HEALTHY EATING HABITS

Okay, women, I have to ask, “What are you feeding your families?” You are what you eat!!!!! Do you remember that old saying? Look at the food you are putting into your child’s mouth. French fries and chicken nuggets are saturated in grease. Grease and water do not mix right? Think of your blood like water. When grease is put into your system it doesn’t dissolve, it gets stuck on the walls of your arteries.  That can lead to your heart causing your arteries to build up film and eventually clog, just like a pipe in the sink with too much grease in it. This causes heart attacks. You won’t put grease down your sink, why? It will clog the pipes right, but yet, you will put it in your body. As if there are no pipes to clog inside of you. What about your arteries?  You need to think of them as pipes. The pipes down the sink you can replace, the ones in your chest you are stuck with for life.

I can’t front, I was raised on the same food as you but now I’m an adult. I looked around at my forefather’s and analyzed why they passed away: cancer, heart attack, high blood pressure, sugar diabetes. It’s in my bloodline, so I have to be smarter. I have to take their mistakes as a learning experience and not pass those poor eating habits on to my child. Not saying I’m going to cut soul food out of my life but learn how to cook it a different way and have a variety of different foods.

Teach your children that salads can be a meal. I am amazed at the number of black people who honestly don’t eat salad. In fact, there are a lot out there that have never even had one. Also, why are we so quick to take a laxative instead of eating foods that are high in fiber that would keep us regular? We all know the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away. They say that because the skin from the apple scrapes the intestinal lining as it goes down in our system, pulling away any build-up and helping the colon to remove it from our system.

 

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PACKING THE HOSPITAL BAG FOR LABOR & DELIVERY

Oh, I remember when I was pregnant it was such a big deal to me packing my hospital bag and checking it 10 times to have everything I thought I needed. I watched every YouTube video I could find to see what other moms-to-be had packed. Long story short, most of the stuff in my bag, I never used! (Just like when I go on vacation.)

The best advice I got when packing my bag came from my friend Jenn.  She said, “Girl, forget packing underwear or trying to keep the mesh ones they have at the hospital. Instead, try some Depends and put your pads inside of them.  That way when you bleed on them, NO BIG DEAL, just throw them away!” Even the nurses at the hospital thought it was great advice.  They had never seen anyone wear them before but it was comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about leaking on the sheets or messing up my clothes. They kept me from overheating and sweating down there and didn’t hurt the staples and stitches from my c-section. I also brought my own pajamas! Between those Depends and pajamas, I was a happy camper during my 4 day hospital stay!

MENTAL HEALTH

Okay, I have a question.  Am I the only one who feels it’s morally right to let people know when your battling mental health issues?

We need to talk more openly and honestly about mental health and breaking down the stigmas…

1 out of 5 adults, that’s 43.8 million people in the United States, are suffering from mental health issues. An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia are just a few mental health issues people suffer from.

So, in one way or another, we have all encountered people who are battling mental health issues. I myself found myself in a friendship where I didn’t understand the drama until the friendship blew up and turned bad… very bad but all could have been avoided if I would have known my friend was bipolar!

I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been friends with her if I would have known she was battling a real disorder.  What I am saying is, I would have handled things a lot differently from the start if I would have known she was clinical. Now things are too far gone to salvage the friendship. I choose to keep my distance, but understanding the real issue made it easy to forgive and wish her well…

When you battle mental health issues, it doesn’t just affect you but everyone you choose to bring in your life!

THE ART OF GROWING CURLY, KINKY, COILY HAIR

I cringe every time I hear someone say good hair. It really pisses me off. Black people have such a stigma about hair.  It makes me sick! All hair is good hair, and every hair texture has the ability to grow. Anything you water will grow. Depending on the products you use and your environment, bi-weekly washing may not be too much. Also, please be mindful of the products you use on your little loves.

When you put something on your skin and scalp it absorbs into your blood stream in 26 seconds! Why would I ever put anything on my daughter I couldn’t pronounce?

My biggest no, no is using petroleum-based products on a child’s scalp. It clogs their pores. I grew up in an era where greasing the scalp was something black folks believed in. This is the root of why some women battle their hair growth today. Sure, for the moment it looks good but after years it is the root of hair follicles being clogged. Say “no” to grease and hello to natural oils!

