Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Arthea!

Today is my cousin, Arthea's birthday!  
My darling best friend received her angel wings, on December 19th, 2014.  At the young age of 36... By the hand of a Pulmonary Embolism.  This is the first time I am really writing about her. Arthea and I were exactly 3 years and 3 months apart.  We were more than cousins, more than god sisters, we were best friends... No, Sisters!  I did not have traditional siblings, Arthea was my sister!  We played together, sang songs, danced, laughed & joked, had many slumber parties, traveled on every family vacation together... Even in adulthood, that didn't change.  She lived with, loved, and cared for my mother... Like a true sister.  It's only been 3 months... And the pain is still deep.  Now, I know Arthea wouldn't want me to be sad or cry... So, instead, today, I celebrate you and will do all of your favorite things... And I promise to educate others on how to know the signs of a blood clot, and prevent pulmonary embolisms.
First things first, I went to my favorite two sites mayoclinic.com and webmd.com, then I asked my primary care physician... Here are the symptoms, causes/risk factors, and ways to help prevent blood clots.
Disclaimer: If you may, halfway think, you might have a blood clot... Call your Doctor immediately... I am not a doctor, which is why I'm not offering treatment options.  I just want you and your family to be aware of what the symptoms/causes are.

Now, I can coulda-woulda-shoulda the days prior to December 19th, 2014... But I'm not going to... What I am going to do, is educate myself and others... Enough Said!

What causes pulmonary embolisms?


Pulmonary embolism occurs when a clump of material, most often a blood clot, gets wedged into an artery in your lungs. These blood clots most commonly originate in the deep veins of your legs, but they can also come from other parts of your body. 
Occasionally, other substances can form blockages within the blood vessels inside your lungs. 
It's rare to have a single pulmonary embolism. In most cases, multiple clots are involved. The lung tissue served by each blocked artery is robbed of blood and may die. This makes it more difficult for your lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of your body.

What are the symptoms?

Pulmonary embolism symptoms can vary greatly, depending on how much of your lung is involved, the size of the clots and your overall health, especially underlying lung disease or heart disease.
Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath. This symptom typically appears suddenly and always gets worse with exertion.
  • Chest pain. You may feel like you're having a heart attack. The pain may become worse when you breathe deeply, cough, eat, bend or stoop. The pain will get worse with exertion but won't go away when you rest.
  • Cough. The cough may produce bloody or blood-streaked sputum.
Other signs and symptoms that can occur with pulmonary embolism include:
    • Leg pain or swelling, or both, usually in the calf
    • Clammy or discolored skin
    • Excessive sweating
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
    • Light-headedness or dizziness

When to see a doctor: Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain or a cough that produces bloody sputum.

What are risk factors?


Although anyone can develop blood clots and subsequent pulmonary embolism, certain factors can increase your risk.

  • Medical history: You're at higher risk if you or any of your family members have had blood clots or pulmonary embolism in the past. This may be due to inherited disorders that affect blood clotting.  
    • In addition, certain medical problems put you at risk, such as.
      • Heart disease. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease make clot formation more likely. 
      • Cancer. Certain cancers, especially pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers, and many cancers with metastasis, can increase levels of substances that help blood clot, and chemotherapy further increases the risk. Women with a history of breast cancer are at higher risk of blood clots. 
  • Prolonged immobility: Blood clots are more likely to form in your legs during periods of inactivity, such as:
    • Bed rest. Being confined to bed for an extended period after surgery, a heart attack, leg fracture or any serious illness makes you far more vulnerable to blood clots. When the lower extremities are horizontal for long periods of time, the flow of venous blood slows and blood pools in the legs. 
    • Long journeys. Sitting in a cramped position during lengthy plane or car trips slows blood flow, which contributes to the formation of clots in your legs. 
  • Surgery: Surgery is one of the leading causes of problem blood clots, especially joint replacements of the hip and knee. During the preparation of the bones for the artificial joints, tissue debris may enter the bloodstream and contribute to causing a clot. Simply being immobile during any type of surgery can lead to the formation of clots.
  • Other risk factors
    • Smoking. For reasons that aren't well understood, tobacco use predisposes some people to blood clot formation, especially when combined with other risk factors. 
    • Being overweight. Excess weight increases the risk of blood clots, particularly in women who smoke or have high blood pressure. 
    • Supplemental estrogen. The estrogen in birth control pills and in hormone replacement therapy can increase clotting factors in your blood, especially if you smoke or are overweight. 
    • Pregnancy. The weight of the baby pressing on veins in the pelvis can slow blood return from the legs. Clots are more likely to form when blood slows or pools.

