You gotta LUV the Squirrel People


I have really mScreen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.19.37 PMissed you.

There is a new business is town, Corporate Wellness and I’m gettin’ me some of the cash.  However, it comes with traps such as, let’s work a million hours and not keep up on blog.  It also leads to questions such as, are the pearls of wisdom coming out of my mouth making any difference?

For the last few months I have been a Health Educator for one of these companies.  The pay is okay, but the work can be grinding.  Some company pays our company to come in and do “health screenings” for their employees.  Sometimes there is a cash incentive for the employee to have the screening done and sometimes not.  Sometimes the cash is only for the salaried employees.  Sometimes the company just raffles off something to screening participants not cash oriented like a small backpack with a company logo.  This does not appear to generate the enthusiasm conceived by the corporate head honchos.

Screenings consists of height, weight, waist circumference, finger stick for cholesterol, HDL [happy cholesterol], LDL [lousy cholesterol], triglycerides and glucose levels.

Then, I, the illustrious Health Educator, reveal all the meanings of life or at least the meanings of your results in less than 5 minutes.  Move’em in, move’em out.  For some companies, the employees are fairly well educated and understand my Readers’ Digest version of how to turn a lousy result into wellness nirvana.  Then, there are the Squirrel People.

I’ve spent a lot of time in rural areas, and I really respect the people I’ve met, but I realized how sheltered I am not having cable TV, watching ads about food, drink and pharmaceuticals and sitting doctors offices reading back issues of People or Prevention magazines.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.15.24 PM

Squirrel unimpeded by flashy food ads. Still fits on tree branch.

In contrast, many of the wage-earning folks of these companies located off Highway to Nowhere, America buy into everything on Dr. Oz and the Cartoon Network.  The amount of medication taken is astounding, especially from folks extremely cautious about owning a cell phone or having an email address.  Astounding because the drugs have so little effect and are peddled out with so little education of how they actually work and how you can take care of yourself.  This is where the squirrels come in.

I cannot remember the percentage of folks in the obese weight range who denied they were anything other than”Big Boned”.  Everyone told me, “I eat bad”, like I had put up a confessional when I set up the table and chairs, but resolved to continue with their current regime  and swallow the pills.  When asked about physical activity the answer was, “hunting”.  There was no understanding that sitting in a tree or blind for hours on end really didn’t consist of much activity and there was no cognitive connection with their “kill” and gout flaring up.  Here’s a sample discussion-

What do you eat or drink after you wake up?


Then what happens?

“I go to work.”

Do you eat anything there?


What kind?


What does that mean?



“You know Honey Nut Cheerios.”

What makes it healthy?

Blank stare.  “I don’t know.”

Anything to drink with that?


What’s the point to the gatorade?

“What do you mean?”

If you are doing heavy work in a hot environment you can lose some minerals and stuff from your body that is really important, but you can replace it fairly easily.  Are you working that hard?

“Gatorade is good for you. . . or that’s what everyone says.”


Then, what happens?


What’s for lunch today?

“Ham and cheese sandwich.”

Anything on it?


Anything else?

“Maybe an apple.”

Anything for a snack?

“Maybe a bag of chips.  Sometimes.”

Then what happens?

“I go home.”

Do you have dinner?

“Yes, pork chops.”

Anything else on the plate?

“Vegetables.  I don’t eat carbs.”

How many vegetables?  Is it like this? Make small bowl with hands. Or this?  Spread arms apart like a casserole dish.

“Like this.”  Hands scooped like 1/4 cup.

Any dessert?

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.20.13 PM

Same size as vegetables eaten for entire day.


Do you know that every vegetable is mainly carbs?


Did anyone explain to you the connect between gout and game meats?


Has anyone explained to you the use of fiber foods and whole grains to help with your high cholesterol?


How long have you been on Lipitor?  Crestor?

“Five years.”

Fiber can help with cholesterol and also constipation, if that is ever a problem.

“Oh, I take Metamucil every day.”

Did anyone tell you that by having more fruits during the day you may not need Metamucil?


Gatorade is high in sodium.  Not having enough water in your system can also make you constipated.  Do you think you could swap out half the gatorade for just water?

This person is WAY into the obese category.  Their cholesterol is fairly high, and according to them, they eat about 800 calories a day.  That’s when I ask if they drink alcohol.  Of course, 90% only have, maybe one or two drinks a week.  I am amazed at the hundreds of people defying biochemistry and gaining weight on 800 calories a day and being at least 5 feet 7 inches.  I’m around 5 feet 5 inches and can’t make it through the day on less than 1200.

Here’s another problem.

When is the first thing you eat or drink?

