WebMD: A Hypochondriac’s Best Frenemy

Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying that although I am a mild hypochondriac, I can be somewhat rational…after my initial panic attack wears off. Anyway, today I noticed some tingling in my ring and pinky finger on my right hand. Like any dutiful hypo (Urban Dictionary slang), I immediately Googled my symptoms. (Medical diagnosis what?!) Thanks to terrific search engine placement, WebMD was the first to pop up. I went through the usual questions. “Have you been bitten by an animal?” “Could you have eaten bad fish?” and found myself with this disturbing conclusion. Oh, wait. “Possible Condition”.

I realize this is probably a completely rash diagnosis generated by what I believe to be a group of terrifying men, dressed in dark cloaks, meant to terrify a person into seeking medical attention, but COME ON. Tingling? Eh, must be MS. Sure, I made the choice to seek out the opinion of the WebMD staffers, but this, out of all the diagnosises I’ve received, has to be the most ridiculous.

So when is the right time to use WebMD? Well, use WebMD for general symptoms, such as a stuffy nose or use it to get to the next step — visiting a doctor. Some people like to have as much information about their symptoms as possible before talking to a doctor, so WebMD would be a perfect resource for this. When you shouldn’t use the site is if you have serious symptoms. According to an article on IND.com:

“If you use WebMD as your only source, and you don’t have a reliable physician that you can talk to and address your concerns, I think that’s where the problem is,” Dr. Indira Gautam, a family medicine specialist at Regional Medical Center of AcadianaGautam says. “That’s where we build a lot of anxiety for no reason.” Other doctor-recommended websites include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sites ending with .gov and .edu. But be aware that some sites might not be legitimate.

“I think dot-gov sites are pretty good and valid sites, as well as .edu sites, because they are usually university-associated,” Gautam reports. “But anybody can post anything they want on the Internet, and that’s what’s scary.”

For more information about WebMD, visit the about section of their site.

For more information on how I ended up a neurotic hypo, please contact my mother.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you do decide to use WebMD to help better determine what might be causing your symptoms, remember not to panic if you see some pretty serious diseases come up on your Possible Conditions list.

Vegetarian Protein Sources

Recently I’ve been finding myself informing more and more people about the protein sources I eat that do not include meat. Usually the conversation gets started when someone finds out I’m a vegetarian. The follow up question is almost always, “Well how do you get your protein?” Every time I start to ramble off a list, but I always feel like I’m missing a few key items. So here’s some interesting information I found on WebMD article.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods — like milk, cheese, and yogurt — excellent sources of protein but they also contain valuable calcium. Choose skim or low fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong, prevent osteoporosis, and enhance weight loss.

Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.

Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as three ounces of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Soy

Twenty five grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Combine soy protein foods like tofu with a healthy low fat diet.

Now here is a list I found on the vegetarian website Happycow.net.

Here are some examples of vegetarian foods with high sources of plant protein:

PROTEIN IN LEGUMES: Garbanzo beans, Kidney beans, Lentils, Lima beans, Navy beans, Soybeans, Split peas

PROTEIN IN GRAINS: Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rye, Wheat germ, Wheat, hard red, Wild rice

VEGETABLE PROTEIN: Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green peas, Green pepper, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard green, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

PROTEIN IN FRUITS: Apple, Banana, Cantaloupe, Grape, Grapefruit, Honeydew melon, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon

PROTEIN IN NUTS AND SEEDS: Almonds, Cashews, Filberts, Hemp Seeds, Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts (black)

So what do I eat? Well yesterday I had:

  • Breakfast: 2 egg whites with 3 cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and  1 whole-wheat English muffin
  • Lunch: brown rice, broccoli and sweet potato chunks
  • Snack/Dinner: 1 cup of yogurt, 1 apple, raw cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, and 1 cup of chocolate soymilk

On any given day you may find me eating spinach with tomatoes, lentils with barley, or almonds with a banana. That being said, every single thing on that list is a high source of protein. Plus, my proteins didn’t come with a heaping side of hormone additives.

So go ahead and swap out your daily turkey sandwich with a big bowl of mustard greens and onions!

…Just kidding. Don’t do that.

For an easy (and delicious) way to stock up on proteins, try my friend Brianna’s Strawberry Spinach salad.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods — like milk, cheese, and yogurt — excellent sources of protein but they also contain valuable calcium. Choose skim or low fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong, prevent osteoporosis, and enhance weight loss.

Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.

Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as three ounces of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods — like milk, cheese, and yogurt — excellent sources of protein but they also contain valuable calcium. Choose skim or low fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong, prevent osteoporosis, and enhance weight loss.

Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.

Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as three ounces of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.