Tag Archives: medicine

Fitness Unarmed: The story of amputee and bodybuilder Barbie Guerra

One look at a female bodybuilder and anyone can see that she’s different. With muscle tone like an exotic Amazonian and a dark spray tan, a body builder is a walking representation of extreme fitness.

Barbie Guerra lines up along other sculpted bodies during competitions. Together the bodybuilders don’t seem so different.BarbT_Comp_16

But Guerra still stands out.

She doesn’t have any arms.

The mother of two read about fitness competitors like Kelly Ryan in magazines for years. She became fascinated by the sport.

“I wanted to be in the magazines – just like them!” Guerra wrote on her website. “I just wasn’t sure at the time if I believed in myself enough to do it. I had to ask myself if I’m going to sit around wanting to do that or if I’m going to get up and do it? I decided that if I did not at least try, I would definitely regret it later.”

So Guerra called local competitions around her Arizona town to see if she could enter.

“I was concerned that I was going to bust my butt preparing for a competition and then not qualify to compete because of not having arms,” Guerra wrote. “I decided to make a phone call to the promoter to make sure it was alright for me to enter.”

The promoter was excited to have her compete. He said the audience would love her and she would  be a symbol of inspiration.

But he also told her something that would knock most people down.

He told her she could never win.

It only fueled her fire of motivation.

Since then, Guerra has entered 15 competitions from Chicago to Houston. Her last competition was the 2012 NPC Jr. Nationals where she placed fifth.


Not too shabby for a woman who wasn’t supposed to survive the accident that caused her to lose her arms at just two years old.

“I was outside playing with several other children, and being a typical 2yr old, I was in and out of the apartment a thousand times,” Guerra wrote. “While I was outside, I did something that would change my life in an instant.”

She climbed onto a transformer, grabbing wires to help her up.

Guerra was instantly electrocuted.

Electricity entered through both her hands, shot up her arms, traveled through her little body and exited through her feet.

Her arms were burned to the bone, “like charcoal.” Both were amputated at the shoulder. She still has scars on her legs.

Doctors said she would be in a vegetative state if she survived. But Guerra did survive and is physically and mentally capable. Her medical team speculated that the rubber soles in her tennis shoes might have been the reason her life was saved.

But Guerra believes it was an act of God.

“My mom prayed that if I had to live as a vegetable, that God would just take me,” Guerra wrote. “She also made a promise to God that day-if he let me live, she would make sure that I became ‘somebody.'”



Filed under Feature, Features, Fitness, Health, People, Women

Vegan perspective: Medication could contain animal by product

When Allison Parks first became a vegan it took her ten minutes to read one food label while shopping. 
“It used to be a hassle to read labels [] when I first became a vegan because I had no idea what I was looking for,” the Flagler College junior said. “But now that I know what to look out for it’s actually quite fun. Vegans find humor in the oddest things.”
It’s been over four years since Parks has made the switch from meat eater to eating animal free products. This means not eating any fish, honey, milk, or eggs in addition to meats.

But it’s not just food that Parks has to check the labels on. Many medications have animal products in them, namely gelatin. Gelatin is used as an excipient, or coating agent, in medicines and for making medication thicker. In other words, it’s what encapsulates the capsule or forms the pill into a solid as opposed to a powder. Gelatin comes from the bones and skins in animals.

“I don’t think there should be any animal products in medication. Especially in today’s culture there are cheaper, more ethical options for everything,” Parks said. “There is absolutely no need to use and exploit animals the way we do.”

Parks says she is aware that there are animal products in medicine and always checks every label. But in a new study published in the BMJ Postgraduate Medical Journal, less than a quarter of its 500 participants with dietary restrictions such as veganism specifically asked the doctor or pharmacist about the composition of a pill they were prescribed.

This is a stark contrast to the 43.2% of the study population that “would prefer not to take animal product-containing medication, even if no alternative were available.”

So is it the doctor’s responsibility to inform patients of the ingredients of a medication or the patient’s responsibility to check the label?

“I think the doctor should let the patient know because a lot of the time, like in my case, I would have never guessed that there would be animal products in medication. I only found out when someone told me, I wasn’t actively seeking the information. The doctor should always keep their patients informed about what exactly they’re putting in their bodies,” Parks said.


Filed under Feature, Features, Fitness, Food, Health, News, Science

Could eating magic mushrooms become the new medical marijuana?

“Drugs are bad, mkay.”

Those are famous words coined by Mr. Mackey, South Park’s school counselor. Children and young adults often hear those words (minus the “mkay”) from their own teachers, school speakers and parents throughout their young lives.

 But more and more studies are attempting to prove that a drug is actually good. They say that eating magic mushrooms may help people with  depression and other health issues.

Hmmm, is this going to turn into another medical marijuana epidemic?

Photo Credit: creepydrawings.blogspot.com

The  hallucinogenic chemical compound in the mushroom, psilocybin, helps ” turn off the parts of the brain that integrate sensations – seeing, hearing, feeling – with thinking,” according to an article on The Chart.

Wait…what? It’s going to turn off seeing, hearing, feeling? Wouldn’t that make me some kind of mindless zombie?

The study also found “that the more psilocybin shuts off the brain, the greater the feeling of being in an altered state of consciousness. [] It’s not the same as dreaming, because you’re fully conscious and aware.” Yea…this is also known as tripping.

Obviously, being in an altered state of consciousness can make one less depressed. Why do people drink after a stressful or bad event? Why do people abuse pills? To feel good.

Getting someone high is not a cure. It’s a cover-up.

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