Here are 3 hair care tips:

  1. Natural shampoo is key. Babies’ hair is fine and has a hard time holding up against shampoo with alcohol in it. Alcohol dries and strips the hair, NOT washes. Water is the best hydration in the world.
  2. MOISTURE, MOISTURE, MOISTURE. Use a leave in conditioner that is water based. Water is the best moisture there is. This summer we spent a lot of time in the pool and my daughter’s hair started to feel little dry.  Every night I started spritzing it with water and reapplying oil and conditioner to seal the hair.
  3. I also deep condition it monthly! I love Queen Helen’s cholesterol. I’m guilty of being old school and still putting a treatment in not just my hair, but also my daughter’s. Do not overdo the cholesterol because it will dry out your hair.

Every day when I comb her hair, I spray it with water first to help detangle. I section it off and I start combing at the bottom and work my way up.

I apply leave-in conditioner and put it in a protective style. I do not braid tight around her edges or pull the hair too hard.

Healthy hair starts from the inside out so eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is key.

Another important key to growing long hair is the less manipulation the better. I happen to prefer twisting her ponytails over braiding them because I feel it stays moisturized longer. When I do braid, I make sure not to braid tightly. And her braids DO NOT STAY IN MORE THAN A DAY. That’s right, I comb her hair daily. I also do not add synthetic hair in her braids. Synthetic hair tends to cut into our natural tresses and break it off!

LEMON IS A BLOOD PURIFIER

Lemon is considered a blood purifier! There is a laundry list of powerful things this super fruit can do. It helps fight cancer.  It cleanses your stomach, aids in relieving constipation, helps strengthen your immune system, helps high blood pressure, aids in weight loss and keeps your breath fresh. My personal favorite things are the benefits it has to your hair and skin.

If lemon juice is applied directly to the hair, it can give your hair a natural shine. If applied to the scalp, it can treat problems like hair loss or dandruff.

Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic medicine and can cure problem related to the skin. It is good for acne and eczema. It removed blackheads and wrinkles, which means it aids in anti-aging. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water and honey brings a healthy glow to the skin.

If you’d like to try a lemon soap, I love this one made by Kian.

Lemon Zest Scrub Soap

 

 

ORAL HEALTH VS. HEART HEALTH

I get a lot of compliments on my teeth and for that I am grateful. People ask me how do I keep my teeth so white so I decided I needed to share my not so secrets with you.

I do shit ass backwards.  I floss first. Because when I brush my teeth then floss after and food or plaque comes out… I’m grossed out and wanna brush again. So, to save myself time, I floss first. Then I mush peroxide around my teeth sometimes even brushing with peroxide in my mouth. Be careful, don’t swallow peroxide and blame it on me! Peroxide is my mouthwash! Then, I brush my teeth using Toms toothpaste.  One day a week I use baking soda. If you hate the taste, just brush after with toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, a large number of adults don’t know this! I also brush the roof of my mouth.

It’s important to get a regular cleaning from the dentist. I know a lot of people don’t have dental insurance and are scared of the cost but an out of pocket cleaning is like $100! If you can spend that on shoes or a purse, you need to spend it on your teeth. Did you know if you have plaque on your teeth you also have plaque on your heart?! Oral health is directly connected with your heart health. So, let’s stay heart healthy!

 

*Don’t even think about oral sex with plaque on someone’s teeth.  It’s a great way to contract a bacterial infection that’s not easily identified!

DO NOT FORGET TO EAT YOUR WATER

I hear people say all the time they do not like water and just can’t drink it. Well, eat it then… I know it sounds crazy, but watermelon is 92% water! So, there is nothing wrong with eating it as well as drinking it.

Watermelon has a high water content so it helps keep your skin hydrated. Dehydrated skin leads to a dull appearance. As we get older, our skin becomes thinner and less able to recover from damage. Our body is full of ‘free radicals’ that damage cells over time and can be attributed to the cause of aging skin. Watermelon is full of antioxidants such as lycopene and vitamins C and A, which help reduce these free radicals and can slow down the signs of aging. Watermelon is packed with Vitamin A, which can help reduce skin pore size and the amount of oil that your sebaceous glands secrete. Watermelon is believed to help with acne due to this these properties. Watermelon is a natural toner that can help to refresh the skin.

Watermelon is full of an amino acid called arginine. Arginine is essential in our bodies and helps with blood circulation in the scalp. When your blood is circulating in the scalp, your hair will grow. Watermelon seed oil will help moisturize your hair.

HIV AWARENESS AND PREVENTION

This post acknowledges World AIDS Day, which was Saturday.