How do you Prevent Blood Clots?

Preventing clots in the deep veins in your legs will help prevent pulmonary embolism. For this reason, most hospitals are aggressive about taking measures to prevent blood clots:
  • Anticoagulants. Blood thinners are given to people at risk of clots before and after an operation, as well as to people admitted to the hospital with a heart attack, stroke or complications of cancer. 
  • Graduated compression stockings. Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. They offer a safe, simple and inexpensive way to keep blood from stagnating after general surgery. 
  • Pneumatic compression. This treatment uses thigh-high or calf-high cuffs that automatically inflate with air and deflate every few minutes to massage and squeeze the veins in your legs and improve blood flow. 
  • Physical activity. Moving as soon as possible after surgery can help prevent pulmonary embolism and hasten recovery overall. 

Prevention while traveling

The risk of blood clots developing while traveling is low, but increases as travel increases, and other risk factors are present. Here are some suggestions to help prevent blood clots from forming:
  • Take a break from sitting. Move around the airplane cabin once an hour or so. If you're driving, stop every hour and walk around the car a couple of times.
  • Fidget in your seat. Flex, extend and rotate your ankles or press your feet against the seat in front of you, or try rising up and down on your toes. And don't sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best liquid for preventing dehydration, which can contribute to the development of blood clots. Avoid alcohol, which contributes to fluid loss. 
  • Wear support stockings. Your doctor may recommend these to help promote circulation and fluid movement in your legs. Fortunately, compression stockings are available in stylish colors!
Arthea was a kind, caring, and accepting person of everyone she met.  She enjoyed learning new things, and sharing what she learned with others.  So, in honor of her memory, I share this information with you, with absolute love and kindness.  Knowledge is power, and prevention is key... I loved my darling Arthea... And I miss her tremendously.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Baby Body 6-12 Months

Baby V is 1 year old... and developing wonderfully.  She talks, laughs, crawls, and is able pull herself up to standing and cruising... Almost Walking... Then my real workout will begin, lol.

What's been happening on the workout front.  I've been a little behind in posting this, thanks to a new job :-). So, I will spare you the week by week breakdown.

Month 6, School was back in full force. I was happy to welcome back my regular workout schedule.  BodyFlow, runs, Spin, walks.  Big girls started playing soccer, tennis, and continued swim lessons (even Veronica).  So, I had to keep up with their physical activities.  My training for the full marathon continued... tough, but it was going.

Month 7, thank goodness for Walktober!  Having to get in 10,000 steps in addition to teaching BodyFlow 4-5 times a week allowed me to stay on track with fitness.  And about that new job... I am now the new Youth Wellness Coordinator at the Bear-Glasgow Family YMCA... I love it! It combines my love for fitness and healthy living, with my passion for working with children!  I can't wait to add my touch to the Youth Fitness center and the youth PE programs.  With my new job, and nursing baby V, and she still does not sleep through the night, I had to postpone my marathon training.

Month 8 was great!  I love my new job, and I truly love teaching Flow 4-5 times a week.  Surprisingly, people think because I work in a Gym, I should be able to workout all this time, (I even thought that) NOPE... Not the case at all... Thank goodness for Flow.  Every once in a while, I was able to add Spin and BodyPump to my workout schedule.

