Life Lessons From A Remote Medical Professional

I recently returned home from a month-long Wilderness First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician course in Leavenworth, Washington.

The course content was invaluable, but the icing on the cake was the people I interacted with daily.  Having served in the military I have crossed paths with many folks who dedicate their lives to the service of others.  I am always intrigued to learn more about what inspired them to step onto such a path. Two people stood out at me at the Remote Medical International training.  One of my instructors and one of my classmates.  I know that myself and the other 24 students learned a ton from them both during the four weeks we spent together, and I wanted to pay forward their lifestyle wisdom to as many people possible.  As they sure do make this world a better place.

This first interview is with Megan McCarthy, Remote EMT and Training Instructor

  1. How do you prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally for a trip?

“In general, I maintain a baseline fitness.  That means every day I expect myself to get in some sort of cardio and some strength work.  I’m very into yoga as well, it combines breathing and meditation which is huge for mental health.  Again, it’s all about maintenance.  Prior to going on a bigger trip, I start tweaking my training to the specific sport I’m going on.  For example, if it was a sea kayaking trip I would work more on upper body and core strength.   In between trips I never become so sedentary that I am out of shape.   I find that because of this I have stayed very healthy and have had very few overuse injuries.

  1. You are clearly leading a life of extreme service, a path that not every person takes.  What led you to this path and what keeps you on it?

“The generic answer is that I like helping people, but what I’ve found is that this is the way for me to reach the greatest amount of people – to have the biggest impact possible within my community.   What keeps me going is that I love the work and the community that surrounds me. “

  1. Who has been the most influential leader in your life and why?

“My patrol director, Sam Llobet.  He’s a good friend of mine first and foremost, but he is also my boss.   Yet if I were to introduce as my boss, he’d get really mad at me.  Sam prefers to be known as my friend.  He leads by building mutual respect, but he also has one of the soundest minds and makes crystal clear decisions.  I trust him wholeheartedly. “

  1. Given all your experience up until now I imagine you have seen things that have been quite challenging to process. If there were one piece of advice you could give your past self to keep her emotionally strong, what would it be?

“It’s OK to ask for help”

  1. As an emergency medical provider in remote settings you are putting yourself in precarious situations. Do you have a fear of death and, if so, how do you handle it?

“I absolutely do.  And the people I work with are my family so the fear that they may get hurt and die is also very prevalent.  It is a huge fear of mine.  So, I live in the present.  Each day is each day.

6.  You learn a lot in a short amount of time, how do you keep your brain sharp?

“Nutrition and exercise.  And coffee 😊.   When it comes to nutrition I’m a huge fan of eating when you’re hungry and keeping a well-balanced diet of proteins, veggies and a few carbs.  I also love probiotics, like yogurt and kombucha. I think there is a definite connection between mental health and gut health.

7.  Not everyone is forced to take a hard look at themselves in life. Has your career in the field shown you your biggest strength and weakness?

“Yes. It absolutely has shown me my strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s because it forces me to be vulnerable every day.  It does not allow me to live with an ego. “

 

Thank you, Megan, for your time and service.  Thank you for being passionate about what you do and for finding what makes you come alive.  Congratulations on your marriage to Ben come this August!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

 

 

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ADRENALINE

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Adrenaline, (aka adrenalin or epinephrine), is a hormone, neurotransmitter, and in modern day – a medication. Epinephrine is normally produced by both the adrenal glands and certain neurons.  Specifically it is secreted by the medulla of the adrenal glands.  It plays an important role in our body’s fight-or-flight response by increasing blood flow to muscles, output of the heart, pupil dilation, and blood sugar.

Interestingly enough, strong emotions such as fear or anger can cause adrenaline to be released into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism.

FOODS TO HELP KEEP YOUR ADRENALS HEALTHY AND PREVENT ADRENAL FATIGUE:
  1. Vitamin C-rich Foods
The adrenal glands require Vitamin C-rich foods to help produce cortisol. The Indian Gooseberry or Amla is so accessible and helps to change your mood. A person with Vitamin C deficiency tends to feel fatigued and depressed. The Amla is definitely a mood changer. Other Vitamin C-rich foods in this category are oranges, mangoes, peaches, leafy greens and tomatoes.
  1. Vitamin B-rich Foods
It is found that Vitamin B-rich foods help to support the adrenal glands and also increase the energy levels during stress. Beneficial foods with vitamin B are avocados, bananas, potatoes, oats and legumes.
  1. Use Healthy Oils to Improve Your Mood
Including healthy oils in your diet aid the adrenal glands. Oils with fat content like coconut oil, olive oil, oil from seeds and nuts like groundnut, almond and cashew nuts are certain examples. These oils make one feel full and satisfied. Rational thinking is optimum when there is contentment – even in small measures.
  1. Warm Lemon Water
Start your day with a glass of warm lemon water with a little salt. This aids in blood circulation.
  1. Green Tea

