Guest post by Christina Elizabeth Rodriguez (@kikisbetes)
Typically when you find my writing on this blog, it’s about diabetes; a topic I know very well and know tons about because, well, hello, I have Type 1 diabetes. But because this year, the LATISM ’11 conference is coming to my town of Chicago, I’m going to switch this up a little bit and talk about balance and self-improvement in the aspect of health.
First of all, let me just say that I’m extremely happy and proud to be part of the LATISM crew; both as a member and as a volunteer for the conference. I’m also very proud that the organization chose to have their national conference here in Chicago where 25 percent (might be 26) of Cook County (where Chicago is located) is Latino. I remember going to a National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference one year where participants and peers asked if there were any Latinos in Chicago at all. Yes! We are here and we’re proud. We might not be New York or Los Angeles, but we’re making a mark!
One of the major pillars that makes LATISM so interesting and unique is this sense of togetherness, community and self-improvement. Within the sector of LATISM, through Twitter and now Facebook, I have found myself making friends and building relationships with people across the country. When I need support or insight, I know I can look to those I’ve met through this incredible organization and maintain myself on a balance of sorts.
So why is balance so important in health? In terms of diabetes, stress is no good. No bueno! It tends to raise the blood sugar. Ever heard of the fight or flight instinct? When you’re under stress, your body is all hyped up on adrenaline, making you feel tense. Those hormones that spread their way through your body makes for a rise in blood sugar and not to mention blood pressure and all the rest of it. Everything is connected and impacts one another.
LATISM, if anything else, incorporates that sense of balance that you can find within an organization and through members. We all work hard and do a million and one things outside of our jobs, including being mothers, fathers and heroes in disguise. But sometimes you forget about you. The organization promotes education and increased knowledge of oneself and how we can continue trucking on as Latinos and as members of this society. There’s a sense of empowerment and self-confidence and improvement. You’re in a place where everyone knows your name, what you do and possibly even what you stand for. You know that if you post, tweet, mention, or email and someone will respond with some sort of inspirational or insightful information for you. I’ve done it, I know.
If you’re happy, your health is better. There’s no other way around it and no other real explanation. In order to keep up with the world that we all live in– the chaos, the sleepless nights and the running from one end of the city to the other for meetings– you have to stay healthy. Thinking about the types of food you eat, what you drink and how you function is of the utmost importance when looking to meet deadlines or make any sense whatsoever.
Watching what you eat and how you eat is going to affect your mood and your health. Going for walks to clear your mind or jogs to release stress are also good ideas. I find that walking helps me to clear my mind and I know I’m doing something to benefit my health at the same time. Keeping off of heavy foods allow for the body to process the good food you do eat more quickly, giving you energy and keeping you away from feeling sleepy or groggy after eating. Greens are an excellent source of iron and although you may feel like you’re eating grass, there’s no harm in giving it flavor with tomatoes and other vegetables. In a beating-around-the-bush way, I’m telling you to eat a salad. They’re good for you, with a little chicken on top.
Water benefits all part of the body. It keeps your mind alert, helps you lose weight and most importantly of all, allows you to rid your body of the toxic chemicals and wastes that we put into it every day. Clearing the skin is another benefit and keeping you hydrated is no easy feat, but water does the trick! Drink a lot of it.
By the way, as much as we’re all into our cafecitos to keep on moving, caffeine dehydrates you. It’s true. So when you drink your coffee, drink water along with it to keep yourself up and going.
There’s nothing like having a good clear head on your shoulders when trying to change and better the Latino community. We’re all in this effort together and on November 9, we’re finally going to be able to see each other face-to-face and hopefully in good, healthful spirits. Are you going to the LATISM ’11 Conference? If you do, look for me there. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christina is a writer who lives in Chicago. She has a Master’s in journalism from the UIUC and writes non-fiction, fiction and poetry. You may find her inspired musings on life, media and music at Mine & Mine Only. Christina is a Type I #diabetic and she writes about living with the disease at theDiabetes Types A Blog. You may also know her as @kiki416.