Q&A with Nurse Tammy
What better way to talk about nutrition than talking with a professional! I wanted to get some insight from a Registered Nurse (aka. my mom, Tammy!) regarding health and nutrition. I learned a lot and I hope you do too!
Aimée: What is National Nutrition Month?
Nurse Tammy: Each year in March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsor National Nutrition Month to educate and inform the public on making healthy food choices and exercise habits. This year’s focus is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” to show that each bite counts and small changes in improving your eating habits can have lasting positive effects.
Aimée: What efforts do you make to help people with their overall health?
Nurse Tammy: My main educational focus is to inform the public on the effects that sodium (salt) can have on their health. I work with adults who have heart failure and a high sodium diet can land them back in the hospital and decrease their overall lifespan. An average person should consume no more than 2300 mg daily but most of us take in more than 3400 mg per day! This high salt diet is leading to increased blood pressure, heart problems and strokes. I teach patients how to decrease their salt intake without giving up on flavor. The use of herbs and spices are not only flavorful, they are good for you too!
Aimée: How does nutrition impact overall health?
Nurse Tammy: The old adage “You are what you eat” is so true! When you take in too much sugar, your blood becomes too sweet and you can develop diabetes which is high blood sugar. This can cause you to have many different complications: increased infections, heart and kidney disease, poor eyesight and many more…
Aimée: As a nurse, what experience do you have coaching people about nutrition?
Nurse Tammy: I have been a nurse for 30 years. As a nurse, I have taught nutrition to every age… from young children to the elderly. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young, nutrition is the key to a healthy and long lasting life.
Aimée: What is your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to change their eating habits?
Nurse Tammy: Each small change you do adds up! The key is to start and keep at it.
Aimée: How important is nutrition in curing or minimizing disease?
Nurse Tammy: There are numerous studies that show how one eats affects their overall health. Check out Okicent.org which is an ongoing research study on the oldest people alive! These centurions consume mostly a plant based diet and they have decreased health issues because of their diet.
Aimée: What is the number one thing that people can improve upon that you see in patients who are struggling to maintain or reduce disease/illness?
Nurse Tammy: Less is best! As Americans, our portions are huge compared to other countries. If we would cut down on our portions, I believe we will reduce disease at least 50 percent.
Aimée: Why do you think America has one of the highest obesity rates in the world?
Nurse Tammy: Fast food may be fast, but it has not been good for this country. The size of portions and the preservatives in fast food is causing an enormous increase in obesity and obesity related deaths. Children whose diets are high in fast food consumption are showing signs of adult diseases: Type 2 diabetes, Fatty Liver, osteoarthritis due to obesity and the strain on joints.
Aimée: When do you recommend patients to visit a registered dietitian?
Nurse Tammy: I think everyone should sit down with a dietitian or a health professional and learn as much as they can about the importance of good nutrition and what will work for them in their overall health and wellness.
Aimée: How can a person live a healthy lifestyle if they are having trouble losing weight? Should they measure their success by losing weight?
Nurse Tammy: Focus on good nutrition, not just numbers on a scale. There are many reasons why one doesn’t lose weight and if the focus is to eat healthy/well balanced meals, one will be successful.
Aimée: Why do you love being a nurse?
Nurse Tammy: I get to do what I love; teach others about how they can live healthier lives!
Nurse Tammy has a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education and has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years. She works with chronically ill members of the community with heart failure and also teaches classes on diet and nutrition. Her favorite hobbies are reading and antiquing.
“Having balanced nutrition is also very important to keep my body in shape and healthy.” -Cintia Dicker
Wow, that is some good information for us to think about regarding nutrition! I am blown away by how small changes in our diet can really improve the quality of our life. Changing my diet has really helped me and I hope you take some of what Nurse Tammy said to heart!
I will be in London next week so my next blog post will be on March 26th. The next post is going to be all about my time in London! You know, people say that cities can be food deserts. I am going to investigate if that is true in London! Be sure to tune in for that post.
Be bold to live free, xo Aimée