certification is intentionally designed to be participated by health care professionals that includes family physicians, pediatricians, emergency physicians, physician assistants, nurses, paramedics, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists and other health care providers that directly administer advanced life support during pediatric emergencies. For these individuals to participate in the course, it is necessary that they have completed an American Heart Association basic life support (BLS) health care provider course or American Red Cross BLS course for professional rescuers, PALS pharmacology and knowledge in ECG interpretation. They also have to complete the pre-course material given to them prior to the first day of classes so that they would not be rescheduled. Once they passed the PALS course and examination, they would be given the PALS provider course completion card which is valid for two years.

Of course, pediatric advanced life support is not only beneficial for health care practitioners; it is also advantageous for patients especially for critically ill or injured children. Accordingly, the development of PALS has been shown to consistently increase the survival rate of patients suffering from cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies, who were attended by PALS certified health care practitioners in pre-hospital settings. Overall, the development of PALS is relatively useful both for health care professionals and patients during emergency situations. If you're a health care professional who wish to further improve your clinical practice, it is about time to receive PALS certification in order to provide the best medical care you could give to the community.

As a healthcare professional, it always pays to be prepared especially during emergency cases whether in or out of the hospital. One of the most important means to be equipped with the skills and knowledge about proper patient care is by attending pediatric advanced life support or PALS classes to be able to further improve one's life-saving skills. PALS is especially tailored for physicians, pediatricians, nurses paramedics and other healthcare providers involved in direct advanced life support during pediatric emergencies.