There are two new drugs on the market I think all sexually active people needs to know about. One is called Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is a prevention option for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. It’s meant to be used consistently, as a pill taken every day, and to be used with other prevention options such as condoms.

The other, I compare to the morning after pill.  I feel it should be automatically given to all rape victims.  Unfortunately, it’s not automatically offered so EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW SINCE RAPE IS A COMMON PROBLEM!

PEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs after a single high-risk event to stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading through your body. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective—and always within three days of a possible exposure. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV very recently, see a doctor as soon as possible to find out if PEP is right for you.

Take to time to talk to your kids.  HIV can be prevented when educated. The more we know, the more we grow!

NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL ALZHEIMER’S AWARENESS MONTH

My mom used to work at this great place called Sunrise Senior Living in Westlake Village, CA. She worked on a floor that they refer to as “The Reminiscences”. Many of my friends live on this floor so I am there to visit often. I find it offensive when people feel it is too hard to care for their elderly love ones and seldom come back to visit. I understand it’s hard seeing your mother revert to your daughter or your father revert to your son but often that’s the course life gives. People are afraid of what they don’t understand.  I believe education is the key so let me do my part to spread what I know.

Currently, an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. This figure includes 5.1 million people 65 and older and 200,000 under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

Based on these estimates, approximately 500,000 Americans under age 65 have Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Of these, about 40 percent are estimated to have Alzheimer’s.

One in eight persons 65 and older (13 percent) have Alzheimer’s;

Every 70 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

Women are more likely than men to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Fourteen percent of all people 71 and older have dementia.

Women 71 and older have higher rates than men: 16 percent for women and 11 percent for men.

The 2008 estimate is that 2.4 million women and one million men 71 and older have dementia.

The number of Americans surviving into their 80s and 90s and beyond is expected to grow because of advances in medicine and medical technology, as well as social and environmental conditions.

Since the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias increase with age, the number of people with these conditions will also grow rapidly.

What is Alzheimer’s?  

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — the loss of intellectual and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. In Alzheimer’s disease, healthy brain tissue degenerates, causing a steady decline in memory and mental abilities. Although there’s no cure, treatments may improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Those with Alzheimer’s — as well as those who care for them — need support and affection from friends and family to cope.

Alzheimer’s disease may start with slight memory loss and confusion, but it eventually leads to irreversible mental impairment that destroys a person’s ability to remember, reason, learn and imagine.

Memory loss

Everyone has occasional lapses in memory. It’s normal to forget where you put your car keys or to blank on the names of people whom you rarely see. But the memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease persist and worsen. People with Alzheimer’s may:

  • Repeat things
  • Often forget conversations or appointments
  • Routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations
  • Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects

Problems with abstract thinking 

People with Alzheimer’s may initially have trouble balancing their checkbook, a problem that progresses to trouble recognizing and dealing with numbers.

Difficulty finding the right word

 It may be a challenge for those with Alzheimer’s to find the right words to express thoughts or even follow conversations. Eventually, reading and writing also are affected.

Disorientation 

People with Alzheimer’s disease often lose their sense of time and dates and may find themselves lost in familiar surroundings.

Loss of judgment 

Solving everyday problems, such as knowing what to do if food on the stove is burning, becomes increasingly difficult, eventually impossible. Alzheimer’s is characterized by greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision-making and judgment.

Difficulties performing familiar tasks 

Once-routine tasks that require sequential steps, such as cooking, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer’s may forget how to do even the most basic things.

Personality changes People with Alzheimer’s may exhibit:

  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Increased stubbornness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressiveness

Alzheimer’s Disease typically develops slowly and causes a gradual decline in cognitive abilities, usually over a span of seven to 10 years. It eventually affects nearly all brain functions, including memory, movement, language, behavior, judgment and abstract reasoning.

Dividing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into stages can help you plan for the future but remember that not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate. While each individual is different, the progression of his or her disease can be roughly divided into three stages — mild, moderate and severe.

grayscale photography of patient and relative holding hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Mild Alzheimer’s disease

People in the early stage of Alzheimer’s may experience memory loss, lapses of judgment and subtle changes in personality. They often have decreased attention span and less motivation to complete tasks. In addition, they may resist change and new challenges, and get lost even in familiar places.

While everyone occasionally forgets words or names during conversations, this problem occurs with increasing frequency in people with mild Alzheimer’s. They may substitute or make up words that sound like or mean something like the forgotten word. They sometimes even avoid talking to keep from making mistakes and appear subdued or withdrawn — especially in socially or mentally challenging situations.