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Green tea is a lot beneficial in the digestion of food. Having a high metabolism rate is essential to have healthy adrenal glands.
  1. Protein-rich Foods
Protein-rich foods help to stabilize the sugar levels and reduce undue cravings for sugar. Sprouted grams, fresh green peas, beans and almonds are recommended for a balanced protein diet to aid healthy adrenal glands.
  1. Ashwagandha
This natural herb is very essential for a strong nervous system. It enables the body to build a strong nervous system while supporting the adrenal glands and their function. This herb is mainly consumed in the form of tablets.
  1. Chyavanprash*

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This is a treat which tops all good health prescriptions. Made up of essentials like cow ghee, Indian gooseberry, and jaggery, this ayurvedic magic has been India’s heritage medicinal treat since ancient times. The newborn to the old alike consume this for a healthy living and a disease-free life. The Vata, Pitta and the Kapha are controlled by consuming a teaspoonful once or twice in a day. The Chyavanprash aids in building a strong immune system.
*  a cooked mixture of sugar, honey, ghee, Indian Gooseberry (amla), jam, sesame oil, berries and various herbs and spices. Email me for a great recipe!
  1. Milk And Turmeric
One of the age-old treats, a glass of warm milk and turmeric is essential for a good night’s sleep. This invigorating treat helps to rejuvenate tired muscles and nerves for an energy-packed day to face flights or fights of the adrenaline.
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CILANTRO 101!!

Often we forget that sometimes our best medicine is sitting right in our kitchen, not in our medicine cabinet!  The highlight of this post is the fresh herb, cilantro, and its related health benefits.  Scroll to the bottom if you’d like a tasty recipe to try out!

What is it? 

You have most likely already tasted cilantro whether it was in fresh salsa, an Indian curry or a Thai dish.  Tasted alone would be a whole different experience, with its robust bittersweet citrus flavor Cilantro packs a punch! On top of its strong flavor, Cilantro boasts a high mineral content and tons of antioxidants.

Origin? 

Cilantro originated in the Mediterranean and Western Asian regions, but it can be found found around the world in many windowsill herb gardens. The plant’s formal name is coriandrum sativum. The leafy greens are referred to as cilantro and the seeds are called coriander, each offering a wealth of health benefits and different flavors.  You may hear it referred to as “Chinese parsley”.

Health benefits?

Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and a great source of vitamins and fiber. It contains a flavonoid called quercetin that has demonstrated numerous antioxidant properties.

TASTY RECIPE TIME!

The Naturopathic Kitchen: Cilantro 101

FISH TACOS WITH CILANTRO CABBAGE SLAW

*Cod is used in this recipe. For a more robust flavor, substitute wild red snapper or Mahi Mahi.  You can also enjoy this on a bed of leafy greens if tortillas are not your favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 large fillet of fresh (not farm-raised) cod
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ t sea salt
  • ¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 t chipotle chili powder
  • 1 t oregano
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 8 radishes, julienned
  • 3 scallions, julienned
  • 1 avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 2 1/2c shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 non-GMO corn tortillas

In a small bowl combine garlic, salt, cilantro, chili powder, oregano, lime zest and olive oil. Place fish in an oven-safe pan and brush half of the garlic mixture on each side of the fillet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping the fillet half way through. Remove from oven and discard any skin. Flake the fish into bite size pieces using two forks. Toss fish with remaining half of the garlic mixture, radishes, scallions, avocado and cabbage. Serve in tortillas. *hot sauce optional

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Best Ever Definition of FEAR

“An opportunity for self discovery and self growth; a well of untapped personal power and strength; the gateway from wishing and wanting to doing and being.”

FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY, MY FRIENDS…

 

 

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BAOBAB, MANGOSTEEN AND SAVORY CINNAMON!

Today I wanted to give you a dose of food as medicine.  Enjoy! 

Let’s explore these three superfoods and their benefits:

BAOBAB:See the source image

The “upside down” Baobab Tree found across sub-Saharan Africa produces a melon like fruit with legendary healing properties. This fruit contains 6X more Vitamin C than oranges, 2X as much calcium than a glass of milk and 6X more potassium than a banana! Let’s be sure to mention that the fruit of the Baobab Tree has an antioxidant level that trumps blueberries, pomegranates and cranberries. It as well is chock full of thiamine, vitamin B6, iron and zinc. Just 1 heaping tablespoon of Baobab powder will satisfy 33% of your recommended daily dose of fiber. This fiber content, in combination with high levels of pectin in this fruit, will keep your weight balanced by satisfying your hunger for longer.

HOW TO USE: Give your breakfast a healthy twist! Add a tablespoon to smoothies, fruit juices, breakfast cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.