“That depends.  I do swing shift.”

Swing shift means you work all the shifts for about one week each.  So your schedule is constantly changing.   This week you start work at 7am, in 12 days you will start work at 5pm, then in another two weeks you may be back at 7am or onto nights and start at 11pm.  This wreaks havoc on sleep, gastrointestinal health and the cohesion of a family.  But these are the only jobs in town that have benefits.  No one is going anywhere.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.23.18 PM

At least squirrel can see the trap.

There I am counseling a few hundred people at 5 minutes each on how to turn around these trends that are the heart of our national state of disease.  What am I really doing to help them and their families?

They need an onsite program that changes the entire community’s dynamic. We need to support time parents need with their kids, support long term health and educate on basic nutrition needs even if it includes squirrel stew.  It needs to be around for at least 5 years to make any long term impact.

Of course, there was one gentleman who was explaining how he dealt with his rotundity.  As he was sitting in the chair next to me, he explained.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.21.13 PM

Couldn’t leave you with just the “kneading” image. Here is nice, healthy squirrel.

“I get into my bathtub in some nice hot water.  Then, I massage my fat.”  He began to demonstrate on his stomach.  “I massage the fat so it breaks down.”  He is slowly kneading fat through his fingers.

” That’s how I am getting rid of it.  But, I don’t know if it scientific or anything.”

Just thought you might want to know what I’ve been up to.


Does your food do what you want it to do?

There I am at a party looking at the food.  I’m looking for guests I know and who looks fun and interesting.

Before I can finish scanning the room.  The host says, “Meet my friend, LaDiva, she’s a dietitian.  LaDiva, don’t hate me because of the food.  I know so much of it is bad.  But it’s a party.”

Great way to meet someone new.  Now, the new person will begin to spew all their guilt about their diet to me.  “I don’t eat THAT much meat.  I mean, why does bad food taste so good?”

Really?  Do you think I care?  Did you notice I had a glass of red wine in my hand?

So here are my mental replies:

  1. “Hmm, interesting.  You don’t eat that bad-ly.  You are using the word, bad, as an adverb.  You need to add an -ly.  Strunk and White have an app.”
  2. “Hmm, interesting.  What else do you think about your food?”
    “Well, it is just hard to make healthy stuff.”
    “Hmm, interesting.  Hard to make.”  I nod my head.
    “Do you have a credit card?”
    “Great.  The rest conversation is going to cost you $150 for an hour.  I have my Paypal swiper with me.”
  3. “You eat really bad?  Actually you eat BADLY, and have you ever painted a room or anything?”
    “Well, this conversation is about as interesting to me as watching that paint dry.  I am now going to put that knitting needle through my eye to divert the pain of this verbal interchange.”
  4. “Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase.  You need to ask yourself, what do you want your food to do for you?  Answer that and the rest is easy.  Excuse me.  Those folks look like they are having fun.  I’m going to join them.”

That’s my bottom line.  What is it you want your food to do?  Here’s an example:

  • I’m a person with high cholesterol.  I have a couple of teen age kids, I want to get through college and off into their own lives.  I know what I eat causes my problem.  I pay my own insurance and if I need more medication, my premiums will go up.  I need my food to lower my cholesterol and make sure I go to my kids weddings.

If this person is chowing down on the animal foods, saturated fat and little fiber, their food is NOT doing what they want it to do.  Their diet is actually supporting their next stroke and decreasing the number of meals the caterer plans for the graduation parties.

  • I’m a person wiling to risk the damage to my liver by having a martini.  I drink my martini after 5:30pm.  The point of the martini is to break the work day from the evening.

This person’s food does exactly what they want it to do.  And if they have an olive, they even get fiber.  If they have more than one martini, it may not do what they want it to do because, depending on their alcohol tolerance, they make get to tipsy and not make dinner or go to bed at a reasonable hour.  If they have 3 or 4, they may have a hangover that REALLY ruins their next day and any relationships they have with people who don’t appreciate their 3 am bad joke phone calls and texting about how their bosses really don’t understand them.

The idea is not rocket science.  It does take looking at yourself, your goals and owning what you do versus what you want.  I come in when you want to get these two – goals and daily life – to work together.  That’s where my expertise gives you strategies to make your healthy life a reality.

So looking at your life and health goals, that’s the question to ask.  And when we meet at a party, tell me a great joke and the most fun thing you have ever done.  Leave the food guilt in the car.  It will wait for you.