Month 9, I really kicked my fitness into gear, by starting out with my first experience with Les Mills GRIT... 2 back to back demo classes... OUCH! That's all I have to say about that.  However, after the demos, I was hooked and wanted to teach this new program.  I continued to teach flow, added more cardio to my regiment, with the occasional BodyPump, Spin, and HIIT classes, to get my butt in gear.  Side note: thanks to Christmas, I packed a couple of extra pounds :-(. On a sad note, my heart took a huge it this month... I lost my best friend, my cousin, my sister, Arthea... Smh... And that's all I have to say about that.

Month 10... Happy new year! Surprise, my GRIT release was ready for download, time to start practicing.  In addition to teaching and running, I practiced GRIT everyday!  I spent most of this month prepping for Les Mills GRIT certification training and working... Boy was this challenging!  Oh, and training... jello comes to mind... However, Muscle over mind... I am stronger than I think! I can and I will do this! What is GRIT you ask? It a 30 min High Intensity Interval Training class, designed to give amazing results in a short amount of time!  There are three classes with GRIT, strength, plyo, and cardio!  Stay tuned and check your local YMCA of DE for the class!

Month 11, wholly moley, I survived 1 of 2 trainings... Now time to prep for Born To Move certification training...  In addition to teaching BodyFlow!! What's Born To Move?  It's a youth fitness class, designed to get kids up and moving with punches, kicks, dancing, games, jumping, core workouts, and a bit of yoga.  Honestly, Running took a backseat because of the physical demand of GRIT... However, I look forward to kicking in back into gear and start training again.

And here we are at Month 12... I am officially a certified Les Mills GRIT instructor, on my way to be a certified Born To Move instructor, and training for the Delaware Half Marathon! My weekly workouts consists of GRIT, running, teaching BodyFlow and Born to Move classes.  I also signed up for a 6am half marathon training group at my YMCA.  For those of you who truly know me, know mornings are not my thing... So we shall see... Wish me luck at 6am... Lol!  Also, lent started, I gave up Wheat for the 40days... Trying to see if elimination aids in my digestion... We shall see.

More than ever, I'm sure you are curious as to what my body looks like 12 months after having baby V... Well, here you go!

As for my measurements... 
130.8 lbs
29.25" bust
26.5" waist
35.25 hips
21.5" thigh
That's over 7" lost from post delivery month 2, and 8lbs!!

Overall, my journey is by no means over, however with hard work and dedication I feel my pre-pregnancy body is back, and maybe a bit stronger!  My advice to the those on the same journey, is enjoy motherhood, and don't worry about the "pregnancy weight".  It will come off, in due time, remember it took nine months to put it on, just enjoy your time with your new baby... it goes by fast, trust me... before you know it... Your newborn is 1!  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pork Marsala

It's been awhile... but I'm back with a new recipe... I've been looking for new and healthy dinners for my family.  Most of the time Marsala anything comes with a heavy mushroom gravy, yum- right?  But not always the healthiest... So I decided to update this classic, and instead of chicken I chose boneless pork chops... Only because, I'm getting sick of chicken.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Pork Marsala
serves 4, total time 30 min

4 boneless pork loin chops
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
(you can also use 1-2 tbsp of Italian seasoning, instead of individual seasonings)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups of white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium
1/2 cup trader joe's Balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper

Hot cooked whole wheat pasta
Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle pork chops with dried herbs and s/p.
Drizzle large skillet with olive oil, heat over medium high heat.  cook pork for 2-3 min per side, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.

Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth to pan and deglaze pan.  add mushrooms and garlic, heat for 2 min.  Add vinaigrette, and rest of chicken broth, bring to a simmer, cook mushrooms until tender.

Add pork back to pan, and simmer for another 3-4 min.

Toss hot pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, top with Parmesan cheese. serve along side pork, and a side of green beans.