The Medicine Cabinet Series: Laura, a Critical Care Nurse and Wellness Blogger

The Medicine Cabinet Series was created to give you a unique look at the everyday lives and wellness routines of a diverse group of women from around the country. Dive in for a candid approach to wellness unlike any other.

Meet Laura Gluck, RN, a critical care nurse, wellness blogger, and host of the Critical Conversations podcast. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Laura attended Towson University, then moved to Charlottesville, VA, to work as an ICU nurse. There, she met her husband, an orthopedic surgeon. After living in New Zealand, Dallas, and New York City, they moved to Ventura, CA, where they currently reside.

Laura is now a PACU (post anesthesia care unit) nurse, where she wakes people up, stabilizes them, and sends them home. She's studying to become an integrative nurse, and plans to open a private practice to take on clients who are looking to regain their health through lifestyle adjustments.

BINTO: What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Can I be honest? I look at my phone. I hate that this is my answer. I'm currently working on establishing anchors throughout my day. My goal is to have set routines — morning, noon, and night — that push me into the right direction and refocus/reground me in my purpose.

Here's what I'm working towards in the morning:
1. Wake up by 7:30, a.m. even on days off.
2. Meditate for 5-10 minutes within the first half hour of waking. (I recently bought the Muse headband, which is amazing.)
3. Water before coffee.
4. Do 20 minutes of intentional movement before 10 a.m., i.e. walking or yoga.

BINTO: What are your favorite healthy foods?

I love food. I used to think that you couldn't be healthy and also love food. That's a crock of sh*t. For me, health isn't solely about the food, but also what that food does for you emotionally, relationally, and maybe spiritually.

What does that food hold for you? Is it your birthday cake? Because I would argue that birthday cake might be healthy that day. But generally cake isn't a health food. Or when I make my husband his grandma's recipes, it nourishes part of him that isn't physical. So I try to think about food like that.

BINTO: Tell us about your fitness routine.

I used to be a runner. I ran 30 miles a week, sometimes more because I felt like I had to pay for what I was going to eat or drink or re-pay for what I had consumed. Now, I run occasionally, maybe once or twice every other week — and when I do, I love it.

I lift 3 days a week at our home-garage gym. I'll either do a T-Mac Fitness workout (a 20-minute workout that literally requires nothing — not even shoes — and is on the go) or Lauren Gleisberg, which is my go-to right now.

Both are great, structured, at-home strength training workouts. I also enjoy yoga at a local studio or spin class, but both are pricey and require planning ahead (not my strong suit). I don't think I'd ever do CrossFit — there are too many patients I've taken care of from injuries they got doing it.

BINTO: What was the defining moment when you realized you could take your health into your own hands?

I think I've known that for a while, but maybe only recently, in the past two years, really understood to what extent. When I walked away from bedside nursing in 2017 I was briefly in-between jobs and used that extra time to throw myself into research. I became borderline obsessed with reading research articles on the microbiome.

It led me down a rabbit hole of learning about food, our environment, our stress, our medications and how each of them impacted our microbiome and how that in turn was impacting our overall health. These studies were from NIH, Johns Hopkins and other very credible sources on PubMed. My mind was blown. Every answer found birthed additional questions.

I am absolutely convinced that we have far more control of our health trajectory than most of us have grasped. Here's the catch: YOU need to do the leg work. What you think, see, breathe, eat, drink, expose yourself to, and even your relationships will impact your health.

BINTO: How has your wellness routine changed over the years?

I think its become about graceful structure — allowing myself to assess and adjust hour to hour if my needs change. I'm much more in tune with my body, mind, and spirit. I've also learned how to rest, and maybe that is the most useful lesson I've had in the past year.

BINTO: Do you use Binto? If so, what kind of changes have you experienced as a result?

I do! Many of the supplements in Binto were things I was already taking, but Suzie made it SO MUCH EASIER to have quality supplements all in one pouch. I currently am taking the prenatal package which, as I like to remind people, you should take BEFORE getting pregnant. (Click here for more info on Binto's Prenatal Kit!)

BINTO: What other product can’t you live without?

Coffee with cinnamon (not a product but I need it in my life), and Leahlani Skincare: It's clean and smells like heaven.

BINTO: What is your biggest challenge in terms of health or wellness right now?

I have bacterial overgrowth and I'm working on fixing it. Part of that is a pretty intense/ strict diet protocol I need to do to help my gut heal. It's not very social life friendly, also, since the first 21 days is low FODMAP i cant use garlic or onions in my cooking. GARLIC IS LIFE. But i guess getting well is a little more than garlic right now, so ive been getting creative in the kitchen with herbs. So, I guess ill just be a better chef with a more healthy gut after all of this.

BINTO: How do you define wellness?

Wellness is the harmonization each part of health. I've created a list of 10 areas I think everyone needs to be well:

  • Relationship to self
  • Community
  • Intimate/personal relationships
  • Physical health
  • Movement
  • Spiritual well-being (your "heart")
  • Purpose
  • Environment
  • Food/Drink
  • Sleep

There may more more focus in one spot than another at any given moment, but wellness comes when there's balance. Sometimes that looks like a nap or a glass of wine with a friend instead of a workout. Sometimes that means focusing on your gut health even though you miss out on certain foods for a little while.

It will always be in flex. There is no static version of health. There's no exact formula. What works for my life is not going to be the blueprint for your life. I think that's where people get stuck, they want a formula. They want a plan. It doesn't work like that.

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