NBC – Olympics by the Oligarchy [& how to get around it]


Sochi Olympics

Sochi Olympics


The olympics are supposed to represent the world.  It is a time when countries come together to share athleticism and culture.  Newspapers will brag of medals by Team USA and Americans will feel pride in their fellow countrymen who have worked so hard to be great representatives of their nation.  No matter what sport there are faces painted with national colors, proud parents and personal stories of grit that inspire us all.  Then, there is NBC.

For those of us who have cut the cable, there are no olympics.  Okay, five minutes per replay olympics.  Silly me read the NBC website information on live streaming and thought . . . there would be live streaming.  Streaming that you may have to pay for to see live.  But no.  Come Day One of the Opening Ceremony and there was no streaming to anyone who didn’t have a cable subscription.  Everyone has a cable subscription?  Have you seen the job market?

Many people in the US have cut themselves from the cable cord not like me, because I think most of cable is a waste of time and money, but because they simply can’t afford it.   A hundred dollars a month?  Try doing that on your unemployment.  Oops! That’s right, you may have just lost your unemployment and Congress is dragging its feet.   How many 20 somethings are living at home because they just can’t afford life on their own?

Why didn’t they couple with Hulu, Amazon or another service?  You could pay a fee to watch a few of the events or a fee for the whole shebang.  No, for those who can’t afford it, forget it.

On the other hand, the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] or the BBC [British

CBC streams for free

CBC streams for free

Broadcasting Corporation] are streaming and replaying complete competitions online.  Anyone in the country with access to wifi can see how their athletes are doing.

Okay, I know that these governments take a tax for having a TV.  I don’t like taxes any more than anyone else, but think about it.  That tax goes to create local film and television work so the money stays in the country as opposed to um . . . NBC’s Dracula which is shot in Budapest with a Hungarian crew.  The tax breaks are great there.  Dracula was a Brit series shot in England before being picked up by NBC.

Here’s another annoying thing.  NBC said they would live stream starting with the Opening Ceremony.  Only if you tried streaming at 11am EST, nothing was there.  Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group said NBC decided, “We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves,” . . .  My BS detectors are making my bobby pins hum.  They wanted to ramp up viewership and make themselves look better.

Can't own everyone, NBC

Can’t own everyone, NBC

An oligarchy is a small number of people controlling a business or country.  Can you watch anything NBC doesn’t want you to?

Well, yes. You can stream all the olympics you want from your home anywhere in the US by changing the proxy or IP address on your laptop.  It basically hides your location and you can use an address from another country and watch programs from there. This is legal.  Depending on your operating system there are a whole bunch of programs that will do this.  Some for free.  I paid $8.50 for My IP Hide for Mac.  I picked them because I trust downloads from CNET.  They run the Downloads site.  The $8.50 was a price for a month.  That’s all I need.  I made sure to deactivate the automatic repayment box.

The download didn’t open like I thought so I emailed support.  They responded in an hour or so with very helpful advice.  It took a few tries because I was a little brain dead, but everything was pretty simple. Here’s an article to further explain how this works, but if you pay the fee it is MUCH simpler and you get better support.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer


I hopped on to an IP from UK.  Using BBC iPlayer, I watched the entire opening ceremony with only 90% of the grating chatter TV people think we want to hear as opposed to the music playing in the background or crowds cheers.  I hopped onto a Montreal address and watched the Men’s Biathlon, not as boring as I thought it would be, and the Women’s Skiathon, also pretty entertaining.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 5.33.55 PMI understand NBC has to make money.  But really, couldn’t you think of a way to include those who are hurting in the US instead excluding them?

Let the scamming begin

This is what may end up at your home.

This is what may end up at your home.


Just like the carpetbaggers Scarlett O’Hara had to shoot to keep her plantation, Tara, the scams for healthcare are showing up in your email, FAV websites and snail mailbox.

I just got a new one yesterday – United States Prescription Discounts.

Referring to the photo above, the white page looks like something from the Internal Revenue Service so you will probably read it.  I did.  I just sent in my 2012 taxes.  The verbiage is very interesting.

“These cards entitle you to reduce prices on all of your prescription medications at pharmacies everywhere nationwide.

They claim up to 75% savings on medications.  The yellow pamphlet has a black box with yellow writing.


Everyone living the the U.S. is entitled to this discount regardless of medical history or residency status.

But I have an enquiring mind and had to fire up my laptop and use my FAV

Check out everything you want to try with the BBB.

Check out everything you want to try with the BBB.

search engine.  This company actually exists and does give discounts on prescription drugs – about 5-10% on the retail price.  Much less than any insurance.  According to the Better Business Bureau, if you have zero insurance this may help you.  However, a quick check of medication discount companies will show you many discount cards.

What really may help, other than incorporating lifestyle changes to decrease your medication needs, is checking with you local pharmacies about what a drug costs.