They may also put things in very odd places. For example, a wallet may end up in the freezer, or clothes may go into the dishwasher. They may ask repetitive questions or hoard things of no value. When frustrated or tired, they may become uncharacteristically angry.

Moderate Alzheimer’s disease

In the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, people can’t organize thoughts or follow logical explanations. They lose the ability to follow written instructions and often need help choosing proper clothing for the season or occasion. Eventually, they’ll require help getting dressed because their confusion may cause them to put their pajamas on over their daytime clothes or their shoes on the wrong feet. They may also have episodes of urinary or fecal incontinence.

It’s usually during this stage that people start having problems recognizing family members and friends. They may mix up identities — thinking a son is a brother or that a spouse is a stranger. They may become confused about where they are and what day, season or year it is. They become unable to recall their address or phone number.

Because they lack judgment and tend to wander, people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease aren’t safe on their own. They may exhibit restless, repetitive movements in late afternoon, or continually repeat certain stories, words or motions, such as tearing tissues.

Problems with communication worsen during the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s. This can lead to a variety of challenging behaviors, including:

Paranoia that sometimes provokes accusations of infidelity or stealing

Agitation, frustration or anger that can lead to cursing, kicking, hitting, biting, screaming or grabbing

 

Severe Alzheimer’s disease

People in the last stage of Alzheimer’s require help with all their daily needs. They lose the ability to walk without assistance and then the ability to sit up without support. They are usually incontinent and may no longer speak coherently. They rarely recognize family members. Swallowing difficulties can cause choking, and they may refuse to eat.

How long?

The rate of progression varies widely among individuals. For some, severe dementia occurs within five years of diagnosis. For others, it can take more than a decade. On average, people with Alzheimer’s live for eight to ten years after diagnosis. Some live as long as 20 years. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die of the disease itself, but of pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or complications from a fall.

If you are someone caring for a love one living with Alzheimer’s PLEASE:

Remind yourself frequently that dementia or Alzheimer’s is not their nor your fault. They did not ask for this to happen to their mind. But also help yourself come to the realization that their “old life” no longer exists and changes in personality are to be expected.

Write in your journal every day the memories you have with this individual when their life was good. These will help you to keep them alive in your mind while you begin to grieve them.

If you find yourself getting frustrated, in which you will, take frequent short breaks to alleviate the constant building of irritation in your mind. Keep in mind, you cannot care for a loved one with a mental disease by yourself. You need to be able to ask for help to allow yourself some time to take a break.

Remind yourself your loved one has come to depend on you for care. Whether they realize it or remember it, they are depending on you. The have essentially become a child and you are their parent.

They may repeatedly have the same conversation with you. That is okay. Your reaction will control the situation. Pick your battles. Most are not worth beginning. It will only cause frustration and anger for both of you.

Talk to others about your situation on a daily basis. Other people that are not involved will help you to find humor in your particular situation.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

I’M FREE

For the first time in my life, I feel free. I get to live my life just like everyone else. I take my daughter to Tae Kwon Do in peace. I have everyday Mom talk. Nobody is asking me about Urkle. I know it may sound silly but it’s nice to be able to go grocery shopping in peace. For the first time in 36 years, my customer service badge is OFF. Yes, people still recognize me but the connection is on a “human level” here. I know that sounds silly but an extra smile in the post office or the grocery store nod is cool. I come home and in my inbox on IG or Facebook I get a message saying, “Am I tripping or were you at the post office today?” I giggle and write back, “Yes that was me. Nice to meet you.”  See here, people might see me out with my child and they just wave and keep it moving. Again, I’m sure this sounds silly to read, but for me it’s everything.

I started to feel trapped like a damn caged animal. A part of my sanity was going…While I appreciate my past accomplishments and the characters I played I was fucking tired of Maxine and her bullshit. When they called wrap 20 years ago and the writers who wrote her lines were no longer employed, to me she died. I was able to move on. I get it and I am THANKFUL to have played her and thankful she was received and loved and remembered by so many!! Playing her was a dream come true, BUT I am not her. I pray I will get a chance to play many other characters people will love just as much. But for now, I found my peace that I needed.

California was not my home, it was a place I lived because of my job. No more no less. Home is a place that makes your heart happy. I was suffocating. I am finally home! I miss driving past the beach sometimes, but Don’t miss the traffic!  I’m grateful for this chance to be free.