MANGOSTEEN:

See the source image
Known as the “Queen of Fruit”, this superfood is found on one of the slowest growing fruit trees in the world and has a diverse list of health benefits. The rind of Mangosteen contains xanthine alkaloids which have ant-microbial, anti-inflammatory and even anti-tumor properties. Because Mangosteen is rich in antioxidants it drives off UV radiation damage by helping protect your bod at the cellular level. It has been shown to help fight chronic inflammation.

HOW TO USE:
Sprinkle into beverages, on top of salads or even use topically on damaged skin.

CINNAMON: 

I bet this super spice is already sitting in your kitchen cupboard! We know it’s sweet aroma is prevalent in homes across our country, but this spice derived from the cinnamon tree’s potent bark does more than flavor your pumpkin pie! Throughout North Africa and Eurasia, cinnamon is used in many dishes and is esteemed for its medicinal qualities.

In our caffeine loving society, I must mention that adding a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee slows the absorption of caffeine into your bloodstream. This allows for a longer and more balanced energy boost. Keeping our blood sugar levels is key when it comes to longevity (just look at those *blue zones!). Cinnamon as well has powerful anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial properties.

HOW TO USE:
Cinnamon is a versatile spice that can enhance the flavor of a variety of meals and beverages. Try a pinch in your coffee!

*blue zones are geographic areas of the world where people live measurably longer lives

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DIRTY DOZEN – ORGANIC OR BUST!

Last week the EWG (Environmental Working Group) published it’s 2018 Dirty Dozen list. According to the working group’s tests, the 12 fruits and veggies on the list below contain the highest amount of pesticides.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
While opting out of “organic” may save you a few buckaroos, when it comes to the dirty dozen you might want to rethink the thrifty approach. Going for organic versions of the listed 12 will help you avoid toxic chemicals. Pesticides have been known to pose health risks worth noting. For instance, they have been linked to cancer, hormone disturbance and brain damage. I also just read about a study that took place at the Harvard School of Public Health which connected fertility problems to the consumption of high pesticide foods.

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DIRTY DOZEN
1. Strawberries (The EWG found TWENTY TWO different pesticide residues in a sample of these berries!)
2. Spinach
3. Nectarines
4. Apples
5. Grapes
6. Peaches
7. Cherries
8. Pears
9. Tomatoes
10. Celery
11. Potatoes
12. Sweet Bell Pepper

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Overall, fruits and vegetables that have an outer peel (which you do not eat) will have much fewer pesticides than those with edible skin or no skin at all. The outer layer creates a barrier between the potentially toxic soil and the part of the produce that we consume. Keep this in mind when you are opting in or out of splurging on organic. This being said, I wanted to as well include the “Clean Fifteen” list. These fruits and veggies have the least amount of pesticide residue.

CLEAN 15
1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbages
5. Onions
6. Sweet peas (frozen)
7. Papayas
8. Asparagus
9. Mangoes
10. Eggplants
11. Honeydew melons
12. Kiwis
13. Cantaloupes
14. Cauliflower
15. Broccoli

 

 

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TOP 7 ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS

WHY SHOULD WE BOTHER REDUCING CHRONIC INFLAMMATION? 

“constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to ill health, and  eating to avoid constant inflammation promotes better health and can ward off disease”, says Russell Greenfield, MD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a private-practice physician.

“It’s very clear that inflammation plays a role much more than we thought with respect to certain maladies”,  Greenfield includes.

TOP SEVEN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS:

 

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1. BOK CHOY
Recent studies have shown that there are over 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in this Chinese cabbage! It is also a wonderful source of minerals and vitamins.
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2. CELERY
Celery has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It helps to fight heart disease as it improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  It’s seeds help to combat bacterial infections as well.  Add it to your soups, salads or juices!
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3.  COCONUT OIL
There was a recent study in India that demonstrated coconut oil’s ability to reduce inflammation and heal arthritis more effectively than leading
medications.  This is most likely due to the strong anti-inflammatory compounds found in lipids within the oil.  I love to use coconut oil to cook my eggs, or enjoy spoonful for an afternoon boost.
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4. BLUEBERRIES
Blueberries have been known to keep our motor function sharp, improve memory and ward off cognitive decline. They contain quercetin which is  a powerful flavonoid that fights inflammation and even cancer.
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5.  SALMON  
This delicious fish is full of Omega 3 Fatty acids which have been shown to ward off chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Ensuring we are ingesting enough essential fatty acids is one of the best ways we can prevent  inflammation.
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 6. BEETS
It is beet’s powerful antioxidant, betalain, that gives them their beautiful color.   Beets fight to repair damage that inflammation has done to our cells.  A huge bonus for this root veggie is that it contains a significant amount of magnesium, which is crucial for processing calcium in our bodies.  Without enough magnesium, calcium can build up in our bodies and lead to problems such as kidney stones.
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7. GINGER – In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is recognized for its ability to break down toxins that have accumulated in our organs.  It acts as an inflammatory by reducing inflammation that is caused by overactive immune responses.

BON APPETIT!!

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