My healthcare practitioner, see You Don’t Know me, but Take My Money Anyway, and a nurse friend told me to steer clear of CVS and try Kmart for cheaper meds.  Pricing can vary quite a bit, so do your homework.

Sun-Tzu said, in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.  Watch out for carpetbaggers and Y’all take care, now.

You don’t know me, but take my money anyway

patient with weird mdsMy new insurance allows me to get a full scale medical run down.  Great!  I get the joy of having every orifice poked, prodded and radiated.  What a lucky girl!

So, I make a date with a new Nurse Practitioner.  I LUV nurses.  They actually do the care at facilities.  And she is my age.  This is FAB.

We meet.  She asks me about my parents, grandparents and sibling health.  She does not ask me where I get my hair done.  THAT she could have used.  My vitals are excellent.  They tell me I have shrunk 2 inches.  Hmm, my pants haven’t lengthened in the last 5 years.  Okay.  Sometimes people just get things wrong.

“You’re a dietitian?”, she asks me.


“Do you actually help people?”


“Because I send people to dietitians and they don’t do anything.  These people never lose any weight.”

That Irish Whiskey for Teacakes

Maybe you should give them this instead of meds.

“Yes, i have helped people.”  I do not ram her stethoscope down her throat, nor do I

I refrained from my first answer – “yes, how about you?”  Or do they just keep coming back for more meds?”

We do an EKG.  Normal.  However, since I did have some oddities happen when I was finishing and launching the DVD, FAB Fruit Festival and I have this insurance, we are going to do cardiology, and other fun medical procedures.  Oh, and here’s your prescription.

But, wait a minute.  Couldn’t I do mediation and be more aware of my stress level.  My new medical buddy looks me straight in the eye and says, “Really, could you really do that?” as if the idea of me taking responsibility of my health was crazy.  Could you imagine someone explaining how much money you could save by incorporating a few lifestyle strategies?  Could you imagine someone caring enough about themselves to actually try that instead of running to the pharmacy?

“What is your pharmacy of choice?”

WHAT??!  Oh, I didn’t realize that everyone takes medication and has a pharmacy of choice.  Except me.

I actually did have something evil happen to me.  There was a positive test result that showed I have to do some annoying things for a short time and then be done.  So I do them.  When I return for the PAP smear, she asks if I am following her directions.  When I say yes, she is a little surprised.  Couldn’t be that because you don’t make a connection with your patients so they don’t care about what you say?

Oops, before all these other procedures, I have to go back for test results.  Can’t wait.

I’m FAB.  She is shocked.  I actually have the lipid and blood panel of someone decades younger.

Now, goofy, nosy, weird little fact-wonk me would ask, “how do you get numbers like this?”  Or maybe, “You’re a dietitian, is there anything I can tell my patients?”  But not my specula warming friend. [I AM grateful for that]

I stare up at her teaching materials in a cabinet – sugar free sweetener, MiraLax and fish oil.  Yep, that covers diabetes, constipation and cardiology.  Well, that plus a bunch of meds costing more than $10 grand a year.  Let’s not add in the cost of surgery.

Hmm, why don't patients care?

Hmm, why don’t patients care?

In during these 15 minute meetings, she doesn’t even get my name straight.  But, she’s seen all my best parts.

The stress test was not measuring what was stressed.  The cardiologist, again who doesn’t know my name, tells me, I’m fine.  He asks if I walk a lot at the end of the test when I am talking and walking uphill.  We end up chatting about where his kids live in Manhattan versus where I lived.  I get to pay $400 to see him for 10 minutes and give his overweight assistant, who had a triple bypass instead of vacation, free dietetic advice.  I left thinking I should have billed the assistant and ask the cardiologist, Pal, do you have anything else to help people long term who don’t pass this test?  Or is this it?

Ditto for the other “healthcare professionals” I saw.

No one knows why I have these great test results.  No one asked.  No one thinks what you eat is important.  No one thinks lifestyle is important.  My BFF says, why are you going back to this person?  I agree, but I also want to get through all the tests and blah, blah, then move on.

However, I work in the medical field.  I see what insurance pays for.

Welcome to the world of healt . . . Insurance care- I mean insurance payment codes.

Number 2 is always harder

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo.  I am not making scatological humor.  I’m talking about keeping the energy going.

My last post was about being focused in the new year.  It is easy the first week to stay on track.  Then, you let life get in the way.

I’m now on week 2 and still staying focused.  I got another first draft done on a chapter of my book.  I sent it off to my 2 first editors for response.  If I hear nothing from them, nudging will be in order.

