Post-Workout Parfait

yogurt sweet potato parfaitSometimes I just get tired of making a protein shake when we get home from the gym. My solution? Just to eat something that is protein rich! My closest solution is European style whole fat yogurt. I chose this because it is a runny style yogurt, so it is still fairly liquid and will absorb quickly like a protein shake would.

For this parfait, I used Straus Family Creamery yogurt, and Farmer’s Market Sweet Potato purée. I topped it with some organic chia seeds and honey. All together, it came out to be about 14 grams of protein, which isn’t anything super impressive, but I am a smaller frame and also not trying to bulk. I also started the morning with a slice of bacon and 2 eggs, so I had gotten some protein then as well. (if you need more protein, you can even mix in a little bit of protein powder to your yogurt. Just make sure the powder you are using is clean and not full of additives and extra *stuff* you don’t need).

sweet potato parfait yogurt

Honey Lemon DIY Face Mask

baking soda lemon honey face maskTried a new thing today: baking soda + lemon juice + honey.
I just made a little bit, and it was just enough for a face mask and foot scrub.
Right before my shower, is rubbed it on my face, and had just enough left over to scrub both my feet.
It was gently exfoliating, and the honey makes your skin feel so soft!

Food Aesthetics

viking platter food

Anyone care about the aesthetics of your food? It may not be the most important aspect of what you eat, but I believe it matters.

Digestion starts in the brain, so if your brain is visually triggered by food, then all of your senses are triggered. The sight and smell of food starts transmissions from the brain to the rest of the digestive system to get ready.

This triggering of the digestive system does a few things. It starts the flow of saliva in the mouth to help with the initial break down of the food as you chew (more important than people assume!). It also begins to release the proper stomach acid and enzymes to prep the stomach for the food that it is about to receive. All of these steps are essential, as the food must be broken down properly and at the right pH level before it can properly move on into the intestines.

Another important step in prepping the digestive system is allowing it time to switch over to the parasympathetic mode. This requires a certain level of relaxation, as it allows the body to focus its resources on digesting, and not other activities. This is why it is so important to actually sit and enjoy a meal. To have food that you appreciate and look at first, it gives your body the chance to switch the nervous system over and be completely ready for its important task at hand. For this reason, eating on the go and eating fast food and junk food does not allow for this, and it messes with the natural process by which we need to properly digest the food we eat.

Speaking of food aesthetics, check out this Viking Platter from Odin Brewing Co, captured by hayden_bllck

Five Reasons Not to Take SSRIs

(Article from Psychology Today, written by Lennard J Davis. -These are not my own words!- Read the full article here)

five reasons not take ssri

For the past five years, and in my recent book Obsession: A History, I have been questioning the effectiveness of Prozac-like drugs known as SSRIs. I’ve pointed out that when the drugs first came out in the early 1990’s there was a wildly enthusiastic uptake in the prescribing of such drugs. Doctors were jubilantly claiming that the drugs were 80-90 percent effective in treating depression and related conditions like OCD. In the last few years those success rates have been going down, with the NY Times pointing out that the initial numbers had been inflated by drug companies suppressing the studies that were less encouraging. But few if any doctors or patients were willing to hear anything disparaging said about these “wonder” drugs.

Now the tune has changed.

Reason One: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (link is external)says that SSRI’s like Paxil and Prozac are no more effective in treating depression than a placebo pill. That means they are 33 per cent effective, which is the percent of patients who will respond well to a sugar pill. The article goes on to say that although SSRI’s are effective to some degree in treating severe depression they don’t have any effect on the routine type of depressions they are most often used to treat. The take-home message is—don’t take SSRI’s if you have normal, mild, or routine depression. It’s a waste of money, and the drugs have serious side-effects including loss of sexual drive.

Reason Two: A January 4 article in MedPage Today (link is external) cites a study done at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins. The study says that doctors routinely prescribe not one but two or three SSRI’s and other psycho-pharmological drugs in combination with few if any serious studies to back up the multiple usage. It’s pretty obvious that the reason for these multiple prescriptions is that if one drug doesn’t work, then perhaps two or three will. Doctors are in essence performing uncontrolled experiments on their patients, hoping that in some scattershot way they might hit on a solution. But of course drugs have dangerous interactions and most physicians are shooting in the dark with all the dangers that attend such bad marksmanship.

Reason Three: More and more psychiatric disorders are appearing that might be called “lifestyle” diseases. What was called shyness, sadness, restlessness, shopping too much, high sex drive, low sex drive, and so on have increasingly been seen as diseases and many more will appear in the new DSM, the diagnostic manual of psychological and psychiatric disorders. Increasingly the criteria for inclusion in the DSM involves whether the disorder responds to a category of drugs. If, as we’ve just seen, one of the key class of drugs that for 20 years has been considered effective now fails, what does that say for this idea that if a disease responds to a particular drug, then it is a particular disease? We have to rethink the whole biological basis for lifestyle disorders.

Reason Four: We’re an over-medicated society, and the goal of drug companies and a compliant and harried medical establishment is ultimately to have some drug coursing through every individual’s bloodstream. It’s a lot easier to quickly pop a pill or prescribe than it is to explore the reasons for a person’s distress. Many of us remember the scenario in 1960’s science fiction movies of a dystopic future or Soviet-style world with drugs used to control minds. Well, that future is here and the social control we dreaded is now accepted in the form of a pill.

Reason Five: The whole serotonin hypothesis is challenged by these findings. What this new information shows is that there may be some help using SSRIs if there is a severe shortage of serotonin, but the average person’s depression cannot simply be related to a “chemical imbalance.” The human brain is too complicated and so are we to have a simple, quick explanation related to serotonin alone. We have no way of measuring serotonin the brain of a living person, short of cutting open the skull. We have not come up with what a normal level of serotonin should be and below which we can say that you would be depressed and above which we can say you will be happy. People with high serotonin levels can be depressed and those with low levels can be happy. Serotonin inducing drugs like ecstasy can make you feel very happy, but so can alcohol and heroin. We have to go back to the drawing boards on this one, so don’t ever let anyone say “I’ve got a chemical imbalance” without asking them what they actually mean and where is the science to prove that statement.

What Should You Do? Think twice, be skeptical, and question a simplistic diagnosis you might receive after discussing your condition for a short time with a rushed practitioner. If each person takes a stand, is willing to engage in therapies beyond drug-taking, we might actually have a responsible and informed public confronting an increasingly powerful medical-pharmalogical establishment. Drugs may not be the answer for you, and now it turns out that some drugs may not be the answer for almost anyone.