My physical activity is on track, as is my daily learning time.  I’m getting up at 5:30 am, before anyone else starts their day in my house, including the cat, and doing yoga.  The gal on the Wii can’t figure out if I am strong or not, but she really likes my posture.  Glad she can’t see my clothes.  Of course, hers never change so why am I worried.

Do you have a stack DVDs from some seminar or conference still in the plastic wrap?  I make lunch at noon and watch an hour of nutrition videos.  I’m learning and reviewing so much data.  Here’s the weirdest part – everyday someone will ask me some random question and I have just seen something about it.  I feel like a walking encyclopedia.

I know some of you are thinking, WHO has an hour at lunch?  Well, most of my work is at home.  My day is 6:30 – 12:30, 2:00-5:30, Monday-Friday.  When needed, 7:30pm.  That’s usually one day a week.  Weekends I try to only work 7 hours.

Then, I either do a short, fast walk or run.  I always get great ideas during this time.  I call people and leave messages.  There is a notebook next to my bed, and a pad in the kitchen.  And I read them every morning.

Everyone likes to start something.  The real work comes after the initial energy rush.  All

Can I stay focused?

Can I stay focused?

kinds of things have popped up on my radar screen, but I look at my schedule I set on January 1 and realize that everything else has to take second place.   Asking myself the right question gets the right answer. “Do I want to do this?” is not the right question.   “Will this get me where I want to be December 31?” works a lot better.

Here’s the most important thing I have learned this week, [although it is so obvious its silly], if you want someone to invest in your idea you need to know exactly how you are going to use their investment.  This is true for money, time and energy.  That has led me off my schedule a little, but sharped my focus.

This second week as called for more discipline, but I realize that I feel relaxed because I am getting things accomplished.  It’s like trying to explain to someone who constantly has colds what real health is.  When you feel healthy it compels you to stay that way.  When you keep ticking things off your list, you draw energy to you that compels you toward your LaDiva Blingultimate goal.  It rekindles the fire.  The goal becomes a foregone result waiting to happen.

There no longer are tasks, but opportunities to reach the result sooner.

Happy New Focus

Get time on your side.

Get time on your side.

Got the list?  Feeling overwhelmed?  Feeling like you can take on the World, but only for about a week?

So many of us want to take ourselves to the next level of health in January.  By health I mean physical, mental, emotional and/or environmental.  We look at the new year as the time to create the FAB life we know we deserve.  Then, in about a week, we are back in the grind and those best intentions get replaced by paying bills, laundry, dinner, painting the kitchen and getting new brakes on your car.

I find that when I think of all that I want to accomplish I get mired in what-to-do-first and a to-do list that is several terrifying pages of overwhelming anxiety and premeditated failure.

How to stay on track?  This year I am only doing one thing – staying focused on the task at hand.  That’s it.  My work week will have one detailed focus point.

My weekends will have one, and only one, thing I have to do around the house.  We all know that we start a weekend with 3 or 4 things to do.  Full of joyous ambition, you gather all you need to knock off Job #1 on your list.  Then, you realize you don’t have the right anchor for that shelving unit or ingredients for that new recipe.  Next, you go to the store about 6 times.  Somewhere on the drives or walks to get that million dollar anchor, the only one that works with your $5 shelving unit, or mid-quest to find a store that sells fresh lemon grass, your frustration level goes through the roof.  Your relaxing weekend is now a crusade for the holy grail of finishing this @$#$^ job in time to get some sleep before Monday.

Get focused.

Get focused.

I’m giving myself the gift of limited goals and days of screw up time. I wrote a SHORT list of stuff I need to get done this year [not including painting the kitchen].  I am taking today to make these things happen for myself.

To get myself on target, I’m getting out the ladder to tape a note stating the dollar amount I want to make on the ceiling above my bed.  Next, comes putting due dates in my online calendar that hooks to my email.  Once I finish this post, the list of tasks to make each of these things happen will be written and attached to the due dates.  Then, I’ll print the first set of tasks and put that on my mirror.

Breaking down a big goal into smaller actions makes the whole thing seem more real.  It also gives a place to start.  And isn’t starting a lot of the problem to begin with?

Yes, this may seems REALLY anal, but you know what it does for me?  Takes the burden of what-do-I-have-to-do-today off my shoulders until 2014.  It gives me a detailed plan of action.  It also allows me time to take off when the tasks are done.  So many times, especially those of us who run our own businesses, never take time off.  We keep looking at the next day’s business.  More than anything, having this written out releases me from taking on anything else.  I am free to put on blinders to everyone around me and my knack for letting them distract me.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Okay, it’s time for you to get started.  Happy New Focus and a Merry Series of Checked Off Lists for the New Year.